Library Cards & Borrowing

Circulation Policy

Alameda County Law Library’s Circulation Policy furthers the mission and vision of the law library by permitting qualified individuals to become registered borrowers and to borrow materials from the law library and use subscribed legal databases, pursuant to the rules set forth below.


Qualified Individuals
  • An attorney licensed to practice law, with Active Status and in good standing. 
  • A resident of Alameda County age 14 or older.
  • A judge with chambers or an office in Alameda County, or a retired judge residing in Alameda County.
  • An elected or appointed federal, state, county or city public official with an office in Alameda County.


Registration Requirements
  • Complete the registration form (name, address, phone #, email address to send overdue reminders).
  • Present a photo ID.
  • Attorneys must have a valid bar membership. Judges and public/elected officials must present proof of their position.
  • Attorneys with a non-California bar membership must register in-person at the Law Library.
  • Non-attorney residents must provide proof of Alameda County residency, such as a driver’s license or utility bill which lists their name and an Alameda County address. P.O. Boxes cannot be accepted as proof of an Alameda County address.
  • Pay a $5.00 fee to purchase the library card.


Register for a Library Card from Home
You can apply for a library card from home via email or postal mail if you are either (or both): 1) an Alameda County resident, 2) an attorney who is an active member of the California Bar.

If you are in one or both of those categories, you can apply for a library card remotely by filling out this library card registration form.
Alameda County residents must include a scan of a government ID showing Alameda County residence, and active California attorneys must include a scan of a government ID and must list their CA State Bar number in the registration form.

You can pay the $5 registration fee by calling our reference desk at  (510) 208-4832 during business hours (M-F 9am-4pm) to pay by credit card or by sending a check in the mail made out to the Alameda County Law Library.

You can email the form and other items to us at or send them by postal mail to:
Alameda County Law Library
125 Twelfth StreetOakland, CA 94607


Research Computer & Legal Database Access
  • A Library Card or Computer Use Only card is required to use the library’s Research Computers, from which patrons can access the library’s subscribed legal databases, legal websites, and Word Processing applications. A Library Card or Computer Use Card is also needed to use select legal databases from home. See our “Library Databases” page for more information about available databases and access options.
  • Library card holders may use their library card to access Research Computers for up to 2 hours/day. Library Card holders may purchase additional time on Research Computers in 1 hour increments for $5.00/hour.
  • In order to preserve the security and integrity of its computers and to ensure equal access to computer resources for all patrons, the library may place limitations on the time and manner in which library computers are used.
  • Patrons who only want to use the Research Computers (but not be eligible to check-out books) can register for a Computer Use Only card. There is a $5.00 suggested donation for a Computer Use Only card. Patrons with a Computer Use Card may purchase additional time on Research Computers in 1 hour increments for $5.00/hour.


What Can Be Borrowed

Only those materials designated as circulating may be checked out. Non-circulating items include, but are not limited to looseleaf sets, reference books, digests, citators and rare books. Books and materials ordinarily subject to borrowing may be withdrawn from circulation at the discretion of library staff.


How Many Items Can Be Borrowed

Attorneys may check out a maximum of eight items at a time. Alameda County Resident Borrowers may have a total maximum of two items checked out at any one time. No borrower may have more than two sets of MCLE CDs checked out at any one time.


How Long Can Items Be Borrowed

Circulating materials may be borrowed for a period of seven days. There are no renewals. Once an item has been checked in, two business days must elapse before the last borrower can check it out again.


Charges & Fines
  • $5.00 for the first library card, $3.00 for replacement cards.
  • $5.00 for no email address for additional costs of sending overdue notices.
  • $1.00 per day fine for each overdue item. Fines must be paid before patron may check out additional items.
  • There is a charge of $20.00 for each credit of an MCLE home study program checked out from the library.
  • Lost or damaged item is the replacement cost plus a $50.00 service charge.
  • Maximum fine is the item’s replacement cost plus a $50.00 service charge.
  • All fines and replacement charges not paid within 30 days may be submitted for collection or other legal proceedings.



Borrowers may place a reserve on circulating materials that have been checked out by another patron. This may be done over the phone or in person. Reserved materials will be held for a maximum of forty-eight hours after the person who placed the reserve has been notified before the materials will be available for general circulation.


Suspensions & Terminations
  • Borrowing privileges cease when a borrower is no longer a qualified individual.
  • A borrower shall be suspended for failing to pay fines or other charges.
  • A borrower who flagrantly or persistently violates the borrowing rules shall have his/her borrowing privileges terminated. Such an individual may, at the discretion of the Director, have privileges reinstated.