And, it’s open to the public.
Attorney Mike Kelly, a former Cooley graduate and currently with McGarry Bair PC, was quick to point out the benefits to area attorneys, stating that Cooley’s law library would be valuable for the sole practitioner or the small firm that does not need the full-time service that Lexis/Nexis and other programs provide, and does not want to pay the fees associated with those services. He also noted that attorneys have a need for continual research in specialized fields to best serve their clients, and a good law library allows for this.
Don LeDuc, who is president and dean of the school, said during the opening ceremony that Cooley’s law library will prove a vital resource, not just for practicing attorneys and law students, but also — with the decision to open the law library to the public — the entire Grand Rapids community.
“Cooley is very committed to the city of Grand Rapids and to the people of Grand Rapids. The library will serve as a valuable resource not only for students, but for anyone wishing to further their legal education.”
Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell also stressed the educational benefits of the new law library for the Grand Rapids community during the ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 23. “I believe that no issue is more important to our community than education. Cooley’s law library represents a commitment by Cooley and its partners in this endeavor to work toward a common goal of educational excellence for our entire community.”
Aletha Hansowitz, head of public services at the library, said that already students from surrounding universities have taken advantage of the library’s facilities, including “students from the WMU (Western Michigan University) Beltline campus and a doctoral student from Grand Valley” who used “our resources for their research.”
She also noted that while interest from the general public remains small, she expects more will take advantage of the opportunity as word gets out.
“As more members of the legal community, students at local colleges and universities, and the general public become aware that Thomas M. Cooley Law School campus is a part of the Grand Rapids community and that the library is open to the public, they will turn to the Cooley law library for access to legal resources that they may need for their research projects.”
Beginning in the fall Cooley will offer programs at the Grand Rapids law library that will help educate the public on various legal issues.
One of these programs, “A Case for Diversity: The Affirmative Action Debate at the University of Michigan,” runs from Oct. 5-27. The Cooley library is one of six venues in the state hosting the event, and the only one in the Grand Rapids area. It is open to the public during all hours that the library is open.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for our students and members of the Grand Rapids community to learn more about an important legal issue that affects everyone, not only in Grand Rapids, but throughout the country,” Hansowitz said.
The library is open 8 a.m.to 11 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday through Sunday. The reference desk is staffed from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays, and noon-8 p.m. Sundays. The reference desk can be reached by calling (616) 301-6850, Ext. 6822.