Category Archives: Using the Law Library

Book Your Study Room

Our study room reservation calendars are starting to look festive.

small group study room reservations as of 1:30 pm, 11/30/17

If you’re going to need a study room, book now to avoid disappointment.

How do I reserve a study room?

Go to Alternatively, go to the law library’s website, click on Quick Links, then click Reserve a Room.

Click on Large Group Study Rooms or Small Group Study Rooms. To book small group study rooms, there must be a minimum of 2 law students. To book large group study rooms, there must be a minimum of 3 law students.

Click the calendar date for your reservation.

Select the room you want. Click the (i) next to a room number to see a photo of the room and details of its capacity.

Study rooms inside the library are marked “– Library,” require that drinks are in spillproof containers and that no food is brought in, and are not available after the library closes (typically 11 pm or midnight during exams). For any study room, click on consecutive green half-hour slots, up to 3 hours per group per day maximum.

From there, follow the prompts to read our policies, submit names and emails of those reserving the room, and receive confirmation of the booking via email.

Can I just take the first room available, without reserving?

You are welcome to use an unoccupied study room without a reservation. However, if someone else has reserved it, you will have to leave. The odds of someone else having reserved any particular study room are higher this time of year, due to exams.

Can I leave my stuff in a study room for just a minute?

We ask that you not leave items unattended in a study room, due to the risk that items may become lost or stolen. Remember the law library is open to the public daily until 9 pm during exams. At a minimum, unattended or forgotten items may create a distraction for the next group using the room.

Could you please post your official, complete study-room policies as a block of fine print I could read? (I’m studying to become a lawyer.)
  1. Our group study rooms may be reserved only by USC School of Law students, staff, and faculty. Exceptions may be made for educational purposes on a case-by-case basis and must be approved by library administration.
  2. Bookings must be approved by Law Library circulation staff to ensure that all listed users are eligible to reserve the room. If your booking is made during the library’s operating hours, please allow for up to one hour for a response. Any bookings made when the library is closed will receive a response when the library opens.
  3. If you are unable to use the study room at your scheduled time, please be sure to cancel it at least 30 minutes before your booking starts, if possible. If a room that has an approved booking goes unoccupied after 30 minutes, that booking will be canceled.
  4. You may reserve the room for three hours per day per group. Reservations must be for consecutive time slots or your reservation may be canceled i.e. you may not request every other 30 minute time slot over a six-hour span.
  5. If no one has reserved the room after your time allotment, you may stay past the end of your booked time slot. If you decide to extend your booked time while you’re in the room, please use this website to do so.
  6. If there is any damage to the room, report it to the Law Library circulation desk immediately.  Failure to do so may result in you being charged for the damage.
  7. If you have any questions about your booking, please speak to a staff member at the Law Library circulation desk, but please know that Law Library staff will not be responsible for mediating any conflicts between parties regarding bookings.
  8. All rooms should be equipped with dry erase materials. If you need replacements, please see the Law Library circulation desk.
  9. Please direct any questions or concerns about study room technology to IT at
  10. These rooms do not lock, so please do not leave possessions unattended. The USC School of Law is not responsible for lost or stolen items.

Dear @UofSCLawLib

We posted a friendly reminder of our food policy on our Twitter account yesterday.

A faculty member had questions.

Lots of questions. So many questions.

We kept getting called on to answer more hypotheticals.

Good thing we are a library and had done our reading! We were ready!

Bring on the exam questions based on law library food policy. We’ve got this!

Thanks to Professor Stoughton for helping us get the word out about the law library rules:

  1. no food, and
  2. drinks in spillproof containers only.

Chat and Text with the Law Library

The law library is proud to announce that the same reference services that have long been available by phone, by email, and in person at the reference desk are now also available via online chat on our website, as well as by text to 803-219-2529.

We hope law students will find chat and text to be convenient ways to interact with the law library.

