Featured LLNE Library: The Moakley Law Library at Suffolk University Law School

Location, location, location

The Moakley Law Library is a gem in the heart of Boston. If you ever find yourself strolling down the Boston Common near the Park Street T stop, look up! You’ll see Sargent Hall – a curved building, right beside the Orpheum Theatre. The Moakley Law Library is right at the tippity-top, on the sixth and seventh floors. The views are breathtaking – especially at sunset. From most windows that face Tremont Street, you can marvel at the sparkling gold dome of the State House building, that’s just a 2-minute walk from the law school. In the distance, you can see the Charles River, the Prudential & John Hancock buildings, and the iconic Citgo sign. History buffs adore our location – the law school is directly across from the Granary Burying Ground, where Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, John Hancock, James Otis, five victims of the Boston Massacre, including Crispus Attucks, Mother Goose and Benjamin Franklin’s parents lay at rest. From the imposing white tower church bell to the changing of the seasons, Suffolk’s views are one of a kind, especially at sunset.

The People

Speaking of one of a kind, let’s talk about the Moakley Law Library’s staff. They are a collaborative team of experts in their respective areas who inspire, encourage and support each other daily to provide the highest level of support to the law school community. In addition to the director of the law library & associate professor of legal research, and the assistant director for public services, there are four legal research librarians and seven other law library admin and staff members. Some of the legal research librarians wrote an AALL Spectrum article together, highlighting the innovative trainings they offer to law students that are about to begin first year summer internships.

Student Outreach & Resources

Mindful of diverse studying habits, we devised a plan to arrange the law library space into a welcoming environment for all. Students can decide if they want quiet studying, collaborative interactions, or even low tone videoconferencing. There are also many large and small study rooms for students who want a more private environment for studying and collaborating. Both day and evening students are at the core of our services. The librarians launched a quarterly law student e-newsletter to promote library services, legal research instruction, new resources, a funtivity, and more. To foster community year-round, the law library designed outreach activities such as a kindness mural, where students write positive or encouraging messages to fellow classmates; a succulents garden, where the plants were named after past justices; and a find-the hidden-object game with a law theme.

Building Community

The law library is always looking for ways to support the law school community and bring people together. We recently transformed a seldom used elevator lobby on the 7th floor and are excited to launch our very first gallery exhibit to celebrate Suffolk Law history and pride. The exhibit includes two interactive elements and lots of really cool archival photos of Suffolk Law from its inception at the beginning of the 1900s – thru the 1980s.

Faculty Services

The Suffolk Law faculty are prolific scholars. The Moakley Law Library designed a faculty library liaison program to assign a legal research librarian to each full-time faculty member to help ensure that they get the customized support they need for all their scholarly and teaching endeavors. The law library also helps ensure faculty success by working with the Vice Dean of the law school to play a leading role in managing the paid Faculty Research Assistant program, which allows law students the opportunity to work alongside law faculty on significant research projects and writing.

Embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion is a cornerstone of Suffolk Law, which advocates for acceptance and systemic change. This informs its curricular design, making Suffolk Law a national leader in key areas from legal writing to legal technology.

Librarians in the Classroom

Librarians play a significant role in the classroom – teaching two week-long legal research modules every fall, as part of the first-year legal research and writing curriculum, offering 2-credit advanced legal research classes every spring and fall, and visiting upper-level classes to provide trainings and support to students who are working on legal research papers. The law library also offers workshops and trainings – like the Bluebook refresher training that we offer every spring for first-year students who are about to participate in the law review write-on competition.

If you’d like to learn more about the innovative things we’re doing at Suffolk, please don’t hesitate to reach out – we’d love to chat, tell you more, and learn about all the great things your law library is doing too – and we’d be happy to schedule a tour of the law library with you.

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