FAQs

General

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Who may use the Law Library?

The UW Law Library is open to University of Wisconsin students, faculty, and staff, as well as to the general public.

The essential mission of the UW Law Library is to support and foster the learning, research, and service activities of the faculty, staff, and students of the UW Law School, specifically, and the UW, generally. The Law Library also serves as an important source of legal information for the State of Wisconsin.

We warmly welcome you to use the more than half million volumes, thousands of journals, and hundreds of electronic resources in the library collection.

Why is the Law Library limited at certain times of the year?

In response to a request from the Student Bar Association to provide adequate study space for law students, access to the Law Library is limited during the exam period to law students, law faculty & staff, and individuals needing to do legal research or use Law Library materials, including our federal documents collection.

Limited access begins four full weekends before the first proctored law exam. The policy remains in effect until shortly before the last law exam date. Extended hours, during which the library’s weekend hours are lengthened, begins three full weekends prior to the last exam. Limited access remains in effect during extended hours.

University of Wisconsin identification card with green gargoyle sticker on it to signify that the student is a law student.
Wiscard with green law school gargoyle sticker on it.

Law students are given a green gargoyle sticker to put on their Wiscard to identify themselves (stickers are available at the Law Library Circulation Desk).  During limited access hours, monitors posted outside the library entrance will ask law students to show their Wiscard with gargoyle sticker.  Non law students and those not needing access to the Law Library collection will be directed elsewhere.

We appreciate your patience and cooperation and regret any inconvenience that this might cause. If you have questions about the library’s policy on limited access, please submit them to the Suggestion Box.

How do I reserve a study room?

You will need a valid Wiscard to reserve a study room. The rooms can be reserved online at the Law Library study room reservations.

The study room keys may be checked out for two hours. They may be checked out again if no one else has reserved the room.

Which study rooms have computers?

Rooms 2384, 3335, and 3339 have computers with large monitors.

Why can't I bring food into the library?

Law Library users deserve a clean and quiet atmosphere to study.  Therefore, food is not permitted anywhere in the library. Insects and rodents attracted by food pose a danger to the library collection. Noisy food consumption also serves as a distraction to study and research.

Beverages in covered containers are allowed, but not near library computers or other equipment.

Why can't I talk on my cell phone in the library?

Law Library users appreciate that the library serves as a quiet place to study.

Please respect those around you by keeping noise and other distractions to a minimum. Talking in a loud voice, audible use of technological devices (cell phones, computers, etc.), food consumption, and other activities that may interfere with others’ ability to study are prohibited.

How can I get a job in the library?

Check out the UW Student Jobs page, or stop by the library and ask for circulation.

You can also email circ@law.wisc.edu.

Who can check out a study carrel?

There are a limited number of Law Library study carrels available to UW Law School faculty, graduate students, and law school affiliated visiting scholars.

Students in the law school graduate programs may request to reserve one for the academic year.  SJD and LLM students are given first priority.  If there are carrels remaining, MLI students may request one.  The Graduate Programs Office will contact students with specific instructions on how to apply for a carrel.

Law school faculty and visiting scholars may contact the Law Library Administrative Office to request a carrel.

How can I find out more about the mural in the Quarles & Brady Reading Room?

Painted in 1942 by American Regionalist artist John Steuart Curry, “The Freeing of the Slaves” mural still dominates the Law Library’s Old Reading Room.

Originally destined for the U.S. Department of Justice Building in 1936, the mural’s design was rejected as too racially controversial for Washington DC. Curry’s powerful sketches did, however, catch the attention of then-Law School dean, Lloyd Garrison. Grandson of famous abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, Dean Garrison felt a strong connection to the work.

Upon Curry’s appointment as artist-in-residence at UW-Madison, Garrison approached the artist about painting the work in what was then the “new” Law Library Reading Room. Curry accepted and began work on the mural, which was located right above the bustling new circulation desk.

Upon its completion, Curry wrote this of the mural: “I feel in this painting I have made a work that is historically true and I also feel that it is prophetic of that which is to come.”

