Library Move Causes Frustrations

Maud Rozee (1L)

It didn’t take long for the cracks to appear in the new Bora Laskin Law Library. On the library’s opening day, students discovered an unsealed gap between the walls of the group study rooms on the north side of the ground floor. The gap is an inch and a half wide, and renders the study rooms completely un-soundproof.

According to Interim Chief Librarian Gian Medves, the gap has been classified as a “design deficiency,” which means the gap was planned from the outset. The building construction team is currently working on an aesthetically acceptable way to seal the gaps. The rest of the library’s group study rooms, which are upstairs on the other side of the building, are well-sealed.

Although librarians and students alike appreciate having access to the new space, Medves says the unfinished details are causing frustration. Some desks have outlets that are not connected to the building’s power system. Seven of the building’s twelve group study rooms are not yet open for use. “It’s been this hurry up and wait situation—getting in here quickly and then finding these deficiencies. We feel the students’ frustration,” Medves said.

If the city building inspector grants the school an occupancy permit, the librarians will be able to open up the rest of the library’s upper floor. Medves anticipates that the occupancy permit will also reduce complaints about SNAILS (Students Not Actually In Law School) in the Reading Room—they will be able to study in different parts of the library.

SNAILS aren’t the only intruders causing problems. Facebook threads of amusement and outrage emerged following Medves’ recent email, which chastised students for “attempting to sneak food into the Library” after students alerted library staff to the presence of mice. “I didn’t mean to say that it was necessarily the food that was creating the mouse problem,” Medves said. “I know we’re in a construction zone; there may be ways in for them.”

Students expressed frustrations over the library’s food prohibition on Facebook. “The administration’s job is to REMOVE obstacles to our success…It does not make us feel comfortable to have to smuggle in a f***ing bagel, or stash coffee in a flask every time we walk into the library,” wrote one poster. Despite this recent outrage, former Chief Librarian John Papadopoulos confirmed via email that the law library has always had a no-food policy. It has also always had pests. “In the old library we not only had mice, we had squirrels get in, we had various insects that seemed to thrive in the old space!” Medves said.

Medves recognizes the temptation for students to eat in the library. “Ned’s is across the street, it’s a bit of a hike. I understand that.” He hopes that frustrations about the food policy, like the library’s other problems, will be resolved when the rest of the building is opened, and students have access to food-friendly spaces.

The hasty move into the Bora Laskin Law Library was probably primarily motivated by the administration’s desire to allow students to begin to benefit from the new facilities as early as possible. However, there are rumours that the last class to go through law school during a time of construction (without a dedicated building in the interim) have been much less generous alumni than most classes. The administration’s rush to open the library before the Class of 2016 graduates, and before it was really ready for students, may have been partially motivated by this fact.

The final task to be completed is the placement of the bust of Bora Laskin. “We’ll look to the law school community to decide where we’ll place Bora’s head,” Medves said. “It was quite a focal point in the old building. People would say ‘We’ll meet at Bora’s head!’” Medves hopes they can find a central place for Bora in the new building “so that he remains close and maintains that presence that he had before.”