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Last Updated: Feb 8, 2017 URL: Print Guide

Getting Started Print Page

Getting to Know the McKusick Law Library

The McKusick Law Library welcomes you as a student to the University of South Dakota School of Law.  The Law Library's mission is to support the research needs of our students, faculty, and the public.  The purpose of this LibGuide is to introduce you to the Law Library, summarize information provided during first-year orientation, and connect you to resources available in the Law Library and online.


Who We Are

The law library staff are all available to serve you.  To learn more about the staff members and their roles, visit our LibGuide:

Meet the McKusick Law Library Staff


How to Contact Us / Student Service Hours

In Person:  Visit us at the Circulation Desk, Monday through Friday, 7:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  The Reserve Room is also accessible during these hours.  Reference Desk hours are 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Please also feel free to visit any of the staff members' offices.  All of our staff members have an open door policy and are happy to meet with students.  If you need reference assistance outside of regular office hours, please feel free to contact the Law Library staff to make arrangements for such assistance.

Phone:  Call the Circulation Desk at (605) 677-3930.  The Reference Desk phone number is (605)677-4031.

Email: - Responses to inquires submitted to this mailbox will be made within 48 hours.


Public Hours of Operation

The Law Library is open to the public from 7:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through  Friday.  However, students and faculty have 24/7 access using their Coyote Card.  Outside of the student service hours listed above, the main doors to the Law Library will be locked and you will need your Coyote Card to access the Law Library.


Law Library Policies


The University of South Dakota Law Library is available for use by the faculty, staff, and students of the University of South Dakota School of Law. Graduate and undergraduate students of the University of South Dakota may also utilize the circulating and reserve resources of the McKusick Law Library.  University of South Dakota Law Alumni and members of the State Bar of South Dakota may also register to use the library. The Law Library is also open to members of the public. However, public patrons may use materials only in the library and are not able to checkout materials for use outside the Law Library. Additional details on the resources and services available at the University of South Dakota Law Library are available in the Research Guides and LibGuides. In all cases, use of the facilities and resources of the University of South Dakota Law Library are subject to compliance with the laws of South Dakota and the rules of South Dakota Board of Regents and the USD School of Law.

Access to the Law Library after 5 pm on weekdays and all hours on weekends is restricted to law students, law faculty, and law staff.  Law students, law staff, and law faculty can enter the library after normal hours by using their University of South Dakota ID card. Other patrons who need to use the law library collection to conduct legal research after regular hours, may be able to arrange to do so at the discretion of the Law Library Director after consultation with the Law School Administration.  Requests from USD Graduate Students for use of a limited duration will be given special consideration. 

Access to the group study areas located in the Law Library, with limited exception, is on a first come, first serve basis during the semester.  Reservations for use of study rooms are coordinated through the USD School of Law Dean’s Suite.  During exam and exam preparation periods, reservations for use of the study rooms may be limited to law students.

Authorized Law Library users who compromise the safety of other users or the security of the Law Library collection and equipment by allowing the entrance of unauthorized users after normal Law Library operating hours or by taking actions to overcome security devices may be subject to discipline and loss of after-hours privileges.

OTHER POLICIES (click links to open as PDFs):


How Do I Check Out a Book?

Items are checked out to you using your Coyote Card.  Please make sure you come to the desk to get your Coyote Card registered with the Law Library.  Please bring the item you want to check out to the Circulation/Reference Desk along with your Coyote Card.  If you do forget your Card, the person staffing the desk can look you up by last name. 

Circulation Policies:

As a general rule, only items with in the following collections may be checked out: LOWER LEVEL - CIRCULATING COLLECTION, RESERVE ROOM - ROOM 129 MAIN FLOOR or STUDY AIDS AND ACADEMIC SUCCESS - MAIN FLOOR are able to be checked out. 

LOWER LEVEL items check out for four weeks. 

STUDY AIDS check out for a 24 hour period.  

RESERVE ROOM items check out for 2 hours. 

STUDY AIDS and RESERVE items, however, may be checked out over the weekend, if you are checking out the item after 3:00 p.m. on Thursday or Friday.  If you have questions on a particular item, please ask.

All other print items which do not officially check out may be used within the Law Library at student carrels, including carrels located in the Law Review offices or Moot Court/ADR/SBA offices, etc.  The items should be returned to the red reshelving carts by the end of the day.  If you need to refer to a non-circulating item longer, please contact a member of the Law Library staff.  Non-circulating items, at the discretion of the staff, may be checked out to a student group (such as Law Review) for designated period of time.


How Do I Print and Make Copies?

For more information on copying and printing, please see our separate LibGuide:

Copying and Printing for Law Students


Summary of (K) Law Classification

K:   Jurisprudence, Comparative Law, International Trade, Human Rights

KD-KDK:   British and Irish Law

KDZ:   Law of the Americas (OAS, NAFTA)

KE:   Canadian Law (federal)

