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Introductory Guide for First Year Students

This guide will help new law students get started with Law School and become more familiar with the Law Library.

Finding Things in the Library

The Law Library keeps records of all the things available for checkout in its catalog. Because all GSU Libraries share a common catalog, you can also find things from the other GSU Libraries and have them delivered here. You can search our common catalog directly from the Law Library homepage or by going to the catalog's website.

What You Can Do in the Library Catalog

The library catalog contains records for physical and electronic books, journals, and films available through the GSU Libraries. Looking for a treatise and not sure if it's in Lexis or Westlaw? Instead of checking both databases, you can just look in the catalog, which will have a link directly to the treatise. (You will pass through a login screen before landing on the treatise page.)

An example of how search results appear in the library catalog is below. The GSU Libraries own multiple copies of Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, and we have access both in print and online. Result 2 indicates that the libraries own other paper copies; however, these copies are not available. To see the other locations, you can click on the book title to go to the full list. Items in the Law Library will have a location that starts with "Law" such as "Law General Stacks," or "Law Leisure Collection." Result 3 provides a link to an online ebook version of the book.


You can also use the library catalog to request items from other libraries. You can request items from other GSU campuses or from other libraries in the University System of Georgia. Materials you request from other GSU or University System of Georgia libraries will be held for you at the Law Library Circulation desk. Check your email for the notice that the materials are ready for pick up.

Below is the availability for Result 2 in the search results for Just Mercy. You can see that there are no copies of this particular edition of this book available at GSU (although we know now that there are other editions available!). You can also see that there are copies available at other USG schools. You can request one of these copies using the "Request" link.

Just Mercy catalog page showing USG availability

Finding Your Book in the Library

If you have identified an item in the Law Library that you would like to check out, you need to find the book in the library and bring it to the Circulation desk. To find most books in the library, you need to know the library collection the book is in and the call number for the book. 

Most books in the Law Library are in the "Law General Stacks" collection, which is organized by call number. The call number for Just Mercy is given in the catalog record above as KF373.S743 A3 2014. If this book were in the "Law General Stacks" collection, that means it would be on the sixth floor in the middle of the library near study rooms 616 and 617, according to the library map provided below. 

Some books are separated out into smaller collections based on their subject matter or their type of use. You can see these collections represented on the map below as well, such as the Georgia collection in the upper-left corner of the 5th floor or the Study Aids collection, near the opposite corner of the 5th floor.

A couple of library collections are organized differently. The Law Leisure books are organized by author and the DVDs by title, much like in a store. The Periodicals collection is organized by title.

(You may click on the map to view a bigger version.)

Map of the GSU Law Library

Checking Your Library Account

The library catalog is also where you can log into your library account. In your library account you can see a list of the books and other items checked out to you. You can then renew items, check the status of requests, and see any fines or fees on your record.

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