Rendering of the exterior of the library at night

Reimagining the Law Library

The Law School will undertake a multi-year project to renovate—and fully reimagine—the Law Library into a marquee space befitting its place at the nexus of student learning, groundbreaking scholarship, and community life. 

About the Project

Columbia Law School is a world-class educational institution that must provide its students with modern and functional spaces in which to study, convene, and collaborate. The renovation of the Law Library—one of the largest capital investments in the Law School's history—will deliver on that imperative with a total redesign of three floors of Jerome L. Greene Hall, comprising nearly 50,000 square feet in total. Made possible through funds raised during the Campaign for Columbia Law, including a lead gift from alumna Alia Tutor '00, the new space will includes:

  • An open, light-filled design with views across Revson and Ancell Plazas featuring a signature two-story reading room.
  • More than 600 study seats, an increase of over 60 percent over the current library's capacity.
  • Reservable group study rooms of various sizes designed to be flexible and adaptable to evolving law school pedagogy
  • Tastefully appointed furniture, fixtures, and aesthetic details throughout to create a comfortable, well-designed, and beautiful space for all who use it
  • State-of-the-art technology, ample supply of power, and flexible room and seating configurations.
Students sit at long tables next to a bank of windows and beneath a mezzanine.
3rd Level: A Marquee Reading Room
    Students sit on benches outside study rooms and in a lounge area.
    2nd level group study room

    Learn more about the new space.

    How We Got Here: Community Input

    Beginning in 2017, we began to explore the possibility of a large-scale Library renovation and engaged the leading architectural firm Perkins Eastman to facilitate focus groups, conduct benchmark analyses of other academic law libraries, and examine the constraints and opportunities of the building itself. The results of that process were shared with a task force of faculty, students, and administrators—including members of the Law Library staff—which was tasked with gathering input from our community, identifying the most pressing space needs and priorities, and helping to inform possible design directions.

    Stay Connected

    Project updates will be communicated via email, through the Campus in Motion email newsletter, and archived below. If you have questions about the Library renovation, please contact [email protected]. If you would like to report construction-related issues or disruption once work commences, please contact Building Services at [email protected].

    Dear Members of the Law School Community, 

    We write today to provide important information about access to Jerome Greene Hall (JGH), as life safety systems upgrades will commence this week. These changes will begin on Thursday, May 18th, and remain in effect through mid-August

    Building Hours

    JGH will be open to members of the Law School community throughout the summer: from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. As construction commences, there may be periodic changes in access to specific floors within JGH. We will keep the community apprised of any such changes via email.

    Summer Building Entry

    Beginning on Monday, May 22nd, faculty, students, staff, and visitors must access JGH through the 3rd Floor entrance on Revson Plaza. CUID swipe access (except for ADA) will not work at the 116th Street entrance. Entry to JGH via the 3rd floor, where a Public Safety officer will be stationed during the opening hours listed above, will continue to require CUID swipe access or guest registration. Signage will be posted at the 116th Street entrance to provide specific instructions for building entry. Please be sure to direct visitors to the 3rd Floor entrance. 

    Accessible Entrance

    An accessible entrance to JGH will remain available at 116th Street. Members of our community who currently have CUID access to ADA entrances will be provided swipe access to this entrance. If you or a guest has mobility needs that may prevent you from using the 3rd floor entrance, please contact Law School Human Resources (for faculty and staff) or Student Services (for students). Additionally, the Department of Public Safety is available 7 days a week to assist members of the Law School community and their guests with physical access. To arrange assistance, please call 212-854-2797. 

    Library Operations

    All floors of the Law Library will remain open and accessible to patrons throughout the summer. The Law Library summer hours, beginning on Monday, May 15, will be 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., on Saturday and Sunday. 

    Classrooms and Event Spaces

    All classrooms and event spaces in JGH will remain offline and may not be booked for events during the summer. Members of the Law School community seeking space should contact Room Reservations for options in William and June Warren Hall (or elsewhere on campus). 

