Newbie’s Guide to the Law Library

I walked into my first law library almost fifteen years ago as a 1L. By the end of my first year I was working there. I have since been in dozens of law libraries, worked in five, and received a whole other degree in library science. And still, when I arrived at GSU Law, I found myself a little unsure about the library, its space, and its offerings.  If walking in with all this library street cred I still find myself learning something new every day, I imagine new law students, faculty, and other patrons, might find themselves in the same situation.

A road sign welcoming a driver to the town of Newbie
Image Credit: Anne, https://www.flickr.com/photos/ilike/4942572797 (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

With that, I offer up some tidbits and advice I have collected the past few months that I hope will help you make the most of the GSU Law Library.

  • Use the maps! Just like the rest of the law school, the Law library has floor maps on each floor. These are incredibly helpful for figuring out where to study, where to hang, and how to find items in the collection!
  • Circulation to the left; Reference to the right- know the difference! When you are standing facing the main desk, the reference folks are on the right. You may recognize us from RMiL or the Professional Librarian program. We can assist with research support, RMiL assistance, or other reference needs. The Circulation staff will be those on your left. They are AMAZING and can help you with questions about checking out everything from study aids to portable monitors!
  • Did I mention the library has TONS of loanable tech and other non-book ‘resources’? There are book stands, games, dry erase marker sets, foldable monitors, headphones, and more. You’ll never know if you don’t ask, so if you need something for the day always check in with Circulation.
  • Don’t get loud on the sixth floor- your peers will not only give you the side-eye, they will complain. The 6th floor is for quiet studying, even if you are in a study room. Be careful not to get too noisy up there because your colleagues really do expect silence!
  • The blinds are adjustable! I had no idea, but if you find yourself sitting at a study table unable to manage the afternoon glare, come talk to the library and let us help you adjust the shades so you can get back to concentrating.
  • The back of the 5th floor has a collaborative work space- need to use the monitors to group share? The Circulation desk can loan you the tech needed to connect your computer(s) to the screens no problem.
  • The library offers an amazing set of trainings and asynchronous programs through the ALERT program. You can attend the in-person session and/or do the online modules to gain research certifications.
  • You can check out some games, but there are also lots of places and ways to use the library for study breaks- from the coffee machine to the lobby puzzles, to our Leisure Collection where you can check out movies for pleasure (Spoiler, they have some law connection, but it’s better than a casebook!)
  • Check out study rooms online! Save yourself time and a headache and make sure to use the QR codes or go to https://booking.lawlibrary.gsu.edu/reserve/studyroomres to reserve a room before coming to Circulation to get a key!
  • The GSU Law Library makes improvements based on student needs and feedback. If there is something you wish the library did or offered, let them know by using the feedback form!

This is definitely a non-exhaustive list of the library’s voluminous offerings. If you haven’t yet, take a minute and check explore the terrific resources and materials the library promotes on its website.