What to Do With Your Library Books

by guest author Andy Kretschmar

Several of you have come to us asking a very understandable question: With campus closed, what do I do with my library books?

First, please know that the health and safety of our patrons is first on our list of priorities during this time. Receiving our materials by their assigned due dates is far lower on the list right now.

Second, now that the university has begun outlining plans for the fall, we now feel comfortable addressing some of the questions you may have regarding library materials.


I have a book that was due during the closure—do I need to return it now?

No. So long as we are being asked to stay off campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will not be requiring that you return your books until it is safe to do so or until you return in the fall semester.

Will you be automatically renewing my library books during the closure?

Yes! Whether your books belong to the law library or another institution, we will be automatically renewing items.

While it’s very rare during this time that a renewal request will be denied, we will contact you directly if any complications arise.

Will I receive any fines, fees, or blocks on my registration or diploma for books that are due during this time?

Nope, nope, and nope.

I recently received an overdue notice. What do I do with it?

Overdue notices should not be sent during this time, as we are renewing all items, but if you do receive one, please forward it to me, and I will ensure that you do not receive them again.

I’m either currently undecided about returning to campus in-person in the fall, or am unable to do so, and/or I REALLY want to return my books now—can I mail them to you?

If you’d like to return library materials in the mail, please send them to:

Andy Kretschmar

University of South Carolina Law Library

1525 Senate St. #120D

Columbia, SC 29208

Our mail is still being delivered—Dean Alford is a seasoned courier at this point!—and we will discharge your materials from your library account shortly after we receive them.

If I mail my books to you, do I need to include any additional information?

Nope! So long as it’s a book that you borrowed from the law library (no matter which institution it belongs to) we’ll have all the information we need in order to discharge it from your account.

Please be sure to include a return address, and we’ll contact you if we have any questions.

My books are in my journal office. Do I need to go and get them?

If you are not able to safely do so, please do not worry about retrieving them.

When we return to campus, the law library will contact your journal’s EIC about receiving the books.

I’ve been given permission to enter the building, and am able to safely retrieve my library books. Is there a place I can return them?

Since the library is closed, the Student Services suite has graciously allowed for students to return their library materials there.

Please ensure that there are staff present before taking advantage of this option.

I just graduated, and will not be coming back to campus. What do I do with my books in that case?

If you graduated this semester and have library materials checked out to you, you should have received an email from me with info on returning books. If you fall within this category but did not hear from me, please let me know!

I live near campus—can I just place my books in one of the book drops?

No. All campus book drops are closed at this time.

I have other questions, or did not see my question addressed. Who do I contact?

Please feel free to contact me with any and all questions you have at kretschm@law.sc.edu.

I’m always happy to assist!


We hope that you all are staying safe during these uncertain times. Your law library staff continue to be impressed by your resilience and dedication, and no matter what form it takes, we very much look forward to seeing you again.

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.

Resource Review: Digital Public Library of America

by guest author Dan Brackmann

This month’s issue highlights the Digital Public Library of America at https://dp.la/. DPLA connects people to the riches held within America’s libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions. All of the materials found through DPLA—photographs, books, maps, news footage, oral histories, personal letters, museum objects, artwork, government documents, etc. are free and immediately available in digital format. 

screenshot of DPLA logo, search function, browse by topic > Civil Rights Movement > Legal Battles

DPLA allows scholars to search the digital collections of thousands of libraries, archives, and museums nationwide, all in one website. The site contains over 6,300 e-books as well as digitized primary material from various institutions on topics such as civil rights and immigration.

screenshot of Draft of W.E.B. Du Bois' speech re: 14th Amendment, 1947

Here is a link to their Scholarly Research Guide: https://dp.la/guides/the-scholarly-research-guide-to-dpla

In addition to the scholarly uses of the site, it also contains lessons and books for children.

If you have questions or ideas for future Resource Reviews, please email Dan Brackmann.

 

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.

