How to Bring the UofSC Law Library to You

by guest author Melanie Griffin

The UofSC Law Library extends its usefulness way beyond its physical walls, now more than ever. Here’s how to bring our resources to your home base, whether you’re still in the middle of distance learning or preparing to come back to campus in August.

 

  • Electronic study aids: We know how difficult it is to suddenly have no access to your usual method of studying. But finding an electronic copy of your favorite study aid is easier than you think. Several major law school materials publishers give you access to their study aids online with your law school login. West Academic, for example, also lets you download study aids for offline use and access online case studies for free until June 1. Wolters Kluwer, publisher of popular series such as Examples & Explanations, are giving law students free electronic access to their library of study aids through July 1. And CALI (the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction) continues to offer free online tutorials in a number of legal subjects with no expiration date. Look through the Course Materials section of our Remote Resources guide to find your old favorites, plus new ways to keep your brain ready.

 

Use an image of the UofSC reading room for your Zoom study group background to feel like you never left!
  • Bring the library to your virtual study groups: If you’re feeling restless and lonely without your in-person study partners, set up virtual study times to bring everybody together again. The best part is that video chat services like Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Skype are free and easy to access, plus distance learning has made everyone familiar with them over the last few months. We can’t give you your favorite carrel in the basement or lamp in the reading room, but these library Zoom backgrounds come close to the ambiance you’re used to.

 

  • Law Library Chat service: Our law librarians are as ready as ever to answer your reference questions and guide you to the right resources, bringing their extensive knowledge to wherever you’re current set up. Our Law Library Chat is an instant messenger service that’s monitored Mondays – Fridays, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. If you have a question outside those hours, don’t fret – you can send an email to lawref@law.sc.edu at any point, and it will get answered during the next set of business hours.

 

  • Circuit Riders basic legal research guide: If you know anyone who is looking for help with their own legal issues, point them to our Circuit Riders research guide on basic legal research in South Carolina. We can’t give out legal advice, but we can give you and the public information on processes in this state so that you stay informed on your journey through the South Carolina legal system.

 

  • COVID-19 remote services: Above all else, we’re here to help you through these unusual circumstances with minimal interruption to your law education and information needs. Our research librarians have compiled a complete resource guide to the remote services we’re using through our COVID-19 schedule, updated as warranted. Even as our campus is scheduled to re-open for the Fall 2020 semester, UofSC is working with students who won’t be able to make the physical trip back for any reason. If you have needs for remote library services this summer or beyond, check this resources guide first to get the most updated information on how we’re handling materials and research assistance.

Public Library Resources for the UofSC Law Student

by guest author Melanie Griffin

Public Library symbolWhether or not you’re still in Columbia while campus is on lockdown, you’re part of the community as a UofSC law student. And so is our local public library.

Richland Library offers a large variety of resources that complement your UofSC Law work, all of them free, and many especially relevant to these uncertain times.


Access to these online library materials and classes on third-party sites like Lynda requires a Richland Library card. Distribution of physical cards is on hold during the COVID-19 stay at home order, but register online for a card with a Richland County address, and you’ll get immediate access to Richland Library resources that can help make your law school (and pandemic) experience easier.

  • Learn skills that will enhance your law training. Your J.D. will take you far, and extra skills can help you stand out. Your Richland Library card unlocks online classes from websites like Lynda.com for free, so you can choose any course in their vast collection to add to your resume.  Check out their finance offerings to familiarize yourself with procedures, browse their extensive list of intellectual property videos for examples of how those laws apply to different types of creations, look through their spreadsheet and forms classes to find one that can help you (and your future employer) organize and make the most of your data, and more.

 

  • Digitally explore new study area options. Although the physical branches of Richland Library are currently closed for health and safety, you can still use this time to explore the spaces they’ll have on offer when they reopen. Richland Library’s online booking system lets you view photographs of its study, meeting, and conference rooms to get a sense of their sizes and layouts; this is great information to have in case of future need and to have an alternative to campus spaces if those get too crowded.

 

  • Take a mental break. If you find yourself becoming overwhelmed while adjusting to the law school’s new norms, browse the digital materials offered by Richland Library. Rereading your favorite Harry Potter chapters via ebook, taking a self-help audio tome with you on a walk, paging through a digital comic between study chapters, listening to your favorite album to get through chores, watching a new movie or TV show before bed – all of these are free ways for you to distract or relax your brain until it’s ready to go again.

The following resources are great for your own information and any pro-bono clients you may be working with as well. These links are open to anyone who wants to view them and don’t require a Richland Library card.

  • Navigate unemployment. If this virus has left you suddenly without a way of supporting yourself through school, don’t panic. The law school’s Career Services department is here for you. There are also a number of different options for unemployment benefits, and Richland Library’s I Am An Employee information page sorts them by type of work so you can find what you need based on what you do. If you are advising businesses that are trying to help their laid-off employees, or if you’re doing pro bono work with unemployed people, the I Am An Employee public library resource may be helpful to them.

 

  • Keep track of COVID-19 information. As a UofSC law student, you can rely on sc.edu/safety/coronavirus for the latest information that applies to you. If you’re doing pro bono or volunteer work in Columbia, you can recommend Richland Library’s updated list of local data and sites to people who aren’t affiliated with the university.