How to Use our Chat

When you see the “Chat now with a reference librarian” indicator on our website, you may click on it to begin a chat.

This message appears on our website when a reference librarian is available for chat.

Then a widget will pop up. Type in the lower portion of the widget to chat, and press Enter to send your message to the librarian. The librarian’s response will appear as part of a conversation with you in the upper portion of the widget. The chat software also allows you to send a file to the librarian, or to email a transcript of the chat to yourself.

This chat widget pops up when you click “Chat now with a reference librarian” to begin a chat.

Hours of Chat Availability

Reference chat is only available during our standard reference hours, Monday through Friday 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, on days when the library is open. Because at times the reference librarian may be responding to multiple needs, chat may be temporarily unavailable during reference hours. During busy times and off-hours, online patrons will be advised that email may be the best way to contact us, so that we can reply as soon as we are able. Our email address is

This message appears on our website when no reference librarian is available for chat.

Reporting Noise Issues via Chat

The circulation desk also has an online chat component available through our website for reporting noise issues in the library. The same caveat applies as to the chat function occasionally being unavailable when circulation librarians attend to other duties, and at that point phone reporting is recommended.

When this message appears on our website, circulation staff is available for chat.

When no circulation staff is available for chat, this message appears on our website.

PASCAL delivers; Irma interrupts

We in the law library urge everyone to track the weather carefully and be safe.

  • Whenever law library hours change due to weather, or for any other reason, we will immediately update our calendar as soon as we learn of the decision.
  • Due to the anticipated impact of Hurricane Irma on member libraries around the state, PASCAL Delivers requesting was suspended at noon on Friday and will remain suspended at least thru Monday. PASCAL Delivers will also suspend courier service on Monday for the entire state due to the anticipated impact of the hurricane.
  • Our electronic resources remain accessible.
  • Find USC-specific weather updates at
  • Register to receive USC-specific emergency alerts via text at Carolina Alert.

Federal Rules of Evidence online

Taking a deep dive into the Federal Rules of Evidence? Here’s how to find searchable, annotated versions of the FRE on Westlaw and Lexis Advance, as well as how to find the official pdf version from the US Government Publishing Office.

Westlaw version (searchable, annotated)
  1. Log in to Westlaw.
  2. Click “Federal Materials,” then “United States Code Annotated (USCA).”
  3. Scroll down, just below Title 28, then click on “Federal Rules of Evidence.”
  4. At this point, any terms you enter in the search box will be searched throughout the FRE, or you can click the checkboxes next to particular rules first, in order to narrow the search to just those rules.
  5. Clicking the link to a particular rule will provide the text of the rule, Notes of Decisions (case law interpreting the rule), and Citing References (all primary and secondary materials available on Westlaw that cite to that rule; use filters to narrow this down).
Lexis Advance version (searchable, annotated)
  1. Log in to Lexis Advance.
  2. Click “Browse,” then “Sources,” then type USCS and click on “USCS – Federal Rules Annotated” in the list of suggestions, then click the magnifying glass to search.
  3. Click the link to “Table of Contents – USCS – Federal Rules Annotated.”
  4. To the right of “Federal Rules of Evidence,” there is a magnifying glass with a plus sign. Clicking this will narrow your search to just the Federal Rules of Evidence.
  5. To the left of “Federal Rules of Evidence” is a triangle. Clicking this triangle will expand the rules you can choose from. Clicking the link to a particular rule will provide the text of the rule, Interpretive Notes and Decisions (case law interpreting the rule), and a link to Shepardize the rule (this reveals all primary and secondary materials available on Lexis Advance that cite to the rule; options to narrow these results are on the left side of the screen).
US Government Publishing Office version (official)

The website is free; no login is needed. The pdfs available on the site have wide margins that are great for marking up with your own notes. Most importantly, these pdfs are official sources of law provided by the federal government.

