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Editorial Notebook

The Country Club of Libraries

By Adam S. Hickey

Three cheers to the Law School for putting out an uncharacteristically warm welcome mat at the door of--or at least for not barring the gates to--its opulent library.

Known nationwide as the bottom of the barrel when it comes to quality of life, student apathy and antipathy between administration and students (see the attendance policy revision flap), Harvard Law School (HLS) is not an institution prone toward making concessions to any students--its own or others. Hence, it is a pleasant surprise to find undergraduates welcomed, or at least tolerated, as we flock to the spacious Langdell Law Library.

I would think Law School students and staff would want to maintain a country club level of exclusivity. After all, what good is bourgeois excess without a restriction on who has access to it? At a minimum, I'd expect a few dirty looks from scholars of the law for defiling their (plentiful) research computers by checking my e-mail.

If they were really aggressive, library administrators could alter the turnstile key card access system to reject all ID cards from the College. But so far, all lights are green and any contact I've had with the staff, whether to ask for resources or simply for directions in the four-floor library, has been pleasant.

Perhaps this is because there are precious few Law School students at the library, leaving plenty of oversized mahogany study carrels for us. Combined with the bright--but not glaring--fluorescent lighting, a habitable air temperature and well-cushioned chairs, they make Langdell more than a studying session--it's an experience in luxury, the Upstairs at the Pudding for the brain.

My only complaint: non-HLS students cannot yet obtain an account on the library printing network, but I am assured by Langdell staff that this will change in due time.

If you haven't studied at Club HLS since the end of its renovations earlier this year, you may not understand why I laud it so. Perhaps it's time for you to abandon the barren cubbies of Lamont, the dingy carpet of Hilles and the cages of the Widener stacks for a study environment worthy of a Harvard student's tastes. It's worth the walk, and it may very well alter your choice of graduate schools.

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