Posted by: Elizabeth A. (Betty) Thomas | December 17, 2015

Books for the Break! (and other times…)

CHECKOUT the new books in the East Reading Room (5th floor on the east side of the library). These recently donated books include…..

breakbooks1Lots of Legal Thrillers




Literary Fiction, Banned Books


And Classics

Remember that even when the LUX desk is closed, the Self Check-Out Machine is OPEN!

Posted by: Elizabeth A. (Betty) Thomas | November 24, 2015

Check Out Our New Banned Books Week Libguide!


After another successful Banned Books Week (September 27 to October 3, 2015) where we celebrated the freedom to read and raised awareness of the issue, the Charlotte School of Law Library has created a Libguide of information about Banned Books Week. Check it out at


The guide provides background information about Banned Books Week and why it is an annual event. For those who may not know, the section Banned/Challenged Books of the guide gives specifics about the who, what and why of challenged and banned books. An Infographics section provides a place to catch the great graphics on this subject. The American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom’s list of classic books and the reasons they have been challenged is included in the Classics section.  Many of the challenged or banned books in the Charlotte School of Law Library’s Collection section are highlighted. These books are available for checkout.

This Year’s Activities section highlights the different ways that we celebrated the week this year including blog posts, book displays, a poll in OrgSync, this year’s poster that has been added to our collection on the 4th floor, announcement of the Read Out!, and addition of three favorite banned books to the CSL Library’s collection.

Probably the most important section of the guide is Advocacy. This section highlights the First Amendment to the United States Constitution; what action anyone can take in protecting our right to read; and the organizations and websites that monitor the threats and advocate for our rights.

While we celebrate our freedom to read during Banned Books Week each year, we all should be aware of the challenges that continue to happen all too frequently at other times of the year and be prepared to act in support of the schools and libraries that face those challenges.

Posted by: Elizabeth A. (Betty) Thomas | November 10, 2015

North Carolina Library Association, 61st Biennial Conference – 2015


A day at the North Carolina Library Association Conference enabled me to attend three excellent sessions besides the opportunity to reconnect with professional colleagues and vendors.  A summary follows:

Opening Keynote: State of North Carolina Libraries

Dale Cousins, NCLA President
Wanda Brown, Wake Forest University
Rodney Lippard, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College
Kathy Parker, Department of Public Instruction

Each presenter highlighted the current issues or themes for their type of library.

Public Libraries

  • Responsiveness to their communities
  • Services to children
  • Technology services and instruction: 8.5m internet sessions, 2800 workshops
  • Intellectual freedom: Invisible Man was challenged in Randolph County so the county chose that book as their community read. Chapel Hill held a community forum with the ACLU on censorship.
  • Stats: 5m card holders, 35m visitors and 7m reference questions.
  • Advocacy: “Day in the District” where local officials were invited to Fontana Regional Library for a day with librarians.
  • Weakness: Public libraries portraying themselves as victims.

Community College Libraries

  • Challenges: To define who are we? Workforce needs, academics…
  • Taking on other responsibilities in the library: tutoring, testing.
  • Political climate, discussions of free community colleges, and how that will impact libraries.
  • Open educational resources to keep the cost of textbooks down.
  • ADA compliance including evaluating library websites.
  • Reaching out to the underserved.
  • Partnerships with other departments.
  • ESL students and meeting their needs.

Academic Libraries

  • Balancing print vs. electronic and still meeting the needs of patrons.
  • Open data and open access.
  • Educating and supporting faculty.
  • Space: user centered and including other areas such as IT, advising, writing centers.
  • Technology: how to make webpages accessible for mobile devices and visually impaired.
  • Providing value to the university and doing a better job telling the library’s impact stories.
  • Digital humanities: curation of data for research
  • Staffing: while collections have shown more diversity, staffs are still not as diverse.
  • Fundraising: growing needs with older buildings.
  • Salary increases: 3.5% nationwide for librarians but not in North Carolina.

