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Open Access Week 2020 – Part 2

See Part 1 for What is Open Access? and How can Open Access support equity and inclusion? 

How do UofSC Law librarians support Open Access?

There is no shortage of ways in which librarians at UofSC Law (and in many other libraries) support Open Access. Here are two examples:

Open Casebooks 
catalog search: Evidence Best Evidence Rule Miller, Colin author; Open Textbook Library distributor 2012 / Evidence Jury Impeachment Miller, Colin author; Open Textbook Library distributor 2014 / Evidence Rape Shield Rule Miller, Colin author; Open Textbook Library distributor 2014

Three Open Access casebooks by Dean Miller

Despite the high prices of casebooks, most casebook authors are not getting rich from those sales; they typically rely on a salary from other full-time work. Because Open Access textbooks help cash-strapped law students without significantly harming authors, authors are increasingly opting to create Open Access casebooks.

Law librarian Andy Kretschmar notes that there are currently some Open Access casebooks findable in the UofSC Law Library catalog, including three by Dean Colin Miller.

Scholar Commons
screenshot of with world map

Law librarians work with law faculty, law student journal editors, and UofSC librarians to get permissions and upload works to Law faculty can choose to make their articles freely available at, no matter where those articles are published, as long as the faculty have not given up their right to do so. Both the South Carolina Journal of International Law and Business (SCJILB) and the South Carolina Law Review have chosen to make back issues freely available via Scholar Commons, and SCJILB also makes its current issues available.

Approximately 37,000 times per year, articles are downloaded from UofSC Law’s Scholar Commons. The work of the UofSC Law Library (especially Lillian Bates, Dan Brackmann, Melanie Griffin, and Candle Wester) in digitizing back issues from print, obtaining permissions from authors and publishers, and putting articles online in an organized, findable way is making a difference.

Open Access Week 2020 – Part 1

What is Open Access?

open access logo (unlocked padlock)

Open Access logo, PLoS

The term Open Access refers to scholarly work that is “digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions,” in the words of Peter Suber.

Open Access typically only applies to research by scholars because most other types of authors and creators make a living by charging users for access to their work. However, scholars may receive little or none of the fees academic publishers charge. Often when scholars choose to provide Open Access to their work, their bottom line remains stable, their audience expands, and the impact of their ideas increases.

How can Open Access support equity and inclusion?

The theme of Open Access Week 2020 is Open With Purpose: Taking Action to Build Structural Equity and Inclusion. Just to mention two aspects of Open Access, putting works online lowers some barriers and removing purchase and subscription costs lowers others.

OPEN ACCESS WEEK 2020 | October 19-25 | Open with Purpose: Taking Action to Build Structural Equity and Inclusion (other languages)Nick Shockey / SPARC

Digitization to Reduce Barriers

When works that are not currently of mass interest only exist in printed format, they may go out-of-print. This can mean that the few existing copies are prohibitively expensive to purchase, or only available in a few libraries. Then researchers who cannot afford the cost of a rare book or travel to a distant city may not be able to refer to those works. Researchers who rely on screen readers or other accessibility technology may encounter additional barriers to using a printed format. Digitizing works and putting them online can help overcome these barriers.

Free or Affordable Textbooks

Students and faculty know how expensive textbooks are, and textbook prices continue to rise. Using Open Access textbooks is one way to help make education more affordable, and therefore more inclusive of students facing financial constraints.

Access Beyond Wealthy Institutions

Many researchers access scholarly works online via an institutional login. They may be unaware of the high rates their library pays academic publishers for group online subscriptions. Meanwhile, independent researchers or researchers whose institutions cannot pay for certain expensive subscriptions often cannot afford access to the sources they need for their research.

In Part 2: How do UofSC Law librarians support Open Access?

Banned Books Week 2018

Click image to expand. Source:

What do librarians do when library patrons, parents, board members, or others challenge the presence of a book in the library?

If a book at a public library is claimed to be age-inappropriate, is it moved out of the children’s or teens’ section?

What factors typically figure into the library’s response?

Case Study: A “Filthy” Comic Strip Book

logo of, where the comic strips originated

The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom has posted a case study on their blog.

A book of comic strips was shipped to a public library in Maine, apparently after a teenage library patron forgot the book at summer camp. It is unknown who found, packaged, and mailed the book—maybe another camper and/or a counselor. The book was taped shut, and an anonymous message was written on the tape, labeling the book “filthy” and “not suited for children.”

The librarian who received the book in the mail shares her library’s policy on complaints about books, as well as the steps she took to respond to this particular complaint. Read the full story.

Supporting Freedom during Banned Books Week


At your law library’s Circulation Desk this week (September 23-29), we offer stress-relieving coloring pages with a Banned Books theme. You can also borrow colored pencils.

Our neighbor, the South Carolina State Library, has a display this week (September 23-29) of books that were argued to deserve restricted access or removal from libraries. Just across Senate Street, you can tour the Banned Books Week display, and learn about everything else the State Library offers, including a free notary and help with researching grants.