PDF version of Federal Rules of Evidence on (93 pages; may load slowly)

1L Orientation to the Law Library

Lexis Advance, Westlaw, and TWEN
Legal Research, Analysis, and Writing (LRAW)
  • First-week assignments for LRAW, as well as all other classes are at
  • 1Ls complete the Legal System Pre-Class Exercise by clicking on their research professor’s name, then answering the questions in one session. (Saving answers and returning to finish later is not possible; however, referring to the online textbook is allowed.)
On the Law Library’s Website:
More Law Library Information:

@UofSCLawLib is on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 1Ls who “like” or “follow” @UofSCLawLib on any of these services by August 31 will be entered into a drawing to win first pick of two prizes at Library Fest 2017.

Library Fest 2017 will be Friday, September 22, 12:30 to 1:30. All UofSC law students are invited. The law library will offer prizes galore!

Summer Reading

Do you have time to read a little for pleasure before school starts?

Check out the bestsellers in our popular collection, on the first floor between the public computers and the stairwell. These six are just a sample of the light reading we have to offer.

We’ve included the publishers’ synopses below.

Paradise Valley by C.J. Box

She almost caught him once. Now, he’s back.

For three years, Investigator Cassie Dewell has been on a hunt for a serial killer known as the Lizard King whose hunting grounds are the highways and truck stops where runaways and prostitutes are most likely to vanish. Cassie almost caught him…once.

Working for the Bakken County, North Dakota sheriff’s department, Cassie has set what she believes is the perfect trap and she has lured him and his truck to a depot. But the plan goes horribly wrong, and the blame falls on Cassie. Disgraced, she loses her job and investigation into her role is put into motion.

At the same time, Kyle Westergaard, a troubled kid whom Cassie has taken under her wing, has disappeared after telling people that he’s going off on a long-planned adventure. Kyle’s grandmother begs Cassie to find him and, with nothing else to do, Cassie agrees—all the while hunting the truck driver.

Now Cassie is a lone wolf. And in the same way that two streams converge into a river, Kyle’s disappearance may have a more sinister meaning than anyone realizes. With no allies, no support, and only her own wits to rely on, Cassie must take down a killer who is as ruthless as he is cunning. But can she do it alone, without losing her own humanity or her own life?

The Power of Broke by Daymond John

The instant New York Times bestseller from Shark Tank star and Fubu Founder Daymond John on why starting a business on a limited budget can be an entrepreneur’s greatest competitive advantage.

Daymond John has been practicing the power of broke ever since he started selling his home-sewn t-shirts on the streets of Queens. With a $40 budget, Daymond had to strategize out-of-the-box ways to promote his products. Luckily, desperation breeds innovation, and so he hatched an idea for a creative campaign that eventually launched the FUBU brand into a $6 billion dollar global phenomenon.  But it might not have happened if he hadn’t started out broke – with nothing but hope and a ferocious drive to succeed by any means possible.

Here, the FUBU founder and star of ABC’s Shark Tank shows that, far from being a liability, broke can actually be your greatest competitive advantage as an entrepreneur. Why?  Because starting a business from broke forces you to think more creatively.  It forces you to use your resources more efficiently. It forces you to connect with your customers more authentically, and market your ideas more imaginatively. It forces you to be true to yourself, stay laser focused on your goals, and come up with those innovative solutions required to make a meaningful mark.

Drawing his own experiences as an entrepreneur and branding consultant, peeks behind-the scenes from the set of Shark Tank, and stories of dozens of other entrepreneurs who have hustled their way to wealth, John shows how we can all leverage the power of broke to phenomenal success. You’ll meet:

· Steve Aoki, the electronic dance music (EDM) deejay who managed to parlay a series of $100 gigs into becoming a global superstar who has redefined the music industry
· Gigi Butler, a cleaning lady from Nashville who built cupcake empire on the back of a family  recipe, her maxed out credit cards, and a heaping dose of faith
· 11-year old Shark Tank guest Mo Bridges who stitched together a winning clothing line with just his grandma’s sewing machine, a stash of loose fabric, and his unique sartorial flair

When your back is up against the wall, your bank account is empty, and creativity and passion are the only resources you can afford, success is your only option. Here you’ll learn how to tap into that Power of Broke to scrape, hustle, and dream your way to the top.

