2006 Archive

Main Reading Room Returns to its Past Splendor

With the arrival of classic desk lamps, tuxedo-style chairs and other sleek furnishings, the retro makeover of Boalt's Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati Main Reading Room is now complete. Apart from the students tapping away on laptops, the expansive room sports a decidedly '50s look—and that was the whole concept behind the renovation project.

"We wanted to restore it, not make a flashy new room," explained Kathleen Vanden Heuvel '86 the director of the Garret W. McEnerney Law Library. Long considered the jewel of Boalt's 55-year-old home, the Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati Main Reading Room is a favorite, sun-filled spot for quiet scholarship. Time, however, had taken a toll. The space needed a general facelift to return to its handsome, understated splendor. Desperately short on electrical outlets, the room also was ripe for new wiring and other upgrades to keep pace with a new technological age.

Starting last summer, workers reconditioned the room's exotic wood paneling, ripped up the tattered carpeting and laid down a floor made of sound-muffling cork. Though reopened late this fall, the Main Reading Room recently received the final touches with the delivery of furnishings reminiscent of its bygone days. "It looks like an old-fashioned university library, except for the laptops, of course," said Vanden Heuvel.