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In the Limelight: Our New Director – Knott a Stereotypical Librarian

August 15, 2012 Leave a comment

When you hear that the Professional Center Library has a new Director who is an avid gardener, specializing in roses and orchids, do you imagine a person who looks like this? If so, you are in for a surprise.  The PCL’s new director, officially the Associate Dean for Information Services and Technology, is Professor Christopher Knott.   Aside from the fact that it would not be a flattering look, his hair is too short for a bun and he looks more like someone who would tackle a quarterback than “shush” a patron.  Professor Knott comes to Wake Forest from the University of Maine where he has been since 2006, most recently in the position of Vice Dean and Professor of Law.  Prior to his time in Maine, Professor Knott has worked The Columbia University Law School and the Georgetown University Law Center.   Before his career in academia, Knott practiced law and specialized in corporate transactions and commercial ligation.  Currently his interests are more in the area of legal research and legal information, and he is the co-author of the text Where the Law Is: an Introduction to Advanced Legal Research, soon to appear in its 4th edition.

Professor Knott’s interest in gardening could be said to be an inheritance from his father.   As a boy in Iowa, Knott and his brother returned home from school one day to discover their backyard, which had always doubled as the neighborhood playing field, transformed into a giant rose garden.  Admittedly shocked at the time, Knott’s positive outlook eventually won out and he is now a dedicated gardener himself, with a particular interest in orchids and roses.  Knott is also dedicated to his wife Maggi, with whom he is raising (but hopefully not pruning) an energetic first grade son and an teenage daughter who is an aspiring actor.

Those wishing to stop by to talk roses, research, or to just say “hi,” can find his office behind the Reference Desk, room 2201C.

This is not Knott

This IS Knott

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Don’t Let the Machines Win – Take the Stairs!

April 25, 2012 1 comment

Did you know that it takes approximately 2000 steps to equal one mile?  That means that if an average, inactive person takes 3000 steps in a day (which is about average), he/she is walking 1 ½ miles.  But is that enough to promote good health?

Have you seen the motivational quotes about walking have appeared around the library? Perhaps you have noticed recently that our Professional Center Library Staff are all wearing pedometers. If you haven’t noticed, well, we are. Our staff members are currently involved in a team challenge to see which team can take the most steps during a 6 week period.  Blue Cross/Blue Shield of NC has donated pedometers, we have divided out staff into 2 teams (Team Happy Feet and Team Sole Survivors) and we are competing to see who can be the top ‘step’ team.  Each day we are recording the steps we have taken and then report our weekly total to our team leaders on Monday mornings. We also have a conversion chart that multiplies the minutes we spend doing some other physical activity (like swimming, biking, yard work, etc) by a particular number to translate into additional steps.  So if your preference is say . . . scrubbing floors, you can multiply each minute you spend scrubbing floors (maybe 65 minutes)  by 174, and you get to add 11,310 steps to your daily total.

The program in which we are involved is called the PCL Step Into Spring Team Challenge and it is designed to promote teamwork, as well as physical well-being.   According to the American Psychological Association, “As many as 50 million Americans are living sedentary lives, putting them at increased risk of health problems and even early death.” We are encouraging each other to walk as much as possible, because beyond it being good for us, there are prizes involved here!

NPR recently did a piece on the health of Americans stating that we have basically ‘engineered’ walking out of our lives.  Everywhere you look, there are ways to avoid walking, or for that matter, any physical activity.  When there is an option to ride up/down in an elevator, or take the stairs, do you opt for the stairs, or do you cave and take the elevator like everyone else.  Or how about when you have to go to an event on the other side of the WFU campus.  Do you drive – or do you choose to walk because you need the exercise?  We drive up to our banks, cleaners, pharmacy, post office box, library book return, fast food restaurants, and many others which eliminates the opportunity to get out of our cars and walk inside.  And how often do we drive through a car wash, rather than get out there and do it ourselves? (Those minutes spent washing a car, by the way, would be multiplied by 87.)  We are becoming a nation of fat, flabby butterballs whose muscles are atrophying at an alarming rate!

If you’re feeling inspired and want to start walking more, find out your local WalkScore  – how “walkable” is your neighborhood? That could be something to think about when you’re looking for summer housing or even debating between jobs! Even taking a quick walk around the courtyard (or the portico, if this rain keeps up) can give you a little air, some exercise, and a fresh perspective on that exam you’re studying for. Get stepping!

