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Legal Research Resources for the Public: Library Policies and Information

The library may have restricted hours and building access during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Please check our main website for the most up-to-date information about our visitor access policy, building hours, and public health requirements for using the space.

Access Policy

For information about obtaining a legal research pass for the Smith Underground Library, please speak with a reference librarian. See our main page for the latest information about library access at this time, or email

Those without a legal research need are welcome to use the unrestricted portion of the Reading Room, which is open for general study.

Navigating the Library

The Smith underground library consists of three floors, with the highest referred to as "Sub-1" and the lowest called "Sub-3."

Each floor of Smith has the same basic floor plan:

  • the Core: where the reference desk, circulation desk, and restrooms are located.
  • the North wing: if facing the large window, to your right. 
  • the West wing: if facing the large window, to your left.

So, a book located on S-2W will be in the West wing of the second floor (Sub-2).

Visit the reference desk for help locating material.

Circulation Policy

The UMich Law Library is a non-circulating library. This means that no one, not even members of the MLaw community, can take library books out of the building. You are welcome to browse the three floors of stacks and peruse books at the desks, carrels, and tables throughout the library.

The library collection is contained in both open and closed stacks. The majority of books in the closed stacks were published prior to the year 2000. Recent texts and current law are, for the most part, in the open stacks in the Smith underground addition.

If you have ongoing research needs and are interested in being able to pull books from the closed stacks, please see a reference librarian.