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Circulation & Borrowers

Circulation Policy

Approved June 18, 2013
Alameda County Law Library circulation policy furthers the mission and vision of the law library by permitting qualified individuals to become registered borrowers and to borrow materials from the law library pursuant to the book borrower rules set forth below.

Qualified individuals include:

  • An attorney licensed to practice law and in good standing;
  • A resident of Alameda County aged 14 or older;
  • A judge with chambers or an office in Alameda County or a retired judge residing in Alameda County;
  • An elected or appointed federal, state, county or city public official with an office in Alameda County.

Book borrower rules

I - Registration Requirements

Everyone must:

  • Complete the registration form (name, address, phone #, email address to send overdue reminders).
  • Present a photo ID
  • Purchase a library card.

Attorneys must have a valid bar membership.

Adult residents must provide proof of Alameda County residency.

Judges and public/elected officials must present proof of their position.

II - What can be borrowed

Only those materials designated as circulating may be checked out. Non-circulating items include but are not limited to looseleaf 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 Books and materials ordinarily subject to borrowing may, at the discretion of a Librarian, be withdrawn from circulation at times and for periods determined by a Librarian.

III - How many items can be borrowed

Judicial borrowers, Public Officials, and Attorneys may have a maximum of eight items (including up to two sets of audio-visual materials) at a time. Alameda County Resident borrowers may have a maximum of two items (including sets of audio-visual materials) checked out at any one time.

IV - How long may items be borrowed

Circulating materials may be borrowed for a period of seven days. 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.

V - Reserves/Holds

Borrowers may place a reserve on circulating materials that have been checked out by another patron. This may be done over the phone or in person. Reserved materials will be held for a maximum of forty-eight hours after the person who placed the reserve has been notified before the materials will be available for the next reserve or general circulation.

VI - Charges and Fines

  • $5 for the first library card, $3 for replacement cards.
  • $5 for no email address for additional costs of sending overdue notices.
  • $1 per day fine for each overdue item and must be paid before checking out additional items.
  • There is a charge of $15 for each credit of an MCLE home study program checked out from the library.
  • Maximum fine is the item's replacement cost plus a $50 service charge.
  • Lost or damaged item is the replacement cost plus a $50 service charge.

VII - Payment of Fines and Charges

All fines and replacement charges not paid within 30 days may be submitted for collection or other legal proceedings.


  • Borrowing privileges cease when a borrower is no longer a qualified individual.
  • A borrower shall be suspended for failing to pay fines or other charges.
  • A borrower who flagrantly or persistently violates the borrowing rules shall have his/her borrowing privileges terminated. Such an individual may, at the discretion of the Director have privileges reinstated.

IX - Additional benefits for larger membership fees

Attorneys and Alameda county residents 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.

X - Changes to the book borrower rules

The director may amend the book borrower rules consistent with the circulation policy.

Alameda County Law Library Rules of Conduct

Revised January 31, 2018

  1. Use of the Alameda County Law Library's facilities and services is limited to persons, preparing a legal matter or otherwise using the library's legal information resources including state and federal depository materials. Persons not engaged in these activities may be asked to leave.
  2. Library patrons should conduct themselves at all times in a manner which does not hinder other patrons or staff members from being able to carry on their work.
  3. The Library shall not be used in lieu of an office for the practice of law or any other professional or business activity.
  4. Keep conversations to a minimum and in low tones.
  5. Food and beverages in open containers are not allowed except:
    1. closed or covered beverage containers provided they are kept off the tables/carrels; or
    2. in conference rooms.
  6. Cellular phones, pagers and similar electronic devices should be turned to silent or vibrate inside the library. Conduct lengthy phone conversations in a phone booth or outside.
  7. Walkways and aisles must be kept clear. They cannot be obstructed by electrical cords, books, large packages, or personal effects.
  8. All personal items must fit within a space 12" x 19" x 34".
  9. Do not leave personal items unattended. Unattended items may be confiscated and destroyed.
  10. Bicycles, scooters and skateboards are not permitted in the library.
  11. Animals are not allowed in the library with the exception of properly identified service animals.
  12. Library patrons should conduct all reading, study and research at the tables and carrels provided, not at the reference desk, circulation desk, or on the floor.
  13. Library patrons must allow Library staff or other patrons to access Library materials and equipment.
  14. Library Patrons who damage Library property or whose belongings damage library property including furnishings may be asked to leave the Library.
  15. Sleeping is prohibited in the Library.
  16. Bare feet are prohibited in the Library.
  17. Posting or distributing of any printed materials is prohibited.
  18. Soliciting, begging for money or attempting to sell any item within the Library is prohibited.
  19. Time limits for use of electronic and online services will be enforced.
  20. Classes and group tours may not be conducted in the library without prior arrangements.
  21. Failure to comply with federal, state or local laws or library rules may result in the loss or suspension of library privileges.

Media Center Guidelines

  1. All CD-ROMs and DVDs are cataloged with the books they accompany.
  2. Microfiche materials are listed in the library's online catalog.
  3. "Tickets" with passwords are available at the Reference Desk for logging into the library's public research computers.
  4. Downloading is free for most products, but you must use a USB drive. The library sells USB drives at the Reference Desk at a reasonable price. Our Westlaw contract does not allow downloading or e-mailing, but our WestlawNext contract does allow emailing.
  5. MCLE DVDs and CDs are checked out at the Reference Desk. A list of the MCLE materials and fees is available on the web and in print at the Reference Desk. These materials may be checked out by registered borrowers for 7 days. Headphones must be used if audio materials are played within the public areas of the library.
  6. Ask at the Reference Desk for access to the microfiche cabinets.
  7. Microfiche materials do not circulate and may be viewed on machines near the microfiche cabinets in the Main Library in Oakland. Make arrangements for printing microfiche materials with one of the librarians. Permission to use law library equipment may be denied to any patron who does not observe these guidelines.

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

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