Frequently Asked Questions
- Who May Use the Library?
- How do I make a copy of something in the Library's collection?
- How do I get a copy card?
- Where is the Student Computer Center and what services and amenities are available there?
- Computer Service available to the Public
- Remote Access to Electronic Databases
- Group Study Rooms
- Where can I obtain reference and research assistance?
- What is Interlibrary Loan and how can I take advantage of it?
- What are my Circulation and Borrowing Privileges?
- Patron Records and Renewals
- What do the locations mentioned in the catalog mean?
- Where can I locate periodicals?
- How can I obtain electronic access to periodicals?
- Where are government documents?
- Where is the Reserve Room and what is included in this collection?
- What are unclassed materials?
- Where can I find case reporters?
- Where are the digests?
- Where are state materials?
- Where are legal encyclopedias and the American Law Reports?
- Where are the United States Code and the Statutes at Large?
- Where can I find hornbooks and nutshells?
- Where are old exams?
Who May Use the Library?
The Pence Law Library is open to the public, except during reading and exam periods when access is limited to WCL faculty, staff, and students, and WCL alumni. Visitors to the Law Library are asked to check in with Security with proper identification and wear visitor badges while using the Library.
Parking is available in the garage at 4801 Massachusetts Ave., NW for a charge of $8.00. Please note that the District of Columbia requires that the Washington College of Law inform all of our visitors that they cannot park on nearby public streets. Those who do so may be subject to a $75.00 fine.
Please check the Library's website at http://library.wcl.american.edu/hours.cfm for the most current information about hours and access. You may also call the Circulation Desk at 202-274-4300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with inquiries regarding hours and access.
How do I make a copy of something in the Library's collection?
Self-service photocopiers are located on both floors of the Library, and photocopy machines for microform are located in the Reserve Room on the first floor. Because all Library photocopiers require the use of a copy card, there are no facilities available for making change from coins or bills. There are several banks and local businesses in the immediate area of the Law School that might assist you, as well as an automatic change machine in the vending area near the Student Lounge on the 6th floor.
How do I get a copy card?
Photocopying requires an AU ID loaded with EagleBuck$ funds or the purchase of a copy card. To activate your Eagle Buck$ card, deposit cash in $1, $5, $10 or $20 bills on the card at one of the "Card Value Centers" located in the Library's first and second floor copy rooms. You may also fund the card with a check, cash, or credit or debit card through the Office of Student Accounts, located on the AU main campus. Their phone number is 202-885-3548.
If you are not a currently enrolled at WCL or AU and are not a faculty or staff member, you may purchase a copy card at one of the "Card Value Centers" for $1.50 in one of the Library's copy rooms. To use your card effectively, you should place additional value on it with $1, $5, $10 or $20 bills.
Where is the Student Computer Center and what services and amenities are available there?
The main student computer lab is located on the second floor of the Library and has over 30 PC workstations; additional computers on the first floor are dedicated to Web research and have access to Westlaw and Lexis/Nexis research databases. WCL Students can use the six Hewlett-Packard LaserJet printers located on the 2nd floor of the Library and the Research Printer, which is located on the 1st floor of the Library either from the lab workstations or from anywhere in the Library via their own laptops. A current and complete description of the services provided to WCL students by the Office of Technology is at http://www.wcl.american.edu/techres/complab/ The Student Computer Lab is available to all WCL and AU students.
Wireless Access is available in the Library to WCL faculty, staff, and students. Please see http://www.wcl.american.edu/techres/wireless.cfm for additional information or contact the IT Help Desk located on the second floor of the Library if you need assistance.
Computer Service available to the Public
Members of the public who wish to use a computer may use one of the workstations located on the first floor of the Library; these computers are able to access the internet and do not have any word processing programs installed. Printing is not currently available to the public in the Library at this time, but you may download material to a flash drive or email it.
Remote Access to Electronic Databases
WCL faculty, staff, and students may access electronic databases remotely by using their law school user name and password when prompted. Please contact the Reference Desk at 202-274-4352 or at email@example.com if you have any questions or require assistance with our databases.
Group Study Rooms
These rooms are reserved for groups of currently enrolled WCL students who may reserve the rooms up to one week in advance through MyWCL. Further details on the use of group study rooms is posted at http://library.wcl.american.edu/circulation.cfm
Where can I obtain reference and research assistance?
Professional reference assistance is available in the main reading room on the first floor of the Library. Reference desk service during the academic year is available:
|Monday - Thursday||9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.|
|Friday||9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.|
|Saturday||Noon to 5:00 p.m.|
|Sunday||Noon to 6:00 p.m.|
Reference librarians are also available to students and faculty for research consultations by appointment.
You may contact a reference librarian at firstname.lastname@example.org; or by telephone at 202-274-4352.
In addition, you may send an instant message to a reference librarian at http://library.wcl.american.edu/ask.cfm during the following hours:
|Monday - Thursday||9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.|
|Friday||9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.|
|Saturday and Sunday||Noon - 5:00 p.m.|
For more information about the Pence Law Library's reference services and reference librarians, see http://library.wcl.american.edu/referenceservices.cfm.
What is Interlibrary Loan and how can I take advantage of it?
WCL students, faculty and staff may borrow books and materials that are not in our collection from other institutions and organizations. Please allow at least two weeks for processing. A detailed explanation of Interlibrary Loan services, policies and procedures is at http://library.wcl.american.edu/ill.cfm. You may contact Interlibrary Loan at email@example.com.
What are my Circulation and Borrowing Privileges?
