Author Archives: Eric Yap

Study Room Reservations & Library Hours: Fall 2018 Reading/Exam Period

The Fall 2018 reading and exam period starts Thursday, December 6, 2018.  During this period, you must make a reservation to use a library study room. All of the study rooms will be locked; please go to the first floor circulation desk when your reservation time begins to charge out the key to the room. Kindly return the key to the circulation desk when your reservation expires, so the next student can charge out the key.

The link for study room reservations can be found on the library homepage under Related Links. (Please note that the slots for 12 am- 2 am appear on the next day’s calendar.)

Study Room Policies

  • Study rooms are for the use of groups of two or more students.
  • Study rooms may be reserved for the current day and three days ahead.
  • Study room reservations may be made in 30-minute time slots; the time slots must be contiguous.
  • Students may book up to 8 contiguous time slots per day for a total of 4 hours per user per day.

Library Hours for the Reading/Exam Period 

December 6, 2018 (Thurs.) –  December 20, 2018 (Thurs): 8:00 AM to 2:00 AM

(Circulation Desk closes at 12 midnight on these dates.)

December 21, 2018 (Friday): 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Good luck with studying and on your exams!

Thanksgiving Holiday Hours 2018

2018 Thanksgiving Holiday Schedule – Brooklyn Law School Library

Wednesday, November 21:                                9:00 am – 10:00 pm

Thursday, November 22:                                    CLOSED (Thanksgiving Day)

Friday, November 23:                                          9:00 am – 10:00 pm

Saturday, November 24:                                     9:00 am – 10:00 pm

Sunday, November 25:                                       10:00 am – 10:00 pm

We would like to wish everyone safe travels and a Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Halloween!

Didn’t have time to put on your “Scary Executive Order” costume? You can still get into the spirit of Halloween by stopping by the BLS Library circulation and reference desks for a spooky treat! As an additional non-sugary treat, we have been listening to the Student Bar Association’s concerns.  Librarian Jean Davis reports: “The SBA asked, we listened! There are now staplers in the library’s 3rd floor/basement computer labs and by the printing stations.”

(Photos courtesy of Jean Davis)

Seventh Annual Databases Research Fair Recap

The library held its Seventh Annual Databases Research Fair on October 3, 2018, in the third floor Phyllis & Bernard Nash Reading Room.  Representatives from Bloomberg Law, EBSCO, Fastcase, Lexis, Westlaw, and Wolters Kluwer came to showcase their legal research platforms to students.  BLS librarians were also on hand to demonstrate HeinOnline and research tools available on the BLS Library website.

The mix of 1Ls and upperclass students enjoyed stopping by vendor tables, learning about the latest database features while picking up swag like portable wireless speakers, coffee mugs, tote bags, and pens.  Students who had visited at least 5 vendors also qualified to enter the raffle. For the prizes, BLS Library and the vendors contributed gift cards ranging from $10 to $100, with a total value of $385. Congratulations to the nine lucky students who won the raffle gift cards!

Finally, it must be noted that the research fair was organized, as always, by Associate Librarian Linda Holmes.  After 37 years with the library, Linda’s last day at BLS was today, October 5. We wish her a very happy retirement!  It speaks to the success of the event, and to Linda’s superb organization, that on the day of the research fair a 3L student told us “The day of the research fair is my favorite day of the school year.” And the next day, after she received an email from Linda notifying her that she had won a raffle prize: “I was so happy, I did a little dance.”  

 

International Law Research Open House

On September 25, 2018, as part of Brooklyn Law School’s “International Law Week” events, BLS librarians held an International Law Research open house at the library.  Over 60 students stopped by to learn about international legal research resources at BLS, including databases, research guides, and class-specific resources. They munched on Chocolates of the World, and entered the raffle: the lucky winners got to take home prizes that included Amazon gift cards, and BLS polo shirts, baseball caps, and water bottles.

As usual, LeBron (Associate Librarian for International Law, Jean Davis) was a force on the court, preparing many detailed and helpful handouts, and teaching students all about the databases and tools they could use.  Check out the resources she compiled on Human Rights in Myanmar here.   

