The D'Angelo Law Library Says Hello with Fall Fest

Steve Coats and Sheri Lewis during Fall Fest.

Chicago Law students know that the D’Angelo Law Library is full of resources. Once a year, those resources include cookies.

The library hosted the third annual Fall Fest on October 22 to introduce students, especially 1Ls, to the many services and special history of the law library. Students talked one-on-one with library staff, played games, and sampled a bevy of homemade baked goods from the librarians’ kitchens.

“It’s an opportunity to show the library as a comfortable, inviting, and friendly place,” said Sheri Lewis, the new Director. Lewis, a 12-year veteran of the law library, took the helm this year after Judith Wright retired. It was Lewis’ idea to bring Fall Fest to the Law School after seeing it at Harvard Law School.

Lewis estimates that about 100 students visited the library during Fall Fest, which centered around four stations: Learn About Library Staff, Go Chicago, Learn About the Library, and Leisure in the Library. Students passing through learned that six out of 24 library staffers have JDs, the Law School was originally housed in Stuart Hall, and the world’s largest Tyrannosaurus Rex is located at the Field Museum. They were introduced to the library’s collection of Chicago-centric books, popular magazines, and DVD collection. Students who visited all four stations could enter their names in a prize drawing.

Alexandra Traviss, JD/MBA ‘14, made her way through the stations and talked about how important the library has been to her, especially during her 1L and 2L years, when she studied there between 10 and 15 hours a week.

“It’s good to understand the full scope of the resources here and reinforce how much the librarians know and that they’re willing to connect with the students,” she said. “A lot of them went to law school and know the ropes, so they can easily relate.”

It’s true that a successful law student gets to know the library and librarians quite well, Lewis said. Students use the library’s print and electronic resources, as well as the librarians’ research expertise, for classes, journals, work done for professors, and activities like moot court competitions. The librarians provide in-class training on legal research, post course materials and old exams, and help select paper topics, among many other services.

But another message of Fall Fest is that the library isn’t just for work, said Julie Stauffer, Head of Acquisitions and Electronic Resources, who was stationed in the Fulton Room. Maurice and Muriel Fulton donated funds for non-legal magazines and a DVD collection. Stauffer’s job during Fall Fest was to tell students about those two collections, as well as the library’s novel collection. She was asking for book, movie, and magazine recommendations from students who passed through.

“A lot of times, they don’t know we offer this,” Stauffer said. “This event is supposed to represent what the library can do for the student’s life while they’re in law school, concerning legal resources and research help. The thing that’s not as apparent is what they can do to relax a bit or learn about the world around them.”