October 09, 2007
Let There Be Light!
A late-night e-mail is sent by the Dean to the entire student body outlining various administrative matters having to do with a grand plan to revamp the Law School’s lighting. Buried somewhere near the end of paragraph two is the mention that the beloved Reading Room is slated to be closed for a full semester – the final semester for about 250 law students who will thereafter never again have the pleasure of sitting on uncomfortable wooden chairs while trying to make out the text of the case book before them in the green lamplight. Despite the strong cloak-and-dagger undertones of the e-mail, we’re fully behind the Dean’s plan to close up shop for renovations, for the same reason some are troubled: the Reading Room is one of the most visible and visited features of the Law School, and having it look and feel its best for years to come is worth the inconvenience of having to find another place to study for a few months.
When it comes right down to it, we all know that denizens of the Reading Room are almost all undergrads or those looking to pick up undergrads (surprisingly similar to Rick’s in that respect, and in the interests of keeping that the only similarity we shouldn’t let the lighting level stay at the Rick’s norm). Yes, the average law student may occasionally go there to do some serious studying once in awhile, but face it – the “halls of knowledge” schtick wears off after the first few months of law school, and the belabored law student is in search of three things: comfortable chairs in which to sit for hours on end, a quiet atmosphere in which to zoom through pages of reading without needless interruption by cadres of giggling undergrads, and good light by which to read so as to minimize the deleterious effect law school is already having on our collective vision. None of those is currently available in the Reading Room. At least after these renovations, one of them will be.
Granted, for those who seriously rely on the Law Quad as primary studying grounds, quarters are bound to get a little tight in the Subs. But maybe it was time to branch out anyway – the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library is just across South University and boasts individual carols with doors that actually close (though the efficacy of the noise barriers created by said doors is another matter). In addition, Weill Hall, our new neighbor to the south, boasts a nice little reading room of its own, on the third floor, which we’re sure they’d absolutely hate to see law students begin to occupy – but don’t tell us they won’t feel free to avail themselves of the newly refurbished Reading Room once it’s done. And, of course, if you’re still looking to troll for undergrads, you might try either the reading room at Hatcher, one of the reading rooms in the Union, or else the old standby – the Shapiro Undergrad Library, just across the street.
Of course, the most important piece of this cost-benefit analysis is still a little uncertain: will the new lighting scheme actually make any difference to the quality of life in the Reading Room? While it’s impossible to know for sure, we have confidence that the beneficial effects of the renovations will prove at least enough to outweigh the minor inconveniences posed by a semester of construction.