Categories: Fun, PCL Information Tags: , ,

Wintery Reads: Book Recommendations for Winter Break

November 30, 2011 Leave a comment

It is almost that time.  Yes, that time you can put away your case books, statutory supplements, and study aids.  Yes, that time that your brain gets a rest from reading judicial opinions and statutory construction.  Yes, that time that your laptop will be used for more than creating outlines and compiling class notes.  Yes, that time that you can read for fun!

Reading for fun, what a luxury?!  Well if you want to dive back into the words of your favorite author, whether it be the adventures of the bounty hunters created by Janet Evanovich or the real-life tales of Kendra Wilkinson, it’s time. The PCL Staff would like to help point you in the direction of a few hot books to read over a not-so-hot winter break.

#1 Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City written by Nelson Johnson.  PCL team member, Gina Jarrett recommends this book, by saying that “this is the book that inspired the HBO series, ‘Boardwalk Empire.’  However, the book spans much more than just the time period that the show is set in: it’s beginnings as a Resort Town, its rise and fall into seediness, and rebirth under The Donald’s (Trump) leadership.  Very interesting for those who like history-type of stuff, or want to learn more about the history of the real city.  It’s also good reading for those folks who are fans of the show.  However, it’s important to note that the book is nowhere near as violent as the show.  But a fun read, nevertheless!”

#2: Steve Jobs written by Walter Isaacson.  Bob Herbert, PCL team member, denotes this book as “the definitive autobiography of Steve Job” and “a must read” for this holiday season.

#3: The Margaret Maron & Deborah Knott series available at ZSR recommended by PCL team member, Sally Irvin.  Maron is a local North Carolinian author that sets all of her Judge Deborah Knott novels in North Carolina locales from Murphy to Manteo.  Just in case you aren’t familiar with the Maron & Knott series and want to start from the beginning, here is a chronology of all the titles:

Stay tuned for more book recommendations from the PCL as Winter Break quickly approaches, and feel free to leave your suggestions here as well!

1st Annual WFU Student Costume Contest

October 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Categories: Fun Tags: , , , , ,

#New PCL: The Finale

August 26, 2011 3 comments

Welcome to all of our new and returning students!  It’s hard to believe that everyone is already back and that summer is over, but we’re excited to welcome our largest class of 1Ls ever!  I’d like to say it has been a quiet summer without you, but alas, I cannot.  It has been quite a busy summer around here with lots of construction and changes within the library.

On the 2nd floor (main floor of the library) four new offices were constructed on the back wall where carrels once resided.  Our Reference Librarians (Eggert, Irwin-Smiler and our newest addition, Liz Johnson) now have office space there and are eager to have you stop by to see their new digs.   Angie Hobbs now has a new office in the Reference area, and six new offices were constructed on the third floor for our Law School Faculty.

For our students, we have created a number of new casual seating areas with electrical outlets available.  There are many new reading nooks’ where you can even turn on a lamp and get super cozy with your Torts textbook, or some other exciting reading material.


                 

We have also have created a computer charging station just behind the Rotunda in the library where you can plug in your computer and lock it down while you go grab a Starbucks mid-afternoon wake-up coffee.  Additionally,we still have a great many carrels available for study, 8 of which may be checked out by students doing research for a ‘paper class’, working as a Research Assistant, or writing a journal article.

Some other changes you may notice (if you were here last year), is that we have added 2 more study tables just off the Rotunda of the library.  We have made electrical power available in many more locations with the addition of electric outlets, and/or power strips.

Lastly, we are in the process of relocating the Catalog computers on the Ground, 1st and 3rd floors.  The 3rd floor is complete with a Kiosk beside the copier/printer for easy access.  The Ground and 1st floors Kiosks will be similarly located near the elevator and copier/printers. We hope this will promote easier access to our catalog for all you bibliophiles out there!

You can look back at our changes on  Twitter (#newpcl), but we’d really love for you to stop by, take a look and check out our new space.

                       

Dictionary Fun for the Word Nerd: Everybody Researches

August 8, 2011 Leave a comment

If you watch legal shows on television, you would think that lawyers spend their time either arguing with other lawyers in court or chasing after attractive co-workers in the office.  Even if you are only starting out in law school, you know better than this.  While there are certainly exciting and satisfying courtroom moments, the majority of your time, particularly as a new associate, is likely to be spent in writing, reviewing documents, and RESEARCHING.  Lawyers in big firms research, solo practitioners research, corporate counsel and law clerks research.  Because legal research is such a universal theme to the practice of law, The Demon’s Advocate will be featuring at least one post per month on new or unusual ways to conduct legal research, or about legal research materials.

