Circulation Services

The Law Library's Collection Services Department maintains the Circulation Desk, which handles the borrowing, return, and renewal of Law Library materials, as well as the processing of payment for lost library materials. The Circulation Desk can be reached at (919) 613-7128 or

Borrowing Law Library Materials

How can you determine whether an item may be borrowed from the Law Library? In the online catalog, consult the Item Status section of the title’s record.

  • Available materials in circulating collections (Alumni Authors; Christie; Cox Legal Fiction; Empirical Research; selected items in the North Carolina Alcove; and classified items in the Stacks/General Collection) may be borrowed for the loan periods listed below.
  • Available materials from the Reserve collection may be checked out for a limited time, but can be removed from the Library building when borrowed. Certain Reserve materials are only available to Duke Law students, faculty, and staff.
  • Available - Library Use Only materials must remain inside the Library building at all times. Three scanners and a photocopier are available on-site to assist users of these materials.

In general, most classified materials (bearing a call number, such as KF240 .P65 2002) may be checked out, unless they are designated for “Library Use Only” in the catalog record and/or the individual volume. Classified materials which are typically intended for "Library Use Only" include the Reference Collection, subject-based digests and reporters, rare books, and archival collections.

Most unclassified materials are designated for "Library Use Only" and must be used on-site. These materials include primary sources of law (such as case reporters, codes, session laws, and regulations) and periodicals (law reviews and journals).

Students enrolled in the international LLM program may borrow Goodson Law Library dictionaries in the Reference Collection (appearing in the catalog as "Available – Library Use Only") for a 24-hour loan period, on the day before or the day of a final examination for which translating dictionaries have been approved for international LLM use. (Consult with the Office of International Studies and/or the Registrar in order to determine if dictionaries are allowed in a particular exam.) The Law Library staff strongly recommends securing an "Available" dictionary in advance from another campus library or the Superseded Reference collection, which provides a longer loan period.

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Eligible Borrowers

Duke Students, Faculty and Staff

Current students, faculty and staff at Duke University may borrow circulating Law Library materials with a valid DukeCard. The DukeCard also provides extended hours of building access for Law students, faculty, and staff.

Effective November 2017, Duke University students, faculty, and staff with a valid NetID can use the Duke Self-Checkout app on an Android or Apple smartphone, or the self-checkout iPad at the Circulation Desk to check out circulating, non-Reserve Law Library materials.

Law Faculty Research Assistants

Student research assistants in the Duke Law School may borrow Law Library materials on the faculty member’s account. The faculty member must notify the Circulation Desk in writing in order to establish a proxy account for a student research assistant.

TRLN Members

Faculty, staff, and currently-enrolled students at a Triangle Research Libraries Network member institution (NCCU, UNC-CH, or NCSU) may borrow circulating Law Library materials upon the presentation of a valid campus ID. Note that TRLN members are unable to request Law Library items which are currently checked out to another borrower. Please request those items through the interlibrary loan service of your home institution.

Friends of the Duke University Libraries

The Law Library is open to the public from 8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday. Members of the public who are not otherwise eligible for borrowing privileges through Duke or TRLN libraries may check out Law Library materials by joining the Friends of the Duke University Libraries (application may be submitted online or through a form at the Law Library Circulation/Reserve desk). Making a gift of $100 entitles "Friends" to obtain a borrowing card and have borrowing privileges at most Duke University libraries, including the Goodson Law library. Up to 10 books total at a time may be checked out from all libraries. Note that we are unable to offer interlibrary loan services to Friends of the Duke University Libraries.

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Standard Loan Periods

Standard Loan materials may be borrowed for use outside the Library upon presentation of a current DukeCard, campus borrower card, or valid ID from a TRLN member institution. Loan periods vary by patron type:

Patron Loan Period
Duke Law Faculty 1 year
Other Duke Faculty/Staff 90 days
Duke Law Student 90 days
Duke Graduate Student 90 days
Duke Undergraduate Student 4 weeks
Friends of the Duke University Libraries 4 weeks
TRLN Member 90 days

All loans are subject to recall after two weeks if there is a request for the item, or immediately if the item is to be placed on Reserve.

All loans for non-Reserve items may be renewed online (Library Account Loginunless there has been a recall or hold request for the item. 

Please return Law Library materials on time in order to avoid fines and charges.

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Reserve Material Loan Policy

Reserve materials may be checked out from the Circulation Desk for four hours at a time during the day by any Library user.

In addition, current Duke Law students may borrow Reserve materials for overnight use, less than four hours before the Circulation Desk closes. Overnight loans are due by the opening hour on the next business day. Audiovisual materials may be borrowed for a 7-day period.

Reserve items must be returned for one full hour before they can be re-checked out to the same patron.

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Fines & Charges

A fine of $1.00 per hour will be charged for all late returns of Reserve materials. For other unreturned Library items, two overdue notices will be sent before the borrower is charged $100 for the replacement and processing costs for each item.

All fines and charges for lost Law Library materials are payable at the Circulation Desk by cash or check. Unpaid student accounts will be turned over to the Bursar's office on a monthly basis. 

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Lee scanning barcodes

Circulation Service Hours

During academic semesters, Circulation/Reserve desk hours are:

Mon.-Thu. 7:30 am - 8:00 pm
Fri. 7:30 am - 5:00 pm
Sat. 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Sun. 12:00 pm - 8:00 pm

During academic breaks and over the summer, service desk hours are:

Mon.- Fri. 8 am - 5 pm