The Case Western Reserve University School of Law's library has gone from being largely a "warehouse for books" to a place where students enjoy coming to read, study, and learn from each other.
The library recently completed a $5.5 million renovation designed to create more open space and make it more inviting to students. It has also been renamed the Judge Ben C. Green Law Library in honor of a $2 million gift from the family of the late Judge Ben C. Green, a 1930 graduate of the law school and distinguished federal judge.
Gerald Korngold, dean and McCurdy Professor of Law, said, "The renovated library provides our students with a state-of-the-art facility for research and learning, and represents a substantial enhancement to our students' educational experience. We are especially grateful to the Green family for the generous gift that made this project possible."
Kathleen Carrick, library director, said "When it was originally built the library was meant to be a warehouse for books and was not particularly user-friendly. Since then libraries have evolved to be places where students should want to come and exchange ideas. That's what we've tried to accomplish with this renovation."
Among the physical changes to the library have been:
The library's volume count remains the same as before the renovation at 301,659, said Rob Myers, manager of serials and collections access. Of that total, 75,686 are in an off-site storage facility. "These volumes are still accessible to our students and can be retrieved with a couple of days' notice," Myers said. "In addition, we have 100,174 volume equivalents in microfiche. The microfiche collection was consolidated and relocated to new built-in cabinets within the law library as part of the renovation."
Students like the changes. "I think it looks very nice. It's much more user-friendly," said Carin Cozza, a third-year student. "The study rooms are definitely a wonderful addition."
Mark Pavkov, a second-year student, said, "It's definitely a lot better than what we had previously. It's a lot easier to meet for study groups, and the computer labs are a lot easier to use."
In addition to the physical changes, Carrick said, the law librarians are taking a more active role in helping students understand how to make best use of the library's resources. Three librarians are instructors in the law school's CaseArc Integrated Lawyering Skills program, the law school's ground-breaking program for integrating legal theory and lawyering skills.
The law librarians have also introduced "Personal Research Consultations," a program of one-on-one meetings for students, in which librarians show students how to locate resources for specific topics or projects.
The renovation is the first major enhancement to the library since 1971, when the law school's current home was built. "It was time to bring the library into the 21st century," Carrick said. "We're very proud of what we've accomplished with this project."
Case Western Reserve University is committed to the free exchange of ideas, reasoned debate and intellectual dialogue. Speakers and scholars with a diversity of opinions and perspectives are invited to the campus to provide the community with important points of view, some of which may be deemed controversial. The views and opinions of those invited to speak on the campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.