Thursday, August 16, 2018

Throwback Thursday: T. Gerald Treece becomes Director of Advocacy

by Heather Kushnerick, Special Collections Librarian & College Archivist

Today's throwback post is an article from the August 1978 issue of Annotations, the student newspaper. In it, staff writer J. G. Trichter discusses the newly hired T. Gerald Treece: his background, his education, and his views on how to produce the best advocacy program in the nation. Happy 40th anniversary, Dean Treece!

Annotations, Vol. 7, no. 2, August, 1978. Fred Parks Law Library,
College Archives: Student publications. Available online here.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Surviving Law School: 95 Years of 1Ls

By Heather Kushnerick, Special Collections Librarian & College Archivist

     September 2018 marks the South Texas College of Law Houston’s 95th fall semester. That’s 95 years of excited, determined, and confused students. Through the years, our student body has gone from being all part-time students who had full-time jobs and families to mostly full-time students fresh out of undergrad. The College changed with the students, albeit probably slower than some students would have liked (we didn’t start having classes before 2 pm until the 1980s). What has not changed is our commitment to student success. However, in order to succeed, first you have to survive.
     There have been many books written about how to survive law school – in fact we always have a display of them up at the beginning of every fall semester (head to the short reference shelves by the puzzle, on the second floor. The rest of the year, you can find these in on the 4th floor of the library in the KF 280s). They are full of helpful tips on studying, how to maintain school-life balance, and reminders that your family members are going through this ordeal adventure with you, so please try to not disappear on them or turn into crazed loons when it’s time for finals (I may be paraphrasing a bit). 
     South Texas has always assisted students to survive and navigate law school. Through the years, there have been countless programs, activities, and seminars created for the sole purpose of helping students not only get through law school, but also thrive in the legal profession. Starting with orientation, students learn to look around at their section mates. Over the next three years, you will spend more time with your classmates than your family. The relationships you forge with them will continue long after law school, into your careers. Find your place, and your study group, within them.
     Explore the different student organizations. It’s important to meet students outside your section and area of interest as well as to mingle with upperclassman. Student organizations are a great way to network within the school. Take advantage of all the workshops and seminars that take place within the school. It’s never too soon to attend events put on by the Career Resource Center. Attend resume writing workshops, seminars on how to outline, and the library’s legal research workshop series (which will be starting up again soon).
     Socialize! For the most part your life, from now through the bar exam, is law school. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun. Those same student orgs that you are investigating are going to have mixers – go to a few of them (at least one of the orgs should have a Game of Thrones watching party in 2019 – go to it and try to figure out how you would defend Cersei from murder). Take in trivia night and go to a Halloween party. Take the family to see Night Court. Law school is serious business, but you have to have some down time.
     Those are the big things. What about the little things that will make your law school life a little easier? A few tips from your friendly law school librarians:
  • Set up the wireless on your laptop now.
  • Set up printing from your laptop now – it’s called webprint, and the directions are on the Technology page in STANLEY. 
  • Do you type your notes on your laptop?  Back them up to the cloud! Use Microsoft 365 (available to you free using your email address), Google Drive, iCloud, etc. Use whatever service you like best, but do it. Laptops have been known to crash, die, get stolen, or otherwise stop working.
  • Eat healthy and exercise when you can. It’s good for you.  
  • SLEEP (at home, not in class. Nor in the Library).
  • Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to talk to your professors and remember you can go to the offices of Student Academic Affairs and Academic Success at any time.
  • Review your notes weekly, don’t just cram at the end of the semester.
  • Go to the Library. Attend our workshops and events as often as possible (you can always ask for a quick refresher course on any of our workshop topics).
  • When in doubt, ask.

     In honor of our 95th anniversary, an exhibit, “Surviving Law School: 95 Years of 1Ls,” is now on display in the Library lobby. This exhibit contains materials from the College Archives detailing student events including photographs, flyers, catalogs, and articles written by students for students through the years. This exhibit will be up through December 13, 2018.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Dear students,

Please remember to inform the Library staff when there are issues in the Library.  Many of the people using the Fred Parks Law Library during the summer are studying for the Bar, and emotions can run high.  Please do not let issues reach a crescendo before asking for assistance.

