New Social Law Library (Social Law
At Large, Oct. 1999)
Artist Renderings of the Future Social Law Library
By December 6 th , 2004 the Social Law Library, and shortly thereafter the Supreme Judicial Court and Appeals Court will have moved into newly renovated facilities within
the "Old" Suffolk County Court House in Pemberton Square.
Refurbished to its original nineteenth-century grandeur, this national
historic site will reflect the history and import of the institutions
it will shelter.
Although its architectural integrity will remain true to its past,
its functionality will be rooted in the new millennium. The transformation
of the Old Court House, to be executed by the prominent Boston architectural
firm, CBT/Childs Bertman Tseckares, Inc., and the Massachusetts
Division of Capital Asset Management, will enable the Library to
reshape its resources, services and facilities to meet patron needs
in the new millennium.
Access a Bigger and Better Collection
The new facility will provide over 77,000 linear feet of shelving-more
than twice as much shelving as in the existing Library. This increased
space will enable the Library to maintain a collection that continually
grows to meet new patron needs. Important areas slated for expansion
include foreign law, specialty litigation reporters, business references
sources, and out-of-state practice materials.
Overhead by Lowering Library Costs
Many firm librarians from around the country report that escalating
real estate costs are forcing their firms to jettison books. Although
lamenting the loss of resources and fearing for future repercussions
on the quality of legal research, they recognize the reality that
infrequently used paper resources often cannot be financially justified.
With the Social Law Library's expanded capacity to serve as a central
repository of such infrequently used resources, Boston area firms
will be able to limit their paper collections, and thus their overhead,
without undermining their research abilities.
Research Efficiency with Technological Innovations and Training
State-of-the-art technology will be built into the infrastructure
of the building so that patrons can keep pace with the increasing
complexity of the research process.
New applications and publication formats are continually altering
the practice of law and nature of legal research. Training is essential
to the cost-effective use of new technologies and maintaining a
competitive edge. The newly renovated building will enable the Library
to expand its educational role by providing facilities for on-site
training, as well as long-distance educational programs. A technology
training lab and broadcast capabilities will support the hands-on
training that is essential to mastering new applications and resources.
Place for People, Not Just Books and Computers
Efficient research is only feasible in a physically supportive environment.
Aesthetics and functionality will blend to insure patron comfort
and promote patron efficiency. Reading room space will increase
by almost fifty percent; four thousand net square feet will be allocated
to research and study space. In addition, furniture and equipment
will be ergonomically engineered with the user in mind. Environmental
conditions such as temperature, humidity, acoustics and lighting
will ensure that the facility is both comfortable and conducive
to concentration. Amenities, such as a virtual reference desk, will
further enhance research efficiency. Patrons will no longer have
to go to the reference desk to obtain assistance; they will be able
to contact staff for assistance from wherever they are within the
Library. The new facility will not only provide the most up-to-date
resources and services; it will be user-friendly.