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A Library to benefit our community

With extensive resources spread over five floors, the IALS Library is regarded as one of the world’s great legal research libraries. The changing methodology of legal research and the expansion of digital legal scholarship, combined with a rise in collaborative working and the increased expectations of legal researchers, meant that the transformation of the Library was vital in ensuring IALS could meet the needs of a global legal research community in the 21st century.

The improved amenities include:

  • 50 additional study desks and 38 private research carrels
  • Two group study rooms and a group training room
  • A fully equipped special needs room with specialist software and PCs
  • Additional self-issue laptops, a new book security system, and improved IT services.

The success of the refurbishment has been reflected in the recent Library Reader Satisfaction Survey, where the new space scored 97.4% in user satisfaction.

IALS Librarian David Gee shares more about the Library’s transformation and the benefits it has brought to the IALS community.

“Through the IALS Transformation Project, the Library has been transformed to meet the future needs of our stakeholders. It has been completely refurbished and re-designed to make much better use of space.

The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies


There is now a spacious library entrance on the second floor, with views looking out over Russell Square, and an exhibition area for displaying our rare books and archive collection. The entrance and exit gate systems have also been replaced with up-to-date RFID technology-based library security equipment.

The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies


New facilities and services for users such as a large group training room with increased capacity, two bookable “group study” rooms, a reference advice room for one-to-one training, an IT room with appropriate equipment and software for users with special needs, and a free self-issue “laptop for loans” service have all been created.

Library research carrels for senior researchers and visiting fellows have been re-designed and increased to a total of 38. Secondary glazing to reduce the impact of outside traffic noise and new Wi-Fi access points have been installed around the building on all library floors.

The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies


Across the library space, there are 50 additional study desk spaces and more casual seating areas, which have significantly increased seating capacity, and new modern desks and adjustable chairs have replaced the old furniture throughout the Library. Finally, a new sophisticated cooling and heating system has been installed on the roof of the building, which will give us more control over the temperatures in the library reading rooms.”

The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies


IALS staff and students, as well as the wider legal community of Library users, have been reaping the benefits of the refurbishment. PhD student Ben Turner said:

The transformation of the IALS Library really has polished the “jewel in the crown” of our Institute. The Project has incorporated bigger, brighter spaces, better seating and enhanced studying provisions. The new carrels are, in my experience, outstanding and provide a wonderful space to study (and expeditiously complete a PhD!).

These developments have made the Institute a far more comfortable and productive environment. Combined with the outstanding and dedicated librarians and staff for which IALS is renowned, the Library really has become a wonderful place to study and an invaluable resource for lawyers, learners and researchers alike.

Professor Fiona Cownie, Senior Associate Research Fellow said:

Legal scholars and students from the U.K. and around the world can all benefit from the transformation. The library, spacious and full of light, is a real pleasure to work in, and it’s so easy to locate the librarians, who are as helpful as ever.

For further information about the IALS Library, please visit


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