School Libraries

  • Evolving role of school librarians in leadership and technology.
  • Physical spaces: rethinking learning environments to include maker spaces, learning commons.
  • Print vs. electronic resources and finding funding for digital content.
  • Equitable access for students who do not have access to technology at home.
  • Financial resources for staffing and instructional materials with threats from state legislature.
  • Staffing: diminished for school library programs and support staff.

Step Away From the Desk: Circulation Issues in Today’s Libraries

Jenny Boneno, Forsyth County PL
LaCreasha McCloud, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
Cathy Fletcher, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
Carla Hollar, Swannanoa Library

Panelists discussed various hot topics and presented creative ideas to address circulation situations. One of these librarians presented her “7 Secrets to Surviving the Desk:”

  1. Listen to your instincts. If a patron is giving you a hard time, don’t let them intimidate you and be sure to have a witness for what you are telling them.
  2. Know the facts. Look at the patron’s record before talking with them. Customers are not always right.
  3. Make notes on the patron’s record to help other librarians. For example, an “*” indicates a problem patron.
  4. If the situation with a patron gets rough, give them an option. For example, tell the patron they can either replace the book themselves or pay for the replacement. Giving them an option to consider can divert a confrontation.
  5. Pay compliments. When patrons walk up to the desk, compliment them so they see you as friendly and personable.
  6. Tag team or trade off. If you are having a difficult time with a patron or there is a patron that gets on your nerves, get someone else to work with that individual.
  7. It is not personal. If someone snaps at you because they are having a bad day, just take a breath and remember that it is not personal.

Another discussion concerned tips for interacting with patrons with disabilities. Since 1 in 5 people have some sort of disability, libraries need to be responsive to these patrons. Some of the ideas presented follow:

  • Speak directly to the person. They are the customer, not the interpreter.
  • Write down what is said or repeat it for clarification.
  • Ask if they need help; do not assume they need help.
  • Do not use the term “handicapped.” They are “a person who uses a wheelchair.”
  • Be respectful. Do not ask about the disability or other personally intrusive questions.
  • A wheelchair is part of the person’s personal space. Do not guide the wheelchair and do not ask patron to hold books. Sit at a table with them to see eye to eye.
  • Visually impaired: identify yourself and ask “How can I assist you?”
  • Hearing impaired: tap lightly on the shoulder and speak slowly.
  • Mentally impaired: work to lessen their stress. “Is there something I can do to make you more comfortable?” If the situation escalates, ask them “Is there someone I can call?”

A Library for the Whole Student

Hubert Womack, Meghan Webb, Susan Smith, and Mary Beth Lock from Wake Forest University.

This panel of librarians from the Z. Smith Reynolds Library at Wake Forest University presented programs and initiatives they have used to create a Multi-dimensional Culture of Health and Wellness.

Physical Wellbeing

  • Ziesta Room project. The idea for a napping room was presented by a student group involved in bettering the university. The library bought 5 industrial strength recliners. The room includes a storage unit where students can power up their devices while sleeping. The students developed rules and self-police the area. The room is not meant to be a study space; the space is also a tech free space; there is no monkey business; and the area is to be kept tidy. The library and the university have gotten lots of publicity from the napping room project.
  • Standing desks. As a result of student recommendations, this is a current pilot project.
  • The library has been buying furniture that is ergonomically correct for studying.
  • Flu shots are given in the library.
  • Walking paths were created in the library for students to use their Fitbits.

Emotional Wellbeing

  • 24/5 schedule. Students were stressed about not being able to use the library. The library is now open from Sunday at 10 am to Friday at 7 pm.
  • The library relaxed its food and drink policy.
  • “Wake the Library” is a tradition at the end of the semester. The library provides coffee around the clock and food at midnight.
  • During exams, there are yoga sessions, relaxation stations (tea, candy, coloring books, and puzzles), therapy dogs, and a pep band at midnight.