In addition to the mural at the Law School, Curry painted other works on campus including “The Social Benefits of Biochemical Research” in the Biochemistry Building and a memorial painting to All-American David Nathan Schreiner located at the university’s Chazen Museum of Art. A total of 37 artworks by Curry can be viewed as part of the permanent collection at the Chazen.

For more information about the mural, see the framed history with comments by the artist and Dean Garrison on the west wall of the old reading room (formally known as the Quarles and Brady Reading Room). A reprint of an article about the mural which appeared in The Gargoyle also hangs on the west wall.* Full-color copies of this article are available at the Reference Desk.

* Paul Reidinger, The Law School’s Curry Mural: One of the Grandest and Most Distinguished Works of Art in Wisconsin, XVI The Gargoyle 10 (Summer 1985).

Library Materials

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How can I find out if the library has an item?

Check the UW-Madison library catalog.

Where can I find this call number in the library?

Call Number Locations

  • A – K: 3 West
  • KB – KF 6368: 3 South
  • KF 6369 – Z: 2 South

Note: Books with a Ref designation in front of the call number will be housed in the Reference collection in the “Habush, Habush, & Rottier” Reading Room on the 5th floor.

Please ask at the reference or circulation desks if you are having difficulty locating an item.

Where should I check if I know that the law library has an item, but I can't find it in the Library Catalog?

Some items, especially legislative materials and other government documents, can be difficult to locate in the Library Catalog.  Often the title by which an item is known is not its official title.  Or, perhaps, the title has changed or it is available in multiple formats.

If you are looking for an item like this, please ask at the Reference or Circulation Desks for assistance.

What should I do if a Law Library item is not on the shelf?

  • Check the Library catalog to view its status.  It may be checked out or in use by library staff.
  • Check the book return truck on the floor where the item you are looking for is located.
  • Check the fifth and third floor copy centers.
  • Ask the Circulation Desk Attendant if the item you are looking for is on the return truck behind the circulation desk or in the staging area.
  • Fill out a “Search Request” form at the circulation desk.

I've checked the Library Catalog and I don't think that an item is available on campus. How can I get a copy?

Check the UW-Madison Libraries “Find & Request Materials” guide.

How can I get a library card?

Identification Needed

  • Wiscard (UW-Madison ID card)* or
  • Memorial Fee Card or
  • Law Library Card**

** Patrons with current photo identification and a Wisconsin address may apply for a Law Library card.

The card will be mailed to verify the address. Up to three items may be charged while the Law Library card application is pending.

How long can I check something out?

Loan Periods

UW Faculty, Staff, and Graduate Students

  • Loans: Semester
  • Reserves: 2 hours, 1 day, 3 days, 7 days (depends on the item)
  • Renewals: most items can be renewed until the maximum of 2 years is reached.
  • Recalls: All items are subject to recall if needed for course reserves.

UW Undergraduate Students

  • Loans: 28 days
  • Reserves: 2 hours, 1 day, 3 days, 7 days (depends on the item)
  • Renewals: most items can be renewed until the maximum of 84 days is reached.
  • Recalls: All items are subject to recall if needed for course reserves. Renewals

Community Patrons

  • Loans: 28 days
  • Reserves: 2 hours, 1 day, 3 days, 7 days (depends on the item)
  • Renewals: most items can be renewed until the maximum of 84 days is reached.
  • Recalls: All items are subject to recall if needed for course reserves.
  • The following services are not available for community patrons: Borrow UW System materials, UBorrow and Interlibrary Loan, Access to UW-Madison licensed online resources from off-campus, and distance services.

How do fees work?

Fees

Replacement

Patrons are billed for failing to return or renew items 45 days after the due date. The items are considered lost by the library. Newer volumes are billed at their current replacement cost, most older volumes are billed at a $ 100.00 default fee.

If the item is returned, the replacement fee is expunged. Patrons must still pay any overdue fines, associated with the transaction.

Damage

Items will be billed according to the amount of damage incurred. If the item is not repairable, a replacement charge will be applied.

Appeals

Lost book charges cannot be appealed. To appeal overdue fees, use the online appeal form.