This post takes a new look at a familiar resource, the dictionary.  While most of you are likely to have used the print and or online versions of Black’s Law Dictionary, there are some free online legal dictionaries worth your time, as well as some interesting non-legal  dictionaries to expand your mind and your research. This post will review some of the more traditional dictionary offerings, and a future post will describe some dictionary innovations.

Law.com’s offering, known as the  Real Life Dictionary of the Law bills itself as an easy-to-read and user-friendly “guide to legal terms.”  It is unquestionably versatile, allowing you not only to browse for the word or to run a search for it, but also providing the option to search definitions for your word.  This last feature proves helpful when you can remember the general areas of the law the word falls under or other similar concepts but cannot recall the word itself. (Take from someone who has passed the age of 40, this happens.)

Have you ever tried to explain a legal term to a family member or significant other without success? If so, next time you might want to try Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.  Nolo Press has been bringing the law to the non-lawyer for years via print “how to” legal books, and now via Nolo.com.  Whether you consider them famous or infamous for their DIY approach to the law, their dictionary is a useful look at legal terms for the non-professional audience.

The Free Dictionary does have a legal option, but the feature I most enjoy is that it not only provides a definition of the word you are searching, but also has an audio pronunciation of the word.  For example, if you are a politician, and want to use the work chutzpah, but are not sure how to pronounce it, you could type the word (or a near spelling and it will offer you options), and you will get both a definition and a graphic of a speaker to click in order to hear the pronunciation.  Depending on the word, you may have both a British and an American option for pronunciation.

If this sampler of dictionaries has not sated your interest, you might want to investigate the University of Washington Gallagher Law Library’s dictionary research guide.   The guide is written by law librarians,  so the focus is on law dictionaries, including those for foreign and international law and for specialized legal  fields.  However, recognizing that law does not exist in a vacuum, it also includes some of the most popular general dictionaries as well as some basic law guides and glossaries for those not in the legal profession.  If you use this guide, do be aware that, while you have access to all free linked material mentioned, the call numbers provided are for the Gallagher library and so may refer to books not available in the PCL or that are in a slightly different location.  If you have questions about any of the titles, please contact one  of the reference librarians, staff, or students, or check the PCL catalog for information specific to our library.

Where the Law Librarians Are.

July 22, 2011 Leave a comment

While I doubt that it will ever become a hit movie, it could be a question that some of you might ask next week.  The answer is that many of our librarians will be in Philadelphia, at the annual Meeting and Conference of the American Association of Law Libraries.  You may comfort yourself with the knowledge that we will not be lounging on beaches, but instead will be attending meetings, programs, workshops, and roundtables in order to learn more about, technology useful to libraries, teaching,  social media, researching  specialized legal topic such as SEC and European Union law, and legal and library trends.  Those wanting to follow the PCL law librarians on Twitter can do so at #pclaall.  For those real fans of all things law library,  AALL has its own conference hashtag –  #aall11.

The meeting officially begins with an opening reception on the evening of  Saturday the 23rd but a number of pre-meeting workshops are offered for all or part of Saturday.   Attendees are not limited to both public a private academic law libraries but will include law firm  librarians, as well as law librarians  from county and court law libraries.  There are special meetings for each type of library as well as for different library specialties such as computers services, patron services teaching and cataloging.  There are also groups and activities for new librarians, middles managers and directors as well as for many special interests.  The meeting concludes for most with a Tuesday evening reception, although there will be some additional meetings and vendor activities on Wednesday, when most tired librarians will be heading home.

Not lounging on the beach.

Attending meetings & programs.

For anyone flying to conferences, or who are just taking that end of summer vacation, make sure you know what is and is not legal to do on a plane.  If you were planning on playfully pelting you flight attendant with the tiny bags of free (at least for now) peanuts and pretzels, be warned; that is “interference with a flight crew,” and your sky-high high jinks could result in your being “greeted” by the FBI upon landing.  For other rules of the sky that your flight attendant may not have delivered along with the oxygen mask instructions, visit law.com’s funny yet informative blog series “Things You Can’t Do On A Plane.”