Law Library Rules
To better serve all of the Law Library's patrons, the following rules were instituted by the Harris County Commissioners Court and became effective on September 1, 2012. To ensure all patrons have access to a safe, non-disruptive place to conduct legal research, these rules are strictly enforced. The Law Library is patrolled by an investigator of the Harris County Attorney's Office and deputy constables from Harris County Precinct One. Patrons found in violation of the rules may be removed from the Law Library by these peace officers.
If you would like a copy of the rules as passed by the Harris County Commissioners Court, click the Law Library Rules image to download a PDF or visit the Law Library reference desk for a printed copy.
Section 1. Authority
The Commissioners Court of Harris County, Texas, adopted these Rules. These Rules are authorized by section 323.024 of the Texas Local Government Code.
Section 2. Administration
Commissioners Court designates the Law Library staff and the investigators of the Harris County Attorney’s Office, along with the Harris County Sheriff, Harris County Constable Precinct 1, and their respective deputies, to enforce these Rules, and authorizes other peace officers to assist with their enforcement.
Section 3. Scope and Purpose
The Law Library is intended for use by persons engaged in law-related research. The purpose of these Rules is to ensure that Law Library patrons are provided a pleasant atmosphere which facilitates the performances of legal research.
Section 4. Services
4.1 Hours. The Law Library shall be open Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., except County holidays.
4.2 Intent to utilize resources. Patrons shall be engaged in activities associated with the use of a public law library while in the Law Library. Patrons not engaged in reading, studying, or using Law Library materials may be required to leave the Law Library.
4.3 Computer research. The Law Library provides computers to aid patrons in their legal research. Use of the computers to play games, view pornography, or for other non-law related uses is not allowed and may lead to the patron being asked to leave or restricted from using the computers.
4.4 Equipment. Patrons shall not attempt to make repairs to Law Library computers or equipment. Patrons should instead ask staff for assistance.
Section 5. Environment
5.1 Disruptive behavior. Patrons shall respect the rights of other patrons. Patrons shall not harass or annoy other patrons, or otherwise behave in a manner which may be reasonably expected to disturb others.
5.2 Theft and vandalism. Patrons shall not write in, damage, remove pages, or mark on Law Library books or other Law Library property.
5.3 Noise. To avoid disturbing other Law Library patrons, patrons shall observe silence except when requesting assistance from the reference desk staff. Noise and loud or profane language will not be tolerated. Patrons who need to converse must do so quietly so as not to disturb others.
5.4 Solicitation. Selling and solicitation are prohibited in the Law Library.
5.5 Sleeping. Sleeping is prohibited in the Law Library.
5.6 Eating. Eating is prohibited in the Law Library. Beverages in covered, spill-proof containers are permitted except in the computer area.
5.7 Children. Unattended children are not allowed in the Law Library. In the event that a child is left unattended, Law Library staff shall notify the Harris County Sheriff's Office. Any adult who brings a child into the Law Library must supervise and monitor the child's behavior at all times.
5.8 Cell Phones. Because ring tones can be loud, patrons' cell phones should be set to "vibrate" or turned off. Any calls should be made outside the Law Library as telephone conversations may disrupt the concentration of other patrons. Patrons who receive a cell phone call should step outside the Law Library to hold the conversation.
5.9 Laptop computers. Laptops may be plugged in to draw AC power. The volume on all laptops must be set to "mute."
5.10 Baggage. Patrons' personal belongings should fit neatly under the table and may not take up so much space as to deny other patrons a seating opportunity at the same table. Suitcases, bedrolls, and blankets are not permitted in the Law Library.
5.11 Hygiene. Any patron, as well as the personal belongings of any patron, emanating an odor (including cologne and perfume) constituting a nuisance to other patrons may be asked to leave the Law Library until the situation can be corrected.
5.12 Smoking. Smoking is prohibited in the Law Library.
5.13 Animals. Animals, other than animals assisting persons with disabilities, are prohibited in the Law Library.
5.14 Restrooms. Patrons shall not bathe, shave, or wash clothes in the Law Library restrooms.
5.15 Clothes. Appropriate clothing, including shirts and shoes, shall be worn by patrons in the Law Library.
Section 6. Application and Enforcement
Any violation of these Rules may result in the responsible patron being asked to leave the Law Library until such time as the patron, in the reasonable opinion of Law Library staff, is able to demonstrate an ability and willingness to comply with these Rules. The Law Library staff and the investigators of the Harris County Attorney's Office, along with the Harris County Sheriff, Harris County Constable Precinct 1, and their respective deputies, and other peace officers shall be authorized to remove any patron who violates any of these Rules from the Law Library.
Section 7. Severability
The provisions of these Rules are severable. If any word, phrase, clause, sentence, section, provision, or part of these Rules should be held invalid or unconstitutional, it shall not affect the validity of the remaining provisions, and it is hereby declared to be the intent of Commissioners Court that these Rules would have been adopted as to the remaining portions, regardless of the invalidity of any part.
Section 8. Amendments
These Rules may be amended at any time at the discretion of Commissioners Court.
Section 9. Posting
These Rules shall be conspicuously posted at or near the entrance to the Law Library, and on the Law Library's web site.
Section 10. Effective Date
These Rules shall become effective September 1, 2012.