Series: Library Renovations • Et. Seq: The Harvard Law School Library Blog

Library Renovation

We completed the first phase of renovation in Langdell Hall. The library team vacated two floors of Areeda Hall (about 5,000 square feet), and are at the tail end of consolidating our collection from Lewis Hall into Langdell. As a result of these consolidations, we made some changes to the 2nd and 3rd floors of Langdell.

What is new?

Private Talking Spaces

In the elevator lobby on 3, we encourage you to use our private talking spaces. After testing a prototype last year, we learned that private talking spaces met a critical need of a private place to take and make calls. We encourage you to step inside and take that call from a potential employer, or check in with your family and friends.

Printers, scanners and database terminals
Opposite the Private Talking Spaces you will find a dedicated room for the library’s book scanners, database terminals, and printer/copier/scanners connected to Papercut.

Research assistance & educational technology
Ever have trouble finding a librarian or members of our TLC (educational technology) staff? They’ve moved to the 3rd floor. In our new Reference/TLC space, you can meet with our team of librarians and staff – experts in using technology for teaching and learning and in finding and using legal and non-legal information for academic and practice purposes. We encourage to meet with a librarian about your research needs and to hone your legal research skills in formal and informal workshops.

Study space
You will also find four large study rooms available for student use after 5pm. Our three group study rooms are available for reservation in the HLS room booking system. Our largest conference room, previously unavailable and located on the 5th floor of Areeda, now Langdell 394, is open after 5pm and offers another space to study or work collaboratively. This room cannot be reserved.

The 3rd floor also offers study carrels on 3N, tables and soft seating on 3S, and small tables for study or playing chess along the balcony.

Food Policy
We have revised our food policy to accommodate those who need sustenance, but don’t want to pull away from their work. Please enjoy a snack and drinks (in lidded containers) in the library. We still prohibit full meals (and odiferous foods) from the library. So head over to the Hark for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Taking a study break is necessary for effective learning.

But what about….

Study space? This summer’s renovation was the first phase, in response to space needs, of making improvements to the library. Next summer, we will launch a second renovation to improve the space on Langdell 2.

We hope to offer maximum flexibility to the space while providing a variety of types of spaces for study and learning. Over the last two years we’ve sought input from students on their ideal library – and we are using that feedback to inform our decisions. While we won’t make everyone 100% happy, we strive to provide maximum access to our space, our resources and our expert staff.

If you have any questions, comments, ideas, or concerns please let me know. You can reach me at Or swing by my office – Langdell 285. I welcome the opportunity to talk with you about space, learning, research, and how the library can be a partner in your success.

Renovations update and photos

We promised you a peek at an architectural rendering of the spaces we are renovating (see here for an overview and FAQ). Here’s a rendering of a portion of the 3rd floor south, which will be home to our research librarians, Teaching, Learning, & Curriculum staff, reference collection, and collaboration space.

Rendering of 3 north area

Rendering of 3 south area by Austin Architects

We’ve also got a few photos to share of the construction progress so far. We’ll be sharing these as we get them on our Instagram account going forward, so be sure to follow us there!

First we have some full waste bins. In the middle, a look at the take down of the ceiling in the 2nd floor south. Finally, you can see that the 3rd floor south, which started a week earlier, is further long: the carpet is gone and the pillars have been taken down to just the support beams. Stay tuned for more updates!
Renovation photo of waste bins

Summer Renovations Coming to a Library Near You!

We are improving our spaces to improve our services!

Beginning May 2018, the HLS Library will undergo renovation to bring our Research Services, Teaching, Learning, & Curriculum Solutions, and administrative staff closer to you, our users! Our renovations will occur over two summers, and our renovated spaces will include updated technology in our study rooms; open collaborative spaces; new private talking spaces; and easy access to library experts on the 2nd and 3rd floors of Langdell Hall.

During the Summer of 2018, we will renovate Langdell 3 South and Langdell 2 South. Our second renovation aka Phase 2 will take place during summer 2019 (more about this below).

Here’s our tentative schedule for phase 1:

Friday, May 18: Langdell 3 South will be walled off for the start of the renovation

Friday, May 25: The Lemann Lounge will be walled off for construction immediately after Commencement.

Construction will take place throughout the summer.

October 2018: Research Services and Teaching, Learning, & Curriculum Solutions will move from the fourth and fifth floors of Areeda Hall to the renovated area in Langdell 3 South. The renovated space will include an open, collaborative area and three group study rooms with improved technology.

Library Administration will move from the fifth floor of Areeda Hall to the south side of Langdell 2.

What about the art?

Don’t worry–paintings and sculptures in affected areas will be stored or relocated in the Library to prevent any damage during renovation.

What about noise?

We will do everything we can to minimize the sound and disruption during renovation. However, there is always some disruption and noise. All heavy construction will finish by 10am each day. We’ll have plenty of earplugs available and noise-canceling headphones available for check out at the Circulation Desk on a first-come, first-served basis.

What if it’s still noisy or I have a question or suggestion? 

Please email

What about the Reading Room?

We love the Reading Room just the way it is! No changes are planned.

How do I find a book?

Check our guide to finding items at the HLS Library, which is being updated regularly. If you still can’t find something, just ask.

What about Phase 2?

We will start planning for Phase 2 in late summer. We value your input! Please watch your email, library and student org space bulletin boards, and our lightning lesson table for opportunities to participate in the planning. We’ve done some preliminary research with student groups and can tell you that the area will remain student-focused for study and collaboration. Have thoughts now? Email

How can I stay up to date on what’s happening?

Watch this blog space and our social media for periodic progress reports.

Are you really excited about the renovations?

Yes, we’re super excited about getting more collaborative and modular space that will bring us closer to our community. We can’t wait to welcome you to our new and improved Research Services, TLC, and Library Administration areas in October!

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