WCL students may borrow circulating materials from the treatise collection for a period of six weeks. Other materials, including items from the Reserve Collection, materials that are updated on a regular basis and some international materials have 3 hour check-out periods. A detailed explanation of Circulation services, policies and procedures is at http://library.wcl.american.edu/circulation.cfm.
Questions about borrowing materials from the Pence Law Library should be directed to Circulation at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 202-274-4300.
Patron Records and Renewals
Users can view their patron records and renew items online at http://leagle.wcl.american.edu/patroninfo. For renewal to take effect, be sure to logout of the system using the logout button. Please contact the Circulation desk at 202-274-4300 or email@example.com for assistance.
A map of the Library with specific stack locations is at http://library.wcl.american.edu/maps/library_maps.cfm.
What do the locations mentioned in the catalog mean?
The Library uses the Library of Congress classification system to arrange its monograph collection and this system governs the location of material in the Library. It is an alphanumeric system that is used to arrange books in subject order. Most classification numbers consist of three lines:
KF alphanumeric - indicates the general subject area 1500 whole number - indicates the specific subject area .W53 decimal - identifies the specific book
The majority of the monographs in our collection are housed on the second floor of the Library at stack ranges 209-249.
Where can I locate periodicals?
Bound periodicals from about 2005, including law reviews, bar journals, newsletters, etc. are located on the second floor of the Library in stacks 250 to 256. Unbound periodicals are shelved in the Reserve Room in stack ranges 114 to 124 (on the far wall to the right as you enter the Reserve Room). Periodical indexes, including the Index to Legal Periodicals and Books, LegalTrac, the Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals and others are accessible online at http://library.wcl.american.edu/resources/research_tools.cfm. Bound and unbound periodicals are shelved alphabetically by title. Periodicals that were published prior to 2007 are generally available through HeinOnline, which is described below.
How can I obtain electronic access to periodicals?
Many full text periodicals are available through HeinOnline, a full-text electronic database, are available on our website under the Research Tools Links on the library webpage at http://library.wcl.american.edu/. Many indexes to legal periodicals are also available at this link. Full-text periodicals and indexes are also available at http://library.wcl.american.edu/resources/resources.cfm?parm_val=All&local_attribute_id=20. To access the electronic version of these periodicals through our webpage, you must be connected to the WCL network, either in the law school or via remote access and use your my.american.edu password.
Where are government documents?
The Library is a partial depository for U.S. government publications. Our selective collection includes Executive Agency, Congressional and Presidential materials and other legal and law-related materials. These documents may be in paper, microform and are located in the Reserve Room on the first floor of the Library, the paper in stack ranges 102 to 109 and the microform in the cabinets to the right as you enter the Reserve Room. Many government documents are also shelved with the classified collection on the second floor of the Library and many may also be in electronic format. Use the Library's online catalog, LEAGLE, at http://leagle.wcl.american.edu/screens/opacmenu.html to locate government documents by keyword, author, title, or subject or SuDoc number.
Where is the Reserve Room and what is included in this collection?
Materials that are heavily used, such as hornbooks, nutshells and items placed on Reserve for class by professors are kept in the Reserve Room in stack ranges 110 to 113. The Reserve Room is open and materials may be used there without checking them out. If you wish to use reserve materials outside the Reserve Room you may do so by checking them out at the Circulation Desk for a renewable period of 3 hours. Reserve materials returned late are subject to fines of $1 per hour. Materials returned late are subject to fines of $1 per hour.
What are unclassed materials?
There are a number of titles in our collection that are not shelved in their Library of Congress call number order. These include West's Federal Reporters, the National Reporter System, the American Law Reports (A.L.R.) series, the U.S. Code, Statutes at Large, United States Code Congressional and Administrative News (U.S.C.C.A.N.) and the national and regional digests. These are located on both floors of the Library. Use the Library's online catalog, LEAGLE, at http://leagle.wcl.american.edu/screens/opacmenu.html to locate unclassed materials by keyword, author, title, or subject.
Where can I find case reporters?
The federal case reporters are located on the first floor in stacks 126 to 133. The regional reporters are also on the second floor in stacks 258 to 262. Official state court reports for Virginia and Maryland and the District of Columbia are housed on the first floor in ranges 138 to 142. Official state court reports are also available through state and federal court websites and through Lexis and Westlaw.
Where are the digests?
The American Digest System, consisting of the Century Digest, the Decennial Digests and the General Digest is shelved in stack 257. The West Regional Digests are shelved with their companion regional reporters in stacks 258 to 262. Federal Digests are shelved adjacent to the Federal Reporters on stacks on stack 134.
Where are state materials?
The great majority of the Library's collection of state materials is located in ranges 201 to 205 on the second floor. The collection includes each individual State Code and many individual state digests, and other materials, which vary by state. Materials from the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia can be found in the Local Materials collection on the first floor of the Library in stacks 138 to 142.
Where are legal encyclopedias and the American Law Reports?
Am Jur 2d and Corpus Juris Secundum are located on the second floor at stack 206 and the American Law Reports are located on the first floor of the Library in stack 123.
Where are the United States Code and the Statutes at Large?
The United States Code, the United States Code Annotated and the United States Code Service and the Statutes at Large are shelved in stacks 124 and 125.
Where can I find hornbooks and nutshells?
These study aids are located in the Reserve Room in stacks 110 to 113. They may circulate for three hours.
Where are old exams?
Old Exams are available online in our WCL Exams Database at http://www.wcl.american.edu/exams. Only exams submitted by professors are available on our database and paper copies are not maintained. Some exams will require you to obtain a password from a reference librarian, or, rarely, from your professor.