Author Archives: Kathy Darvil

Virtual Reference: We are there, even when we are not

Just because you don’t see a librarian sitting at the reference desk, does not mean we are not there to help. The library has many virtual reference tools to help you with your research. For example, you can always email the library at askthelibrary@brooklaw.edu. You can also look through our extensive FAQ list to see if your question has previously been answered. You can find our FAQs at askthelibrary.brooklaw.edu. You can also browse through our research guides to see if we have created one to address the issue you are researching. You can access a list of the library’s research guides at guides.brooklaw.edu.

If we are not sitting at the reference desk, but you see the chachatwithalibrariant symbol on BLSConnect or the Library’s webpage, click on it to contact a reference librarian for help. You can also text us at 718-734-2432. And of course, often times, we are only a phone call away at 718-780-7567. If a librarian is not available to help at that time, one will get back to you as soon as she is available.  Reference librarians generally answer reference questions, Monday – Thursday from 9 am-8 pm and on Saturday from 12 pm – 5 pm.

What’s Hot on the Shelves?

If you are someone who likes to stay up on the latest and greatest, you might be interested in monitoring the Library’s New Book List.  Each month the library publishes a list with its most recent acquisitions.  To access the list, go to the SARA catalog and select the New Book List new-book-list-imageTab.  These titles are not yet on the shelf.  If you would like to check one out, you can stop by the reference desk or email Spencer Province (spencer.province@brooklaw.edu).  He will place it on the circulation hold desk for you to check out.

A few of the latest titles for the month of November include:

Denise A. Hannigan, “Guns Don’t Kill People, People Kill People”: And Other Myths About Guns and Gun Control” (2016).

Jill Norgen, Belva Lockwood: The Woman Who Would be President (2016).

Heather Ann Thompson, Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and its Legacy (2016).

Jordan Fisher Smith, Engineering Eden: The True Story of a Violent Death, a Trial, and the Fight over Controlling Nature (2016).

Laura Weinrib, The Taming of Free Speech: America’s Civil Liberties Compromise (2016).

Seminar Paper Workshop: Resources and Recording

Last week Prof. Fajans and Librarian Kathy Darvil ran their semi-annual workshop on how to research and write a seminar paper.  Topics covered Image result for image writing a paperincluded sources for selecting your topic, sources for researching your topic, and how to effectively organize and write your paper.  If you were unable to attend the workshop, you can access an online research guide which contains a recording of the workshop, links to and descriptions of all the research sources discussed, and the writing and research presentations.  The online guide is available at guides.brooklaw.edu/seminarpaper.  From the guide’s landing page, you will be able to access a recording of the presentation, Professor Fajans’ slideshow on how to write your seminar paper, and Kathy Darvil’s online presentation on how to research your seminar paper.  If you should need further help selecting or researching your topic, please stop by the reference desk for assistance.

Voting Rights Resources

With the fractured Fifth Circuit ruling today that Texas’ voter ID law violates the Voting Rights Act and the Presidential election quickly approaching, you may be interested in learning more about the law on voting rights.  To research the issue, you can search the SARA catalog or WorldCat for the subject, Voting—United States or Suffrage—United States.  The Brooklyn Law School Library has over 100 different titles on the topic.  Some of the more recent acquisitions are listed below. vote-1278871_960_720

Brooklyn Law School’s Scholarship & Special Collections

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BrooklynWorks is the online repository of Brooklyn Law School, providing open access to scholarship produced by the law school and to other collections of law school materials. The repository is a service of the Brooklyn Law School Library. Current collections focus on faculty scholarship, the law school’s journals and library special collections.

Within the law Journals collection, you can browse or search issues of the Brooklyn Law Review, the Brooklyn Journal of International Law, the Journal of Law & Policy, and the Brooklyn Journal of Corporate, Financial, & Commercial Law.  Within the faculty scholarship collection, you can browse or search Brooklyn Law School’s faculty publications going back to 2010.