Social Wellbeing

  • A “Capture the flag” event for freshman is held at the end of orientation. The library is now doing “Human v. Zombies” tag and 250 freshman attended this year. The library provides nerf blasters and pizza. The event is scheduled from 9 to 11 pm on the first Friday of classes. (There is no library instruction at this event!)
  • “Project Pumpkin” is where students go from booth to booth in the library and collect candy.
  • Students can become ZSR Ambassadors who advocate for the library. They are like a friends of the library group.
  • The library tried “Friday night with Folk Night” to provide alternative programming for students.
  • “RUSH ZSR” t-shirts were designed and sold as a fundraiser.

Environmental Wellbeing

  • The library replaced flooring with cork that absorbs sound.
  • In conjunction with serving coffee all night, the librarians held a “Coffee Cup Giveaway” with mugs that they had gotten from Goodwill. Students are encouraged to bring their mug and refill it at events.
  • In partnership with the Sustainability Office, the library has installed two water bottle refill stations.

Financial Wellbeing

  • The library partnered with the Financial Aid office to provide a table near a high foot traffic area to provide financial education.
  • There is also end of year loan counseling for graduating students.
  • The bookstore sets up a table in the library to buy back books at the end of each semester.

These were just some of the initiatives that were mentioned by the librarians from Wake Forest University.

In sum, there were a lot of good ideas presented in these sessions. First, the priorities of the different types of libraries was interesting. The panel member’s comments gave a good picture of the challenges  in each type of  library in North Carolina. The grass is not always greener elsewhere.

Second, I felt like some of the circulation tips were intuitive but with new staff and students on the desk, these tips might be useful for someone new to dealing directly with patrons and disabled patrons.

Third, the librarians at ZSR Library at Wake Forest are busy trying out new ideas and initiatives. They must have a sizable staff to be implementing so many plans. These were just some of the ones that were presented. While some ideas would not be applicable to Charlotte School of Law, other ideas could be adapted or generate more applicable ideas for implementation here.  Overall, I had a great day and felt positive about the future of libraries in North Carolina.

~Betty Thomas~

Posted by: Elizabeth A. (Betty) Thomas | October 18, 2015

Follow-up on Banned Books Week at the Charlotte Law Library


A Poll

Every September since 1982, the library world celebrates the freedom to read by creating programming around Banned Books Week. At Charlotte School of Law Library, we created displays, blog posts, signage, and held a Read Out to raise awareness of the issue of books being challenged and banned.

The American Library Association (ALA) defines a challenge to literature as an attempt by a person or group of people to have literature restricted or removed from a public library or school curriculum.

Few people realize that since the inception of Banned Books Week more than 11,300 books have been challenged. Last year, 311 challenges were reported to the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom. They track challenges, at least the ones that are reported. A lot are not reported.

In an effort to raise awareness, a librarian decided to ban a book. Scott DiMarco, Director of Library and Information Resources at Mansfield University of Pennsylvania announced the banning of One Woman’s Vengeance by a local author named Dennis R. Miller. DiMarco declared the ban on the library’s Facebook page and got a swift response of outrage, but only eight people actually asked to discuss the ban with him. He wrote about his experience in a blog post.

We are interested to know what you think about this librarian’s method of raising awareness.

Banned Books Week at Charlotte School of Law Library in Photos


~Betty Thomas~

Posted by: Elizabeth A. (Betty) Thomas | October 9, 2015

The New Bluebook is Here!

The Twentieth edition of the

The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation (20th ed. 2015)

has arrived!


The Charlotte School of Law Library has two copies available in Course Reserves located behind the Library User Experience Desk (LUX). These copies can be checked out for three hours.

There are also two copies located in the REFERENCE collection. These copies are for Library Use Only. The call number is REF KF245 .B58 2015.

More copies have been ordered.

So What’s New about the Twentieth Edition?

That’s the question everyone wants to know, including me. A detailed answer is in the Preface to the Twentieth Edition on page VII. Cynthia Pittson of Pace Law Library has created a really helpful chart of the changes at The twentieth edition is 50 pages longer than the last edition. Some of the more notable changes follow:

  • The Bluepages in the front part of the book now parallel the order of the Whitepages. The Bluepages are the basic legal citation how-to’s created for everyday use by first year law students and practitioners. The Whitepages are detailed for law journal publication.