Eyes Wide Open by Isaac Lidsky

In this New York Times bestseller, Isaac Lidsky draws on his experience of achieving immense success, joy, and fulfillment while losing his sight to a blinding disease to show us that it isn’t external circumstances, but how we perceive and respond to them, that governs our reality.

Fear has a tendency to give us tunnel vision—we fill the unknown with our worst imaginings and cling to what’s familiar. But when confronted with new challenges, we need to think more broadly and adapt. When Isaac Lidsky learned that he was beginning to go blind at age thirteen, eventually losing his sight entirely by the time he was twenty-five, he initially thought that blindness would mean an end to his early success and his hopes for the future. Paradoxically, losing his sight gave him the vision to take responsibility for his reality and thrive. Lidsky graduated from Harvard College at age nineteen, served as a Supreme Court law clerk, fathered four children, and turned a failing construction subcontractor into a highly profitable business.

Whether we’re blind or not, our vision is limited by our past experiences, biases, and emotions. Lidsky shows us how we can overcome paralyzing fears, avoid falling prey to our own assumptions and faulty leaps of logic, silence our inner critic, harness our strength, and live with open hearts and minds. In sharing his hard-won insights, Lidsky shows us how we too can confront life’s trials with initiative, humor, and grace.

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.

Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

The stories collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love.

Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant

From Facebook’s COO and Wharton’s top-rated professor, the #1 New York Times best-selling authors of Lean In and Originals: a powerful, inspiring, and practical book about building resilience and moving forward after life’s inevitable setbacks.

After the sudden death of her husband, Sheryl Sandberg felt certain that she and her children would never feel pure joy again. “I was in ‘the void,’” she writes, “a vast emptiness that fills your heart and lungs and restricts your ability to think or even breathe.” Her friend Adam Grant, a psychologist at Wharton, told her there are concrete steps people can take to recover and rebound from life-shattering experiences. We are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. It is a muscle that everyone can build.

Option B combines Sheryl’s personal insights with Adam’s eye-opening research on finding strength in the face of adversity. Beginning with the gut-wrenching moment when she finds her husband, Dave Goldberg, collapsed on a gym floor, Sheryl opens up her heart—and her journal—to describe the acute grief and isolation she felt in the wake of his death. But Option B goes beyond Sheryl’s loss to explore how a broad range of people have overcome hardships including illness, job loss, sexual assault, natural disasters, and the violence of war. Their stories reveal the capacity of the human spirit to persevere . . . and to rediscover joy.

Resilience comes from deep within us and from support outside us. Even after the most devastating events, it is possible to grow by finding deeper meaning and gaining greater appreciation in our lives. Option B illuminates how to help others in crisis, develop compassion for ourselves, raise strong children, and create resilient families, communities, and workplaces. Many of these lessons can be applied to everyday struggles, allowing us to brave whatever lies ahead. Two weeks after losing her husband, Sheryl was preparing for a father-child activity. “I want Dave,” she cried. Her friend replied, “Option A is not available,” and then promised to help her make the most of Option B.

We all live some form of Option B. This book will help us all make the most of it.

All the Single Ladies by Rebecca Traister

The New York Times bestselling investigation into the sexual, economic, and emotional lives of women is “an informative and thought-provoking book for anyone—not just the single ladies—who want to gain a greater understanding of this pivotal moment in the history of the United States” (The New York Times Book Review).

In 2009, award-winning journalist Rebecca Traister started All the Single Ladies about the twenty-first century phenomenon of the American single woman. It was the year the proportion of American women who were married dropped below fifty percent; and the median age of first marriages, which had remained between twenty and twenty-two years old for nearly a century (1890–1980), had risen dramatically to twenty-seven.

