If you stopped by the law school over the summer, you would have noticed that the first floor of the library was closed for renovations. What was going on behind those closed doors? What was all of that hammering and drilling for?
Good news: the first floor of the library is now open for business! The circulation desk, which was temporarily located on the third floor for the summer, is back on the first floor. Stop by if you need to borrow a textbook or other materials in the Reserve collection. The reference desk is also back on the first floor, and you can consult with a reference librarian if you need research assistance or a pass to another law library.
Enjoy the brand new, comfortable furniture and the new space!
“Over 400 pages of reading bliss, this is one you don’t want to miss” ~Anonymous
Now that we are into the thicket of law school exams, the library has provided some welcome diversions: puzzles, origami, and a Kindness Wall where students can leave encouraging notes for their peers. But what better way to destress than to play the “guess the redacted content” game?
So take a break from deciphering the Rule Against Perpetuities and stop by the Circulation Desk. Flip through the Mueller Report and let your imagination run wild. Who are the subjects of the redacted ongoing investigations? Which classified secrets have been withheld from the eager public? What tasty tidbits in the grand jury materials were deemed verboten?
Maybe, just maybe, the Mueller Report will inspire you because of what it is: an impeccably researched and drafted legal document. It’s the stuff lawyers do. Someday, perhaps, you too will get to work on a legal project so monumental that it will have redactions galore when released to the public. One can only dream (but don’t dream for too long, IRAC awaits.)
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is a non-partisan agency within the Library of Congress that provides confidential and authoritative analysis on policy issues for Members of Congress and their staff. The CRS has a staff of about 600 employees including policy analysts, economists, scientists, lawyers, and librarians. Following the passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, CRS reports have been made publicly available. Currently, the official public website provides access to the in-depth “R-series” reports though the full inventory is not slated for full migration to the website until spring 2019, and there is no specified timeline for access to the agency’s shorter written products (Insight, In Focus, Legal Sidebar, etc.). Some publications in the R-series, as well as in the other CRS product series, can also be found on non-official sites including Every CRS Report, and the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) CRS Portal.
As the government shutdown continues to drag on, CRS reports can provide valuable analysis and insight. Some relevant reports include:
Past Government Shutdowns: Key Resources (updated January 2019). The report provides an “annotated list of historical documents and other resources related to several past government shutdowns. Sources for these documents and resources include the Congressional Research Service (CRS), Government Accountability Office (GAO), House and Senate Committees, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and Executive Office of the President.”
Shutdown of the Federal Government: Causes, Processes, and Effect (updated December 2018) This in-depth report covers “causes of shutdowns, including the legal framework under which they may occur; processes related to how agencies may plan for the contingency of a shutdown; effects of shutdowns, focusing especially on federal personnel and government operations; and issues related to shutdowns that may be of interest to Congress.” In case you were wondering, because of their responsibilities under the Constitution and a permanent appropriation covering congressional pay, “Members of Congress are not subject to furlough.”
Federal Funding Gaps: A Brief Overview (updated March 2018) Provides an overview and analysis of federal funding gaps, which is not synonymous with a government shutdown. “The interval during the fiscal year when appropriations for a particular project or activity are not enacted into law, either in the form of a regular appropriations act or a continuing resolution (CR), is referred to as a funding gap. Although funding gaps may occur at the start of the fiscal year, they may also occur any time a CR expires and another CR (or the regular appropriations bill) is not enacted immediately thereafter. Multiple funding gaps may occur within a fiscal year.”
A few months ago, the SBA told library representatives that students often encountered issues with the older copiers on the ground floor. Good news: the library now has a new copier that replaces the older equipment in the alcove near the reference desk.
The new copier copies, scans, prints, and you can readily email your scanned documents or save them to your USB device. Unlike its departed brethren, large stacks of paper will not derail it so copy and scan away! Thank you to the SBA for bringing this issue to our attention. Thanks also to Yves and Sunil, the library computer staff, who worked hard over the weekend to ensure everything is working properly.
By the way, we were thinking of naming the new copier. Any suggestions? For now, we’re calling it the anti-Bob Marley, since it’s not jamming.
The model held in her hand a single red rose. When the photographer was setting up between shots, she smiled awkwardly at the passersby. But most people in the vicinity were too wrapped up in what they were doing to gawk. Students stared blankly at their textbooks with their headphones on. A couple chatted as they looked out the glass walls toward the Parliament House. Two women lounged on a beanbag, playing with an infant. Library staff flitted around in grey vests, shelving books and answering patron questions. A young girl bounced in her comfortable chair as she flipped through a picture book.
Many were visiting Oodi for the first time as Helsinki’s new central library had been open to the public for less than two weeks. They admired the design features that made for a welcoming space: the sloping floor that allowed for intervisibility from end to end of the third floor, the variety of chairs and couches, the lighted bookshelves. There was a constant flow of patrons up and down the spiral staircase featuring 381 painted words chosen from a selection suggested by the public (a criminal lawyer might appreciate syyttömille.) Nourishment was available at the first floor restaurant, and the café nestled among the books on the third floor was very popular as patrons warmed up with a cup of coffee on a cold December day. If anyone had come to borrow power tools, it wasn’t apparent.
1st Floor Information Desk
View of Parliament House
Spiral Staircase featuring 381 words suggested by the public
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.)
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)
Jean Davis, Joanne Tapia (Faculty Assistants Supervisor) & Kathy Darvil
A student studying in costume in the Nash Reading Room
Spooky Treats at the Reference Desk
You spoke, we listened! Kathy Darvil & Jean Davis with the new staplers
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.”
Learning about database features
Librarians Jean Davis & Kathy Darvil at the Welcome Table
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.