Within the Special Collections, you can browse the papers of David Trager from the 1986-1989 New York City Charter Revision Commissions.  Included in this historic collection are various drafts of the New York City Charter, meeting minutes and letters to the members of the commission.  The digitized documents were selected from materials he donated to the Brooklyn Law School Archives. To access the entire collection, you can contact the reference desk (refdesk@brooklaw.edu) and make an appointment to visit the archives.

Stay In the Know

While working at your summer job or internship, it is important to stay up to date on legal developments and current events.  One way to do this is to monitor legal news.  The library subscribes to several legal news providers.  Listed below are a few along with descriptions on how to access the sites.2009_reading_newspaper_NYC_4328271821

Legal News Providers

Law360:  Very current coverage of law.  Browse news by practice area or jurisdiction. Need to implement proxy instructions for off-campus access.

Law.com: Covers both national and regional legal news.  Publications include the National Law Journal, the New York Law Journal, and the New Jersey Law Journal.  Law.com also publishes topic specific news, such as corporate and security news, labor and employment news, and intellectual property news. Need username and password to access some articles.  Contact refdesk@brooklaw.edu for credentials.

New York Law Journal:  Covers New York legal developments.  It is the go to source for attorneys practicing in New York.  Browse news by practice area.  Also publishes decisions from New York State and Federal Courts. Need username and password to access some articles.  Contact refdesk@brooklaw.edu for credentials.

Jurist Law:  Free source supported by the University of Pittsburgh, School of Law.  Very current, real time coverage or U.S. and World Legal News.

BNA Law Reports:  Available via Bloomberg Law.  BNA publishes law reports on over a 100 different legal topics.  To access BNA Law Reports, sign on to Bloomberg Law and select BNA Law Reports from the “Getting Started” menu on the home page.

LXBN.com: Free legal blog aggregator that culls and vets legal blogs.  View blogs by practice area.  LXBN also publishes its own content.

Presidential Elections: Resources at the BLS Library

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With the New York primary fast approaching on April 12, you might want to learn more about the law and history of presidential elections.  The library has over one hundred resources on the subject.  Highlighted below are a few.  To see the complete list of resources on U.S. presidential elections, search the SARA catalog for the Library of Congress subjects, Presidents—United States—Elections.

Alan D. Hertzke, Echoes of Discontent: Jesse Jackson, Pat Robertson, and the Resurgence of Populism (1993).

Hertzke examines the 1988 presidential campaigns of Jackson and Robertson, showing how the messages of both political-religious figures echo an enduring tension in American life between Christian, communal ideals and a materialistic, fragmented society.

Alexander S. Belenky, Understanding the Fundamentals of the U.S. Presidential Election System (2012).

The book discusses how the use of some election rules embedded in the U.S. Constitution and in the Presidential Succession Act may cause skewed or weird election outcomes and election stalemates. The book argues that the act may not cover some rare though possible situations which the Twentieth Amendment authorizes Congress to address. Also, the book questions the constitutionality of the National Popular Vote Plan to introduce a direct popular presidential election de facto, without amending the Constitution, and addresses the plan’s “Achilles’ Heel.”  In particular, the book shows that the plan may violate the Equal Protection Clause from the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution. Numerical examples are provided to show that the counterintuitive claims of the NPV originators and proponents that the plan will encourage presidential candidates to “chase” every vote in every state do not have any grounds. Finally, the book proposes a plan for improving the election system by combining at the national level the “one state, one vote” principle – embedded in the Constitution – and the “one person, one vote” principle. Under this plan no state loses its current Electoral College benefits while all the states gain more attention of presidential candidates.

Charles L. Zelden, Bush v. Gore: Exposing the Hidden Crisis in American Democracy (2010).

The book distills the events, issues, and voluminous commentary relating to Bush v. Gore into a sharply insightful and nonpartisan account of a remarkable election, the crisis it produced, and the litigation that followed. Ultimately, it shows that both the election controversy of 2000 and Bush v. Gore signaled major flaws in our electoral system that remain with us today.

Edmund F. Kallina, Kennedy v. Nixon: The Presidential Election of 1960 (2010).