Thank you and good luck to all of you taking the Bar.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Law Day 2018

by Heather Kushnerick, Special Collections Librarian & College Archivist

     Law Day is an annual commemoration first held in 1957 when American Bar Association President Charles Rhynes envisioned a special national day to mark our nation’s commitment to the rule of law. The following year, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first Law Day Proclamation. Law Day was made official in 1961 when Congress issued a joint resolution designating May 1 as the official date for celebrating Law Day.  The theme of 2018’s Law Day is Separation of Powers: Framework for Freedom.
     James Madison said, “[t]he accumulation of all powers… in the same hands may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” Jefferson agreed, and called the distribution of power the first principle of good government. The system of checks and balances set up in our Constitution prevents any one branch from becoming too powerful and preserves our political liberty.  The ABA selects a theme each year to spotlight an aspect of law or the legal process and its impact on people’s lives. This year’s theme reminds us that the separation of powers is fundamental to our Republic and that the government works for We, the People. In turn, we must do our part to ensure that the government works as the Framers intended. Regardless of political leanings or party affiliations, it is the duty of all citizens to be informed and engaged, to keep up on current events, know the issues that affect your community, and vote.

Monday, April 23, 2018

April 22 – 28 is Library Preservation Week

By Heather Kushnerick, Special Collections Librarian & College Archivist

     Did you know that libraries in the United States hold over 3 billion items? Library collections include books, obviously, but also manuscripts, sheet music, recorded music, art, historic objects, photographs film, textiles, natural science specimens - just about anything you can think of, really. Our books aren’t always of the usual kind, either. Sure, we have a lot of words printed on paper, bound between two covers. However, we also have clay tablets, scrolls, parchment, illuminated medieval tomes, artist books that look like an apple (until you take a ‘slice’), and the occasional e-reader. Libraries house information in all shapes, sizes, and incarnations.

     Keeping library items in usable shape isn’t always easy (or cheap). According to a 2005 study, over 1 billion library items are in need of treatment of some kind in order to be stable enough for use. Treatment can include common issues like fixing a binding or reattaching a ripped-out page. Other times, however, this means the library itself needs a major overhaul to have a new HVAC system installed to maintain temperature and humidity levels. Proper climate control is vital to libraries in order prolong the life of our collections. Exposure to high humidity levels can cause mold growth in books, microfilm, and photographs. However, if the humidity is too low, those same materials become brittle and are easy to rip, chip, and break. It’s a balancing act and, if successful, our patrons reap the benefits of being able to use the materials we house and our more delicate items survive to thrill researchers for years to come.
     The same holds true for our personal collections. We all have items of value - monetary and sentimental. After Hurricane Harvey devastated our community, I have become much more concerned about those items that are valuable to our families. What can we do to preserve our stuff for our children and grandchildren? Library Preservation Week is not just about libraries – it’s about preserving memories and family treasures, and doing our part to help the members of our community who might not know where or how to start the process at home.
     The Association for Library Collections & Technology Services, a division of the American Library Association, has a list of tools, resources, and preservation know-how available to the public on their Preservation Week website. Some of my favorite resources from other organizations are below. Are you ready to save your stuff?
Low cost ways to preserve Family archives,
Northeast Document Conservation Center Preservation Leaflets:
Galveston Historical Foundation: DIY heirloom recovery

Saturday, February 17, 2018

VIP Visitor to the Fred Parks Law Library

Our Director Colleen Manning, and our Associate Director Monica Ortale, welcomed Jim Bradley, Acting Agency Director of the Government Printing Office to the Fred Parks law Library on Friday. Mr. Bradley was visiting Federal Depository Libraries impacted by Harvey.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Library Workshops are Back!

Our new and popular Library Workshops are being offered again this semester.

If you need help getting started with your research, or if you would like a refresher course, we have you covered. We will be holding Workshops on Secondary Sources, Cases, and Statutes starting Tuesday, February 13. Space is limited! To reserve your spot, go the the Library page on STANLEY.