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Law Library Procedures and Regulations

This material is adapted from the Law School Student Handbook.


The Alex A. Hanna Law Library is located in the Law Center, and is entered and exited only through the double doors leading from the main lobby. All other doors are fire exit/emergency doors and are limited to emergency use. The alarm sounds when fire exit/emergency doors are opened.

The Law Library is open to all faculty, staff and students of St. Thomas University, and to St. Thomas Law alumni, visiting scholars and researchers and current students and faculty of other law schools or paralegal programs. The Law Library is not open to the general public. Any patron who does not observe the rules of the Law Library will be asked to leave.

The following types of identification are required in order to gain access to the Law Library:

  • Faculty, students, and staff of St. Thomas School of Law School and University will require a valid ID card to access the Library.
  • Alumni of the School of Law and active members of the Bar must present a Bar Association card and photo identification card at the Circulation desk.
  • Visiting law and paralegal students will require a student ID card from their institutions.
  • During reading and exam hours, when posted, the Law Library will be open ONLY to University students, faculty and staff.
  • The computer lab is ONLY open to University students, faculty and staff.

Visitors are required to sign in at the Circulation Desk.

Circulation of material for use outside the Library is limited to St. Thomas University faculty, staff and students. All other researchers must use the collection in the Library. A detailed breakdown of the circulation times and privileges for different materials and users may be found at the circulation desk.

Our primary responsibility is to serve our own faculty and students. However, within the limits of our staff resources, we will attempt to provide reference service to members of the bar and other outside researchers.

It is the purpose of the Library administration and staff to make the holdings of the Library as freely available to all patrons as is consistent with proper and equitable use. Your cooperation is essential. Please adhere to those regulations and rules that are included in this handbook or are posted in the Library.

Library Food and Drink Policy

Providing a professional study environment, preserving library materials and equipment, and providing a student-friendly study space is our primary mission. Attempting to strike an appropriate balance is the purpose of our Law Library Food and Drink Policy. Recent violations have forced us to reexamine the policy.

The policy has been updated; whenever in doubt about the policy, the final word will be with the Library Staff. Please read it carefully (below).

No food of any kind is permitted in the library. All foods, whether or not they leave crumbs, attract insects and rodents. These pests can damage books and other materials, many of which are out of print and irreplaceable.

Drinks are permitted in covered cups or spill-proof travel mugs. Bottled water is also permitted. Spills from uncovered coffee cups (and other drinks) can cause stains, damage the carpet, computers, books, and attract pests. Spills also create mildew and molds. Patrons must dispose of all containers and other waste; and leave workspaces clean. (Please notify the staff in case of any spills).

NOTE: A Law Library staff person has the discretion to ask that any food items be removed and/or  consumed elsewhere.  Failure to comply with such a request is a violation of the policy.  Students found violating these rules and/or failing to comply with a request from the Law Library Staff may lose temporary access to the Library and suspension of all privileges for up to one month.  Violations of these rules may also be cause for a finding of violations to the Honor Code, and will be referred accordingly to the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and/or the Honor Council.

Study Areas and Group Study Rooms

Carrels and tables are available on a first-come, first-served basis. All books and papers must be removed from the carrel when you have completed your research for the day. Please secure your possessions if you have to step away – this might include using a security cable for a laptop.

The second floor level has reading room/study areas, group study rooms and the computer room for computer-assisted research and training. Please maintain quiet in all areas.

Study Rooms are for group study and may be reserved for a maximum of two hours at a time for a group. Study rooms are part of the library and all rules still apply. Patrons will not consume food, talk on cell phones, or partake in unprofessional or inappropriately behavior in a study room. Room reservation must occur at the front desk and that copy is the master copy. A convenience copy of the reservation schedule for the day is given to the student making the group reservation and should be placed outside of the study room. If the student group has not arrived after 15 minutes into the reserved time that group must give way to another group ready to use the room. An additional two hour period may be reserved for a group in the same room after the expiration of the initial period, provided the room has not been reserved by another group.

More information on the study rooms can be found here.


Please be courteous to your fellow students. The library is intended to be a quiet study area for patrons. All students and visitors are asked to be respectful and be considerate of others at all times.

Throughout the building, patrons should not speak above a low speaking volume. Even if working on legal research projects, keep speaking volume low.

Talking outside of the study rooms, is discouraged and a request to stop talking should be honored immediately.

Cell Phones and Telephones

Cell phones are not to be used in the law library, other than in the law library lobby. If users are expecting a call they should switch the cell phone to vibrate and take any resulting calls outside the law library; otherwise, cell phones should be turned off. Patrons involved in cell phone conversations in the library will be asked by library staff or fellow patrons to move to the designated cell phone area or outside. Cell phone conversations are only permitted in the front lobby of the law library. Please cooperate with staff when they ask you to leave an area due to inappropriate cell phone use. At the time of the incident the St. Thomas Law Library staff member may request the patron’s name and ID. Failure to give the name and ID or providing a fake name will result in security being called and the patron’s immediate removal from the library. Patrons who are repeat offenders of this cell phone policy will be investigated by the honor council for violating the Code of Academic Integrity.