  • Bluepages table BT2 has been expanded to cover more local court rules. For example, there are changes in citing the rules for the United States District Court for the Eastern and Middle Districts of North Carolina on page 39.


  • Rule 12.9.4 combines the previous edition’s section on Uniform Acts with Model Codes, Principles, Restatements, Standards, and Sentencing Guidelines. The citation format for these sources has changed.


  • Rules 14(b) and (d) give more details on citing comments to agencies, more examples of other agency publications, and specifics on citing opinion letters.


  • Rule 15 adds a citation format for e-books.


  • Rule 18 has a number of important changes. This is the section that deals with the Internet, Electronic media, and Other non-print resources. All internet citations are now treated as direct so “available at” before the URL is no longer required. Rule 18.2.1(d) encourages using reliable archival sources like and Rule 18.2.2(a) spells out citing authors in social media feeds. Other sections of this rule detail citations for titles of blogs and other social media. Rule 18.3 now has a chart with guidance on citing different types of sources from commercial electronic databases other than the main legal databases.


  • Rule 21 includes more direction on international sources and includes a new section Rule 21.12 on the International Monetary Fund.


  • Table T13 used to list the abbreviations for most individual law reviews. Now 1 lists common institutional names and T13.2 has common words. To cite a journal correctly, one needs to consult these two tables and T10 which has geographical terms.

The changes are not limited to the ones listed here. There are a lot more. These are just some of the highlights.

So Who Creates These Rules?

In case you ever wondered…. The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation is compiled by the editors of the Columbia Law Review, the Harvard Law Review, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, and the Yale Law Journal. The Harvard Law Review Association publishes and distributes the Bluebook.

Posted by: Elizabeth A. (Betty) Thomas | October 9, 2015

Join Park Road Books in an Author Signing with Luther Campbell this Saturday!

Park Road Books Logo

Join Park Road Books in welcoming Luther Campbell, Joy Ann Reid, and Ron Stodghill as they discuss current race issues in America through their new books. Luther Campbell is record label owner, rap performer, and actor. Joy-Ann Reid is a MSNBC reporter and Ron Stodghill is an author, journalist, and an assistant professor at Johnson C. Smith University.

Luther Campbell is also known for using a parody of Roy Orbinson’s “Oh, Pretty Woman” in a song, and was party to Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc., which was argued in front of the US Supreme Court.

To learn more about this event, view the Park Road Books flyer here.

Posted by: Elizabeth A. (Betty) Thomas | October 9, 2015

Banned Books Week: What, Who and Why

BBW - 2015 Symbol

What Are Challenged or Banned Books?

According to the American Library Association, A challenged book is a book that someone has attempted to remove or restrict a book, based on the objections of a person or group. A banned book is a book that has been removed from the collection. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others.

Who Challenges Books?

Parents are the largest group to request a book be removed from a library’s collection. Often with good intentions, parents will challenge a book to “protect others, usually children” but in reality they are restricting the rights of others to read that book.

BBW - What, Who and Why

Office for Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association. (2015). 2014 books challenges infographic. Retrieved from


Why Are Books Challenged or Banned?

Each book that is banned or censored is done so for the content within the pages. There are a few common reasons that books have been banned or censored in schools, libraries, and book stores. These include:

Racial Issues: About and/or encouraging racism towards one or more group of people.

Encouragement of “Damaging” Lifestyles: Content of book encourages lifestyle choices that are not of the norm or could be considered dangerous or damaging. This could include drug use, co-habitation without marriage, or homosexuality.

Blasphemous Dialog: The author of the book uses words such as “God” or “Jesus” as profanity. This could also include any use of profanity or swear words within the text that any reader might find offensive.

Sexual Situations or Dialog: Many books with content that include sexual situations or dialog are banned or censored.

