Frequently Asked Questions

Question Types

Who May Use the Library?

Pence Law Library access is limited to WCL faculty, staff, and students, and WCL alumni. The Library entrance is located on the first floor of the Warren Building.

Parking is available in the garage at 4300 Nebraska Ave., NW for a charge of $2.00 per hour. Please note that the District of Columbia requires that the Washington College of Law inform all of our visitors that they cannot park on nearby public streets. Those who do so may be subject to a substantial fine.

Please check the Library's Access & Hours for the most current information about hours and access. You may also call the Circulation Desk at 202-274-4300 or email with inquiries regarding hours and access.

How do I make a copy of something in the Library's collection?

Self-service photocopiers are located on all floors of the Library, and photocopy machines for microform are located near the microform collections on the second floor. Library photocopiers do not accept coins; you must use your AU ID or a copy card.

How do I get a copy card?

Photocopying requires an AU ID loaded with EagleBuck$ funds or the purchase of a copy card. To activate your Eagle Buck$ card, deposit cash in $1, $5, $10 or $20 bills on the card at one of the "Card Value Centers" located in all Library copy rooms. You may also add money to your card using Manage my Eaglebucks.

If you are not a currently enrolled at WCL or AU and are not a faculty or staff member, you may purchase a copy card from the "Card Value Centers" in Library's convenience centers. The initial cost of a copy card is $1.50. To use your card effectively, you should place additional value on it with $1, $5, $10 or $20 bills.

Remote Access to Electronic Databases

WCL faculty, staff, and students may access electronic databases remotely. Please select the database you wish to access from the Library's website and then enter your law school user name and password prompted. Contact the Reference Desk at 202-274-4352 or at if you have any questions or require assistance with our databases.

Group Study Rooms

These rooms are reserved for groups of currently enrolled WCL students who may reserve the rooms up to one week in advance through MyWCL. Further details on the use of group study rooms is posted at Circulation Services.

Where can I obtain reference and research assistance?

Professional reference assistance is available in the main reading room on the first floor of the Library. Reference desk service during the academic year is available:

Reference Hours
Monday - Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Friday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Saturday Noon to 6:00 p.m.
Sunday Noon to 6:00 p.m.

Reference librarians are also available to students and faculty for research consultations by appointment.

You may contact a reference librarian at; or by telephone at 202-274-4352.

In addition, you may send an instant message to a reference librarian at during the following hours:

Online Hours
Monday - Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Friday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday Noon - 6:00 p.m.

For more information about the Pence Law Library's reference services and reference librarians, see Reference Services.

What is Interlibrary Loan and how can I take advantage of it?

WCL students, faculty, and staff may borrow books and materials that are not in our collection from other institutions and organizations. Please allow at least two weeks for processing. A detailed explanation of Interlibrary Loan services, policies and procedures is at Interlibrary Loan. You may contact Interlibrary Loan at

What are my Circulation and Borrowing Privileges?

WCL students may borrow circulating materials from the general collection for a period of six weeks. Other materials, including items from the Reserve Collection, materials that are updated on a regular basis and some international materials have 3 hour check-out periods. A detailed explanation of Circulation services, policies and procedures is at Circulation Services.

Questions about borrowing materials from the Pence Law Library should be directed to Circulation at or by telephone at 202-274-4300.

Patron Records and Renewals

Users can view their patron records and renew items online. For renewal to take effect, be sure to logout of the system using the logout button. Please contact the Circulation desk at 202-274-4300 or for assistance.

The Library is located on the first through third floors of the Warren building.

Library Locations
First Floor: Reserve Collections
Second Floor: General Collection (Library of Congress call number order)
Third Floor: General Collection (Library of Congress call number order); periodicals; state materials (including local jurisdictions); federal materials (including US Codes and C.F.R.); Restatements; media collections; government documents

What do the locations mentioned in the catalog mean?

The Library uses the Library of Congress classification system to arrange its monograph collection and this system governs the location of material in the Library. It is an alphanumeric system that is used to arrange books in subject order. Most classification numbers consist of three parts:

KF alphanumeric - indicates the general subject area
1500 whole number - indicates the specific subject area
.W53 decimal - identifies the specific book

The general collections are housed on the second and third floors of the Library.

Where can I locate periodicals?

Periodicals, including law reviews, bar journals, newsletters, etc. are located on the third floor of the Library. They are organized in alphabetical order by title. Older periodicals are bound. Periodical indexes, including the Index to Legal Periodicals and Books, LegalTrac, the Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals and others are accessible online from the Library's Research Tools page.

How can I obtain electronic access to periodicals?

Many full text periodicals are available electronically through the Library's databases, including Hein Online, available from the Articles & Indexes page. Members of the WCL community may access these resources remotely. See Remote Access to Electronic Databases above.

Where are government documents?

The Library is a partial depository for U.S. government publications. Our selective collection includes Executive Agency, Congressional and Presidential materials and other legal and law-related materials. The print government documents collection is located on the third floor of the Library. Government documents are also shelved with the General Collection on the second and third floors or are available in microform or electronically. Use LEAGLE, the Library's catalog, to locate all government documents by keyword, author, title, or subject or SuDoc number.

Where is the Reserve Collection and what does it include?

Heavily used materials, such as hornbooks and nutshells, as well as 1L class textbooks and other items placed on class reserve are kept in the Reserve Collection on the first floor of the Library. The Reserve Collection is open and materials may be used there without checking them out. If you wish to take items out of the Library, you may do so by checking them out at the Circulation Desk for a renewable period of 3 hours. Reserve materials returned late are subject to fines of $1 per hour.

Where can I find case reporters?

Supreme Court cases can be found in U.S. Reports in the Federal Materials collection on the third floor. Other federal and all state cases are available electronically. WCL faculty and students may access cases using Lexis, Westlaw, and Bloomberg Law. Cases are also available through federal and state court websites, and many can be located using a search engine such as Google.

Where are state materials?

State materials are located on the first floor of the Library. In addition to materials from the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia, WCL has entered into a cooperative agreement with George Washington and Georgetown University Law Schools to ensure print access to state codes. WCL maintains materials for AL; AK; AZ; AR; CA; CO; CT; DC; FL; GA; HI; ID; IN; IA; KS; KY; ME; MN; MO; MT; NE; NY; and PR. The collection includes each individual State Code, some digests, and other materials, which vary by state.

Where are legal encyclopedias?

American Jurisprudence and Corpus Juris Secundum are located in the Legal Encyclopedias Collection the third floor.

Where are the United States Code and the Statutes at Large?

The United States Code, the United States Code Annotated, the United States Code Service, and Statutes at Large are in the Federal Materials Collection on the third floor.

Where can I find hornbooks and nutshells?

These study aids are located in the Reserve Room on the first floor. They may circulate for three hours.

Where are old exams?

Old exams are available online in the WCL Exams Database. Only exams submitted by professors are available, and paper copies are not maintained. Some exams will require you to obtain a password from your professor.