Law Library

Public Services

The Law Library staff is available to assist patrons in using the law library. The staff includes of one librarian and one paraprofessional who are trained in legal research. Their job is to help patrons find and use the resources in the library. They can help you select, locate, and use the resources in the library so that patrons will be able to answer their legal question or prepare their case.

By state law, the Law Library staff is not authorized to provide legal advice nor perform legal research for the public. Requests for legal assistance or advice and questions pertaining to the law should be directed to an attorney licensed to practice law in Alabama. * (For basic legal information, please visit http://www.alabamalegalhelp.org.)

Below are some examples of what the staff can and cannot do to help you.

What the Public Services staff can do for you:

  • Assist in locating and using resources in the library to help with legal research
  • Explain how to use different formats of legal resources
  • Direct patrons to form books, court rules and books about the law (called treatises)
  • Explain how to read legal citations
  • Help locate a particular statute or case when a reference or citation is given
  • Direct users to resources that will help them learn how to do legal research
  • Provide in-library access to subscription electronic legal research databases
  • Assist in locating and using free legal and informational websites
  • Provide assistance in obtaining answers to factual questions
  • Provide copies of library materials Click here for more information on fees for photocopies.
  • Show patron how to use the library’s in-house online catalog to find resources on the topic.  
  • Refer patrons to other agencies or organizations that might be able to provide more assistance with the problem.

What the Public Services staff cannot do for you:

  • Perform legal research for individuals
  • Read lengthy statutes, cases, or court rules over the telephone
  • Interpret the meaning of court cases, statutes, regulations and other legal authority or determine how they would relate to the individual's case
  • Select statutes, cases or regulations for the case at hand
  • Give legal advice or opinions on legal matters, advise patron of their legal rights, or recommend a course of action
  • Tell users how to file a document, which document to file, or how to proceed with a court case
  • Assist in selecting or completing forms or specific language to use in forms
  • Recommend or refer patron to a specific attorney
  • If you need someone who can research the law for you and interpret the law as it applies to your circumstances, you should consider talking to an attorney. The Alabama State Bar Association offers a Lawyer Referral Service.