Law Library

2008 Law Library Student Survey

During the Spring 2008 semester, the Law Library conducted a survey asking students to comment on various aspects of the library.  740 students responded, providing more than 1,500 separate responses to our narrative questions. This is valuable input, and we want to thank everybody who completed the survey.

Below you can view several charts summarizing quantitative elements of this year's survey followed by a law library response to representative comments.

Quantitative Survey Results

Year and status of students who responded:


Why do you come to the library?


Level of satisfaction with service at the Law Library Circulation Desk (in either location)


Level of satisfaction with obtaining materials from other libraries:


Level of satisfaction with research assistance at the Wolff or Williams Library Reference Desk


Level of satisfaction with the library's collection of print materials


Level of satisfaction with the library's collection of electronic databases


Law Library Response

Narrative Survey Results

Sample Comment

Library Response


More early morning hours.
More hours

This year the Library will extend the hours of the Robert Oakley Reading Room in the Williams Library. The Georgetown Community may now use the Reading Room starting at 7:00 am on each weekday and stay until 2:00 am each night we are open.

During the exam period the Reading Room remains open 24 hours a day.

We'd be happy to stay open longer, but statistics indicate outside of the exam period, the Library would have little or no use between the hours of 2:00 and 7:00 am.

All Library hours are posted online.

Research and Reference

I think the tutorials on the web are really excellent. I reviewed them several times throughout the semester. They are very well put together- concise but full of relevant information.

Thanks! While we think our tutorials are wonderful, it's nice to have our opinion confirmed. Our tutorials also won an American Association of Law Libraries Publication Award in 2008.

I absolutely love LiveHelp. Please continue to offer this service.

LiveHelp has allowed us to help students who aren't here in the Library. We've helped students who are at home, work, or on vacation all around the world. LiveHelp is available whenever the reference desks are open.
Log on to Live Help from our Website and Catalog, anywhere you see our Live Help logo:

The reference desk has left a little something to be desired. This is mainly because I normally do research on my own and only come for help when I can't find it. Then, when I come to the reference desk, they seem not to listen to what I've tried and go through the process again. This wastes time for me.

While we try to answer all of your questions as quickly as possible at the reference desk, we also want to be sure that we're giving you the right answer and showing you how we find it at the same time. That sometimes means that we'll need to retrace your steps or ask you a bunch of questions in order to understand what you need. We also may need to do some work on your question and get back to you.

A little more feedback on inter-library loan (ILL) would be nice. The emails I've received have been a little confusing, and it took me a while to realize that one of my books wasn't found.

We've reviewed all of our automated ILL emails and revised several of them to make it clear when an request has not been filled. Remember that you can always check on the status of your request by logging into our ILL system, ILLiad. (link to

The Wolff Reference Desk librarians are too loud to be in the center of the Wolff Library.

Concerns about noise in the third floor study area are understandable. The configuration of furniture in this relatively new space was planned before actual patterns of use could be observed. We are as of now studying options to relocate the desk or establish a desk closer to the entrance to the Library where transactions and questions already are concentrated. Stay tuned!

Course Materials and Exams

There are at least three separate places students have to get course materials from (Courseware, the course materials distribution site, and the Library). They need to be centralized and online.

The Library has consolidated the links to exams, course reserve, and other course materials. We have posted all of the links on several of the Library's web pages. You can find a listing of all course materials on a Blog Posting from August 26 of this year and on the Library's Student Page.

All the exams are not on the Library's web site.

Access to exams back to 1998 available through GULLiver's electronic course reserves system. To find them and other online course materials look at the course links posted on the Library's Blog at the beginning of the Fall 2008 semester. A similar list is on the Library's Student Page. We have scanned all exams we receive from the registrar's office. If there's an exam not on our system, please let us know.

Exams given before 1998 are available in the Robert Oakley Reading Room in the Williams Library.

I like how accessible previous exams are now!

Thank you! We made some changes to the logging in process that alleviated the need for multiple verifications.

Food and Drinks

It would be great if we could buy soft drinks in the Library, rather than go to McDonough.

I'd like to eat in the Library.

The Williams Library maintains a snack area, called the Canteen. It's on the 1st floor of the building and you can find it by going down the stairs next to the guard's desk. There are snack and soft drink machines in the Canteen. Use your GOCard to enter this safe and comfortable place to eat a snack or buy a soft drink.

In response to your comments, we have added another soft drink machine in the center of the Williams Library. You can now buy drinks in authorized containers from the Third Floor Copy Room on the Atrium of the Williams Building.


I cannot stress enough how much the Library needs at least one scanner.

I wish there were scanners that were as accessible as the printers and photocopiers are (or if one of the
printers was also a scanner).

There are now two scanners in the Library and we hope to purchase more.

The first is at the Technology Reference Desk, on the Third Floor of the WIlliams LIbrary, where IST professionals are available to help you with the scanner.

This summer (2008) we purchased and installed in the Williams 3rd floor Computer Lab a second scanner specifically designed and configured to be as easy to use as a photocopier. The new scanner will allow you to scan from books or individual sheets of paper and send the file as a pdf to any email address.


The Photocopiers seem to be jammed half the time I want to make a copy.

As with any machines that have as many moving parts, there will be times when the machines need service. We have recently changed our paper supply company in hopes that we can reduce paper jams while at the same time continue to use recycled paper.

We have also posted logs by each machine so that patrons can leave a note about a problem. We check each machine several times each day, and your notes will help us quickly identify machines that need service.


Sample Comment A: The Library's catalog, GULLiver, is "not very user friendly" "The Catalog is confusing to navigate."

