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Photo showings rows of books on a shelve inside the Law Library

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)


Select a frequently asked question below to jump to the answer.

  1. May I use the Alameda County Law Library?
  2. What types of materials does the law library have?
  3. Can you help me find a form? Can you help me fill out a form?
  4. What web services are available to the public inside the law library?
  5. How can I find a particular book or loose-leaf?
  6. How do I get a law library card or computer user card?
  7. I had a library card many years ago. Is it still valid?
  8. I lost or cannot find my library card. Can I get a replacement?
  9. What may be borrowed?
  10. Are there materials I can check out for California MCLE credit? What is the cost?
  11. How many items can be checked out?
  12. What is the circulation period for materials? Are there renewals?
  13. What is the fine for an overdue item?
  14. What is the library's policy regarding access to public computers and/or the Internet?
  15. Does the Alameda County Law Library offer free wireless Internet access using my own wireless-enabled laptop computer?
  16. Can I access the Library Catalog and library databases in the library from my Internet-ready laptop?
  17. Can I print from my lap top in the library?
  18. Do I need a username or password to access the Library's wireless network?
  19. Is my information protected while using the Library's wireless network?
  20. Does the library guarantee an Internet connection? Will the library staff provide technical assistance?
  21. Are there any restrictions on wireless access?

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions received by the Alameda County Law Library. If your question is not included, please e-mail us or call the Reference Desk at 510-208-4832. Additional information and policies may be found on the Library's web site at http://www.acgov.org/law/about/circulation.htm.


  1. May I use the Alameda County Law Library?
    All members of the public such as students, paralegals, attorneys, judges, government employees, elected officials, and persons who are preparing their own cases or are interested in the law may use the law library.

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  2. What types of materials does the law library have?
    The law library's focus is on providing current, practice oriented California and some federal legal information such as codes, cases, citators, treatises, law reviews, self- help materials, practice guides, and manuals. These materials may be in print or on the web.

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  3. Can you help me find a form? Can you help me fill out a form?
    The librarians can show you self-help books, practice guides, and form books. We can show you how to use the indexes to locate forms. Judicial Council forms are in print in the library and on the web at http://www.courts.ca.gov/forms.htm . Local forms are in the library and on the web at http://www.alameda.courts.ca.gov/Pages.aspx/Forms-Filing-Overview. We are not authorized to select a form for you or to fill out a form for you. The library staff is prohibited from providing legal advice.

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  4. What web services are available to the public inside the law library?
    The library pays for subscription access inside the library to Westlaw (state and federal codes and cases, and some secondary sources), Shepard's, LEXIS Advance (state and federal codes and cases, and some secondary sources), CEB's OnLAW (the Continuing Education of the Bar's books with forms), and HeinOnline (law reviews).

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  5. How can I find a particular book or loose-leaf?
    You may call the Law Library in Oakland at 510-208-4832 or ask at the reference desk. The Alameda County Law Library's web catalog is available in the Oakland Law Library and at http://acll.bywatersolutions.com/.

    The Library on the drop down menu right hand corner is set as "Alameda County Law Library" but other options are available as the catalog is a joint catalog project between the Alameda County Law Library and the Contra Costa County Law Library.

    Screen shot of the Law Library Catalog website

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  6. How do I get a law library card or computer user card?
    You must fill out a registration card at the Main Library. Photo identification such as a California driver's license or California identification card is required; neither can have a P.O. Box without providing additional identification. Additional identification would include a recent electric, gas, water or garbage bill that shows the street address, city, and state. An attorney must also supply his bar number.

    Persons wishing to register for a library card must present satisfactory proof of being a member of one of the categories listed below in order to register and may be required to present current proof when checking out library materials.
    • Registered Attorneys
      Any member in good standing with the State Bar of California. The charge for the library card is $5.00.
    • Alameda County Residents
      There is a $5.00 fee for the library card. Borrowers must maintain a current registration on file.
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  7. I had a library card many years ago. Is it still valid?
    You can visit the Library at 125 Twelfth Street, Oakland, CA 94607. The circulation assistant or a reference librarian will check the library's records to determine if you are still registered.

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  8. I lost or cannot find my library card. Can I get a replacement?
    A replacement card can be purchased for $5.00 at the Library at 125 Twelfth Street, Oakland, CA 94607. Photo identification such as a California driver's license or a California identification card is required. See the information under "How do I get a law library card?" to find out what forms of identification are accepted.

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  9. What may be borrowed?
    Items may be borrowed only for the personal use of the borrower, or for the use of professional associates or employees. Violation of this rule will constitute grounds for the revocation of borrowing privileges.

    Only those materials which have been bar coded and processed may be checked out. There are no exceptions to this rule. Non-circulating items include but are not limited to loose-leaf sets, reference books, digests, citators and rare books. Books and materials ordinarily subject to borrowing may, at the discretion of a Librarian, be withdrawn from circulation at times and for periods determined by a Librarian.

