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A Welcome Change

  • The Wolf Law Library
    The Wolf Law Library
    Expansive windows on the east side of the Wolf Law Library building, and skylights throughout the space, allow for extensive natural light.
    Photo by Stephen Salpukas

Just because William & Mary is home to the oldest law school in the nation does not mean that it should have an old law library. Built in 1980, the law library had become cramped and technologically outdated to the point that it was beginning to draw concern from the American Bar Association, the accrediting body of the Law School.

In 2005, a project began that transformed the library by introducing new technology, making the area more comfortable and adding 56 percent more space for a total of 57,100 square feet. The Wolf Law Library — named for Dixie and Hank Wolf ’64, J.D. ’66, who made a generous gift in support of the project — was completed in summer 2007, coming in under its $16.8 million budget.

In addition to the increased space, the Wolf Law Library boasts additional study and research areas with first and second floor reading rooms, individual carrels and a rare books room. Architecturally, the library’s expansive windows on the east side of the building, and skylights throughout the space, allow for extensive natural light.

Every table and carrel in the renovated library is wired and a wireless network is accessible from anywhere in the facility.

“It’s comfortable. There are enough seats for everybody. You don’t have to feel cramped and really you can go wherever you want,” says law student Kristen Clardy. “You can stay on the main floor if you don’t mind a little bit of noise with the reference desk and the circulation desk, or you can escape to some corners of the library if you need absolute quiet all the time. So, it’s been a really nice, comforting change to be able to spend as many hours as we do in such a nice, pretty place.”

Mindy Reuben J.D. ’08 has seen the library transformed as the construction progressed. She thinks the library will now help draw potential students to the school instead of turning them away.

“It was a detraction, but now it definitely is an attraction for the school,” she said.