Sample Comment B: GULLiver is "quite user friendly" "It is relatively easy to use."

To help everyone best use the Catalog, the Library has created short tutorials about how to best search the catalog.

Whether you find our "classic GULLiver" catalog easy or hard to use, we are hoping that you will like the new "GULLiver Encore." Encore is a new interface for searching the Library's catalog that has a Google-like search box and uses Web 2.0 technology to present your search results in a new display, with features to quickly refine your results. We hope you will give it a try.

Some of the articles that I needed for a paper were not accessible in full-text electronic databases.

Over the summer we added to the Library's catalog (GULLiver) titles from about 50 databases that contain tens of thousands of full-text journals. We will soon add many more titles from disciplines that have little direct connection to the law. To check if you have electronic access to a journal simply search for the name of the journal on GULLIVER.


The blog is helpful.

You have a blog?

I don't like the blog

Several librarians contribute to our blog called Due Process. We focus on library resources, news about related legal developments, and research tips. Recent posts appear on our homepage, and you can subscribe to the RSS feed or get updates via email. Also, there's a separate feed for every topic, so you can choose to get updates on only selected topics (e.g. News for Students).

We try not to overpromote the blog, as some people may use our site only to access known resources like our databases.

I am very grateful that you overhauled your website. ... I've never had any trouble finding what I'm looking for on the Library website

After the website was reformatted, it has been a little harder to find Hein Online and some of the other tools that used to appear prominently in "popular links."

We're glad that most people like the design of the site, and we are always open to improvement suggestions.

When we redesigned the site at the beginning of 2008, one main focus was to provide better nagivation. The sitewide navigation bar at the top of every page provides direct links to dozens of locations in five major categories, including direct links to several popular databases such as HeinOnline, Lexis and Westlaw.

I would really love a page that categorizes the online databases you can access through Georgetown.

You asked for it, you've got it.

This summer (2008), we created a new system to display databases by subject. It also integrates our guides, tutorials and related resources. For people who prefer a different arrangement, you can also browse all of our materials alphabetically. Both of these pages have a form labeled "search for resources" which let you search all of our materials by keyword, grouping results by type (e.g. databases or research guides).


Get more comfortable chairs in the Reading Room at Williams. The current ones are uncomfortable, and give me back pain after extended use, while other chairs do not.

The Library will change the chairs this year. We are interested in hearing about your chair preferences. Look for sample chairs coming soon and then tell us what you think!

The new chairs on the 5th floor of EB Williams with the swivel desks on the arms are great.
The more of those in more places the better.

Thanks! We continue to add more tablet-arm lounge chairs and ottomans in Williams. Ten more arrived this summer (2008) and have been placed in Lounge 320 and in the Fifth Floor Atrium.

The best part of the Library is the comfortable sitting/study area on the 5th floor of the Williams Library and in Wolff Library. It works for people like me who study better in a casual but quiet environment.

We heard from you that you would like more casual study spaces, and so this summer distributed lounge chairs in more areas throughout the Library (e.g., near 520, in 320). We have also made some suggestions for improving amenities in the first floor canteen. As opportunities arise, we will update Williams Library furnishings; the pending Reading Room chair replacement project is one example.


Some days the Library is very hot, and other days it's freezing. Can't we come to some compromise about temperature?

As to the building temperature, survey responses varied widely between "too hot" and "too cold", and we who work here know that both can be true. When you find that the temperature is uncomfortable, if you can report the location on the same day to a Library service desk or to, then the engineers can make adjustments based on system readings at the time.


I'm often reluctant to disturb the staff at the Circulation staff. They seem busy.

The Circulation staff is here to assist you in your library research. While the staff perform several tasks, both at the desk and away from the desk, please feel free to interrupt them even if they look busy.

In response to your feedback, beginning this semester the Library will establish a circulation desk schedule so a library staff member can work side by side with our student assistants to be able to provide better service to our clients.


It'd be great if you had a bigger selection of fiction and popular reading. It would be great if the Library actually had more books I like to read.

We have been buying more popular titles this year than we have in the recent past. Our collection is in the Loewinger Lounge off the Williams Library Reading Room. We know that casual reading is a good way for law students to relax, and we have purchased popular novels, novels with legal themes, biographies, and best sellers. Added bonuses are our collection of classic literature and literary works (fiction, literature, performing arts, poetry and drama) which is available on the 4th floor at call numbers PN 41 to PZ 8, and our growing popular DVD collection in the Williams Media Room.

One thing that may be nice, but expensive, would be to have copies of all textbooks being used by current courses for that semester so that if a student forgets one, they can photocopy from the book in the reserve room.

Our policy is to have on hand all of the casebooks and textbooks that are being used by our faculty for classes. Each semester we work with the bookstore to keep our collection updated with these materials, and house them in the Williams Library Reading Room Reserve where they may be used on-site or photocopied. We strongly encourage students to report to us when such a book is not in our collection. We will immediately purchase a copy for the Library. In cases where a book needed for a class is checked out to a faculty member, we will consider the purchase of a second copy.

Books in Reading Room Reserve are intended to provide all students with their equal access. Older editions of the books in Reading Room Reserve are often housed in the stacks where they are available to be checked out.

Worst of the Library – Oh, and books. Seriously, get rid of them.

The Library's collection is a mixture of electronic, print, and microform. We too are excited about new databases, but no more so than about new print resources. Because we serve the entire law center community, we must be mindful of different preferences and research styles. There are many sources that are not available in permanent electronic format, and many users who still prefer to have a book in hand. New sources in all formats are constantly sought, reviewed and purchased to make sure Georgetown's Library collection remains among the best in the country.

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