But over the course of her vast research and more than a hundred interviews with academics and social scientists and prominent single women, Traister discovered a startling truth: the phenomenon of the single woman in America is not a new one. And historically, when women were given options beyond early heterosexual marriage, the results were massive social change—temperance, abolition, secondary education, and more. Today, only twenty percent of Americans are married by age twenty-nine, compared to nearly sixty percent in 1960.

All the Single Ladies is a remarkable portrait of contemporary American life and how we got here, covering class, race, sexual orientation, and filled with vivid anecdotes from fascinating contemporary and historical figures through the lens of the unmarried American woman.

Electronic Fourth of July

The library is closed Tuesday, July 4 for the national holiday.
Meanwhile, our electronic resources are still available to current law students, 2017 graduates, and law faculty.
For example, the book American Soul: The Contested Legacy of the Declaration of Independence, edited by Justin Buckley Dyer, is available in electronic format. It contains materials relating to the Declaration of Independence, from Thomas Jefferson’s rough draft, to speeches by Frederick Douglass, Ronald Reagan, Barack Obama, and more.
To include this e-book in your Fourth of July reading:
  • Find it in our catalog, which is searchable on our homepage, For example, you could type in the search terms “American Soul” and press Enter, then click on the title.
  • Under the words “Connect to:” click the link that says “USC All libraries from EBSCOhost.”
  • Click the link that says “USC School of Law.”
  • You can browse the Table of Contents or view the whole book as a PDF, among other options.
We wish everyone a thoughtful and well-researched Fourth of July.

Mindful Coloring and Mindful Reading

Mindful Coloring

At least one study suggests that coloring can help relieve exam-related stress.

From November 21 through December 9, the law library is offering coloring pages (take one and it’s yours) and colored pencils (return them when you’re done) at the circulation desk.

Coloring pages are available in four categories: law, legal research, geometric, and mandalas.

Mindful Reading

E-books on mindfulness are available to law students through USC libraries.

Click on a book cover image below to go to an e-book’s entry in the online library catalog. From that page, look just below the words “Connect to” in the center for the appropriate link to click on. You will need to enter your USC Network ID and password (same as for your email). Then you can access the e-book.

mindful-way-through-stress-book-cover This guide to mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) contains vivid stories and everyday examples. In as little as 10 minutes a day over 8 weeks, you’ll be taken step by step through a carefully structured sequence of guided meditations and easy yoga exercises.

Audio tracks for guided meditation are included as part of the e-book.

mindful-way-workbook-book-cover The 8-week program covered in this workbook is built on mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), which has been tested and proven effective in clinical trials to help overcome depression, anxiety, and stress The authors introduce specific mindfulness practices to try each week, plus reflection questions and tools for tracking progress.

Audio tracks for guided meditation are included as part of the e-book.

mindful-compassion-book-cover In order to fully thrive, we require motivation. Compassion, like anger or aggression, is an extremely powerful motivational force that can bring about real, lasting change. This book shows how mindfulness and compassion can work in harmony to offer a new, effective, and practical approach to overcoming everyday problems.

Book information above is excerpted and adapted from publishers’ descriptions.

See more mindfulness resources available via USC libraries.

Mindful Coloring in the Law Library

colored pencils

Students, faculty, and staff of the USC School of Law may access colored pencils and coloring pages at the circulation desk in the law library September 26 through September 30.

Sets of colored pencils may be checked out. Sharing is encouraged. Coloring pages may be selected one at a time and kept.

Studies show that coloring or other artistic activities may reduce anxiety and stress hormones. One study found that coloring for a short time was associated with lower anxiety in students before exams.

A few law classes have midterms, so the coloring pages and colored pencils are available in the law library now (Sept 26-30). And they’ll be back again just before finals.


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