Reference Law Librarians can assist patrons with research strategies and explain how to use our many resources including print materials and the electronic legal databases available in the Library.

Our online catalog is available for searching the Library’s collection.

Reference librarians assist you in locating materials to help you with your legal problem or issue. However, librarians cannot give legal advice or a legal opinion of any type, including opinions as to the applicability of a particular case or law to a particular problem or advice regarding the drafting of legal documents.

Library staff can:

  • Explain how to use legal research tools.
  • Explain how to update cases, laws, and regulations.
  • Assist you in using the collection including how to find materials in the Library.
  • Explain how to use the electronic resources available in the Library.
  • Help you locate a particular statute or case with a specific reference or citation.
  • Direct you to sources of law, including statutes and cases.
  • Direct you to books containing forms and court rules.
  • Recommend sources to begin your research.

Library staff cannot:

  • Give legal advice or do legal research for you.
  • Select or interpret statutes, court rules, cases or regulations for your situation.
  • Choose specific forms or language to use in forms or explain how to proceed with your court actions.

Reference Division telephone: 312-603-2418, 312-603-2419, 312-603-2420.

What Do You Need To Find? Self-Help Resources

WebWatch: Internet Research Guides
Individual guides cover a variety of topics with links to hundreds of free legal resources. (Cook County Law Library)

EBSCO Legal Information Reference Center
The Reference Center contains more than 320 full-text publications (including NOLO Press titles) and thousands of legal forms. Topics covered include Business & Corporations, Family Affairs & Divorce, Immigration & Travel, Money & Financial Planning, Patents, Copyright & Trademarks, Property & Real Estate, Rights & Disputes, Wills & Estate Planning.

Illinois Legal Aid
A web-based resource for information about your legal rights and responsibilities. Search for articles and forms for all types of frequently encountered legal issues in over 25 areas of law. Includes informative articles, legal forms, and videos on legal topics. Online assistance is available.
Links to legal information websites in other states provided by nonprofit legal aid providers. Find information related to housing, work, family, bankruptcy, disability, immigration and other topics.

Legal Topics A-Z
Provides collections of electronic resources arranged by topic. (National Center for State Courts)

How To Research a Legal Problem: A Guide for Non-Lawyers

Resources for Self-Represented Litigants in Federal Court
Includes forms, guides, and instructions for filing a case in federal court. (N.D. Illinois, U.S. Courts)

Finding Illinois Law: A Librarian’s Guide for Non-Lawyers
(Chicago Association of Law Libraries, CALL)

Access Services

Use of materials in the Law Library is free to all patrons. Many of the Library’s resources are available for check-out by registered borrowers. See the Borrowing Rules of the Library for details on the circulation policy and qualifications for borrowers.

Library card applications are available for:
Lawyer’s Library Card
Employee’s Library Card
Law Librarian’s Library Card

The cardholder or authorized messenger can check out materials from the Library with the borrower’s valid law library card.

Self-service, B&W copiers/scanners are available. Copies cost 15¢ per page. Print-outs from electronic resources cost 15¢ per page. Wireless printing from personal devices is 15¢ per page. Copies from digital microform readers are 20¢ per page. Coin changing machines are available and bills ($20.00 or less) can be broken down at the Access Services desk. The Law Library also offers self-service scanning to email for 15¢ per page.
Access Services telephone: 312-603-2425.