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1L Law Library Survival Guide

This guide provides an introduction for a new law student to the print and electronic resources in a law library. There are brief explanations of the law library and the types of legal resources.

Reference Services

Reference Desk

Reference librarians are generally available at the Reference desk during the academic year, M-F  9am-5pm.  For detailed schedule, including holidays and Summer, see  

Remote Reference 

We also provide remote reference service during Reference hours as follows:

Links to Hofstra Law Library Resources and Information

Library Databases

Quick links for most frequently used databases:

Database Authentication

Many databases will require you to "authenticate."  If you see this screen, enter your portal credentials:  your "h" number and the password you use to access the Hofstra Portal.  Your "h" number can be found on your Hofstra ID. 


Free Databases

Other Library Research Guides :

  1. Harvard Law -  Federal Law & Govt. Docs
  2. Library of Congress -  U.S. Federal 

Other Library Research Guides:

  1. Pace Law -  Foreign & International Law 
  2. Georgetown Law - Foreign & International Law

Using the Library catalog - "How to" guides

How to use - DISCOVERY - Library catalog - 

to search for print and online resources available at Hofstra.  

How Does Interlibrary Loan Work?

If Hofstra does not have access to a particular book or article, the Law Library can obtain it for you from another library. Use the ILLiad Inter-library loan link, below.  It may take up to two weeks for the borrowed material to reach you, so plan your ILL requests in advance.

Parts of a Law Library

Circulation deals with the flow of library materials to and from patrons (checkout and check-in) and within the library. 


Reserve materials are high-demand items that are segregated from the main collection and kept behind the Circulation desk. They often are treatises or other materials placed there by professors for use by students in their classes. Reserve materials may also include frequently used resources, such as Study Guides and The Bluebook. Reserve materials can only be checked out for 3 hours, and they cannot leave the library, to ensure their availability for other users.


The Reference librarians assist with patrons’ research and can assist students in finding useful resources. Reference librarians here at Hofstra Law Library have both a J.D. and a Masters in Library Science.


The Access and Collection Services department orders, processes and pays for all print and online resources and maintains the online catalog called "Discovery". The catalog contains a listing of all resources available through the library, including online resources, and how to access these resources.  For print resources, the catalog includes their location and Call number (where the item sits on the shelf).  The Discovery catalog will provide links to online titles and resources.  Circulation and Reserve are also part of the Access and Collection Services department.


Library Administration makes and implements Library policies.  Administration also overseas the physical space of the Library, including temperature, lighting and other space and comfort concerns.  See the Library Director for any questions or concerns regarding Library policy.

Law Library Webpage Tour