Nearly 70 Harvard Law School students gathered in a Langdell classroom last night to hear administrators address student concerns over the proposed renovation of Langdell Law Library.
The renovations, which are scheduled to begin this June, will cause the library to be closed for 15 months, with at least 10 percent of the library's 1.8 million books unavailable to students during that time.
Dean of the Law School Robert C. Clark said he decided to hold the discussion with students yesterday because he "felt the best way to deal with all the issues was to hold a direct discussion."
Clark said student concerns encompass five areas: access to the collection, availability of study space, scheduling issues, impact on academic work and impact on other Law School functions.
Clark reasserted the previously stated administrative position that the renovations would not greatly affect student research. He emphasized that only extremely specialized fields of research will be affected by the renovations, as 90 percent of the library's collection will still be accessible to students.
"Actual loss from this [renovation] is not significant," Clark said.
During the renovations, Pound Hall will serve as the temporary library for the Law School. "We will move a core set of books, roughly the collection in the [Langdell Library] Reading Room to [Pound Hall]," Clark said.
Part of the library's collection will be transferred to the Harvard Depository and will be available upon request. Students will also have access to books from non-Harvard libraries that are members of the New England Law Library Consortium at no extra cost.
In addition, Clark said improved access to the Local Area Network will place more legal resources online for the students to use.
In addressing the issue of the availability of study space for stu-
Currently, classrooms are either not is useduring the evening or are rented out toorganizations such as the Harvard ExtensionSchool. In reference to the renting of classrooms,Clark said that if study space becomes a problem,"We can clearly just refrain from doing that."
Clark also suggested a "redoing of HarknessCommons to make it into a study area and improvethe dining space."
One student asked during the discussion why,since up to 90 percent of the collection would bemade available during the renovations, the other10 percent could not be accommodated as well.
"I don't understand why there isn't somecubicle of storage somewhere in Boston where [thebooks] can be stored [so that students can accessthem]," he said.
Harry S. Martin, head librarian at Langdell,said in response, "We don't want to find a cheapfarmhouse in New Hampshire to store thesematerials. These are very valuable books."