Based upon research conducted at four presidential libraries – those of Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon – Kallina is able to make observations and share insights unavailable in the immediate aftermath of one of the closest races in American presidential history.

George C. Edwards, Why the Electoral College is bad for America (2004).

Drawing on systematic data, Edwards finds that the electoral college does not protect the interests of small states or racial minorities, does not provide presidents with effective coalitions for governing, and does little to protect the American polity from the alleged harms of direct election of the president. In fact, the electoral college distorts the presidential campaign so that candidates ignore most small states and some large ones and pay little attention to minorities, and it encourages third parties to run presidential candidates and discourages party competition in many states. Edwards demonstrates effectively that direct election of the president without a runoff maximizes political equality and eliminates the distortions in the political system caused by the electoral college.

Campaign Politics: Library Resources

As the victors for this Super Tuesday are decided, you Image result for presidential campaignmay want to learn more about the history and law of political campaigns in the United States. The library has several titles that may be of interest to you. Listed below are a select few. If you would like to see a complete list of the library’s titles on political campaigns in the United States, click on this link.

James A. Gardner, What are Campaigns for? The Role of Persuasion in Electoral Law and Politics (2009).

This Oxford University Press e-book includes chapters on the political campaign: emergence of the deliberative ideal; election law and the formation of public opinion; campaigns and the stability of political opinion; democratic theory and the thin election campaign; and the tabulative campaign.

Richard L. Hansen, Plutocrats United: Campaign Money, the Supreme Court, and the Distortion of American Elections (2016).

In this newly released Yale University Press publication, Hansen argues that both sides are not addressing the key issue of the Citizens United era: the necessity of balancing political inequality with free speech. Topics covered in this book include: the corruption distortion, the voting lottery, and the new media.

Kirsten A. Foot & Steven M. Schneider, Web Campaigning (2006).

Having an effective social media campaign is essential for modern campaigns. Topics covered in this MIT Press title on web campaigns include web campaigning implications and practices, tracing practices within a web sphere, and explaining the adoption of web campaign practices.

Regina G. Lawrence & Melody Rose, Hillary Clinton’s Race for the Whitehouse: Gender, Politics, and the Media on the Campaign Trail (2010).

It might be interesting to look back on Secretary Clinton’s first campaign for President and compare it with her second.   Chapters in this title include women and presidential politics, the media and the path to the Whitehouse, Hillary Clinton in context, and Clinton’s gender strategy.

Seminar Paper Workshop

Are you struggling with selecting a topic for your seminar paper or suffering from writers’ block? Help is on the way. At 4:00 pm on Thursday, February 4, Prof. Fajans and Librarian Kathy Darvil will run their semi-annual workshop on how to research and write a seminar paper. The workshop will take a little over an hour and will be held in Room 400. Topics covered include sources for selecting your topic, sources for researching your topic, and how to effectively organize and write your paper. If you are unable to attend the workshop, you can access an online research guide which contains a recording of the workshop, links to and descriptions of all the research sources discussed, and the writing and research presentations. The online guide is available at guides.brooklaw.edu/seminarpaper. From the guide’s landing page, you will be able to access a recording of this year’s presentation, Professor Fajans’ slideshow on how to write your seminar paper, and Kathy Darvil’s online presentation on how to research your seminar paper. If you should need further help selecting or researching your topic, please stop by the reference desk for assistance.

Return Your Library Books Before the Break

Attention all students! Remember to return your library books on or before Tuesday, December 22, 2015. It is the due date for all semester loans. If you do not turn in your books on or before December 22, you will incur fines. If you are unsure whether or not you have items checked out to you or if you have incurred any fines, you can log into your library account from the SARA catalog. You log into your account with your BLS credentials (first name.last name and your BLS password). Once logged in, you can see the items currently checked out to you, along with the items’ due dates. If you would like, you can renew any overdue item. You can also view your complete fine history, including outstanding fines and fines paid. Finally, you can review and update your personal information the library has on file, including your mailing address, phone numbers, and email address.