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Library Resources for Members of the Public

We welcome legal researchers to use the reference services and collections of the Gallagher Law Library. This guide will help you understand our policies and resources.

Research Services

The Gallagher Law Library physical space is open during limited days and times per week on an appointment-only basis. We invite you to explore the library resources online. Additionally, King County Law Library remains open to in-person visitors at both their Seattle and Kent locations (M-F, 8-4:30). Access to KCLL is free, including the use of Westlaw terminals and the in-person print collection.

Westlaw Campus Research is available to all UW Libraries borrowers from any UW Library. For more information, please see how to obtain a Borrower's Card and hours for UW Libraries locations.

You may reach us by phone at (206) 543-6794, through our Gallagher Chat service, or by email via our Ask Us! service (please allow 1-2 business days for questions asked via Ask Us!)

Library staff provide legal research assistance; that is, we can direct you to resources that you can use to find answers to your legal research questions. We cannot tell you what law applies to your situation or give you legal advice. For similar reasons, it is our policy not to read legal materials over the phone or email the text of legal resources via our Ask Us! service. Many Federal and Washington State laws, cases, and regulations are available for free online, as described in Researching a Legal Issue. Note that the law on many subjects (family law, inheritance and wills, real estate, etc. varies from state to state. We cannot answer questions dealing with states other than Washington or countries other than the United States. Visit for links to free or low-cost providers and information for U.S. states other than Washington. 

Common examples of questions library staff cannot answer:

What does this legal phrase/word mean?
What statute or law applies in my situation?
Could you find and explain this case to me?
Can you help me fill out this form or tell me if I have filled it in correctly?

How a library staff member might help you instead:

Where would I learn what this legal term means?
How do I find which law applies in my situation?
Is there a book or article that talks about this case?
Do you have a sample of this form that I could look at or copy?

Appointments for Public Visitors

Outside users who wish to access the Law Library facility may do so on an appointment basis for the purposes of accessing legal research materials that are unique to our physical collection.

During the academic year, visitor appointment hours are Tuesdays and Wednesdays 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. If you have any questions about these hours, please reach out to us at

Book a visitor appointment here.

Note: the library is closed to appointments during the week preceding exams, the week of exams, and the week between quarters.


  • Outside visitors must register for an in-person visit ahead of time. We are not able to accommodate drop-in visitors and will turn away folks who do not have an appointment. The William H. Gates Hall facility may be closed to outside visitors but library staff will assist you with entering.
  • Registration closes 3 hours before the appointment. Appointments are for one hour. You may reserve multiple hours in one day for up to four hours per day.
  • At the appointed time:
    • Come to the Memorial Way entrance to William H. Gates Hall and call the Information Desk at 206.685.2740
    • Library staff will answer the phone and ask you for your name
    • Once we have confirmed that you have an appointment, a staff person will come up to let you into the building and escort you into the library facility
    • Library staff will help you fill out a visitor form, for which you will need either a UW Libraries Borrower's Card or a piece of current government-issued identification. You will be issued a day pass, which you should wear at all times and return to the Information Desk at the end of your visit.
  • All in-person library visitors must abide by the Law Library Code of Conduct and the relevant provisions of the Washington Administrative Code governing University Libraries and Gallagher Law Library.

UW Faculty Access to Law Library Facility

UW faculty members are entitled to access the Gallagher Law Library facility for their scholarly needs. If you are a current UW faculty member with a limited legal research need, please use the appointments form above. If you have ongoing legal research needs, please contact to request Husky Card access to Gates Hall and the law library be added to your Husky Card.

Undergraduates Taking a Law Course

Undergraduates who take a law course in the UW School of Law building are only permitted Husky Card access to the building so they can enter their classroom. They are not permitted access to the law library. Additionally, they are not permitted to use Law Library Course Reserves. 

Legal Research Guides

We have created legal research guides on a number of common topics, such as researching case law, statutes, and secondary sources. Research guides are lists of librarian-recommended resources on your specific topic, and are an excellent starting point for any legal research project. See our research guides here.

Registering as a Borrower

Anyone can get a UW Libraries Borrower's card! Check out the Library Account Services page for more info. 

Checking out Library Materials

Bring your item to the Info Desk to check it out. 

Loan periods vary depending on the status of the borrower and the type of materials checked out.

Checkout Periods for UW Borrowers
Material from Library Locations Checkout Period (off-campus borrowers)
Classified Stacks 4 weeks
Compact Stacks 4 weeks
L2 Reporters 4 weeks
Good Reads 4 weeks
Briefs 4 weeks
Folio (Located in Special Collections)  4 weeks
Microfiche, Microfilm 4 weeks
Reference Area 2 weeks
Special Collections (ask staff to retrieve) Library Use Only


UW Libraries Borrowers in good standing can check out a laptop and charger from our Laptop Kiosk, located near the Information Desk. 


  • Law Students Only: Laptops are in-building-use-only items and must be returned before you leave the building. 
  • UW Borrowers: Laptops are library-use-only items and must be returned before you leave the library. 
  • Borrowers can only check out one laptop at a time. 
  • When checking out a device, you agree to all our Terms of Service

For more information, read our Frequently Asked Questions about Kiosk Devices

Renewals, Recalls, and Fines

To renew your item, sign into your Library Account. You can also call the Info Desk (206.543.4086) during business hours to renew over the phone. Note: if your item is overdue, you must renew in person.

Your item may be recalled because it is requested by another borrower. You will receive an email notification with a shortened (typically two weeks) loan period.

Fines & fees accrue when items are late, lost, or damaged. The UW Libraries Fines page has a full explanation of how fines are assessed and how to pay them.

Returning Books

Law Library books can be returned to any UW Libraries book returns on any of our three campuses (Seattle, Bothell, Tacoma). Do not return UW Libraries books to any other library (e.g., King County Library System, Seattle Public Library, etc.). Returning a UW Libraries book to a non-UW Library could result in late fines or a bill for replacement.

Scanning Services

The Law Library can scan and email unique Law Library print resources for library users outside of the UW Law community. Consult our Scanning Services guide for information.