The Library offers assigned carrels and research shelves by semester to upper class or graduate students (and others at the discretion of the Access Services Librarian) with special research and writing needs. In addition the library offers Research shelves that are available to all laws students.  S.J.D. candidates are eligible, as space permits, for one of two types of research carrels: an Executive Carrel with a locked bookcase and a standard assigned carrel with a smaller file cabinet.

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.

Carrel Locations

  • 4th Floor East
  • 5th Floor East
  • SJD 4th Floor Central

Research shelves
4th floor West


Carrels are available to student’s writing papers for upper-level writing seminars, graduate papers, and journal notes, and to authorized faculty research assistants. Classes that are eligible for carrel assignments hare identified by “WR” in the class syllabus. SJD carrels are assigned by the Access Services Librarian in consultation with the SJD program office. Research shelves are available to all journal staff members and starting in the Fall of 2017 to all law students, as space permits.  There is not eligibility requirement to be assigned these shelves.

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 carrels or research shelves. The following may not be charged 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 charged to individuals may not be kept in carrels or simultaneously charged to a carrel. Faculty research assistants may not store books charged to a professor in an assigned carrel.


  1. Bring eligible materials to the Circulation Desk (note some materials are not eligible – see list above).
  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 leaves the library, it must be checked out to an individual responsible for any fines or lost book fees. If you would like to keep books on your carrel, and are eligible to borrow from the Law Library, bring them to the library’s Circulation Desk to be checked out to your carrel. If you are not eligible to borrow directly, please go to the Circulation Desk for further assistance.
  3. Complete a color flag for each book, and keep the flag in each book while it is stored in the carrel or research shelf.
  4. You are responsible for transporting all books to the shelf and returning all books with color flags to the Circulation Desk by the due date or when finished with materials.
  5. Students who wish to remain in their assigned carrels please renew according to the semester breakdown. Fall renewals; one week prior to winter break and Spring renewals one week prior to your carrel expiration date. Summer renewals should be done one week prior to the start of the new Fall semester.


  • 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, 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 your study carrel. You are responsible for everything else, including law library books checked out to you personally.
  • Georgetown Law Library books that are not checked out will be removed, and any personal items will be turned over to 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 privileges.