Access Policy

Access to the Lucille Stewart Beeson Law Library is limited to:

  • Samford faculty, students, and staff — please show Samford I.D. to Circulation Desk Attendant. Members of the Bar who have an office in (or live in) the metro Birmingham area can submit an application for a Beeson Law Library Borrowing Card. The annual fee for the card is $25 for non-alumni and $10 for alumni.
  • Graduates of the Cumberland School of Law — please register at desk.
  • Attorneys and members of their support staffs — please show identification (e.g. bar card, business card) and register at the desk.
  • Visiting scholars — Persons who need access to materials in our collection for scholarly or academic purposes should request permission in writing in advance by completing this form (also available at the circulation desk) and send it to Professor Gregory K. Laughlin, Law Library Director, Cumberland School of Law, Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama 35229. Academics and scholars from outside the state of Alabama may be allowed access for the duration of their stay in the Birmingham area; others who need to examine materials in our collection that are not available elsewhere in the Birmingham area may be allowed access for that purpose. Those needing access to examine U.S. Depository items in our collection will also be allowed entry for that purpose. Visitors must register at desk.

Admission for Patrons Preparing for the Bar Examination

Cumberland School of Law’s Beeson Law Library allows admission of non-Cumberland law school graduates who have completed registration for the bar examination and either (1) have received an acceptance letter for admission to the next bar exam from a state’s bar examiners OR (2) can present proof of graduation from law school in a form acceptable to the law library. Under this policy, a non-Cumberland law graduate must provide the original copy of the admission letter and certification form to personnel at the circulation desk prior to their first admission OR printed proof of graduation. A copy of the relevant documentation will be made and retained by library staff at that point, and the patron’s name will be added to a list of eligible bar examinees who may study in the law library up to the date of the bar examination. After initially qualifying for admission under the policy, examinees must stop at the circulation desk each time they enter the law library in order to register for that day’s admission by simply showing a positive ID to the circulation desk attendant. This permission will terminate at the end of the day prior to the beginning of the bar examination.

Access to the law library for non-Cumberland law school graduates to study for the bar will be limited to the weeks immediately preceding the bar examination which the graduate is registered to take, measured from the first day of June on which the law library is opened through the day before the bar examination begins or the first day of January on which the law library is opened through the day before the bar examination begins. Though prospective bar examinees have qualified for admission under the policy, they will not be permitted entrance to the law library reading rooms during the weeks of restricted access before and during Cumberland Law School final exams.

Admission for Current Non-Cumberland Law Students

Cumberland School of Law’s Beeson Law Library allows admission of law students from all other ABA-accredited law schools. Such students must present their current student ID from their law school at the circulation desk at the time of entering the law library. Beeson Law Library does not provide access to students of non-ABA accredited law schools who have not graduated or received an acceptance letter for admission to the next bar exam thus meeting the requirements set forth above.

View the Law Student Honor Code

A printed copy is also available on reserve at the law library’s circulation desk (KF287.5.H55 2012).

Law Student 24/7 Access Policy

Law students may access the law library anytime using their prox card.

  • This is a trial.
    1. We are aware that we may encounter some unforeseen issues, some of which may merely require modifications of procedures, but some of which could cause us to suspend or terminate this trial.
    2. For this to be successful, everyone will need to be aware of and follow the procedures outlined below and to inform the law library of any problems encountered.
  • After staff leave at our current closing time, there will be no law library staff or any other Samford University staff in the law library to provide any sort of assistance.
    1. Staffing levels for the law library have not changed.
    2. As a result, the hours of staff availability will not change.
  • Cumberland patrons taking advantage of this enhanced access must be continually self-aware for safety’s sake, as having the hours extended does NOT imply that police officers would be posted specifically at the Law Library for these extended hours.
    1. DPS has police officers assigned on campus on each shift 24/7/365.
    2. Calling 205-726-2020 is all that is needed should DPS assistance be required for safety related concerns.
    3. For more information regarding Samford University Public Safety and emergency protocols, please see Public Safety.
  • Please be aware that security cameras are in operation throughout the law library, but these are not constantly monitored. They will be available for review to investigate any incidents captured by video footage which may occur, and are routinely used for investigative purposes across campus.
  • In general, study rooms will not be accessible during unstaffed hours.
    1. Patrons using study rooms will be required to vacate those rooms at the time staff are preparing to leave and the doors will be locked by the closing staff.
    2. Exception will be made for certain pre-arranged and pre-registered uses by authorized Cumberland programs.
  • The computer labs will be available during unstaffed hours through a key code which will be provided to Cumberland patrons by separate communication. Obviously, there will be no one to provide technology support should a patron encounter problems during times of unstaffed use.
  • All patrons should install the Sam.Alert app on their smartphones and other smart devices.
  • In case of a tornado warning while in the law library, patrons should proceed immediately to the lower-level west-side stairwell and remain until the warning is cancelled.
  • In case of a fire, patrons should vacate the law library building through the following exits as are safely available:
    1. The front entrance which is normally used to enter and exit the law library.
    2. The emergency exits located as follows:
  1. The lower-level west-side stairwell and
  2. Between the lower-level and the first floor of the east-side stairwell.
  3. For more information regard emergency situations, see the Campus Emergency Quick Response Guide.
  • Access is available during unstaffed hours only through the prox card system. Cumberland patrons’ prox card is their Samford ID Card.
    1. You must have your card with you to enter during unstaffed hours as there will be no one present to assist your entry
    2. Do NOT leave your card in the law library when you exit as you will be unable to re-enter until staff arrive for the start of their next shift.
    3. Please note that all prox card issues must be coordinated through the One Stop in Ingalls, Monday through Friday, during regular business hours.
    4. There is a $35.00 replacement card fee per card.
  • Each patron entering the law library should swipe their card in front of the access device individually so that we have a record of who was in the building during unstaffed times.
    1. This is for the safety and security of all patrons using the law library during unstaffed times.
    2. Further, do NOT prop open any of the doors entering the law library or first floor reading room.
    3. Do NOT allow anyone else to come in with you, especially anyone who is not a current Cumberland Law School faculty, staff, or student.
    4. Do NOT share your Samford ID with any other person.
    5. There is a security camera at the entrance.
  • Normal housekeeping will be performed during unstaffed times as is presently the case. Patrons using the law library should not complain about noise caused by housekeeping in preforming their tasks and should comply with any requests to relocate so as to facilitate such housekeeping.

