Policies & Procedures

Last updated: 12/6/13

The policies and procedures for the NIU Law Library apply to all law library patrons: faculty, students, staff, and visitors. The Law Library reserves the right to update or modify these policies at any time and without prior notice by posting a revised version of the policy(ies) linked below. The Law Library reserves the right to revoke Law Library use privileges in the event of a violation of these policies.

Who may use the law library

The primary function of the David C. Shapiro Memorial Law Library is to serve the teaching, research and scholarly activities of the students, faculty and staff of the College of Law.

In addition, access to the law library is permitted for those persons using the law library’s resources for legal research or who are using the Law Library’s government documents acquired through the Federal Depository Library Program.

Patrons who are not current College of Law students, faculty, staff, emeritus faculty or College of Law faculty associates, and who are using the Law Library for purposes not related to legal research (including, but not limited to, general reading or studying, or accessing non-law resources on public computers), may be asked to leave the Law Library.

The Law Library staff reserves the right to limit or deny access to the Law Library to any individual or group as required by the needs of the College of Law. (Also see Who may borrow materials & valid forms of identification under Circulation policies and procedures.)

Confidentiality of library records

All Library registration and circulation records are confidential information and not available to others except as required by law. See Library Records Confidentiality Act, 75 ILCS 70/1.; USA Patriot Act, Pub. L. No. 107-56 (Oct. 26, 2001).

Fines for loss of library materials

  • Regular circulating items: $15.00 non-refundable processing fee plus the cost of the item; if the item is out of print, $100.00 or the cost of the item (whichever is greater).
  • Reserve items: $20.00 non-refundable processing fee plus the cost of the item; if the item is out of print, $100.00 or the cost of the item (whichever is greater). Lost photocopies: $10.00.
  • Items borrowed from Founders Library are governed by Founders Library policies.
  • Items borrowed from I-Share or OCLC libraries may have overdue fines and lost item charges that differ from the Law Library's. These charges are set by, and must be paid to, the library that lent the material, not the Law Library.

General premises

  • Law Library users should exercise care in using Law Library furnishings. Do not put feet on the tables or chairs. Do not sit on the tables or study carrels. Do not lean back on the chairs.
  • Smoking is not permitted anywhere in the Law Library. This includes seminar rooms, computer labs, and the hallway to the North Wing. 
  • College of Law students, faculty or staff wishing to work or study as a group should reserve one of the group study or seminar rooms (see Seminar & group study room reservations, below) or one of the classrooms within the College of Law facility.

Food & drink

  • Beverages are permitted if they are in spill-proof or closeable containers with securely fastened lids. Please do not bring in fast food cups with lids (if they tip over, they spill).
  • Please do not bring in food, with one exception: small, individually wrapped, non-crumbling items such as hard candy are permitted.

Care of personal belongings

  • Personal belongings should not be left in the Law Library. Law Library personnel are not responsible for lost or stolen items.
  • Inquire at the Circulation Desk for items that have been lost or found in the Library. This includes personal items such as clothing, books, keys, and glasses. Copy cards that are found in the library are also turned in at the Circulation Desk.

Noise Policy

  • In response to student requests and to provide an environment conducive to study, library patrons are requested to keep all conversations very low in volume. If those nearby can hear them, the volume is too high.
  • Library staff will ask those violating this policy to reduce the sound level. A second violation will result in being asked to leave the library.
  • Ringers on cell phones are to be silenced (i.e., set on vibrate). When a call is received or a patron needs to make a call, patrons are asked to leave the library to conduct the call.

Outside communication

  • The Law Library is not equipped with a paging system and personnel do not carry messages to Law Library users, unless in an emergency (e.g., family emergency). Your employer needing to get in touch with you for a work-related problem does not constitute an emergency.
  • Telephones at the Circulation Desk and the Reference Desk are not available for public use.
  • The fax machine in the library administrative office is not available for student class or work-related use, to either send or receive messages or documents.

Handling of library materials

  • Law Library users should not reshelve Law Library materials.
  • Law Library personnel have the right to inspect any containers capable of holding books.
  • For long-term use of materials in carrels, see "Racking" on the Circulation Procedures page.

Seminar & group study rooms reservations

  • Group study rooms may only be reserved or used by persons currently affiliated with the College of Law (current students, faculty, or staff). 
  • Group study rooms include 290-A (capacity 4-6 persons), 290-E & 290-F (capacity 8 persons each) and a seminar room (290-C, capacity 24-30 persons).
  • Rooms may be reserved for up to 2 hours a day by individuals and up to 4 hours a day by groups. If no one else needs the room after the reservation time is up, the individual/group may remain in the room until it is needed by someone else.
  • Room reservations may be made in person at the Circulation Desk or by calling the Circulation Desk at (815) 753-0507.
  • Please note that while study rooms are intended for group work, they are not soundproof. When using a study room please be considerate of those in adjacent study rooms and nearby tables and carrels by keeping noise levels low.

Carrel reservations

Carrels may be reserved by law students for one semester at a time for work on a specific legal research project (e.g., a seminar paper).  Please note that carrels 69-84 are for use by the NIU Law Review only. Carrel reservations must be made in person at the Circulation Desk.

  • All library materials (including non-circulating materials) to be kept in a carrel must be checked out to the student reserving the carrel and "racked" to that carrel (see 'racking' procedures).
  • The student is responsible for all items checked out to his/her account until they have been returned to the Circulation Desk.
  • A carrel permit will be placed in "racked" items. The permit must be visible at all times in the item so as to prevent the item from being reshelved.
  • Items no longer needed in the carrel are to be returned to the Circulation Desk with the carrel permit still in them so they can be correctly discharged from the student's account.
  •  Personal items not related to the research may not be left in the carrel. The library is not responsible for personal items left in carrels.

Laptop loans

The Law Library does not lend laptop computers to students. Students wishing to take exams using ExamSoft must supply their own laptops. Questions about using the ExamSoft software may be addressed to Associate Dean David Gaebler.