KEA-KEY:   Law of Canadian provinces and territories 

KF:   United States Law

KF16-153:   Legislative Documents, Statutes, Reports

KF154-170:   Encyclopedias, Dictionaries, Formbooks

KF220-224:   Criminal Trials

KF240-251:   Legal Research and Writing

KF261-334:   Legal Education and Legal Profession

KF350-382:   U.S. Legal History and Jurisprudence

KF398-418:   Equity, Conflict of Laws

KF501-553:   Domestic Relations, Family Law

KF560-720:   Property

KF726-780:   Trusts, Estate Planning, Wills

KF801-1241:   Contracts

KF1246-1327:   Torts

KF1341-1480:   Agency, Associations, Corporations

KF1501-1548:   Bankruptcy

KF1601-1668:   Trade Regulation, Antitrust

KF1681-2940:   Regulated Industries

KF2971-3192:   Intellectual Property, Copyright, Trademark & Patent Law

KF3301-3580:   Labor Law, Employment Discrimination

KF3941-3977:   Public Safety

KF4101-4257:   Education Law

KF4501-5130:   Constitutional Law

KF5300-5332:   Local Government Law

KF5336-5398:   Government Employees

KF5500-5865:   Public Property, Public Restraints on Private Property

KF6200-6795:   Public Finance, Taxation

KF7201-7755:   National Defense, Military Law

KF8201-8228:   Indian Law

KF8700-8807:   Court Organization and Procedure

KF8810-9075:   Civil Procedure

KF9201-9479:   Criminal Law

KF9601-9760:   Criminal Procedure

KF9771-9827:   Juvenile Criminal Law and Practice

KFA-KFW:   Law of Individual States (South Dakota is located under KFS)

KFX:   Law of Individual Cities

KG-KV:   Foreign Law

KZ:   Law of Nations (International Law)


How Do I Find a Book in the Law Library?

To find a book, you can access the Library's online catalog from the Law Library's website.  Either scroll down below the picture to directly search the catalog, or along the left, choose "Online Research" and then Law Library Catalog:

It is highly recommended that you choose an Advanced Search, which will allow you to search by Title, Author, Subject, etc.

When you find an item you are interested in, make note of the information next to the word "Location." 

Before the alpha-numeric portion of the call number (i.e., KF 1234, etc.) you should see additional information on the item's location which will help you locate it in the Law Library:


RESERVE ROOM - ROOM 129 MAIN FLOOR:  Locatde on the Main Level in the Reserve Room to the right of the Reference Desk

STUDY AIDS AND ACADEMIC SUCCESS - MAIN FLOOR:  Located on the Main Level on the bookshelf to the right of the lounge area.

REFERENCE SHELF - MAIN FLOOR:  Located on the Main Level on the shelving opposite the Study Aids colleciton.

There are other locations, including PERIODICALS, etc.  If you have a question on a particular call number, just ask!  In the box below titled "Library Layout" is a general description of the materials which are located on each floor of the Law Library.  Many of the larger sets, such as the Code of Federal Regulations, or the Uniform Laws Annotated, which are on the main floor, do not have a specific call number.  Please ask a member of the Law Library staff if you have questions locating a resource.

After determining the location of the item, please refer to the box titled "How to Read a Call Number."


Library Layout

Below is a general outline of the materials and services found on each floor:

Main Floor:

  • Circulation Desk
  • Reference Desk
  • Copier/Scanner
  • Public Access Computers
  • Microforms
  • Reference Collection
  • Reserve Room
  • South Dakota Collection
  • American Law Reports
  • Legal Encyclopedias
  • Forms Books
  • Federal Primary Materials (Codes, Regulations, Supreme Court Reports)
  • Reporters
  • State Codes for Adjacent States
  • Native American and Indigenous Peoples Collection

Lower Level:

  • Administrative Agency Reports and Government Documents
  • Circulating Collection
  • Foreign Law Materials
  • Bound Periodicals (Organized alphabetically by journal title)

Upper Level:

  • Superseded Collection
  • Historical Research Collection


How to Read a Call Number

In the library's online catalog, the "call number" of a book appears in the field titled Location.  

The following example is from the library's catalog for the title: Tort law in America : an intellectual history / G. Edward White.

The call number is shown in the Location field of the catalog as: LOWER LEVEL - CIRCULATING COLLECTION KF1249 .W48 2003

On the spine of a book, the numbers would appear vertically, like this:




In this example, LOWER LEVEL - CIRCULATING COLLECTION indicates the general location of the title in the library. 

The additional letters and numbers are designed to help you find the precise location of the book.  All books in a particular section of the library are organized alphabetically by call number, A-Z.  Each set of shelves is labeled with a sign indicating the call numbers of books that are located in that set of shelves.  The McKusick Law Library uses call numbers assigned under the Library of Congress (LC) classification system.

In this example, the first letter, K, indicates that the book is generally about Law, according to the LC system. The second letter, F, indicates that the book is about U.S. Law. See the box below titled "Summary of Library of Congress Classification."  The majority of the books in the McKusick Law Library are classified under K or KF but there are titles under many other letter divisions as well.  

The numbers 1249 indicate what type of U.S. Law the book is about.  Referring to the box to the below titled "Summary of (K) Law Classification", you will see that 1287 falls within the range of 1246-1327 which contains books about the law of torts.

The numbers following the decimal, W48, are based on the author's last name (White). These numbers are added to the call number so that each book has a unique number and they determine the order that the books are shelved.  The last number, 2003, indicates the year that the book was published.


Summary of Library of Congress Classification

A:   General Works

B:   Philosophy, Psychology, Religion

C-F:   History

G:   Geography

H:   Social Sciences

J:   Political Science

JZ:   International Relations

K:    Law

KF:   U.S. Law

L:   Education

M:   Music

N:   Art, Architecture

P:   Literature, Language

Q:   Mathematics, Technology, Computing

R:   Medicine

S:   Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Oceanography

T:   Technology, Engineering

U:   Military

V:   Naval Science, Navigation

Z:   Bibliography, Librarianship


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