Payment of Fees

You can pay fines:

  • Online through your library account. Online payment by credit card requires a valid NetID.
  • In person- cash or credit card (Visa/Mastercard). Payment can be made at the Memorial Library Circulation Office, Room 170.
  • Phone- call Memorial Library Circulation Office at 608-263-7360. Hours: Monday- Friday: 8:00 am- Noon

Hold on University Records

When a library account reaches $50.00 in non-payments, a hold will be placed on your University records.

A hold placed on your records will prevent you from being able to:

  • Register for classes
  • Get your transcripts
  • Get your diploma
  • Access online resources (in some cases)

Borrowing Blocks

Borrowing privileges will be blocked if your account:

  • Has reached $200.00 or more in fines
  • Has an overdue recall item
  • Has an overdue Interlibrary Loan item

Avoiding Library Charges

  1. Return reserve materials on time. Check the your Library account for due dates and times.
  2. Don’t ignore overdue notices. If you feel you have gotten an overdue notice in error, contact the Law Library Circulation Department at 608-262-1128 as soon as possible. If it is an error, it can be corrected before it is invoiced and a hold is placed on your University records.

Assistance

Ask at the Circulation Desk or call 608-262-1128.

Technology

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Where are the computer labs (teaching lab and study lab)?

The Cook & Franke Teaching Computer Lab (Lab A) and Class of 1972 Study Lab (Lab B) are located on the second floor of the Law Library, on the opposite side of the wall with the class photos. The labs are open during all Law Library hours.

The Law School Library’s computer labs offer opportunities to complete coursework and a place to receive training on computer-assisted legal research tools.

Lab Access

The computer labs may only be used by law students, faculty, staff, or other authorized users. Law users are assigned a unique login name and password to access the Law School network and are allowed up to 12MB of disk space for their personal use.

Students are encouraged to work in groups in the Study Lab and speak with normal voice levels. The Study Lab is meant to be used by groups that need to discuss their work. Please respect others that are using the Teaching Lab at the same time.

Where can I find my computer lab login?

Law users are assigned a unique login name and password to access the Law School network and are allowed up to 12MB of disk space for their personal use.

Law School Computer User Login and Password »

Does the library have wireless network access?

The UWNet wireless network is the largest and most reliable connection on campus. Once you have connected, simply log in using your NetID.

If you are a guest on campus, you can request access at the login page.

If you have problems accessing the wireless network, check with a reference librarian or with the Law School Help Desk.

How can I configure my laptop to access the wireless network?

UW Madison Students, Faculty and Staff

See the instructions on the DoIT website.

General Public

Inquire at the reference or circulation desk.

Where can I check out a laptop?

The Law Library does not offer laptops for checkout, but many libraries on the UW-Madison campus do.

Check the UW InfoLabs Equipment Checkout System for laptop availability and location.

How can I use the study room computers?

In order to use the study room computers, you must check out the keyboard and mouse from the circulation desk.

Where are the copiers and printers located?

Copiers

Self-serve photocopiers are available in the Law Library at the following locations:

  • Copy Center (Room 5306) – 1 photocopier
  • Microforms (Room 2385) – 2 microfiche reader-printer-scanners

Cost

Printers

Printing from Law Library Computers

Availability

General use printers are available in the Law Library in the following locations:
The Study Lab (Room 2390) – Prints from all lab PCs

Fifth Floor in the Copy Center – Prints from all library public workstation PCs

Microforms (Room 2385) – Prints to printers located in the Study Lab. Scan the microform and then print the PDF.
2 LexisNexis printers are also located in Computer Lab B.

Cost

Printing is available for $.07 per page from the printers located in the study lab and on the fifth floor.  Copies from the microform scanner/printers on the second floor are also $.07 each.  The LexisNexis printers are free. Copying costs $.10 per page.

All printers accept Campus Cash or Print Cash (paying with your WisCard).  To pay, enter your NetID and password.   To add money to your account, visit the Wiscard Campus Cash/Printer Cash page.

