Charlotte School of Law Library
2008 was an exciting second year for the Charlotte School of Law Library. After two years in our temporary location we began construction on a new building, obtained provisional ABA accreditation, and nearly doubled our student body.
Our temporary location, a gorgeous Georgian edifice in the historic Dilworth neighborhood in Charlotte, was beloved by students, faculty and staff but the drawbacks were mounting. The collection was spread across three different buildings, study rooms were an increasingly valuable commodity as our student body increased, and noise was growing.
In early 2008 construction began on our new building in west Charlotte’s Bryant Park neighborhood. With the Charlotte skyline looming in the background I remember looking skeptically at the barren construction site. Our new building is not on Google Maps or Live Search Maps, but this is what the location used to look like.
The new building includes:
An entire 20,000+ sq ft second floor dedicated to the library. This space includes seating for our entire growing student body, 11 study rooms, a larger computer lab, a library classroom and a great view.
Office and cubicle space for all staff with additional room for expansion.
Display space. There is a hallway of shelves and glass display cases for rotating displays and glass cases greeting guests at the elevator.
Technology and the Library
IT worked closely with the library to design a building that seamlessly yet subtlety integrates technology into the space. Our goal was to resist the use of technology for the sake of technology and to make sure that each element had a clear purpose. Technology in the new library space includes:
Flat screen monitors scattered throughout the library. A powerpoint continuously cycles and displays information on both library and school events. Feedback from students on these displays have been positive and it a great alternative to print flyers that often are easily ignored.
A security badge system makes student and public access to the library easy to control. Each student ID card also controls elevator and door access to the library and allows the library to allow access to the public while still keeping the facility secure.
Wireless Internet is available for students throughout the library. With a laptop requirement policy this is heavily used by students. Additionally there are eight computers available for the public and a 20 seat computer lab for students. In spring 2009 IT introduced wireless student printing from laptops.
Library Classroom. The classroom, currently under construction, will include student microphones at each seat, projector/mircrophone/computer for instructors and wireless Internet access.
Schultze Construction, LS3P Associates (architects), and AI Design (interior architecture) designed and built the project.
Tom Hemstock is reference librarian and adjunct professor at Charlotte School of Law in North Carolina.