Book TV comes to BLS Library

On September 16, 2018, as part of the Brooklyn Book Festival, C-SPAN’s Book TV came to  the Brooklyn Law School Library.  

Book TV aired from 10 AM to 6 PM from the Phyllis & Bernard Nash ‘66 Reading Room on the third floor of the library, covering eight lively author panels that debated the panelists’ works on immigration, innovation, the squeezing of the middle class, and other timely topics.  BLS Interim Dean Maryellen Fullerton kicked off the programming in the morning, welcoming participants and noting that Brooklyn Law School has long been an integral part of the Brooklyn Book Festival.  The Nash Reading Room was filled to capacity for many of the panels, including War on Truth and Journalism, featuring Linda Greenhouse, April Ryan, and Eli Saslow, and moderated by BLS Professor and President of the ACLU, Susan Herman.  Brooklyn Law School also hosted panels in the student lounge and in Room 401, and an estimated 2,500 visitors came to BLS for the festival. 

Getting to engage with authors while snagging Book TV tote bags and other swag? Not a bad way to spend part of the weekend!

2018 Brooklyn Book Festival

The 2018 Brooklyn Book Festival begins today!  The Festival has been held every year since 2006 and typically draws over 30,000 attendees.  According to the organizers:

The Brooklyn Book Festival is one of America’s premier book festivals and the largest free literary event in New York City. Presenting an array of national and international literary stars and emerging authors, the Festival includes a week of Bookend Events throughout New York City, a lively Children’s Day and a celebratory Festival Day with more than 300 authors plus 250 booksellers filling a vibrant outdoor Literary Marketplace.

Festival Day is Sunday, September 16, and as in past years, several events will take place at Brooklyn Law School.  Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Linda Greenhouse, who covered the Supreme Court for decades for the New York Times, will be on the panel discussing War on Truth and Journalism at 3:00 PM in the library’s Phyllis & Bernard Nash Reading Room.  BLS Interim Dean Maryellen Fullerton will moderate the discussion From the Border: People and Politics at 4:00 PM, also in the Nash Reading Room.  Many other fascinating talks and panel discussions will be held at BLS in the Student Lounge, Room 401, and the Nash Reading Room: click here for the full schedule.

If you have never attended and are intrigued, be sure to check out Book Festival In My Backyard, a post by BLS librarian Jean Davis about the 2017 event.

See you this weekend at the Festival!

Summer Reading: The Girl on the Velvet Swing

She was a young actress and model, new to New York City, who caught the attention of a wealthy and famous older man.  After gaining the trust of her mother, the man lured the 16 year old alone to his apartment, plied her with champagne, and raped her after she had passed out.  Despite this, she continued to have a relationship with him for a number of years, while he continued to support her family financially.

The Girl on the Velvet Swing

Some time later, she married another man, the heir to the fortune of a well-to-do Pittsburgh family. He had his own dark past: posing as a theatrical agent in New York, he had physically abused several young aspiring actresses. The women were all paid off to ensure their silence.

These events may sound all too familiar, especially in the wake of the #MeToo movement, but they occurred in the early 1900s and are the subject of Simon Baatz’s book The Girl on the Velvet Swing (Call No. HV 6534.N5 B33 2018). The young model was Evelyn Nesbit, the man who sexually assaulted her was renowned architect Stanford White, and her husband was Harry Thaw.  Nesbit would become one of the first fashion icons, her image appearing in advertisements everywhere, but her prior entanglement with White would haunt her for her entire life. Things came to a head one sweltering night in 1906 when Thaw saw White in attendance at a performance in the rooftop theatre of Madison Square Garden. Yelling “You’ve ruined my wife,” he pulled out a pistol and shot White three times at close range.  Stanny, as he was known to his friends, died instantly in a building of his own design (this second iteration of Madison Square Garden, erected in 1890, would be torn down in 1925.)

