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 include:

  • 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.

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].


As you know, we will soon break ground on the Alia Tutor Law Library.  While we await construction of this new space, I want to share the Library’s plan for maintaining continuity of service throughout the renovation – including reference and research support, access to the collection, and spaces for students to study.  We'll do everything we can to minimize disruption by establishing a convenient service point, maintaining current library hours, and adding seats and new study environments at the Law School.

Law Library Service and Hours
Starting Tuesday, May 27, the Law Library will operate primarily from the 1st floor of William and June Warren Hall (WJW), with Room 101 as our service point.  Here, you will be able to speak with a librarian, utilize a scanner,

 and pick up / check out / drop off books (including course reserves).  Though the bulk of our print collection will remain in Jerome Greene Hall (JGH) and will not be browseable during the construction period, you will be able to request materials in WJW or through our online catalog.  Requested books will be retrieved for pickup on a short turnaround.  

The Library’s hours of operation will match our existing schedule, both for circulation and reference service.  We will continue to stay open 24/7 during exam periods in the fall 2024 and spring 2025 semesters.  Though our spaces will look different, it is my goal that you feel no interruption in the services provided by our Library team.


WJW Library Service Plan

New Seating
It is critically important that we provide replacement study space during construction.  Adjacent to the Library service point will be two new seating areas for students, differentiated by study preferences.  The Feldberg Lounge on the first floor of WJW will be configured for individual study with carrels, tables, and study pods.  For those who prefer a more bustling atmosphere, we will add tables and soft seating in the lobby / cafe area.  Rest assured that during the academic year, coffee and pastries will continue to be served on the same schedule as this year.

As you're aware, JGH will be closed for much of this summer to complete the most disruptive demolition phases of construction (May 27 - August 5).  When it reopens, you will see a considerable increase in available study space.  Notably, Drapkin Lounge will be outfitted with many additional seats for quiet study.  And across the mezzanine (adjacent to Lenfest Cafe), the Dean’s Dining Room will also be open to student study.

Other Seating on Campus
Despite the new seating areas I’ve described, some of you will miss the traditional library atmosphere of our current facility.  We’re fortunate to have on campus over a dozen other libraries (map, hours), many of which are quite beautiful, and all of which offer different benefits.  Some have grand reading rooms and quiet nooks nestled in the stacks (e.g., Butler Library, Burke Library at UTS), while others are more boisterous and active (e.g., Uris Hall).  Some are small and less-traveled (e.g., Social Work), others occupy multiple floors and feature a variety of seating options (e.g., Teacher’s College), and still others are more modern, with external monitors so you can plug in your laptop (e.g., Science and Engineering).  Later this spring, we will distribute a guide to the other campus libraries so you can explore the options and find spaces that work best for you.

Group Study
Reservable group study rooms will be available on the 2nd and 3rd Floor of WJW.  More details will follow on how to reserve these spaces.  Please note that five other campus libraries also offer study room reservations.

Bar Exam Study
For May 2024 graduates who plan to study on campus for July bar examinations, your current CUID will continue to provide access to the spaces described above – both in WJW and across campus – throughout the summer.  The summer period is generally much quieter, so you are sure to find plenty of comfortable space.

On behalf of the entire Library staff, I’d like to thank you in advance for your patience and good spirit as we navigate the renovation together.  The end result will be magnificent, but I acknowledge that the next year will look different and may present inconveniences for us to work through.  Truly, our goal is to make the renovation period as productive and stress-free as possible for the entire Law School community, so if you have concerns or suggestions, please contact me any time.  

Best wishes,


Simon Canick (he / his)
Director, Arthur W. Diamond Law Library

Dear members of the Columbia Law School community,

As Dean Lester noted in her message earlier this month, preparatory work in Jerome Greene Hall is nearing completion and we are gearing up to begin construction on the Law Library renovation in late May. We are delighted to share that the University Trustees recently gave the project final approval, and we are reaching out now with initial details about what to expect this summer, when much of Jerome Greene Hall (JGH) will be an active construction zone. There will be more to come in the months ahead, but we hope that this preliminary information will aid in making plans and anticipating disruption.

  • Jerome Greene Hall will be CLOSED from Saturday, May 25, through at least Sunday, August 4. During this 10-week period, no faculty, students, or staff will be permitted to enter JGH. Due to the large-scale demolition that will take place within the Library space, as well as the need to secure the West-facing façade and complete the installation of fire sprinklers on the 1st Floor and mezzanine, the project team has determined that the entire building must be temporarily vacated.
  • Other buildings on the Law School’s campus, including William and June Warren Hall (WJWH), will remain fully open and operational. As was the case this past summer, Student Services-led bar preparation and Executive LL.M. classes will take place in WJWH, along with a relocated access point for library circulation and reference services. We are working to finalize a plan to accommodate certain space needs among various segments of our community:

    • For Students: Selected furniture from the existing Law Library will be relocated to William and June Warren Hall to create dedicated study areas with seating configurations of various types. WJWH will also accommodate summer Executive LL.M. classes, as well as dedicated space for Bar preparation programming.

    • For Faculty and Fellows: Faculty members and Academic Fellows will not be able to access their offices in JGH during the period noted above. Offices in WJWH will be made available to those teaching in the Executive LL.M. program, and a very limited number of temporary workspaces will be available for day use. We strongly encourage faculty to make arrangements to work remotely to the extent possible, since our ability to accommodate requests for alternative offices will be extremely limited.

    • For Staff and Researchers: Law School HR will be in touch with administrative departments and research centers to develop and finalize team-specific accommodations—including, in some cases, authorizing a temporary exception to the Law School’s usual remote work policy—for employees with regular offices and workstations in JGH. More information on these arrangements will be forthcoming. The usual summer schedule (including Summer Fridays) will remain in place for staff and researchers in William C. Warren, WJWH, and Jerome Greene Annex.

  • The Law Library will shift its circulation and reference services to WJWH. Beginning on or around May 17 and continuing through the 2024-2025 academic year, Law Library patrons will be able to retrieve materials and consult with librarians via a temporary workspace on the 1st Floor of WJWH. Library staff will also remain available via email and Zoom, and on campus by appointment, for questions and consultations. More information about the Law Library’s interim service plan during construction will be shared with the Law School community later this spring.

We realize that this message may invite additional questions; please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected]. We also encourage you to visit the Law Library Renovation Project website and continue to monitor your inbox for additional updates as the semester progresses. We appreciate your cooperation in sharing in the burden that this construction project places on our physical plant, and look forward to the reopening of our transformed Alia Tutor Law Library in Fall 2025.

The Law Library Renovation Working Group

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. 

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. 

Updated: February 19, 2024

Floors Completed:
1st Floor East
3rd Floor (Lenfest + Drapkin)
5th Floor
6th Floor
7th Floor
8th Floor
9th Floor

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

Celeste Kearney, JD ‘24
Kiara Luyando Hardi, JD ‘24, Chair of Student Senate IT + Building Committee
Charles Simonds, JD ‘25
Mia Xing, JD '26

Former Members now Alumni:
Andres Latorre, LLM ‘23
Erin McKissick, JD ‘23

Narine Bournoutian, Systems and Electronic Resources Librarian 
Julie Godsoe, Executive 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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