By Gretel J. Backman
For the Howard W. Hunter Law Library, big windows, better lighting and more room make construction detours a small price to pay.
Completed in November 1996 and dedicated in March 1997, the law library, in the J. Reuben Clark Law Building, is a big help to students.
Gary L. Hill, deputy director of the law library, said they are able to store more materials, as they were out of space before. Where there was only one or two study rooms before, now there are 22 or 23, he said.
“We’re really quite pleased,” Hill said. “This has truly been a blessing.”
Prior to the addition, some faculty members were doubled up in offices. Now the staff has a larger area and is able to be more effective, Hill said.
The study carrels are a tremendous improvement, providing Internet hookups and more cupboard space for law students. Covered with family photos, national flags, calendars and artwork, the carrels provide students with comfort and technology.
There are about 470 carrels, Hill said.
The circulation department was cramped, doing the same things they do now but in one-third the space, said Holly Miwa, circulation manager. Now it’s also more efficient.
There are more study tables, study rooms, and students don’t complain about study space, Miwa said. The four family study rooms upstairs allow students with small children to listen to their classes.
Liz Walbom, a second year law student from Murray, feels the library is more organized, with more space everywhere and more areas with computers.
More computers and Internet access has also kept stress of the computer labs down, Miwa said.
For Scott Brown, a first year law student from Orem, the vaulted ceilings, low bookshelves and large north windows provide a pleasant atmosphere to study.
On the north side, the entire wall of windows looks out on the landscape and mountains, adding natural light. A grand piano stands near the wall of windows and is used for monthly concerts. These concerts are on the first Friday of the month at 3 p.m. and are open to the public.
Having administrative offices on the second floor with vaulted ceilings is a wonderful improvement, said Kaye Peterson, secretary to the dean. It’s more open and is a better use of space than having books there.
A bronze statue of former BYU President Rex E. Lee is on display on the third floor, in addition to four Abraham Lincoln busts depicting various stages of Lincoln’s life. Wooden tables with pop-up electrical outlets and plenty of chairs and couches makes it easier for students to find space to study. Large portraits of Howard W. Hunter, J. Reuben Clark, and Marion G. Romney are on the second floor.
A year after the law library’s completion one might ask, Was the construction chaos worth it?
“It’s well worth it,” Hill said. “We’re sure glad we have it.”