LibraryFest 2018: Harry Potter and the School of Law

The law library’s annual LibraryFest, an open house orientation, took place on Wednesday, September 19 from 12:30 pm to 2:00 pm. This year, LibraryFest had a Harry Potter theme.

Tour of Great Hall, Chamber of Secrets, Etc.

Law library faculty and staff in Hogwarts’ Great Hall, actually the Coleman Karesh Reading Room. Thanks to Professor Aaron Glenn for casting the spells needed to make this magical portrait move.

Regenia Dowling, business manager of the law library and prefect of Hufflepuff House, closes the library administration office in order to act as a greeter for LibraryFest.

Professor Dan Brackmann turns pages with his wand. Really, the pages were turning. It’s too bad this is a photo and not video.

Professor Aaron Glenn demonstrates the wonders of the South Carolina Legal History Room (in some ways, a Chamber of Secrets, because it is usually kept locked)

Prof. Brackmann and Hedwig in the Great Hall

Professor Eve Ross and a lost owl outside the Coleman Karesh Reading Room

Professor Terrye Conroy, Legal Research, dressed as Professor Pomona Sprout, Herbology

Professor Rebekah Maxwell explains our scanner that will let you scan pages from a book, and email them as a PDF for free. Muggle technology is amazing!

Librarians Amanda Bullington of Hufflepuff House and Megan Brown of Slytherin House demonstrate the garnet dry-erase walls in a sorting-hat study room.

Visitors to the various stations throughout the library received tickets. Students placed their tickets in the goblet of their choice, and Professor Brackmann randomly selected the winning ticket from each goblet. All winners have now been notified. We are especially thrilled on behalf of the lucky winners of the books! The best prize!

Which Hogwarts House is Your Librarian in?

Obviously each member of law library administration, faculty, and staff contains all the qualities of bravery, loyalty, wisdom, and ambition. And as Dumbledore said, “It is our choices … that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 333 (1998). Nonetheless, all must be sorted by the Sorting Hat, and all took a very official and scientifically valid personality quiz to determine the following results.

Team Gryffindor (brave)

Duncan Alford
Diana Grosso

Team Hufflepuff (loyal)

Amanda Bullington
Terrye Conroy
Regenia Dowling
Eve Ross

Team Ravenclaw (wise)

Lillian Bates
Dan Brackmann
Aaron Glenn
Andy Kretschmar
Rebekah Maxwell
Candle Wester

Team Slytherin (ambitious)

Megan Brown

Morris L. Cohen Student Essay Competition

A $500 prize is available in an essay competition open to current law students.

Essays may be on any topic related to legal history, rare law books, or legal archives.

The winner and the runner-up will have the opportunity to publish their essays in the scholarly journal Unbound: A Review of Legal History and Rare Books. Past issues of this journal are available on HeinOnline.

Essay Competition Details:

Please see the flyer below for more information, and see the website of the Legal History and Rare Books Section of the American Association of Law Libraries for full details and an application.

How to access Unbound: A Review of Legal History and Rare Books on HeinOnline:
  • Go to, and click on Quick Links.
  • From the dropdown, click HeinOnline.
  • You may be prompted to enter your USC Network ID and password.
  • Under Browse Databases by Name, click on Law Journal Library.
  • Finally, click on U, scroll down, and click on Unbound: A Review of Legal History and Rare Books.


LibraryFest 2017

LibraryFest 2017 is now in the books. Enjoy the photos we’ve posted to Facebook and Instagram. A time-lapse video is below, along with the full text of our librarian superhero descriptions from our librarian superhero poster.

Time-Lapse Video

One hour of LibraryFest, condensed into one minute:

Superhero Aliases

Master of the Universe

Duncan Alford

Mission: to guard cosmic knowledge from the forces of evil


  • laser vision;
  • speed reading;
  • leaping across tall book stacks in a single bound;
  • quantum mechanics;
  • navigating rotating wormholes to travel to far-flung galaxies


Sidekick: Slam, bodyguard of the Master


Arch Nemesis: Lord Voldemort

Agent Scholarly Research, aka Facilities Fighter

Candle Wester

Mission: to provide the utmost in research services to our law faculty—and to defend the law library’s carpet against stains.


  • unearthing impossible-to-find scholarly resources;
  • instantly reporting law library facility issues with deadly accuracy

Sidekick: HeinOnline

Arch Nemesis: The Unsecured Containers

The Gatekeeper

Andrew Kretschmar

Mission: to know where your books are—all day, every day.


  • the power to “renew” life
  • able to scan 50 bpm (books per minute)
  • able to flawlessly parallel park a book truck
  • able to spot a book thief from 10 shelves away
  • able to re-ink a stamp without getting hands dirty

    The Gate

  • able to talk any library into loaning its most valued holdings to our law students

Sidekicks: The Boolean Operators

Arch Nemesis: The All-Seeing BookEye Scanner

Catalog Queen

Alias: Amanda Bullington

Mission: to make the library’s collection easily accessible to all users.