    8th and 9th Floor Access

    Beginning on Thursday, May 18th, the 8th and 9th Floors of JGH will not be accessible. For faculty and staff with workstations on these floors, please complete the necessary steps to prepare your office according to the instructions you received no later than 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, May 17th. Any required packing tasks that are not completed in your office by May 18th will be completed by our moving contractors.

    Mail and Deliveries

    The Information Center will continue to accept delivery of mail and packages, however mail and drop boxes located on the 1st Floor will not be accessible to the public. During the summer, mail and packages will be periodically delivered to faculty and administrative offices by Information Center staff. Outgoing mail may be placed in the appropriate bin located in the Secretariat (JGH, 7th Floor). 

    In addition, please note that Public Safety is not able to accept food delivery orders on behalf of students, faculty, or staff. Individuals should meet delivery workers outside the 3rd Floor entrance of JGH. 

    We will notify the community again when floors become accessible later this summer. The building diagram below provides a summary of the access by floor. Thank you for your cooperation and forbearance as we complete this critical work. Please continue to visit the Law Library renovation project webpage and feel free to reach out if you have any questions. 

    Best regards,

    Law Library Renovation Working Group


    Map of JGH Floor Access
    This building diagram provides a summary of the access by floor, from mid-May to mid-August 2023.

    March 23, 2023

    A First Look at the Alia Tutor Law Library

    Now that this long-awaited project has commenced, the Law School is also able to share images that capture the aspirations for the layout and design of the Alia Tutor Law Library. Though these renderings are still preliminary, they offer a first look at the extraordinary magnitude of this project, which will completely reimagine more than 50,000 square feet of Jerome L. Greene Hall and create a new landmark for Columbia Law School. 

    See renderings and read the latest update on the project to reimagine the Law Library.

    NOVEMBER 29, 2022

    Looking Ahead: Library Renovation Project

    What Comes Next: The Project Scope and Timeline

    Those who regularly make use of the Library will certainly understand the urgent need for this renovation and will also appreciate the project’s formidable scale. Involving roughly 50,000 square feet of space located within the core Law School’s main academic building, this project is one of the most complex and significant in our history—and in the long history of Columbia’s Morningside campus. 

    The Law Library Renovation Project will be divided into three distinct phases: 

    • Design Development and Pre-Construction (Winter/Spring 2023): Over the next several months, the architects will work to finalize design elements—including seating configurations, technology equipment, furniture, and finishes in consultation with the Library Renovation Steering Committee. During the upcoming winter break, we will begin some preparatory work within the Library to create temporary workspace for the Library staff and begin to remove shelving on the 2nd and 5th floors. 
    • Phase 1: Fire Safety and Building System Upgrades (Summer 2023-Summer 2024): Prior to any renovation work taking place, New York City building code requires that fire sprinklers be installed throughout Jerome Greene Hall and that other building systems be upgraded. Multiple floors and sections of JGH will be temporarily taken offline, in successive phases, for periods of several weeks at a time. The floor-by-floor plan for completing this work is currently being developed and more detailed plans will be shared early in the new year. A plan will be developed with the goal of minimizing inconvenience to occupants of JGH, although some disruption will be unavoidable.
    • Phase 2: Law Library Construction (Fall 2024-Summer 2025): Once the Phase 1 work is completed (expected by the end of Summer 2024), demolition of the existing library space and construction of the new Law Library can commence. While the Library is undergoing renovation, the print collection will continue to be available to students and faculty, though may require additional retrieval time for materials. In addition to the newly acquired space in William and June Warren Hall, the Law School is also planning to make other study spaces available to students, both at the Law School and elsewhere on campus. 

    As we prepare to move forward, a Library Renovation Steering Committee—including faculty, students, librarians, and staff—will convene in December and into the spring to serve as the primary means of gathering input from across the community. At the same time, teams of experts at the Law School and University level are working actively to construct project plans, taking into account the complexity of a project of this scope and its location in the Law School's central academic building. 

    Gillian Lester, Dean and Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law

    "The renovated Law Library will provide much-needed space for quiet and active study, flexibly configured group rooms for team-based learning and collaboration, and state-of-the-art technology. In all, the renovation is expected to increase seating capacity by over 60%. Once completed, the Alia Tutor Law Library will serve as a magnet for students, both current and prospective—a space in which we can all take pride."