Public telephones are located in the Student Services offices across the breezeway from the Law Library. There are also phones for student use in the SBA office. The telephones in the Library are for staff use only. The Library does not take messages or calls for students and is not able to page students.


Copiers are located in the copy room at the rear of the first floor reading room. Copies are 10 cents each. The Library does not provide change but bill changers are attached to each coin operated copier.

Please do not change paper or attempt to clear problems with the copiers. Report malfunctions, such as paper jams, to the Access Services Staff at the Circulation Desk.

Reshelving Books

Please do not reshelve your own materials after using them. Book carts are provided on all floors for the materials you are no longer using and the law library staff will reshelve all materials left on the carts. If you are returning materials that have been checked out by you and want to ensure that they are accounted for on your account. Please make sure that you return them directly to someone at the Circulation Desk.

Unclassified Materials

Much of the collection is comprised of primary source materials such as statutes, reporters and regulations, and of finding tools and secondary materials such as digests, citators and encyclopedias. These materials are not classified but are arranged by form and jurisdiction and are shelved alphabetically. Their exact location may be determined by reference to TOMCAT and the Library Guide which is available in the Library lobby and the Circulation Desk.

Reference Services

A Reference Librarian is available at the front of the Library to assist with reference or research questions during daytime peak use and evening hours. If no one is available at the Reference Desk, see the librarians in the reference offices at the front of the first floor reading room or at the Circulation area.

Interlibrary Loan

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is available for materials not available in the Law Library collection. The Interlibrary Loan service is available to St. Thomas Law School faculty, staff and students. ILL requests can be submitted by filling out the ILL request form, also available at the Reference Desk. Read this information and click the link to the form, complete and print the form and bring it to the Circulation desk, or email all of the requested information to lawill@stu.edu.

Materials that are made available to you from other libraries are due back on the designated by the lending library. Any materials that are not returned in a timely manner will result on suspended ILL privileges; any charged incurred by the law library for materials that are lost or simply not returned by the patron will be charged directly to the patron. ILL is unavailable to STU Alumni and students prior to the two weeks before they graduate.


Primary source materials, loose-leaf services, multivolume sets and books in the Reference Collection do not circulate.

Single-volume texts and treatises, as well as the Course Reserve and the Study Aids do circulate.

All Students must present their current St. Thomas IDs to check materials out from the library. If the ID is unavailable other picture ID may be substituted, as long as the student is already in the STU Law Library system. ID cards are not transferable. Materials will not be checked out for anyone other than the owner of the ID.

Law Library materials have differing periods of circulation depending on the material being circulated. A chart arranged by Patron Type and Type of Material, noting the periods of time for which materials may be borrowed, is available here. While these time periods are fairly stable, they do change. It is the patron’s duty to check their account online at http://stu.worldcat.org/ to determine the date and time the material is due back at the library.

Recalls of properly checked out materials during the period of circulation are issued whenever the material is needed by a professor for the Course Reserve, or if the material is overdue. When items are recalled they are due immediately upon notification. Failure to return the material within a reasonable time will result in the user’s account being blocked until the items are returned.

Computer Lab

A Computer Laboratory is located in the second floor of the Law Library. This area is monitored by the staff from Office of Information Technology (OIT) and the Law Library. The Lab is open to all law students on a first come-first-served basis. At particular times during the year, the lab may be restricted. Signs will be posted notifying users of restrictions. Smoking, beverages, and food are forbidden in the Lab at all times. If a computer is left unattended for 15 minutes, it will be turned off, disks and books will be removed from the desk, and the computer will be relinquished to any users waiting for a computer to become available.

Students should not install any software (e.g., AOL or games) on the machines or change backgrounds or screen savers. Students should not download any files from the Internet. Students should not save any files to the C drive (save all documents to your own floppy disk) as any saved files will be erased when the machine is rebooted.

Unauthorized use of Computer Lab equipment and materials including, but not limited to, copying copyrighted software, is prohibited. Users agree to accept full responsibility, thus indemnifying St. Thomas University School of Law from any costs for damages arising from the operators’ use of the laboratory or materials whether due to negligence or pursuant to the user’s unauthorized use of equipment and/or materials provided by St. Thomas University School of Law.

Users encountering any difficulties in using equipment or software should ask for help. Do not attempt to solve the problem yourself. If problems arise regarding the proper operation of a particular computer, the user should contact staff members on duty as soon as possible.