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Borrowing Books and Other Materials: Access for Those Outside of Law School

Law LIbrary Access

The Law Library doors are locked and only authorized users have card access. In addition to the information below, please be sure to follow all general campus access requirements.

  • Drake Law School faculty, staff, and students may access the library during Opperman building hours using their Drake IDs. The card swipe is by the door across from the student lounge.
  • Other current Drake faculty, staff, and students who need access to Law Library materials (not just a place to study): Call the Information Desk, 515-271-3189, Monday - Friday 8 - 4:30 and show your Drake ID to be admitted.
  • Use of Masks in the Library and Law School Drake University policy requires everyone to wear a mask while in campus buildings and outdoor settings where safe social distancing is not possible. In order to protect everyone at the Law School, masks should be worn at all times. The only exception is if you in are an enclosed space by yourself, such as a study room or conference room.
  • Others authorized to check out materials (including members of the Iowa bar and Drake alumni) may not currently access the Law Library. However, they can check out circulating materials for curbside pickup, as well as accessing basic reference service. The director should be contacted for other inquiries.  
  • The library is currently closed to all others.

Note that all patron groups can access library research guides at You may also want to check out services available from the State Law Library while the facility is closed for the legislative session.

Librarians and library staff will at times be working in their offices during staffed hours. If you need assistance at the Information Desk during staffed hours and no one is in view, please ring the doorbell located at the desk and someone will come out to assist you.  Reference assistance will be available by email (PC/Mac/Android email link and iPhone/iPad email link).

What is Curbside Pickup

While the Law Library has usage restrictions in place to respond to COVID-19, we are offering a curbside pickup program for circulating books to authorized borrowers who are otherwise not allowed in the library. This group consists of members of the Iowa bar and Drake alumni. Patrons can request items and, after receiving confirmation that they are ready, pick them up from the Law Library loading dock during designated time periods M-F (9-noon and 1-4). (For article requests, non-Drake patrons can use the library's document delivery service.)

How to Use Curbside Pickup

  1. Make sure you qualify. See Who May Check Out Materials. If you need to set up new account, submit the proper application for privileges. If you are not sure if you have a library account in good standing, call the Information Desk at 271-3189 during library hours. Note that current Drake faculty, staff, and students are asked to come in to the Law Library to borrow books.

  2. Find the book(s) you want to borrow by searching the Law Library catalog or using one of our research guides. See our SuperSearch guide for help using the catalog. If you need further assistance, contact a reference librarian. (Note, for article requests, non-Drake patrons can use the library's document delivery service.)

  3. Email with the item(s) you want to borrow. Please use the email address associated with your Drake Law Library account. In your message, include the author, title, volume number(s) if any, and call number. Please note it may take one working day to pull and prepare your materials.

  4. We will respond to your email to let you know that your item(s) are ready for pick up. You will then have one week to come pick them up.  

  5. Pick up is available Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-noon or 1:00 p.m.-4 p.m. To pick up items, drive your car up to the Law Library loading dock. You can access this off Forest Ave. by turning into the parking lot shown on the map below and driving straight back. When you arrive, call 271-3189 to let us know you are here to pick up items and what vehicle you are in. A staff member will bring your items to the loading dock. Note that we may be closed during significant winter storms. In those circumstances, you may want to call before leaving to verify we are staffed.

  6. You can return items using the outside book drop in front of Cowles Library (entrance off painted street, not accessible by car) or by bringing them to the library loading dock during curbside pickup times (Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-noon or 1:00 p.m.-4 p.m) and calling the Information Desk (271-3189) to have a staff person come collect them. Please note that your checked out items will have cards inside them indicating the due date for each item. You may renew by phone (271-3189) during library hours or by logging into SuperSearch. If a due date needs to be truncated or your materials are overdue, we will send you an email.

Accessing the Loading Dock

The loading dock is marked in red in the picture below. Access is off of Forest Avenue, through the parking lot.

Map to Loading Deck

Enter the parking lot from Forest Avenue.

Parking lot entrance

This is what the parking lot sign looks like:

parking lot sign

Drive straight through the parking lot to reach the loading dock.

parking lot corridor


Loading dock access

Accessing the Cowles Book Return

The Cowles outdoor book return is located just outside the north entrance of the library. You cannot drive up to it. The nearest parking lot, the Olmsted lot (Lot 16), is marked in yellow on the map below. That parking is reserved, and the university has strict parking regulations. Realistically, during the pandemic, if the lot is substantially empty and you only park there for the brief period it takes to get to the book return and back, it is unlikely you would get a ticket, but that cannot be guaranteed. University Avenue is the closest unreserved parking, although there are posted hours when you cannot park there, either.


Campus Map showing Cowles Library and Nearest Parking Lot

Law Library Web Site · Locator Guide & Maps · Hours · Interlibrary Loan · Ask A Librarian

Drake University Law Library • 2604 Forest Ave. • Des Moines, Iowa 50311-3014