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National Library Week: Law Library at Syracuse University

National Library Week: College of Law Library at Syracuse University

Tucked away on the far side of the Dome, Dineen Hall is home to the Syracuse University College of Law. Dineen Hall also holds one of the better-kept secrets on the Syracuse University campus – the College of Law Library.

The Physical Space of the Law Library

Stepping inside the College of Law Library, the warmth of the space, with its natural wood and windows, is striking. Equally striking is its near-silence. The demanding environment and workload of law school mean that the students here are intensely focused.

Study spaces include the main reading room, individual study carrels on the first and second floors, small group study rooms, and a classroom for library instruction. Particularly during exam seasons, when the library stays open for Law students 24-hours, the College of Law Library is a busy place.

The College of Law Library Reading Room
The College of Law Library Reading Room

Library Resources for Law Students

The College of Law Library holds the unique resources needed for studying and practicing law. Books here include a wide variety of law reviews and journals published by law schools, as well as more traditional books.

Like the other Syracuse University libraries, the College of Law Library uses the Library of Congress classification system. However, reflecting the specialized subject matter, the vast majority of the books here fall under the K class – Law.

Law books provide another striking image when browsing the shelves. As you can imagine, there is a lot of information here, and it’s no small feat to keep resources current. Some titles have well over 50 volumes!

In between new volumes, updates and supplemental content are printed in “pocket parts,” which the library receives regularly. These booklets are then inserted inside the back covers of the books by tireless technical services staff and student employees.

West’s New York Digest vols. 21J-23C
West’s New York Digest vols. 21J-23C

Print vs. Digital Resources at the Law Library

“Why not just publish everything online and stop worrying about keeping up with the print?” you may ask. Don’t worry, governments and publishers do publish updates digitally. But in the realm of law, print is not dead yet. Legal scholarship, the research and analysis conducted by the students and faculty at the College of Law, requires that citations be to the authoritative version – print.

Additionally, the College of Law Library is a U.S. Government documents repository, so publications issued by the U.S. government also end up here.

The Team of Librarians

The team of reference librarians at the College of Law Library help students, faculty, and even local lawyers keep things straight. Like reference librarians everywhere, they can help researchers clarify their questions, find sources, and cite their work correctly. In addition, they are familiar with the unique resources of the legal field. Behind-the-scenes, the Technical Services, Acquisitions, and Cataloging departments keep the books on the shelves and the listings in the catalog up-to-date.

Study Rooms on the Second Floor of Dineen Hall
Study Rooms on the Second Floor of Dineen Hall

Visiting the College of Law Library

While the College of Law Library is open to the broader Syracuse University community weekdays 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., users should be aware and respectful of its work environment. That said, Dineen Hall in general and the College of Law Library in particular are hidden gems of the Syracuse University campus, and are definitely worth a visit.

This article barely scratches the surface of everything that goes on there; so you should trek over to Dineen Hall, see the beautiful College of Law Library for yourself, and say hi to one (or more) of the librarians.