Library Use Policy
To borrow print materials or access e-books and databases from the State Law Library, you must become a registered patron. Texas residents may create a library account online, but only those who also register in person may borrow print materials from the library.
To access the databases and borrow e-books from our Digital Collection, the applicant must:
- Be a resident of Texas or employed by a Texas state agency
- Be physically present in Texas at the time of registration
- Use a web browser capable of geolocation and agree to submit geolocation data to confirm Texas residency
- Provide a valid e-mail address and contact information
To borrow print materials, the applicant must:
- Be physically present in the library to complete the application
- Be a resident of Texas or employed by a Texas state agency
- Present a government-issued photo ID displaying the patron's current address or a photo ID and (1) a current utility bill or (2) a voter's registration card displaying the patron's current address
Upon completion of an online application, the applicant will receive a library account that expires 6 months after the date of registration. Upon completion of a printed application made in person, the applicant will receive a library account that expires 1 year after the date of registration. Library cards remain property of the State Law Library and must be surrendered upon request.
Library accounts may be renewed after they have expired, or to prevent a lapse in access, they may be renewed up to 30 days before the account expiration date. Any outstanding fees (e.g., overdue charges, book replacement costs) must be paid prior to renewal. Patrons can request to renew a library account online, but please note that account renewals must be processed manually by library staff during business hours.
Patrons must have their library card or a form of valid photo ID to check out items or to use the library's computers.
Most print library materials have a circulation period of 3 weeks. The remaining print materials either circulate overnight or are part of our reference collection that does not circulate. Items in our reference collection are only available for use in the library. Items that circulate overnight are due before closing the following business day.
Library e-books offered through OverDrive have a circulation period of up to 3 days. Any borrowed e-book will be automatically returned to the library upon expiration of the circulation period.
The State Law Library charges circulation fees to borrow print materials. The circulation fees are:
- $1 per item borrowed; or
- $60 per person per year for unlimited circulation
Government employees are exempt from circulation fees.
All patrons, including government employees, are responsible for administrative fees and replacement costs for lost materials.
Holds may be placed on circulating materials, including e-books. Any material in circulation is subject to recall after the initial check-out period. A print item that has a hold on it may not be renewed.
One renewal is permitted for print items that circulate for 3 weeks unless another patron has placed a hold on the borrowed material.
Renewals for print items may be done in person, online, or over the phone (from 8:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.). Renewals on overdue print items will result in late fees.
There are no renewals for overnight items.
There are no renewals for e-books, but you can borrow an e-book again if it is available.
As a courtesy, the library sends automated e-mail notices informing patrons of the overdue status of materials borrowed. The library is not responsible for misdirected notices sent to patrons who have not verified or updated their contact information with the library.
Patrons are responsible for all materials borrowed on their account and for returning those materials on time. Patrons are responsible for any fines or fees incurred.
Fines are calculated from the material's due date until the material is returned. Fines are 50 cents per day per item borrowed and continue to accrue until the item is returned or the maximum fine is reached. Fines do not accrue on days when the library is closed. The maximum fine is $12.50 per item. Once the item has reached the maximum late fine, the item is considered lost, and the patron will be charged the replacement cost for the item.
Patrons whose accounts are not in good standing will not be allowed to check out materials and will be barred from accessing the library's computers and electronic resources until the account is brought back to good standing.
Patrons will be charged for print materials that are considered lost.
The following fees are assessed:
- Up to $12.50 in late fines per item;
- $100 or actual replacement cost of the material borrowed (whichever is greater); and
- $15 administrative fee (non-refundable)
Failure to return materials and pay all associated fees will result in suspension of the patron's library privileges (including computer use and access to electronic resources) until the matter is resolved and the account is brought back to good standing. Failure to return library materials may also result in criminal prosecution.
Databases and E-Books
The library uses the Geolocation API as part of the online account registration and online account renewal procedures. Any attempt to bypass this required step, to falsify or otherwise intentionally misrepresent geolocation data, or to intentionally misrepresent one's Texas residency may result in a suspension of the patron's library privileges.
Accounts created online must include the patron's individual e-mail address. E-mail accounts from services that provide “public inboxes” where a user can access an inbox without logging in with a password are not allowed. Accounts created online that use this type of e-mail address will be suspended until a valid e-mail address is provided.
The library reserves the right to suspend a patron's library privileges if the library determines the patron has violated library policy. In exceptional circumstances, the library may permanently suspend a patron's library privileges.
The State Law Library reserves the right to change this policy at any time.