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Tuesday, October 26, 2004

The 24/7 Law School

Open_24_hoursI recently blogged about our upcoming symposium on The Next Generation of Law School Rankings to be held on April 15, 2005 at Indiana-Bloomington. In the meantime, the latest rankings of law school libraries in the National Jurist caught my eye. The magazine ranks the nation's 183 law libraries by number of volumes, titles, and serial subscriptions; ratio of library study capacity and professional librarians to student enrollment; and number of hours open per week. In the final category, five law schools claim that their law libraries are open 168 hours per week, which translates into 24 hours, 7 days per week:

• Penn State
• South Dakota
• Villanova
• Washington & Lee
• William & Mary
One wonders whether this self-reported data is accurate (what does "open" mean?) and, if it is, whether the five schools will start publicizing that they are the only ones offering students the ability to study law 24/7. Or perhaps the City University of New York will start publicizing itself as "The Slacker Law School" -- its library is open the least number of hours (61 hours per week) of any law library in the country!

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Comments

I don't know about these rankings. Washington University in St. Louis's Library is open 24/7 if you're a student with an ID card that allows you access. But, I guess these things are all variable.

Posted by: Omar | Oct 26, 2004 6:01:14 AM

W&M and W&L's libraries are also open 24/7 to students with valid IDs. As far as W&M, circulation closes around 10 or 11 PM on weeknights and around 7 or 8 on weekends. So while the full services of the library are not actually available 24/7, what's remarkable is that the libraries at these schools are actually completely turned over to the students at the end of the librarians' day. This works at these schools because they are small and, more importantly, they abide by the strict and completely student-administered honor code that harkens back to the planter aristocracy days when a man's word was his bond in life. A midnight stroll around the library at W&M would reveal books and notes left out in the open in carrels and on tables, reserve materials left in a classmate's carrel to be returned the next day, and even a few unattended laptops. The LEXIS and WESTLAW terminals are accessible as are the computers in the lab and those strewn around the first floor. In any case, it's nice knowing you can stay as late or come in as early as you want, or put off that cite check until the very last minute, knowing you can pull an all-nighter to finish it up if need be.

Posted by: Andy Fox | Oct 27, 2004 6:04:11 AM