Library Hours: Jan 12 - May 4: 8am - Midnight

Study Carrels

What is a carrel?

noun, a small cubicle with a desk for the use of a reader or student in a library.
(historical) a small enclosure or study in a cloister.
ORIGIN late 16th cent.: apparently related to carol in the old sense ‘ring’.

More than just seating...

At the Law Library, carrels are small wooden enclosures with desks, shelves, and electrical outlets where you can sit and study, but they are also a place where you can have law library books delivered. If you sign up (at the Circulation Desk on Sub-2) to have a carrel assigned to you, then when you use the online "Request Item" feature in the Law Library's catalog, the books you request will be delivered to your assigned carrel. Otherwise those books end up at the "hold shelf" behind the Circulation Desk.

Signing up for a carrel is also a good idea if you will need to use the same pile of books for an extended period of time. Unless another library user submits a "recall" request for one of your checked-out books, books in your carrel will be left there until their due date. Books left out anywhere else except in carrels will be reshelved by library staff.

Sign me up!

To apply for a carrel submit an applicationPDF Document opens in new window at the Circulation Desk on S-2 at which time you will be assigned a carrel. At the end of the semester, you will be given an opportunity to extend the expiration date via email. However, if by mid-semester you find that you no longer need the carrel, please return all books to the Circulation desk, notify the desk staff, and clear the carrel of printouts.

Please note that an assigned carrel is not intended as a reserved place for you to sit and study in the Library. Other Library users are encouraged to sit in any vacant carrel to study. And as the need arises, another patron may be assigned to share the shelves (designated A and B) in the carrel.


The law library has 529 seats available in the underground building including study tables, comfortable lounge chairs and couches, seats along the window wells, and 222 study carrels.

It is important that the law library to be a quiet and comfortable place for you to study. Library staff are being extra vigilant about enforcing our access policy, and trying to make sure that only law students, attorneys, and other patrons with legal research needs are using the library. We are encouraging students from other U-M schools to use other libraries on campus as places to study.

Plugging In

The seats along the window wells all have electrical outlets, as do all the carrels. If you need an Ethernet jack, there are two available on Sub-1. For more information, and to borrow an Ethernet cable, ask at the Reference Desk on Sub-1.

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