    Gillian Lester, Dean and Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law

    Project Phases

    Design Development and Pre-Construction

    Before work can begin, much of the Library's collection needs to be relocated, and temporary work space made available for Library staff to use during the renovation project is underway. 

    Phase 1: Fire Safety and Building System Upgrades

    Before renovation work can begin on the Library itself, New York City building code requires that fire sprinklers be installed throughout Jerome Greene Hall and other building systems be upgraded. This is a major undertaking that is critically important to the building's infrastructure and the safety of its occupants. 

    Phase 2: Law Library Construction

    Once the Phase 1 work is completed, demolition of the existing library space and construction of the new Law Library can commence. 

    Katherine Franke, James L. Dohr Professor of Law
    Kellen Funk, Associate Professor of Law
    Monica Hakimi, William S. Beinecke Professor of Law
    Michael Heller, Lawrence A. Wien Professor of Real Estate Law and Vice Dean for Curriculum
    Conrad Johnson, Clinical Professor of Law
    Gillian Lester, Dean and Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law

    Erin McKissick, JD ‘23
    Celeste Kearney, JD ‘24
    Kiara Luyando Hardi, JD ‘24, Chair of Student Senate IT + Building Committee
    Charles Simonds, JD ‘25
    Andres Latorre, LLM ‘23

    Narine Bournoutian, Systems and Electronic Resources Librarian 
    Julie Godsoe, Editorial Director, Communications, Marketing, and Public Affairs
    Nkonye Iwerebon, Associate Dean, J.D. Admissions 
    Frantz Merine, Chief Information Officer, Information Technology
    Julie Sculli, Assistant Dean, Graduate Degree Programs 
    Rick Turk, Executive Director, Development and Alumni Relations
    Nam Jin Yoon, Reference Librarian and Lecturer in Law
    Jessica Valdes Jimenez, Executive Director of Student Services, Community Engagement, and Equity

    Project Timeline

    Winter/Spring 2023

    Design Development and Pre-Construction

    Summer 2023 - Summer 2024

    Phase 1: Fire Safety and Building System Upgrades in Jerome Greene Hall

    Fall 2024 - Summer 2025

    Phase 2: Law Library Construction

    Fall 2025

    Law Library Renovation Complete

    What to Expect

    The pre-construction phase will begin during the Winter Recess, with work concentrated within the 2nd and 5th floor Library spaces. Existing collections in the affected areas will be removed and new carpet and furniture will be installed. These sections will remain closed through the end of January and are expected to reopen in February 2023 as temporary space to accommodate students and Library staff.

    This work will involve workers erecting temporary protective barriers, removing and relocating furniture, and removing sections of flooring and installing new flooring materials. It is not expected to create excessive noise or disrupt day-to-day access or work of those outside the specific areas affected. 

    After the work is completed on the 2nd and 5th floor Library spaces, we do not anticipate any other significant closures during the spring 2023 semester. Patrons may begin to see library collections relocated during this time and are encouraged to contact Library staff if there is any difficulty locating materials.

    Following University Commencement in May 2023, workers will begin to install sprinklers and upgrade fire safety systems throughout Jerome Greene Hall. This is required by New York City building codes and must take place before the demolition and renovation of the Library space can commence.

    This work will involve workers drilling holes through concrete, installing new sprinkler feeder pipes in building shaftways, and placing sprinkler pipes and heads into ceilings, offices, and common areas. Even though every effort will be made to minimize disruption, this is an inherently noisy project that will significantly unavoidably affect building occupants. Multiple floors and sections of Jerome Greene Hall will be temporarily taken offline in successive phases for periods of several weeks in order to allow this work to be completed. While work is underway, employees in the affected areas will not be able to access their offices or workstations. We will be in close touch with occupants of those floors about the schedule of work, as well as alternative workspaces and other flexible work options.

    Once the Phase 1 work is completed and approved by the New York City Department of Buildings, demolition of the existing library space and construction of the renovated Law Library will begin. The Library's collection will remain open during construction. More details will follow. 

    Law Library Renovation


    flexible group study rooms


    increase in seating capacity


    raised to date for the Library renovation

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