Violence or Negativity: Books with content that include violence are often banned or censored. Some books have also been deemed too negative or depressing and have been banned or censored as well.

Presence of Witchcraft: Books that include magic or witchcraft themes. A common example of these types of books are J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Series.

Religious Affiliations (unpopular religions): Books have been banned or censored due to an unpopular religious views or opinions in the content of the book. This is most commonly related to satanic or witchcraft themes found in the book. Although, many books have also been banned or censored for any religious views in general that might not coincide with the public view.

Political Bias: Most Commonly occurs when books support or examine extreme political parties/philosophies such as: fascism, communism, anarchism, etc.

Age Inappropriate: These books have been banned or censored due to their content and the age level at which they are aimed. In some cases children’s books are viewed to have “inappropriate” themes for the age level at which they are written for.

Many books have been banned or censored in one or more of these categories due to a misjudgment or misunderstanding about the books contents and message. Although a book may have been banned or labeled a certain way, it is important that the reader makes his/her own judgements on the book. Many books that have been banned or censored later were dropped from banned books lists and were no longer considered controversial. For this reason, banned books week occurs yearly to give readers a chance to revisit past or recently banned books to encourage a fresh look into the controversies the books faced.

John F. Reed Library, Fort Lewis College. (November 15,2013). Common reasons for banning books. In Butler University Libraries’ Libguide (Banned books: Reasons for banning books). Retrieved from



The Charlotte School of Law Library invites the Charlotte School of Law community to participate in a Banned Books Read Out on Monday, October 5th from 11 am to 1 pm in the East Reading Room on the 5th floor of the library. Bring your favorite banned or challenged selection. We would like to know why you chose your selection and why it is important to you. We will have many banned or challenged books on display during the Read Out so you are welcome to choose one of them. We ask that you sign up in advance … HERE.

Posted by: Elizabeth A. (Betty) Thomas | October 9, 2015

Banned Books Week: Diversity Under Attack

BBW - 2015 SymbolBanned Books Week: September 27 – October 3, 2015

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Usually scheduled during the last week of September, this annual event reminds Americans not to take this democratic freedom for granted. When books are banned, readers are unable to critically analyze what is written or see different viewpoints.

Diversity under Attack

In her study “Book Challenges Suppress Diversity,” Malinda Lo concluded that diversity is under attack. Lo drew these statistics from the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom’s data on book challenges. She found that books with diverse content are increasingly being challenged. By diverse content, Malinda Lo identified any content that addressed issues about race, sexuality and/or disability or were about non-white, LGBTQ, and/or disabled characters. See the diagram below:

BBW - Diverse content chart

Challenging or banning books leads to less discussion and understanding of diverse perspectives outside of the mainstream.


The Charlotte School of Law Library invites the Charlotte School of Law community to participate in a Banned Books Read Out on Monday, October 5th from 11 am to 1 pm in the East Reading Room on the 5th floor of the library. Bring your favorite banned or challenged selection. We would like to know why you chose your selection and why it is important to you. We will have many banned or challenged books on display during the Read Out so you are welcome to choose one of them. We ask that you sign up in advance … HERE.


Posted by: Elizabeth A. (Betty) Thomas | October 9, 2015

Banned Books READ OUT!

Banned Book - Burning Books

Exercise Your First Amendment Rights at Banned Books Read Out!

YOU ARE INVITED to read from, share and discuss your thoughts on a favorite banned and /or challenged book. Please sign up HERE to speak. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Monday, October 5th

11 am to 1 pm

East Reading Room

5th Floor

Charlotte Law Library

Banned Books Week is held annually to celebrate the value of open access to information and the importance of the First Amendment. The national event was created 30 years ago by the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom.

Photo Credit: “The House of Leaves – Burning 4” by LearningLark – Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons –

Posted by: Elizabeth A. (Betty) Thomas | September 17, 2015

MLA Presents: Library Freedom Project Workshop

MLA ProgramTo register, please visit

Alison Macrina VideoAlison Macrina, The Library Freedom Project (Boston) from Knight Foundation on Vimeo

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