Welcome to the 1L class, HLS class of 2018! In a way, we are in the same boat. I am a first year academic law librarian, and I am also new to Harvard Law School life, schedules, pressures, pitfalls, and wonder. I went in to orientation this week not knowing what to expect, who I’d meet, or why I needed to be there — like you — but I came out with a better understanding of the community of HLS, and a little bit of swag.
Here are a few of my early observations about the Library that might help you as you find your way these first few weeks of law school:
- The Library and the librarians are your friends! We want you to succeed, get the materials and answers you need, and have brilliant legal careers. The better prepared you are for the world out there, the better we all are because you can make a difference.
- Wicked smart people staff the Library. From the catalogers behind the scenes you’ll likely never meet, to the Circ Desk staff helping you find the droids you are looking for, to the research librarians teaching you their Jedi database mind tricks, everyone is just plain smart.
- There are lots of places to study in the Library. The Reading Room, of course, is an awesome space, heavy with silence and academic gravitas. But look around! There are some cozy, less intimidating spaces. There is a sunny spot with bean bags you can lounge in (or nap on), table spaces to cooperate with your classmates, comfy chairs along the walls with windows for some day dreaming or quiet reflection.
- Yes, there are lots of books here in the library, but about 70% of our collection of 2 million+ volumes are not here! We store them off site in a depository. If you are browsing the shelf for a particular book, or see some area that is not populated with as much material as you think should be there, use the catalog to find more. Or ask a reference librarian for help finding things. We like answering questions!
Good luck with your classes, your research, your education, and your learning this year.