Circulation Policies & Procedures

Last updated 12/4/13

 Who may borrow materials / valid forms of identification

The following categories of patrons are allowed to check materials out of the Law Library, including all Reserve materials, upon presentation of current NIU identification (OneCard):

  • College of Law students, faculty, Faculty Associates, and staff
  • College of law students who are research/teaching assistants for NIU law faculty and who have been set up as "proxy patrons" in the Voyager circulation system to check out materials for the faculty member (click here for Research/Teaching Assistant application form (.pdf)). 

The following categories of patrons are eligible to check materials out of the Law Library and to use Reserve materials within the Law Library only. These patrons may not check out equipment, unless the equipment is required for accessing government documents:

  • Non-COL NIU students, faculty and staff, upon presentation of current NIU identification (OneCard).
  • Students, faculty and staff of I-Share libraries, upon presentation of a valid photo ID. I-Share patrons must also have an active (non-expired) patron barcode in the I-Share patron database.
  • NIU alumni, upon presentation of a valid Law Library Authorized Borrower card* (click here for the alumni application for an Authorized Borrower card (.pdf)).
  • NIU emeritus faculty, upon presentation of a valid Law Library Authorized Borrower card* (application form forthcoming).
  • Licensed attorneys, upon presentation of a valid Law Library Authorized Borrower card* (click here for the attorney application for an Authorized Borrower card (.pdf)). An additional annual  fee may also be required.

* Please note that Authorized Borrower cards are valid only at the Law Library, not at Founders Library or other NIU libraries. The law library reserves the right to not issue, or to revoke, Authorized Borrower cards without prior notice.

 Circulating materials

  • Items in the circulating collection may be checked out for 4 weeks to students and 16 weeks to faculty. These include most treatises and monographs, CD-ROMs that accompany treatises, vertical file (pamphlet) materials, and most government documents.

 Non-circulating materials

  • Non-circulating materials include bound periodicals, reporters, digests, codes, indexes, some looseleaf services, form books, and microform materials.
  • Non-circulating materials must be used within the Library.  However, non-circulating materials may be removed from the library for use within the law school building (including faculty offices or student activity offices) by making a request at the Circulation Desk. The materials may not be removed from the building and are subject to recall.
  • Non-law NIU faculty may check out bound periodicals for 3 days.
  • The library reserves the right to retrieve non-circulating materials that have been removed from the library even in the absence of the borrower. If materials are not found in the designated locations, the borrower's privileges to remove non-circulating materials from the library may be revoked.

 Reserve materials

  • All reserve materials are kept at the Circulation Desk.
  • Course reserve materials may be requested by the name of the course, professor, and author/title of the item.
  • Items identified in the online catalog as located in "Law Library Reserve" should be requested by call number.
  • Reserve items circulate for either a 4-hour or one-day period. Reserve items may not be renewed.
    • Four-hour reserve items include course reserve items, examinations, audiovisual materials, IICLEs, current (unbound) periodicals, and other materials in high demand.
    • One-day reserve items include the latest editions of West's "Hornbook" and "Nutshell" series, LexisNexis' "Understanding" series, and Aspen's "Examples & Explanations" series.
    • During examination periods, the "Understanding" and "Examples & Explanations" series may be checked out for four hours only.

 Renewals & recalls

  • Reserve items may not be renewed (both 1-day and 4-hour loans).
  • Other checked out items may be renewed in person at the Circulation Desk or by telephone (815-753-0507).  Items may also be renewed through the I-Share online catalog:
    • To renew items using the "Classic" interface: 
      • Log in to "My Account" using your NIU OneCard ID number.
      • Click in the "Renew?" check box beside the item, then click the "Renew Selected Items" button.
    • To renew items using the Vu-Find interface:
      • Click the "Login" link in the upper right hand corner and enter your Vu-Find login and password.
      • Click "Checked Out Items" in the right hand column.
      • Click in the "Renew?" check box beside the item, then click the "Renew Selected Items" button.
  • In some cases items cannot be renewed. They may have been requested by another patron or the owning library may have set a limit on the number of times they can be renewed before they need to be returned. If you are renewing items online and see a "Not Renewed" message your item(s) could not be renewed and must be returned by the original due date (or, if past the due date, as soon as possible).  
  • Items may be recalled immediately if they are needed for Reserve use. Items may also be recalled if needed by another library user.

 Fines and other penalties

  • Fines will be imposed for lost Law Library materials. For more information please see the Fines section of the "Policies" page.
  • Patrons who abuse library borrowing privileges may be blocked from borrowing books at the Law Library.  
  • All charges for the replacement of lost materials and accompanying processing fees will be forwarded to the NIU Bursar's Office or Accounts Receivable. Failure to pay these charges may delay registration, sending of transcripts and proof of graduation.

 Circulation to carrels ("Racking")

Some library materials may be kept ("racked") on carrels for a period not to exceed a semester. Users are urged to "rack" materials only for the shortest time needed for research or study. (Please note that library tables are only for short term use and may not be used for "saving" materials for research and study. Materials left on tables will be reshelved by library staff.)

  • The first step to racking materials is to choose a carrel. Each carrel is numbered (carrels 69-84 in the North Wing are reserved for law student organizations' use).
  • Bring all items to be racked to the Circulation Desk. Fill out a Carrel Permit for each item. A copy of the Carrel Permit is kept in the item to be racked. The racking slip must be visible in each item taken to the carrel. Otherwise the item will be reshelved.
  • All items racked to a carrel must remain in the carrel at all times. If you need to remove the item from a carrel for some reason, contact the Circulation Desk for permission prior to removing the item.
  • All racked items are subject to recall by library staff for purposes of library maintenance or for the use of another patron. The person to whom the item is checked out will be notified if an item is being recalled. If an item is needed for Reserve or if it is in high demand, it will be taken from the carrel immediately and an explanation will be left in the carrel.
  • When finished with each item, return it to the Circulation Desk with the Carrel Permit slip still in it.
  • If you notice that a racked item is missing from your carrel, please notify the Circulation Desk immediately. Library staff will attempt to locate the missing item. However, as with any item checked out, the user is responsible for all racked items until they have been returned to the Circulation Desk.
  • In general, the following materials cannot be racked to carrels:
    • Citators
    • Digests and encyclopedias
    • Reference collection books
    • Illinois Complied Statutes Annotated & legislative services
    • Illinois Legislative Synopsis and Digest
    • U.S.C.A., U.S.C.C.A.N. and supplementation
    • Loose-leaf services (e.g., BNA, CCH and RIA)
    • Copies of Reporters can be racked; however, copies from Storage should be racked instead of Stacks copies whenever possible.