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The Law Library is organized under section 323.021 et seq., of the Texas Local Government Code. The governing agency is the Dallas County Commissioners Court. The Library Committee of the Dallas Bar Association acts as an advisory board to Commissioners Court.
The library is funded by civil court filing fees. Nominal funds are also received from photocopies, faxes, and overdue fines.
The Dallas County Law Library is composed of a civil law library at the George Allen Courts Building and a criminal law library at the Frank Crowley Courts Building. The collections contain basic legal materials for the practicing attorney.
Use of the materials in the library is available to everyone at no charge. The libraries are open from 8:00 A.M. until 5:00 P.M. Monday through Friday. Attorneys with a current Texas State Bar card or their law clerks may borrow non-reference materials from the library. Materials may also be checked out by Dallas County officials who need to use them in the course of their official duties. Books, audiotapes and videotapes may be checked out for one week and renewed for one more week. Overdue fees are fifty cents per day for books and $1.00 per day for audiotapes and videotapes.
The reference staff is available at the public services desk to help patrons locate and use specific materials, to assist with computer searches, and to suggest sources to be consulted in conducting research. Telephone reference is available for verifying citations, checking the catalog for specific titles or subjects, and reading short segments of material. It is against the library's policy for the reference staff to perform services which might constitute the unauthorized practice of law, therefore, the staff is unable to interpret statutes, cases, or regulations or to advise patrons concerning their legal rights.
The library provides online access to Westlaw and the Internet. Westlaw searches are free. There is a $0.20 charge per page to print.
Three self-service copiers at the George Allen library and one at the Frank Crowley library are available. Copies are twenty cents per page. All machines are equipped for coin or copy card operation. Cards may be purchased in denominations of 25 copies, 50 copies, 100 copies, 250 copies, or 500 copies. Cards may be reprogrammed.
A computer (with WordPerfect and Mocrosoft Word) is available for public use to prepare legal documents.
Faxes may be received at the libraries at no charge. To send a fax there is a charge of $1.00 per page for a local fax and $2.00 per page for long distance. The fax number at the George Allen library is 214-653-6103; the Frank Crowley library fax number is 214-653-5993.
Both libraries have two telephone rooms available for making local calls at no charge. Paging is available for attorneys and law clerks receiving necessary calls from their offices.