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Library Services

Patron Services

The Patron Services Department of The Fred Parks Law Library is here to serve you. Our staff is available to assist you with locating items, borrowing materials, and a variety of other services. For questions and concerns about this department contact Monica Ortale, Associate Director for Public Services (mortale@stcl.edu, 713.646.1721).

Quick Contact Information

  • Patron Services Desk 713.646.1711
  • Library Fax 713.659.2217
  • Interlibrary Loan Service AskBlanche@stcl.edu

Circulation of Library Materials

South Texas College of Law Houston faculty, staff, and currently enrolled students may borrow selected materials, using a valid student/faculty identification card. Patrons may place holds on popular materials and will be notified when the items are available. Borrowed items may be renewed in-person or by telephone if no other patron has requested them.

Although no overdue fines are charged, patrons with overdue items are not permitted to borrow additional items from the Library until overdue items are returned. A hold will be placed on the records of patrons who fail to return materials after written notice. Patrons who lose materials will be charged the cost of an item plus a $25 processing fee.

Library materials should be returned during regular business hours. The Library does not supply an after-hours drop box.


The Patron Services Desk maintains a collection of popular items on reserve. These items include high-demand materials and items placed on reserve by the faculty for student consultation.

Reserve items are used in the Library and can be borrowed using any photo identification card, including a driver’s license. If the patron is not a student or faculty member at South Texas College of Law Houston, the identification card is held at the Patron Services Desk until reserve materials are returned.

Interlibrary Loan

Materials not available in The Fred Parks Law Library may be borrowed from other libraries for short loan periods by South Texas College of Law Houston faculty and currently enrolled students. Interlibrary loans are provided usually without charge, although sometimes participating libraries charge for photocopied materials or fax transmissions. To borrow books via interlibrary loan, please follow the instructions in the Interlibrary Loan channel, under the library tab in Stanley, or email questions to AskBlanche@stcl.edu .


In keeping with good library practice and Texas Attorney General Open Records Decision No. 100, the Library does not reveal the names of patrons who have borrowed materials. The Library must comply, however, with the U.S.A Patriot Act regarding library records and will do so if compelled by federal agents.


Photocopiers are provided on floors 2 & 5 of The Fred Parks Law Library. Students may make copies using their print accounts. Visitors with a guest password may add value to the account via credit card. Please note: the library does not accept checks, make change, or provide cash refunds.

Faxes – Send only

The Library provides a fax for student use in the second floor copy room. Sending a local fax is free, but for long distance see the Student Organizations Office (Suite 101C). This fax does not accept incoming faxes, therefore no toner or paper will be provided.

Study Rooms

The Fred Parks Law Library provides a variety of spaces for study by currently enrolled South Texas College of Law Houston students. Room capacity varies from 2-8 persons. If the number of people in a group is fewer than the designated occupancy, you may be asked to leave. Patrons may not cover the door windows on any study room. See Study Room Reservation Policy.

Quiet Study and Library Courtesy

Several areas of the Library are reserved specifically for quiet study. Cell phones, beepers, and conversations are forbidden on the Library’s first floor, which houses microforms, government documents, and historical materials. Exceptions to first floor silence are made for class tours and for reference assistance.

The second floor of the Library is home to the Patron Services Desk, the Reference Desk, a bar of quick access computers, and the two main Library entrances. As a result, staff cannot guarantee a tranquil study environment on this floor, but the area provides an excellent venue for study groups and conferencing with library staff.

The third floor of the Library does not have strict library policy like the first floor, but it is generally much quieter than the second floor and offers individual study rooms, semi-private wooden carrels, and soft seating areas. As a courtesy to other patrons, cell phone usage and extended conversations should be confined on this floor to individual study rooms or to the public stairwells.

The two-person study rooms on the fourth and fifth floors are considered ultra-quiet study areas. All phones and beepers are forbidden and conversation should be kept to a minimum.

Government Documents

The Fred Parks Law Library joined the Federal Depository Library Program in 1981. Since then, the collection has grown considerably, adapting to changes in technology and the research needs of library users.

As a selective depository, The Fred Parks Law Library acquires approximately 15% of all items offered through the depository program. Developed to serve primarily law students, faculty, and staff, the collection emphasizes law and related disciplines, including political science, criminal justice, and international relations.

Government Documents Access Policy

The Government Documents Department is open to all members of the South Texas College of Law Houston community and to all approved library visitors as stipulated in the Library Access Policy.

