Friday, March 4, 2016
Study hall with view of Trinity College in the background

Story/Photos by Lucianna Ciccocioppo

The freshly renovated Bora Laskin Law Library has reopened for business, and it didn’t take long for law students to stake out their new study spots in the stunning, light-filled Torys Hall.

And as if on cue, the snow fell outside, and photos of the study hall lit up social media with its vast views of Philosopher’s Walk and stately Trinity College pristinely covered in in the white stuff.

“Wow,” says LLM student Helen Holubec. “What I love most is the big window that allows for lots of natural lighting and a nice view. It keeps you from feeling like you’re shut up in a library.”

View looking down staircase from law library's second floor

SJD student Haim Abraham says the space has a natural flow. “To me, it looks like a very inviting place to study in. The view from the main reading area is especially charming.”

“It’s a beautiful space,” says J. Spencer Robinson, 3L, who made library history as the first student to enter. “My favourite aspect of the new library is the primary study hall on the first floor. The natural light, the air quality and the furniture all are excellent, especially in comparison to the Birge Carnegie reading room.”

Law student Spencer Robinson by the reference desk after entering the library

Spencer Robinson was the first student to enter the renovated Bora Laskin Law Library.

During construction, the Laskin Library and most of the classes for the Faculty of Law relocated to Victoria University. Many law books were available in the chapel and basement that make up Birge Carnegie, while others were housed in stacks on the 13th floor of Robarts Library, and some were packed off to the Downsview storage facility, where they were retrievable upon request.

Chief Librarian Gian Medves says staff worked together almost around the clock on the weekend before the official opening on February 22nd. While it turned out to be a smooth transition, Medves asks for continued patience and understanding with the minor hiccups that still need to be resolved, as to be expected after such an extensive renovation and rebuild.

“The library staff spent significant time planning, mapping and organizing the move and placement of the collection,” says Medves. “We are running as a full service library again and it feels great. Everyone here is energized, and many have quickly unpacked and personalized their new offices.”  

Carrels in the library

Susan Barker, digital services and reference librarian, was one of them--her boxes put away, and her bookshelves full. “I love the sense of serenity that I feel when I walk through the library. It will be a calm place and very conducive to work and study.”

While the study hall windows and views continue to draw positive reactions, an elongated reference desk, easier access to collections and a variety of study and collaborative rooms also welcomed law students in their new library. The details did not go unnoticed, says graduate student Abraham.

“What I love the most about the new library is its all-gender washrooms. It gives a sense of inclusiveness and progress that I have yet to encounter in any other university. It made me proud of U of T Law.”