Stanford White

The story of Nesbit, White, and Thaw has been covered before in other books, including Nesbit’s autobiography from 1934, and Paula Uruburu’s American Eve (2008).  What distinguishes The Girl in the Velvet Swing is the depth it gets into in describing the multiple trials and appeals, and the legal maneuvering undertaken by Thaw and his ever-changing legal team.  How to defend the accused when he shot the victim in front of countless witnesses? Would the insanity defense fly if Thaw himself refused to assert it?  How to take advantage of the system and free Thaw once he was committed to an asylum?

The book’s coverage of Thaw’s trial proceedings is full of rich detail, sourced from the many newspapers that were breathlessly reporting on the latest legal twists and turns: the New York World, New York American, New York Sun, among others (the Author’s Note at the end of the book provides further context as to the newspaper coverage.)  Especially telling are the legal shenanigans that ensue after Thaw escapes from the Matteawan asylum in New York state. He lands in a small Quebec town across the border from Vermont, and his army of lawyers wage legal battle over extradition that spills over into the courts and politics of Canada.

Harry Thaw

When all was said and done, Harry Thaw had hired around 40 lawyers on his legal team, and had spent the staggering sum of $1 million on legal fees.  And he was free.  It’s another story that remains all too familiar to us today.

Towards the end, the book circles back to the putative center of the story, the girl who once innocently swung on Stanford White’s favorite apparatus, a velvet swing.  But maybe the story was never really about Evelyn Nesbit.  As she once lamented: “Stanny White was killed. But my fate was worse. I lived.”

 

Dedication of the Phyllis & Bernard Nash ’66 Reading Room

The BLS alumna sat down on one of the brightly-colored, soft and comfortable couches in the newly-christened Nash Reading Room. “We didn’t have anything like this in the library, back when I was in law school!”

Over the years, many alumni have had experiences similar to those described by Bernie Nash (BLS ‘66) in his remarks at the dedication of the Nash Reading Room on June 26, 2018. When he started out at BLS, the library was a “medieval” place with long tables and hard chairs, where students kept their heads down in their devotion to quiet study. Yet he soon learned that these austere physical trappings belied the value of the library and librarians. During Nash’s tenure as a student, BLS Librarian Lucie Jurow (BLS ‘30) became his mentor. She not only taught him how to do legal research, a skill that served him well in law school and in practice, but also helped him out when he ran into some issues with the law school administration. Nash’s appreciation of Jurow’s mentorship, and of the value of the law school library, stuck with him throughout his long and successful career.  Hence it was fitting that the newly-renovated third floor collaboration room, which has quickly become the most popular space in the library, be dedicated as the Phyllis & Bernard Nash ‘66 Reading Room in honor of the Nashs’ generosity in giving back to BLS.

After the official ribbon-cutting ceremony had been conducted by Phyllis Nash, Bernie Nash, Dean Nick Allard, and Library Director Janet Sinder, the guests spilled into the reading room. Some guests chatted with those who were using the space: students taking summer classes as well as recent graduates studying for the July bar exam. Others settled on the inviting couches and fractal lounge chairs. They sipped champagne and didn’t seem like they wanted to leave.

2018 Graduation: Photos from the Library and Beyond

Students at Brooklyn Law School spend a lot of time in the library.  It was perhaps fitting that even as their law school journey drew to a close at graduation on May 18, the BLS Class of 2018 couldn’t quite escape the library.   

At the commencement ceremony, class speaker Maria Ortiz reminded graduates of the quote from “A League of Their Own” that every BLS student has passed countless times given its prominent display in the library stairwell: “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it… The hard is what makes it great.”  When the happy graduates returned to BLS after the ceremony, many headed to the library’s third floor Nash Reading Room with family and friends to celebrate over food and drink.  The Nash Reading Room only opened last fall (official dedication to come soon!), and it was wonderful to see it transformed into a place of joyous celebration. Build it and they will come.

We look forward to continue seeing familiar faces over the summer as many newly-minted alums will be using the library for their bar exam studies.  Here are some photos from the graduation festivities in the library and beyond. (Thanks to Jean Davis for taking most of these photos!)

Congratulations and all the best to the Brooklyn Law School Class of 2018!!