Using the Law Library’s Working Spaces

By | 14 October 2019

As many new students will have seen over the last few weeks, the Bodleian Law Library is far bigger than it perhaps looks at first sight. The tours offered by Law Bod staff are a great way to get an overview of the library, but now that term has started and work is piling up this blog will help guide new students (and perhaps returners who need a refresher) around the Law library, pointing out different work spaces in the library, how to use them and how to book them if necessary.

We’ll start on the ground floor – which is two floors down from the entrance level – and work our way up. The ground floor of the Law library is known for its rolling stacks, so it can be a little bit of a maze! However this floor also houses three discussion rooms that seat between 3 and 6 people. These can be used for a variety of group projects, with all the discussion rooms including a whiteboard, and two of them including a 55” TV which can be connected to personal computers or set up for video conferencing with equipment such as HDMI cables available from the Enquiry Desk.  The discussion rooms need to be booked in advance, and this can be done by first going to the booking site and then speaking to staff on the Enquiry Desk. There is also a height adjustable desk next to Discussion Room 1, which can either be raised to standing height or lowered to suit your personal preference.

Discussion Room 2

Next on the ground floor we have two IT rooms, the IT Training Room which has 24 computers and the Small Computer Room which has 7 computers, these cannot be booked but students are more than welcome to use them when they are not in use by a class. These computers can be useful when you need to be on a Bodleian computer to access certain material (such as electronic legal deposit materials – but more on that in a future blog!)

Ground floor desks

Finally, the Graduate Reading Room is located on the ground floor, a room solely for post graduate students with desks, plugs sockets, a whiteboard and soft seating inside. However currently because of the roof project, the Graduate Reading Room is being used by Law Bod staff whose offices have been affected by the work, for more information on the roof project click here, and keep an eye out on this blog, your emails and the Law Bod’s noticeboards for any updates as to when this room will be available to graduates again. There are also a number of small work desks dotted around on the ground floor which can be a great place to get your head down and focus, especially if the building work upstairs is getting overwhelming. These also tend to be the coolest spot in the library due to their proximity to the windows on the ground floor!

Moving upstairs on the first floor we have the Seminar Room which seats up to 24 people and is available to book in the same way as our Discussion Rooms, by going online and speaking to staff at the Enquiry Desk. The first floor also has a large amount of desk space which you can see as you walk through the glass doors, these are a great change of scene if you are bored with the main reading room or need a quieter space to focus on your work. There is also one smaller desk at the back of the first floor that would be a perfect spot to squirrel yourself away for a day of hard work with some of our all important reserve books (but shhh don’t tell anyone!)

One of our bookable carrels

Level two (where you enter the Law Bod) is themain reading room when the majority of desks are found. Currently interspersed between them are some lovely bright yellow scaffolding poles being used to hold up our temporary ceiling, the project is due to finish in April which should leave us with a bright shiny (and more importantly – ventilated) new roof, but for the time being we must make do with the scaffolding. These desks are brilliant if seeing other people working helps motivate you or if working (silently) with a few course mates is an appealing study method for you.

We also have numerous reserved researchers desks hidden away the other side of the shelves for use by post graduate researchers only. These desks are allocated to specific people, so if you don’t see your name there it’s not for you sadly. One of the perks of these desks is that they are the only place in the library that you can reserve books to, which you can do so by filling in a slip and then bringing the book to the Enquiry Desk where the staff members will process the book for you.

Lone first floor desk surrounded by foreign law reports and legislation

The second floor is also home to our photocopying room, a very self-explanatory room with three PCAS machines inside. Lastly the second floor is the Just In Corner where our new journals display lives with some comfy, less formal seats for catching up on the latest edition of The Times or The Guardian in a study break.

Finally, the third floor houses one bookable carrel and two walk in carrels, equipped with two desks and some with one Bodleian library computer. These are designed to help researchers access our electronic legal deposit materials, while still providing space for personal laptops, texts or other materials. These are able to be booked in the same way as our other bookable spaces. We also have two height adjustable desks on the third floor, which similarly to the one on the ground floor they can be set so that they are the most comfortable for you.

So there you have it, all of the working spaces available in the Bodleian Law Library in a short and handy guide. Fingers crossed this helps you find the best working environment for you in the Law Bod, but be sure to follow our Twitter, Instagram or have a look on our notice board where you should find all the information you need to know, and if that’s not enough then our friendly staff members on the Enquiry Desk will be more than happy to answer your questions.

Main reading room featuring scaffolding