Non-UW patrons may obtain a print card. These cards are available at the circulation desk, and can have funds added with a credit card or with cash using the card kiosk located on the second floor Memorial Library. 

Note that the Law Library no longer accepts debitcards. Visit the copy card replacement page for more information on the transition.

Printing from your Laptop

To printers in the computer lab – See Law School Technology Services for instructions on configuring your laptop for wireless printing.

To the printer on the 5th floor in the Copy Center – Please reference the Law Library’s GoPrint page for wireless printing.

Print instructions for setting up wireless printing are also available in the Copy Center and the Study Lab.

Assistance

The Help Desk (located in room 2115 of the law school) is able to assist with any questions regarding wireless or wired printing and can be contacted at Help@law.wisc.edu. For additional assistance, contact the Library’s IT Coordinator, Jarrod Bogucki.

Is double sided printing available?

All printers located in the 5th floor copy center have the ability to print double-sided or single-sided.

The default is set to single-sided printing.

To change to double-sided:

  1. Start by selecting print as you usually would.
  2. In the print dialog box, select the Law Library printer (if there are multiple printers available, look for the one that says “LAW_B&W”).
  3. Then click the “Properties” button.
  4. Click on the “Printing Shortcuts” tab
  5. Select “Yes” for the “Print on Both Sides” Option.
  6. Click “OK” and then print as usual.

Note:  the cost is still the same (7 cents per page/side), but doubled sided printing will allow you to conserve paper.

Does the law library have a scanner?

The law library has four publicly accessible print scanners available for use at no charge.

There is one copier/scanner unit located on the 5th floor in the copy center.  There are also two book scanners on the 5th floor in the copy center and one on the third floor near the journals.

The book scanners are especially recommended for bound materials.  The flatbed scanner has a beveled edge which allows the user to scan materials with out breaking the bindings.  The book scanners offer multiple scan settings, such as choice of resolution and color scans.

The copier/scanner unit is best for quick scanning of unbound materials.  They offer limited settings and scan more quickly than the book scanner.

On the copier/scanner unit, users select the scanner function and enter an email address.  When your scan is complete, the machine automatically sends a PDF file to you. With the book scanner, users create a PDF file which they can then email or copy onto a thumb drive.

The Law School Copy Shop also offers scanning services for 5 cents per page.  They can scan documents into either a .pdf file (not editable) or a .tif file (editable). Scanned pages may delivered as an email attachment, on a floppy disk, or burned to a CD-Rom.

The law library also has two microfiche/microfilm scanners available in the microforms area on the second floor.  There is no cost to scan materials, but printing costs 7 cents per page.

How do I print from my laptop?

Please reference these instructions for Windows 10these instructions for Windows 7/8, or these instructions for Macs.

The Law Library GoPrint printer (located in the copy center) is labeled: Law_B&W.

How much does printing and copying cost?

  • Printing is available for $.07 per page from the printers located in the study lab and on the fifth floor.
  • Copies from the microform scanner/printers on the second floor are also $.07 each.
  • The LexisNexis printers are free. Copying costs $.10 per page.

How can I add money to my Wiscard or Print Card?

All printers accept Campus Cash or Print Cash (paying with your WisCard).  To pay, enter your NetID and password.  To add money to your account, visit the Wiscard Campus Cash/Printer Cash page.

Non-UW patrons may obtain a print card. These cards are available at the circulation desk, and can have funds added with a credit card or with cash using the card kiosk located on the second floor Memorial Library. 

What should I do if my Print Card is not working properly?

Report this to the copy assistant or reference librarian.

Can I get my money back if I received illegible copies/printouts?

Report this to the Copy Assistant or to the Reference Librarian. Although a refund may not be given, an equivalent number of clean copies may be provided.

What should I do if a copy machine is out of paper or paper is jammed?

Questions relating to equipment problems should be reported to the Copy Assistant or to the Reference Librarian.

Where can I find a stapler, paper-cutter, or hole punch?

These items are located in the Copy Center. Some copiers have built-in staplers. Instructions are on the machine or the Copy Assistant can demonstrate its use. Documents over 20 pages should be taken to the Law School Copy Shop.