Bricks on the Brain

UM Law

Monday, September 13, 2004

UM Law Library NOT Haunted

A 1L wonders if the UM law library is haunted.
I can assure him it is not, for the simple fact that our library has no soul.

The UM law library is uninspiring and reflects poorly on us.

A law library should make an impression on those studying within its halls; inspire the self-doubting, and humble the proud. It ought to live up to all the stereotypes: hardwood floors or lush carpets, hardwood shelves, brass door handles, ornate light fixtures, portraits of prominent alumni, etc..

Our library features industrial carpeting with a pattern that makes you dizzy if you stare at it. The chairs are metal or wood with upholstery from the 70's. Portraits and display cases are strewn about with no apparent rhyme or reason, plaques honoring achievement are cluttered in an elevator bank. Tables are wood or metal with some sort of puke-white countertop material. Bookshelves are metal, painted some sort of hideous green. Oh yes, flourescent lights everywhere--just what eyes that will be studying for hours on end need.

Do we need the pomp and circumstance of a library, like say, Harvard's? There one finds towering portraits, finely crafted busts, rooms dedicated to memoribilia, and study tables with built in chess sets. Well, we don't need those things. But might there not be something to the old addage, "The clothes make the man?" Does not architecture and interior design play a subtle role in how we view ourselves, and how others view us?

Even if we as students have a frugal, utilitarian, and perhaps spartan spirit, who else might be visiting our library and judging us by it? Certainly top law school applicants won't be impressed, and given the complexity of choosing a law school, every little bit in our favor would help. And what about employers who come to campus for OCI? Many of them are alumni of schools with real law libraries--what does ours tend to say about alumni of UM?

Just so there are no misunderstandings, our library is clean, well organized, and the staff is superb. But aesthetically the library here is no different from most affluent high schools, the only difference being that here I fearlessly use the lavatories.


  • At 11:08 AM, Blogger LawFool said…

    I think the whole school looks like a motel (maybe a low-end hotel). "Yes, you'll be staying in room F108. Oh! That's the Egyptian room! Cleopatra will be in to turn down the sheets, if you know what I mean."

  • At 3:36 PM, Blogger some guy said…

    yeah i blogged about the crummy library conditions in one of my first entries and i got a nasty ass comment in response telling me to shut up and ignore the crappy condition because it makes no difference to what i actually learn. nastiness aside, it's probably true...

  • At 4:05 PM, Blogger Bricklayer said…

    It was probably a dean that told you to ignore the conditions of the library. There's a kernel of truth in it though, don't let it distract you.

    There is one decent spot in the library for a 1L to check out. On the first floor behind all of the federal reporters there are some tables that afford a view of the portraits of alumni. As a 1L, I was sitting there when I tried to get through a portion of the Bramblebush assigned by my LRW instructor. Frustrated, my gaze fell upon the portraits. A line from The Paper Chase came to mind, "Who [are they] without me?" At that moment I decided to ditch the Bramblebush and the case-study method. I turned to the Black Letter approach, which proved to be very, very successful for me. (Gives me an idea for a new post)

    I don't sit in that spot anymore. Sometime during the second semester of my 1L year one of the flourescent lights started buzzing. That lasted for weeks without repair so I found a new spot. Fourth floor isn't bad though either, you'll do alright up there.

  • At 3:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    was ditching the case method, and opting for the blackletter approach, really that successful if you're not on law review now?


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