Loving the Law Library

April 30, 2014

G.H., 1L

A law student’s typical day includes class, coffee, and reading. And, if you’re like the majority of YLS students, your day also involves a trip to the library. And while some might equate “law library” with a musty, dark space filled with dense casebooks, time spent at the Lillian B. Goldman Law Library is a treat for Yale students. The library itself is a beautiful space, with enormous stained-glass windows surrounding you as you walk in to the main entrance. It is also a diverse space, where everyone can find a productive place to study. The second floor, for example, has individual computers with 27-inch screens, while the third floor has mostly large communal tables. The fourth and fifth floors are mostly divided into individual carrels. No matter your study style, there is a place for you at the law library.

When I arrived at YLS, I was shocked by the volume of materials the law library had. The collection of media is staggering—between the Law Library and the Sterling Library, there are millions of volumes to sort through. And, if you can’t find a book at Yale or through an inter-library loan, the library will purchase it for you! In addition to academic resources, the library also has an impressive collection of DVDs and other non-scholarly items. Students can check out electronic chargers, board games, and even umbrellas on a rainy day!

But it’s not just the tangible items the library has on hand that make it so valuable for students. The librarians themselves are always friendly and ready to help. This past Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was the day before the spring semester started at the Law School. Though the circulation desk at the library was technically closed, students begged the librarians to staff the desk, in order to check out course materials. Amazingly, the librarians found a way to make it happen, and students went into their first days of class more prepared than they would have been otherwise.

The librarians are always available—and excited—to help you delve into your research assignment. During the day, there is always a reference librarian at the Reference Desk, who is responsive by email for quick questions and in person, for those of us who are nearby to pop in. When I met with one of the librarians for a paper I am writing this semester, she had spent a great deal of time preparing for our meeting, supplying me with initial sources and ideas of how to frame my paper. I really appreciated her commitment to my project, and love the opportunity to learn so much about legal research from those who know it best!