  • adds materials to the library catalog with the speed of a cheetah;
  • evaluates catalog records with the eyes of an eagle;
  • improves catalog records with the determination of a grizzly bear

    Catalog Cat

Sidekick: Catalog Cat

Arch Nemesis: The Disorganizer

Acquisitions Acrobat

Alias: Megan Brown

Mission: to acquire and organize the best resources for students who wish to execute justice.


  • super-organization;
  • scouring the globe for the most exquisite scholarship

    Ripley-Cat, Box Inspector Extraordinaire

Sidekick: Ripley-Cat, Box Inspector Extraordinaire

Arch Nemesis: Ignorance

Favorite Book: Demons, by Fyodor Dostoevsky

The Phantom Librarian

Dan Brackmann

Mission: to spread the word of USC School of Law faculty scholarship far and wide.


  • arrives in the nick of time;
  • can properly cite a Texas case

Sidekick: Abacus Laptop

Arch Nemeses: Hurricane Harvey and El Severe

Professor LRAW

Terrye Conroy

Mission: to preserve and impart knowledge of legal research to future generations.


  • planning an entire semester in a single bound;
  • calculating grades with laser accuracy

Sidekick: The Citator

The Careless Googler

Arch Nemesis: The Careless Googler

The Rescuer

Rebekah Maxwell

Mission: to locate resources before you even think to need them, and swoop to the aid of anyone lost in the stacks.


  • ninja stealth;
  • super-acute hearing

Sidekick: Lord Percival “Percy” de Leoncoeur

Lord Percival

Barking-Mad Boris

Arch Nemesis: Barking-Mad Boris


Ready Reference

Eve Ross

Mission: to rescue lost researchers from rabbit-holes and cut pristine citation trails for others to follow.


  • formulating rapidfire, targeted search queries;
  • rocketing through cyberspace from jurisdiction to jurisdiction;
  • singlehandedly Shepardizing;
  • bravely leading expeditions backward through time, without fear of microfiche

    The Blue Bookworm

Sidekick: The Blue Bookworm

Et Sequitur

Arch Nemesis: Et Sequitur


Aaron Glenn

Mission: to assist weary researchers and preserve multimedia content for library patrons.


  • super-editing;
  • streaming video at the speed of light;


  • demystifying research resources;
  • organizing digital files with strategic precision

Sidekick: Action-Cam

Arch Nemesis: Server Outages


Eclipse at the School of Law

by guest author Aaron Glenn

On August 21, spectators from all across the United States witnessed the awe-inspiring sight of a total solar eclipse. For those in the “path of totality” day became night, late August heat gave way to cool breezes, and the amazing sight of the eclipse created a memory not soon to be forgotten:

And while the eclipse may be over, that doesn’t mean you can’t keep exploring the extraterrestrial. You can read about the legal implications of satellites, cyber warfare, ownership of asteroids and more in The Little Book of Space Law, available in the Library!

Let’s Talk: Justice – Bryan Stevenson and Richland Library

just-mercy-collageAt 6 pm on Thursday, November 17, Bryan Stevenson will speak at The Township Auditorium in Columbia.

Mr. Stevenson is a public-interest lawyer; founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative; and a clinical professor at NYU School of Law.

Richland Library invites the public to a series of forums and book groups, and a film screening prior to Mr. Stevenson’s scheduled visit to Columbia.

Library Fest: How It Works

Update: see photos of Library Fest 2016 in our Facebook photo album.

About Library Fest

Who: The library invites all law school faculty, staff, and students (especially 1Ls)
What: Library Fest 2016
When: Monday, September 12; drop in 12 noon to 2 pm
Where: first floor of Coleman Karesh Law Library
Why: to learn more about library and IT resources; to get to know each other; to take a short break on a Monday

Cake and Highlighters

Cake is for everyone!

Highlighters are for everyone!

Meet Vendors and Student Reps

Bloomberg, Lexis, and Westlaw account managers and/or student representatives will be in the library. See what they have to offer.

Prize Carts and 1L Carrel Lottery

If you pick up a self-guided library tour card as you enter the library and get it signed at all 4 stations in any order (Bookeye Scanner, IT, Legal History Room, and LRAW/study aids), then:

  • you get to pick a prize from the prize carts while supplies last, and
  • you may enter the 1L carrel lottery (if you’re a 1L).

Prize carts contain t-shirts, tote bags, collapsible water bottles, notebooks, sticky notes, pens, desk toys, and more.

Check out the map of stations and prize carts:

map of 1st floor of law library

Pokémon Lure Modules

For every 10 people who sign in as attending Library Fest, the library will place 1 Pokémon lure module near the law school, not during class, on a date and time to be announced later via the library’s social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), for up to 20 lures / 200 attendees.

Look for the sign-in sheet:

Sheet