Resource Review: ProQuest Coronavirus Research Database

by guest author Dan Brackmann

This month’s issue highlights ProQuest’s new Coronavirus Research Database. ProQuest built this database in response to the rapidly growing need for authoritative content related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The company is working together with institutions all over the world to offer support.

screenshot

Including coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak, this database curates openly available content related to coronaviruses. It includes thousands of open-access articles from the world’s leading publishers as well as current research from pre-print repositories such as arXiv and will continue to grow and evolve as more is learned about the pandemic.

You can get to the Coronavirus Research Database through this link: https://search.proquest.com/coronavirus

NOTE: To access this database, you may need to connect to ProQuest through the university’s VPN (Virtual Private Network) protocol (such as Cisco AnyConnect). More about what VPN is can be found at https://bit.ly/3dJSqof. Free VPN software can be downloaded from my.sc.edu under Purchase Computer Software.

If you have questions or ideas for future Resource Reviews, please email Dan Brackmann.

Resource Review: Homeland Security Digital Library

by guest author Dan Brackmann

Sent in an email to all current law faculty on February 18, 2020.


This month’s issue highlights the Homeland Security Digital Library, a joint project of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s National Preparedness Directorate, FEMA, and the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security. The HSDL contains over 180,000 items to assist academics of all disciplines in homeland defense and security related research. UofSC has access to the full collection except for the Restricted Collection which is only available to U.S. government officals and active military members.

screenshot

The HSDL pulls material from different sources, including:

  • Federal, state, and local governments
  • International governments and institutions
  • Nonprofit organizations and private sector entities
  • Think tanks, research centers, colleges, and universities

The site also has featured topic groups such as cyber policy, cybersecurity, active shooters and school violence, infrastructure interoperability, gangs, terrorism, piracy, and pandemics to name several.

The URL for the site is: https://www.hsdl.org

You can find a flyer with more information here:
https://www.chds.us/c/resources/uploads/2018/03/chds_2017_hsdl_fact_sheet_022018.pdf

If you have questions or ideas for future Resource Reviews, please email Dan Brackmann.

Register to Vote

by guest author Melanie Griffin

Make sure you can vote this year by keeping up with registration details and deadlines. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  •  To vote in South Carolina, you need to register at least thirty days before the election in which you want to participate. For example, the Democratic Presidential Preference Primary is on February 29 in SC this year, so to vote in that, you’ll need to be registered by January 30. To vote in the general presidential election, get registered by October 4.
  • South Carolina has open primaries, which means anyone registered to vote can vote in either party’s primary without officially declaring themselves a member of that party.
  • If you’re registering to vote in SC for the first time, you’ll need a South Carolina driver’s license or photo ID from an SC DMV.
  • If you’ve moved since the last time you voted in SC, make sure your address is updated (especially if you’ve switched counties). You can change your address on the DMV’s website in about five minutes at no cost. Your address must be up to date with the DMV before you can update it for your voter registration.
  • Students can register to vote “where they reside while attending college,” according to the South Carolina State Election Commission. They interpret this as either the address you live at while attending your classes, like your dorm or off-campus apartment, or the address you go to when you’re not in classes, such as your parent’s house, so you can register with either. Check the South Carolina Code of Laws section 7-1-25 for state election residency laws.
  • There’s also a national voter registration application for students who want to register for home addresses that are outside South Carolina. The U.S. Vote Foundation website lets you search for other states’ deadlines if you are planning on registering elsewhere; they’re not all on the same schedule.
  • If you won’t physically be in the place where you’re registered to vote on election day, apply for an absentee ballot. You can do that in person until 5 p.m. the day before the election. You can also apply for an absentee ballot over the internet or mail, and this requires you to complete and send in your absentee application by 5 p.m. four days prior to the election. You’re required to cast your absentee ballot by 7 p.m. the day of the election.

Find more details about voting in SC on the South Carolina Election Commission’s website.

