Courthouse History Occupants New Library Photos and Drawings Team and Progress Project Overview Press Releases and News Stories

The New Social Law Library (Social Law At Large, Oct. 1999)
See 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.

Reduce 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.

Increase 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.

A 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.


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