Circulation Materials

To check out 7-day or reserve materials from the library, you must present your Samford I.D. card for checkout.

Treatises (7-day check-out)

A Cumberland student may check out a treatise for one week, and renew it if there is no other demand for it. These books must be returned to the Circulation Desk.

Reserve Books (3-hour check-out)

A Cumberland student may check out a reserve book and other reserve materials for three hours. These materials are to be used within the Law Library and must be returned to the Circulation Desk.

Overnight Checkout

Cumberland students may check out reserve books overnight within three hours of closing (Monday-Friday and Sunday after 9:00 p.m. and Saturday after 7:00 p.m.) for use outside the Law Library. The books are due back the next morning within one hour after opening (Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m., Saturday 10:00 a.m., and Sunday 2:00 p.m.). Special reserve materials, reserve folders, and newspapers do not go out overnight.

Fines & Penalties

It is the student’s responsibility to observe due date obligations and return all borrowed library materials to the Circulation Desk on time. The prompt return of the materials is crucial to provide for the needs of the entire student population.

When library materials become overdue, the circulation department will email a notice to the student. No further reminder will be attempted.

The Law Library will impose a fine for overdue books and other materials. Fines are $1.00 per day for each day the Library is open for 7-day books, and $3.00 per hour for 3-hour reserve checkouts. For an item damaged or lost, the Library will charge a $10.00 replacement fee, plus the cost of the book, in addition to any outstanding fines on that book. Fines continue to accrue until the book is returned or reported lost by the student. There is no “maximum fine”. Students are responsible for all the library material they check out.

Food, Beverages Tobacco Products, & Vaping

Food and beverages are allowed in the Law Library subject to the following restrictions: Drinks are permitted in the public areas of the Law Library building, which include reading rooms, conference rooms, and computer labs, provided they are in covered, spill-resistant containers (examples: travel mugs with lids, plastic bottles with screw tops) or in cans with a tabbed opening. Sandwiches, fruit, wrapped items such as those dispensed in vending machines are permitted. No “messy” foods are allowed. “Messy” foods include, but are not limited to, items such as pizza, spaghetti, ribs, chicken wings and ice cream. Meals are not allowed. The delivery of beverages and food to the library by outside vendors is prohibited, except for catered events that have been approved by the library administration. Please remember to discard any refuse and to clean up after yourself. Please report spills immediately to library staff so the spills can be cleaned up. Anyone responsible for damaging computer equipment is liable for repair or replacement costs. Tobacco products and vaping are prohibited in the Law Library building.

Interlibrary Loans

It is not possible for any one library to contain all materials that a researcher may need. See a Reference Librarian to request books or articles on interlibrary loan which the library does not hold and are needed for course work.

When requesting a journal through interlibrary loan, please provide a Reference Librarian with the journal’s name, volume, number, article title and author’s name. Also, provide the location of the citation (i.e., page and volume number of Index to Legal Periodicals). When requesting treatises, the full title, edition and author are needed as well as the location of where you found the information about the book. Notification of arrival of requested interlibrary loans will be emailed to you.

Lexis, Westlaw & Bloomberg Law

Because of contract restrictions, the full versions of LexisNexis, Westlaw, Bloomberg Law are available only to Cumberland School of Law faculty, law librarians, staff, and currently enrolled Cumberland School of Law students for research related to the school’s educational function. Use for other purposes is strictly prohibited.

Public access LexisNexis and Westlaw terminals are available for the use of Law Library patrons who are not Cumberland School of Law faculty, law librarians, staff, and currently enrolled and trained Cumberland School of Law students and are located on the first floor of the Law Library, to the immediate right after entering into the first floor reading room.

Library Closing

All persons must leave the library and computer labs by closing time. Regardless of circumstances, students must sign off the computer terminals before closing time. Additional time for printing will not be allowed. A student’s refusal to leave may result in disciplinary action being taken.

Microfiche Readers & Reader/Printers

A microfiche reader scanner is available in Room 031B of the Lower Level during Library office hours (if unattended, pleases go to the Circulation Desk). Images may be emailed or downloaded to a USB stick. For assistance, see a Reference Librarian.

Missing Materials

If you find that materials are missing from the library shelves, you may request a search at the Circulation Desk by filling out a missing item form. Please fill out the form completely as all information is necessary for an effective search of the needed item.


Reserve Materials

Commonly, professors will keep certain reading assignments on reserve at the Circulation Desk. Reserve folders and books may be checked out for three hours.


All reporters, digests, codes, encyclopedias, adminstrative rules and regulations, citators, indexes, and law reviews must be returned to their proper shelf location after use. Do not, however, shelve treatises. Leave them on nearby tables. Be sure to return reserve books and materials to the Circulation Desk.


Due to the possible disturbances involved, cellular telephone use is not permitted in the library reading areas. They may be used in the passageway between the Law Library and the Law School and the photocopy rooms.