Resource Review: HeinOnline’s Presidential Impeachment Library

by guest author Dan Brackmann

In a timely move, HeinOnline has debuted its Presidential Impeachment Library. “The library collects resources related to all four U.S. presidents who have faced impeachment. Organized by the four affected presidents, this collection brings together a variety of documents both contemporaneous and asynchronous to each president’s impeachment, presenting both a snapshot of the political climate as each impeachment played out and the long view history has taken of each proceeding.”

screenshotThe library also includes relevant Congressional Research Service reports as well as a curated list of scholarly articles, external links, and a bibliography, providing avenues for further resarch on this topic. One of these is the ever-growing Whistleblower Complaint on Ukraine, compiled by Kelly Smith at UC San Diego, which brings together offical documents related to the whistleblower complaint and impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump. Hein plans to continue expanding its collection with new material, particularly as it becomes available for the current investigation into Donald Trump.

Find HeinOnline from the main library page:screenshot

If you have questions or ideas for future Resource Reviews, please email Dan Brackmann.

Resource Review: FRASER

by guest author Dan Brackmann

Sent in an email to all current law faculty on December 13, 2019.


This holiday issue is about the Federal Reserve Archival System for Economic Research or “FRASER.” FRASER is a free public database from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. FRASER holds a digital library of U.S. economic, financial, and banking history—particularly the history of the Federal Reserve System.

FRASER - Explore Access Learn

FRASER collects raw economic data from the Federal Reserve plus aggregated material from other outside sources. It includes job and salary data, economic reports, monetary policy documents, manufacturing statistics, historical sources, and personal papers. FRASER can be searched in a number of ways, such as for data, for federal reserve material, or for archival material.

map of 1914 Federal Reserve Districts
1914 map of the Federal Reserve Districts

FRASER also has an active blog and Twitter feed to highlight new and interesting material from the database, such as an economic report on Christmas spending from 1953, the records of the Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company, an institution founded in 1865 to provide deposit banking services to African-Americans freed with the Thirteenth Amendment, and a 1914 map of the Federal Reserve Districts.

FRASER offers a tutorial for new users here: https://fraser.stlouisfed.org/howto/

Law School Building Use: Final Exams Fall 2019

by guest author Andy Kretschmar

Sent in an email to all current law students on November 26, 2019.


The Law School is taking the following steps to regulate undergraduate and public use of the Law School building during final exams (Sunday, December 1st to Friday, December 13th):

Restricting access to non-law visitors

As a part of the USC campus, the building is open to the public until 9pm, but we will be taking the following steps to restrict access:

The Student Commons will be accessible only to USC School of Law students. Remember to have your Carolina Card on you, as you’ll need it to enter the Commons. This will be in effect 24/7 during the exam period.

Classrooms will lock 30 minutes after the final exam of the day. After they lock, only law students will be able to enter using their Carolina Card.

The building doors lock at the following times:

Senate Street: 9:00 PM

Gervais Street: 6:00 PM

Remember! The doors to the building lock to ensure that you have a safe and reliably quiet place to study. Please do not prop open doors or allow anyone that you do not recognize to access a locked part of the building.

Study rooms

Signage will be posted on all group study rooms stating that they are for the sole use of law students during final exams.

If you’d like to book a room, please do so at libcal.law.sc.edu. Law library staff scrutinize each and every booking request submitted to ensure that policies are being followed and that only those requests submitted by law students are approved.

General signage

Signage will be displayed outside of the library outlining our Code of Conduct and expectations for all users.

This will also be displayed on the digital displays visible throughout the building. Please familiarize yourself with our Code of Conduct, and do not hesitate to report any infractions or concerns to law school staff.

Reporting

Please report any disruptive behavior as soon as possible. If you are in the library and would like to make a noise complaint, simply visit the library website where you’ll find the option to report a noise issue.

screenshot

Please be aware that outside of M-F 8am-5pm, staffing is limited, and library staff will not be able to physically respond to issues outside of the library.

If you encounter an issue that requires immediate attention, please do not hesitate to call the USC Police non-emergency line at 803-777-4215. For emergencies, call 803-777-9111.

Remember, we can’t enforce these expectations and policies without your help!

Thank you, and best of luck on your final exams.