Library Policies

Zief Law Library has developed the following administrative policies to help ensure that the library operates smoothly:

Access Policy

The University of San Francisco is a private, Jesuit institution, and the Dorraine Zief Law Library is a private research library for the University of San Francisco.

As a private institution, Zief Law Library is not open to the general public, and staff will restrict access to the facility when necessary.

Zief Law Library's primary clientele — USF School of Law faculty, USF School of Law staff, and currently-enrolled USF School of Law students — have priority access to the collection and library services.

Individuals who are not currently enrolled at or employed by the University of San Francisco will be admitted to the library only if they belong to one of the following groups:

  1. Law school students enrolled at other ABA-accredited institutions may access the law library if they possess a current law student ID card.  However, the law library reserves the right to change its policy regarding access for non-USF law students at any time in order to help ensure that USF Law students have access to sufficient study space in the law library.
  2. Law faculty and staff from other ABA-accredited academic institutions may access the law library, provided that they present a current faculty or staff ID card at the circulation desk;
  3. USF School of Law alumni may access the law library at any time after graduation. Law library staff will need to verify alumni status prior to allowing entry for any USF Law alumni who are not members of a state bar;
  4. Non-alumni licensed attorneys in good standing with any state bar in the United States (including active or inactive members) may access the law library only if they purchase a Special Access Card for $400 per year;
  5. Graduates of other ABA-accredited law schools who wish to study for the bar exam at Zief Law Library must purchase a Special Access Card for $50 per bar exam study period. Law school graduates who attended USF Law for a portion of their legal education, but obtained their law degrees from a different ABA-accredited law school, must purchase a Special Access Card in order to study for the bar exam at Zief Law Library. This requirement does not apply to current law students who have not yet graduated from law school who have a current ABA-accredited law school ID card.
  6. Persons needing to consult federal or state depository documents.

Every individual must show appropriate identification in order to enter the library. This policy applies whenever the library is open.

USF students, faculty and staff must tap their current USF ID at the security gate. USF School of Law alumni must show a state bar membership card or another form of ID that will allow library staff to validate USF Law alumni status.  Law students, faculty or staff members from other ABA-accredited law schools must present a current academic institution ID. Special Access Card holders must display their Special Access Cards. Federal or state depository document users must sign in at the circulation desk, and such users must discuss their specific research needs with full-time library staff.

This Access Policy is intended to help ensure the safety of our patrons and the security of the law library.  Zief Law Library staff may prohibit individuals from entering the building or seek assistance from USF's Department of Public Safety to remove any individual who engages in the following behaviors: 1) refuses to comply with library policies, including our policy on limiting access to the law library during law school reading and exam periods; or 2) engages in disruptive activities or behavior that interferes with the ordinary use and operation of the law library; or 3) poses a threat to library staff, other patrons, or the security of the library's collections.


Zief Law Library's entrance doors lock at 5 pm. Individuals who have a USF ID card may enter the library after 5 pm by swiping the ID card through the release mechanism just outside the door.

Individuals who do not have a USF ID card should buzz the circulation desk, using the buzzer to the right of the entrance doors. These individuals will still need to satisfy the above access requirements in order to use the law library.


During reading and exam periods, access to Zief Law Library is further restricted to make more room available for USF Law students. During law school reading and exam periods, only the following groups may use the law library:

  • 1. Current USF faculty and staff;
  • 2. Current USF Law students only. Students enrolled in other USF graduate and undergraduate programs may use the law library during law school reading and exam periods only if they have a current assignment that requires them to conduct legal research. Law library staff may require USF students to display the legal research assignment in order to ascertain if entry is appropriate;
  • 3. USF School of Law alumni;
  • 4. Special Access Card holders; and
  • 5. Persons needing to consult federal or state depository documents.