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FAQ: UC Hastings Law Library Frequently Asked Questions: Library Services and Access

This guide will assist you in learning about the UC Hastings Law Library's rules, policies and procedures.

Library Access Policy

Can attorneys and members of the public use the Hastings Law Library?

The Hastings Library Access Policy clearly states the access rules for attorneys and members of the general public. 

In order to ensure that the UC Hastings Law Library facilities and services are fully available to the UC Hastings College of the Law community, the Law Library observes a very limited access policy which is fully enforced at all times that the Library is open

All library visitors are required to show a state-issued ID and sign-in at the 1st floor Security Desk. Visiting library patrons will be issued a visitor's pass good for that day, if they can state a valid reason for entering the library. Visitor passes must be worn at all times while in Hastings buildings. The Security Desk cannot issue visitor passes to members of the general public for evening and weekend access.

Members of the California Bar, Hastings alumni, and law students from other law schools are allowed to use the library whenever it is open (including evening and weekend hours). For more details on public access, visit our library access webpage.

Hastings Alumni & Attorneys

What services are provided for Hastings Alumni and local attorneys?

Members of the California Bar and Hastings alumni are allowed to use the library whenever it is open (including evening and weekend hours). For more details on public access, visit our library access webpage.

Members of the California Bar and Hastings alumni have access to a dedicated terminal with Westlaw federal law, California law and Keycite.

Other services provided for UC Hastings alumni include remote and on-campus access to HeinOnline’s Law Journal Library.

Preparing for Law School

Can you suggest any books to read before I start law school, or that might help me as a first year student?

The library has several books that may be of interest to first-year students. Here are some useful catalog searches:

The Library has created an extensive online guide to Academic Success in Law School. It includes information on the basics of learning law, preparation for class, and how to study for and take law school exams.

How do I borrow an item from the library?

Borrowing rules are listed below by patron group:

Students, faculty, and other eligible library patrons may borrow items located in the library's stacks by presenting either a Hastings ID or borrowing card at the Circulation Desk. 

Circulation Desk personnel will:

  • Scan the item(s) to be borrowed and the Hastings ID or borrowing card
  • Desensitize the item(s), and
  • Stamp the due date on the inside cover of the item(s).

Can I reserve a room to study in the library or elsewhere on campus?

Hastings students may go to the College's Special Events & Guests Services website to reserve library study rooms during the final exam period. The Special Events office also reserves other campus rooms for student study during exams.

During the rest of the year, the group study rooms located in the the Library and the Gold Reading Room are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The study rooms are for the exclusive use of Hastings students. See the Library's Study Room Policy.

Copying & Scanning

This Service is Currently Unavailable due to the Library Closure During the Pandemic.

There are Xerox copiers/scanners on the 4th and 5th floor of the library.  The color copier is on the 5th floor.

For assistance contact the 1st floor Business Center:

  • Hours: M - F 8am - 5pm, except on College holidays
  • Ph: (415) 565-4882

Student Copying/Scanning:

  • Select "copy" at the Xerox printer card reader
  • Touch your Hastings ID Card to the card reader.
  • Select copy or scan

Public Copying/Scanning:

Non-Hastings visitors can copy by setting up an account with the 1st floor Business Center or by using the coin-operated copier on the 4th floor of the Library.

Non-Hastings visitors can scan by setting up an account with the 1st floor Business Center.

. . .

Xerox Copier Printer

Where are the old Hastings exams?

All available final examinations from previous semesters are accessible on the UC Hastings Exams Database. Exams are password protected. Hastings students & faculty must login with a current UC Hastings username and password to access the exams off-campus.

Many students find that one of the best way to prepare for law school exams is to practice taking them.

UC Hastings professors provide their past exams (often with model answers) to the library, and the library maintains a searchable database of these exams.

Hastings students can view previous exams given by their professors to help them figure out how to prepare for exams. The past exams can: 1) help you learn about how your professor writes questions, 2) improve your ability to spot the issues, and 3) target your preparation to your professor's style.


Does the library have course textbooks?

This Service is Currently Unavailable due to the Library Closure During the Pandemic.

Beginning with the Fall 2017 semester, the library has purchased one copy of each required casebook.  The casebooks are available for 3-hour checkout at the 4th floor library circulation desk. 

The Library provides a copy of assigned casebooks for courses offered in the JD curriculum in course reserve. Since there is only one copy of each casebook per class, these are not intended to serve as a replacement for students purchasing their own copy of the required text. 

Search for course materials on reserve at the circulation desk.  Select "Advanced Search" and then choose the "Course Reserve" option to search by professor or course.

In addition, some current & superseded editions of casebooks are available in the library's main collection.

To see if the library has a particular textbook, simply search the Library Catalog by title or author.

See the Library Policy on Casebook Purchases.

Where do I find material that my professor has placed on course reserve?

Course Reserve:

This Service is Currently Unavailable due to the Library Closure During the Pandemic.

Materials placed on course reserve may be borrowed from the 4th Floor circulation desk.  In general, course reserve materials are available for two (2) hour check-out, but a limited number of course reserve items are available for 24-hour use.

Use the library catalog to search for Course Reserve items.  Select "Advanced Search" and then choose the "Course Reserve" option to search by professor or course.

1L Resources & Services

Use the First-Year Student Research & Study Guide to lean more about library resources for 1L's, and to get information about research, casebooks, and exams.


Where can I get help finding the books I need for Legal Research & Writing (LRW)?

Most of the materials you need for Legal Writing & Research (LWR) will be available online on Westlaw and Lexis

If you want to see the print versions of these research books, search the Library Catalog, or ask for assistance at the Reference Desk.

Many of the books used by Hastings LWR students are listed on the Library's Academic Success Research Guide.

Where can I find law school rankings?

In theory, ranking law schools is to help students decide which law school to attend.  You can find the most popular law school rankings online at U.S. News & World Report.

The U.S. News rankings are controversial, and many advocates have called for more acurate and useful rankings since different factors are salient to different students. 

See the postings on law school rankings at Brian Leiter's Law School Report, including his 2017 article Law Schools Unfairly Ranked by U.S. News.  

The Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) website includes:

A wide array of detailed information about every accredited law school can be found in The Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools, published by the Law School Admission Council and the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association.

The National Law Journal publishes an annual report of the top 50 law schools with the highest percentage of recent law school graduates hired as first-year associates at the nation’s most prestigious law firms.

The Volokh Conspiracy blog has a post titled "This law school ranking system is much better than U.S. News" by David Bernstein. The related paper, A Revealed-Preferences Ranking of Law Schools  (March 17, 2017) by Christopher J. Ryan and Brian L. Frye, proposes an alternative law school ranking system based on an updated formula designed to help students decide which school to attend. Accordingly, it describes an approach to ranking law schools based entirely on the revealed preferences of students.

Above the Law Rankings - An outcome-based ranking of law schools based on how well their students do after graduation, instead of on statistics for entering students.