The fourth floor of Langdell Hall is closed until further notice which means our visiting family and friends are not able to see our iconic Reading Room or the beautiful Caspersen Room (aka “Treasure Room”).

Although it may not emit the same sense of gravitas, you can ‘visit’ those spaces via this virtual HLS Library Tour (the fourth-floor portion begins at minute 4:18).

The Reading Room is a quiet space where you can find students studying all year long. It spans the length of the building at 480 feet long, longer than a standard football field. While watching the virtual tour, try to imagine that majestic space with a 7-foot dropped ceiling, which was added during a 1962 renovation and remained in place until 1997 when the building was fully remodeled.

For more information and photographs (including the dropped ceiling and a clever reuse of the elevator top), visit Then & Now: Langdell Hall.

The Root Room is located at the south end of the Reading Room. The space is used by researchers from around the world to view many of our 300,000-plus rare books, which include the most comprehensive collection of English law in one place anywhere in the world, and more than 300 manuscript collections of personal papers and collections from notable trials, such as the Nuremberg Trials.

The Caspersen Room (aka “Treasure Room”) is located at the north end of the Reading Room, and is also the place in which the law school dean hosts a dinner for the 1Ls.  Each year, our Historical & Special Collections department curates a major exhibit in this room; the current exhibit is Challenging Our Right to Read, which explores the legal framework of censorship. Though you cannot experience the exhibit first-hand today, this article in The Harvard Crimson provides a detailed description of the materials.

We hope you will be able to visit us in the future. In the meantime, please enjoy the resources that are available online.

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