The Law Library offers assigned carrels and research shelves by semester to upper class or graduate students (and others at the discretion of the Head of Access Services) with special research and writing needs. In addition, the library offers research shelves that are available to all law students. S.J.D. candidates are eligible, as space permits, for research carrels on the 3rd floor East with locking file cabinets.

Eligible patrons with carrels and shelves can check out Law Library books to the carrel or shelf for the entire semester. All Law Library materials left in the carrel and shelf must be checked out to them. These books may be used by other patrons, but should be returned to the carrel. Please note that assigned carrels can be used by other library patrons whenever the assigned student is not there.

Visit the Circulation Desk if you would like more information about possible carrel and shelf assignments. S.J.D. students should also apply at the Circulation Desk where details of the available carrels and placement on waiting lists, if necessary, will be provided.



  • 4th Floor East
  • 5th Floor East
  • S.J.D. carrels: 3rd Floor East

Research Shelves

  • 4th Floor West


Carrels are available to 2Ls, 3Ls, and LLMs, as well as to 1Ls that are authorized faculty research assistants, as space permits. Eligible students may apply for a research carrel during the Fall semester by going to the Circulation Desk starting on Monday, September 11th. S.J.D. carrels are assigned by the Head of Access Services in consultation with the S.J.D. program office. Research shelves are available to all journal staff members and all law students, as space permits. There is no eligibility requirement to be assigned a research shelf. Eligible students may apply for a research shelf during the Fall semester by going to the Circulation Desk starting on Monday, September 11th.

Carrels and shelves are assigned for an entire semester, and the assignment may be extended.  Any student who already has a carrel or research shelf will be eligible for an extended carrel assignment only if space is available. The library reserves the right to end these additional assignments with a 5 day notice if other patrons need carrels or research shelves.

Space may be in high demand, so we ask that students end their reservation as soon as they no longer have a need. Please ensure that your email address is correct, as almost all communication regarding carrels or research shelves is via email.

Loan Period & Recalls

Books checked out to a carrel or research shelf have an extended loan period and are not due until the end of the semester. Other patrons may consult these books if needed, but they will be instructed to return books to the assigned carrel or research shelf. Please notify circulation staff if Law Library materials are removed from your carrel without authorization. Books may also be recalled for use by another patron. Recalled items not returned by the carrel holder will be removed by the library staff to fill the recall.  Recall notices will be placed in the carrel when material has been removed by staff.

Eligible Materials

Treatises and bound journals may be checked out to carrels or research shelves. The following may not be checked out:

  • Primary materials (codes, statutes, reporters, treaties, etc.)
  • Reading Room materials
  • Reserve materials
  • Materials labeled “Library Use Only” (with the exception of bound journals)
  • Audio and video materials
  • Microform

Books checked out to individuals may not be kept in carrels or simultaneously checked out to a carrel. Faculty research assistants may not store books checked out to a professor in an assigned carrel. Materials from other libraries, including main campus libraries and local academic libraries that are part of the Washington Research Library Consortium (WRLC), may not be checked out to the carrel.


  1. Bring eligible materials to the Circulation Desk during operating hours (desk hours are posted on the Library’s homepage). Note that the self-checkout kiosk in the atrium cannot be used for carrel checkouts.
  2. The books will be charged to the Carrel, not to the person. These books are not to leave the library and will trigger the security alarm at the library exit. If the item needs to leave the library, it must be checked out to the individual’s own account and will be responsible for any fines or lost book fees. Conversely, materials a patron wants to leave at their assigned carrel which are currently checked out to the patron’s personal account may be brought to the Circulation Desk to be removed from the personal account and checked out to a carrel.
  3. At the Circulation Desk, staff will create a blue flag for each book, and this flag must be kept in each book while it is stored in the carrel or research shelf. If Law Library material is found in a carrel or on a research shelf without this blue flag, the material will be removed by library staff.
  4. Carrel and research shelf holders are responsible for transporting all books to their respective carrel or shelf and returning all books to the Circulation Desk by the due date or when finished with materials.


  • Students may store Georgetown Law Library materials, papers, printouts, and other research materials on the top shelf of the assigned carrel. These areas are not for personal items such as cups, jackets, hats, pens, etc.
  • Please do not store food or beverages in a carrel, cabinet or shelf; doing so attracts pests and may result in a revocation of carrel privileges.
  • We strongly discourage leaving interlibrary loan items, materials from other libraries such as Lauinger Library (Georgetown main campus), or any personal books on the shelf since the library is not responsible if anything is stolen.
  • We are only responsible for Georgetown Law Library materials checked out to carrels and research shelves. Patrons are responsible for everything else, including law library books checked out to personal accounts.
  • Georgetown Law Library books that are not checked out will be removed, and any personal items will be turned over to the Department of Public Safety in McDonough Hall.
  • The library is not responsible for non-library items that may be lost or stolen.
  • Carrels should be kept in a condition that allows other patrons to use the space for study when the assigned student is not present.

Remember: failure to observe these policies and procedures may result in the revocation of carrel or research shelf privileges.