Members of the general public may also use the government documents collection, by appointment, in conformance with Title 44, U.S. Code, Chapter 19. Attempts will be made to accommodate walk-in requests; however, to ensure access, please make prior arrangements as per the Library Access Policy. Specific citations to government sources must be provided, and access will be limited to those sources only.

A reference librarian is available by phone at 713.646.1712 or by email to answer questions pertaining to government documents research. Government information is also available on the Web via FDsys and MetaLib, as well as The Fred Parks Law Library Legal Research Guides.

Documents in Paper Format

Part of the government documents collection exists in paper format and is shelved on the first floor of the Library. These items are arranged by the U.S. Government Printing Office’s Superintendent of Documents(SuDoc) call number. For an explanation of the SuDoc classification system, please visit SuDoc.

Some heavily used paper government documents are cataloged with a Library of Congress call number (not a SuDoc number) and are housed in the library’s main collection.

Major sets in paper in the main collection include:

  • U. S. Statutes at Large, vol. 1 (1789)-
  • United States Code, 1946 edition-
  • U. S. Reports, vol. 1 (Dallas vol. 1, 1790)-

Documents in Microformats

Many more of our government documents exist in microfiche or microfilm, and can be viewed in the microforms area on the Library’s first floor.

Documents in Electronic Format

Many government publications now appear in electronic format through the Internet using computer terminals available in the Library.

Purchased Documents in Microformats

The Library’s federal depository collection has been augmented by the purchase of major microfiche and microfilm collections from various publishers. Indexes to many of these collections are available in print on the first floor of the Library or electronically by using the subscription database Proquest Congressional.

Major purchased sets in microfiche and microfilm found on the first floor of the Library include:

  • Congressional Serial Set, 1789-1969
  • Congressional Microfiche Library, 1970-Present
  • Congressional Committee Hearings, 1953-1969
  • Oral Arguments of the U.S. Supreme Court, 1969-Present
  • U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs , 1974-Present
  • U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Records and Briefs, 1891-1959, with minor exceptions

Finding Government Documents

To locate a government document in The Fred Parks Law Library, search STELLA, the Library’s online catalog, by subject, title, author, keyword, or call number.

A map of the Library may assist in locating government documents. Maps are available on the second floor of the Library or on our website.

The reference librarian on the second floor of the Library also may assist patrons in locating government documents. Call 713.646.1712 for assistance.

Internet Resources for Government Documents

A host of federal government information is now available electronically. Some of the major information sources are:

Interlibrary Loan Services

As BLANCHE would say, the Interlibrary Loan Service “has always depended on the kindness of [other libraries],” so for all your Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery needs, AskBlanche!  

First-time users (Students, Staff and Faculty only) of the new system will need to create an account.

Then click on the grey box “Create an Account” and fill out the form as directed.

Your South Texas College of Law Houston email address will be your username. Please allow 48 hours for staff to approve your account.

Once you create your account, you can login again using the button above or below or go directly to the request forms:

Houston Area Law Librarians need to set up an account by emailing AskBlanche@stcl.edu. Once your account is created, use the following link to make your requests.

Houston Area Law Librarians (HALL) members only

If you have any questions see below for FAQs. If you need more assistance, please contact us at AskBlanche@stcl.edu

Interlibrary Loan FAQs

South Texas College of Law Houston (STCLH) Faculty and Students. Members of Houston Area Law Librarians (HALL) may also request an account.

Anything not in the Library’s collection.

STCLH will not charge you for this service. Fees charged by lending libraries are passed on to you, but only with your prior approval.

This varies depending on what is requested, how many libraries have the item and where they are located. For copies, it could take as little as 24 hours, or for a book, as long as 4 weeks.

Yes, by logging on to your Interlibrary Loan account and viewing your “Outstanding Requests.”

An automatic email or text will be sent. [At the time you created your account, you should select a notification method (email or text).]  To verify or change your notification preference, log into your account and update your preferences.

Pick up materials at the Patron Services Desk (2nd floor).  Microfilm and In-Library-Use-Only materials may NOT leave the Library.

Due dates are set by the lending libraries.  Specific due dates are written on the book bands that identify Interlibrary Loan items.

It is up to the policies of the Lending Library. We can request a renewal, but if they deny the request then you must return the item.  We can always re-request from another library.

Return materials in person at the Patron Services Desk.

Yes. Log on to your account and click on Interlibrary Loan Requests.

Contact the Interlibrary Loan Department via email at AskBlanche@stcl.edu, or call 713-646-1712.

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