Ultra Vires


SNAILS? In My Library?

How many are too many?

Students (may or may not include SNAILS) study in the colloquial Fishbowl of the Bora Laskin Law Library. Credit: Jacqueline Huang

You’ve noticed it, haven’t you? The library is busy…too busy. Surely these cannot all be highly motivated 1Ls diligently completing yet another Legal Research and Writing assignment. No, the SNAILS are back. That must be it. If you aren’t familiar, SNAILS (students not actually in law school) is an acronym used by law students to describe non-law students. You may be particularly shocked if, like me, your introduction to the Bora Laskin Law Library was in its fob-protected state. 

A friend of mine put it well, noting that she didn’t mind the occasional SNAIL in the library. After all, who among us hasn’t snuck in a friend every now and then? With that said, this becomes an issue when law students begin to have trouble finding study spaces in the law library. With the law building relatively isolated from other library options, law students’ need for a dedicated, available space is understandable.

Regardless, I was content to take the high road, or at least to keep my SNAIL-related grumbling to a minimum. That is, until I heard a rumour that SNAILS were booking study rooms. If non-law students were hoarding these already limited resources, the high road was no longer an option. I mean, there is no way they would be using them as intended: to show off one’s wit with a clever booking name. 

So, I did what any good journalist would do: I investigated. I recruited a semi-confused SNAIL to try booking a study room in the law library. Time after time, they received the same bold, beautiful response to their efforts: “The resource is not available for the selected date.” 

With mixed emotions, I parted ways with the SNAIL. On the one hand it would seem our precious study rooms are safe. On the other hand, it makes it difficult to hit the 500 words I promised for this article.

While my main gripe may be moot, I think it’s fair to say that SNAILS lurking in the library really aren’t fair to us law students. Not (entirely) because we’re snobs, but because, logistically speaking, there’s a clear need for a law student dedicated space. So while I don’t mind the occasional SNAIL, as long as they aren’t doing math, an escargatoire (a large number of snails) is simply too much. 

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