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  10. Are there materials I can check out for California MCLE credit? What is the cost?
    There are CDs and tapes that provide California MCLE credit. The emphasis is on the required topics of elimination of bias, ethics, and competence issues. The checkout period is one week. The library charges a rental fee of $15.00 per credit hour for MCLE materials checked out from the library, and a fee of $7.50 per credit hour for materials used in the library.

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  11. How many items can be checked out?
    Attorneys may check out a maximum of eight items at a time. Alameda County Resident Borrowers may have a total maximum of two items (including sets of tapes) checked out at any one time. No borrower may have more than two sets of tapes checked out at any one time.

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  12. What is the circulation period for materials? Are there renewals?
    Circulating materials may be borrowed for a period of seven days by attorneys and Alameda County residents. There are no renewals. Once an item has been checked in, two business days must elapse before the last borrower can check it out again.

    However, attorneys and Alameda county residents can receive additional benefits by becoming a library member:
    $75 The ability to renew books twice provided the item doesn't have a hold placed on it.
    $100 The above plus (a) the ability to check out non-circulating books within the last hour the library is open provided they return them within the first hour the library is open (The late penalty is five dollars per hour.) . (b) a 25% discount on copying and printing (the copying requires a Copy Card).
    $125 The above plus a 10% discount on MCLE programs.
    $150 All the above plus a 10% discount on conference room rentals.

    Join or renew your membership online or at the reference desk.

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  13. What is the fine for an overdue item?
    A fine of one dollar per day per overdue item shall be charged (a volume and a supplement are treated as two separate items.) Overdue fines and other charges will not be cumulated and must be paid before additional materials may be checked out. No fine shall exceed the replacement cost of the item plus $50.00. If the overdue period exceeds sixty days, the item shall be deemed lost, and the borrower shall be charged a $50.00 service charge plus the replacement cost or the value of the lost item.

    A substantially damaged or defaced item shall be deemed lost unless it can be suitably repaired. In that event, the repair cost shall be charged to the responsible borrower.

    All fines and replacement charges must be paid as follows: Overdue book fines must be paid within thirty day after being billed for the amount due. Borrowers who lose an item or in whose custody an item is irreparably damaged shall pay the replacement cost plus a $50.00 service charge within fifteen days after being billed for the amount.

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  14. What is the library's policy regarding access to public computers and/or the Internet?
    The Alameda County Law Library provides public computer and Internet access for the purpose of researching the law and preparing legal documents.

    In order to preserve the security and integrity of its computers and to ensure equitable access to computer resources for all patrons, the Library may place limitations on the time and manner in which these resources are used.

    Patrons may be asked to leave a computer:
    • If staff determines that the computer is not being used to conduct legal research or to draft legal documents.
    • In order to ensure equitable access to computer resources for all patrons.

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  15. Does the Alameda County Law Library offer free wireless Internet access using my own wireless-enabled laptop computer?
    Free wireless Internet access using your own laptop is available at the Library at 125 Twelfth Street, Oakland.

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  16. Can I access the Library Catalog and library databases in the library from my Internet-ready laptop?
    You can access the Library Catalog from the Library's main page at http://www.acgov.org/law/ by choosing Catalog from within or outside the library. You can access some of the library's databases within the library by going to http://www.acgov.org/law/services.htm#1 and choosing HeinOnline's, and OnLAW's URLs within the Main Library.

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  17. Can I print from my lap top in the library?
    At this time it is not possible to print from your laptop to the library's printers.

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  18. Do I need a username or password to access the Library's wireless network?
    No, there is no username or password required.

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  19. Is my information protected while using the Library's wireless network?
    No, your information is not protected while using wireless. Keep this in mind if you are accessing sensitive business or personal information.

    Protecting your computer is your responsibility. An up to date personal firewall and up-to-date Antivirus/Antispam software may help protect your computer.

    The Library assumes no responsibility for the safety of equipment or for laptop configurations, security, or data files resulting from connection to the Library's wireless network.

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  20. Does the library guarantee an Internet connection? Will the library staff provide technical assistance?
    Library staff is not able to provide technical assistance and no guarantee can be provided that you will be able to make a wireless connection. The Library assumes no responsibility for the safety of equipment or for laptop configurations, security, or data files resulting from connection to the Library's network.

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  21. Are there any restrictions on wireless access?
    The Alameda County Law Library reserves the right to prohibit an individual from accessing the wireless network if that individual is violating any of the policies or guidelines of the Law Library. A warning will be issued if such a violation occurs. If after a warning, an individual is again found to be violating the Library's policies or guidelines, he or she will be banned from accessing the wireless network at the Alameda County Law Library.

    Use of the wireless network for criminal activity is prohibited. Efforts to damage the network are prohibited.

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Alameda County Law Library
125 Twelfth Street
Oakland, CA 94607-4912


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