MEMBERSHIP POLICIES

In order to use the Social Law Library, a current membership is required.

REMINDER -Memberships are not transferable and credits or refunds are not available. Please notify the Membership office of changes that occur during the membership year.

POLICY GOVERNING NON-MEMBER ACCESS AND USAGE

Whereas, the Social Law Library (the Library) is a private, nonprofit, member-managed research library established to serve the legal research needs of its dues-paying Subscriber-members and subsequently incorporated with a Legislative mandate to provide Massachusetts state and federal public officials in the Judicial, Legislative and Executive branches with legal research assistance in performing their Constitutional duties;

Whereas, because it is a private institution, access to the Library and its collection and services is restricted to its Subscriber-members and Governmental members and is not available to the general public;

Whereas, the Library is a specialty practice resource the collection of which is intended for use by those trained in and engaged in the practice or administration of law and not for use by members of the general public;

Whereas, in order to carry out its statutory mandate successfully, the Library’s limited financial and personnel resources must be devoted to serving its natural constituency, that is, its Subscriber members and its Governmental members;

Whereas, there are Massachusetts public libraries with legal collections of sufficient scope to cover most situations encountered by members of the general public who elect to represent themselves; and

Whereas, there are legal resources within the Library’s collection that are not available in any public Library in Massachusetts;

Now, therefore, the following Policy Governing Non-Member Access and Usage, the intent of which is to clarify and codify the foregoing principles and their application, is promulgated by the Library to become effective on May 1, 2009:

1. General Rule. Non-members will not be granted access to the Library’s premises or use of its collection and resources.

2 .Exceptions to General Rule.

a. Non-attorneys.

1. Pro Se Litigants. Pro se litigants who demonstrate a showing of need for specific resources that are contained in the Library’s collection and that are unavailable at any Massachusetts public library will be issued Courtesy Passes (see Courtesy Passes, § 4, below).

2. Casual Visitors. Members of the general public who do not request admission to the Library’s premises for the purpose of engaging in legal research (e.g., for a tour of the facilities) may be admitted without Courtesy Passes.

3. Academic Researchers. Non-members who request access to the Library’s collection, including rare books and archives and other specific resources that are unavailable at any Massachusetts public library, for the purpose of conducting historical or other academic research will be issued Courtesy Passes.

b. Attorneys.

1. Attorneys Engaged in Research. Non-member attorneys actively engaged in legal research and who demonstrate a showing of need for specific resources that are contained in the Library’s collection and that are unavailable at any Massachusetts public library or law school library at which they have usage privileges will be issued Courtesy Passes (see Courtesy Passes, § 4, below).

2. Casual Visitors. Attorneys who do not request admission to the Library’s premises for the purpose of engaging in legal research (e.g., for a tour of the facilities in contemplation of becoming members, or who are awaiting a scheduled argument or hearing) may be admitted without a Courtesy Pass.

3. Administration.

a. A non-member who requests access to the Library and the use of its collection will be asked to complete a Non-Member Request for Reference Assistance form.

b. If the response to the Non-Member Request for Reference Assistance form identifies specific resources that are contained in the Library’s collection and that are unavailable at any Massachusetts public library (or, in the case of a non-member attorney, at a law school library at which he or she has usage privileges), a Courtesy Pass will be issued.

c. If the response to the Non-Member Request for Reference Assistance form does not identify any specific resources that are contained in the Library’s collection and that are unavailable at any Massachusetts public library (or, in the case of a non-member attorney, at a law school library at which he or she has usage privileges), the non-member will be provided with a copy of the Where to Access Free Legal Materials pamphlet and directed to the nearest library at which the non-member may obtain the desired resource(s).

4.Courtesy Passes

Except in the case of academic researchers, a Courtesy Pass is valid for one calendar day's admission only and cannot be renewed except in exceptional circumstances in the discretion of the Library's Executive Director or his/her delegate. A Courtesy Pass issued to an academic researcher is valid for that period of time upon which the Executive Director or his/her delegate and the researcher agree to be reasonably necessary for the completion of the research and may be renewed if additional time is shown to be required. Contact the membership department at members@socialaw.com or 617-226-1530 for more information and to secure an application for the one-day only courtesy pass. See full Courtesy Pass Policy.