Tag Archives: Betty Thomas

Check Out Our New Banned Books Weeks LibGuide!


After another successful Banned Books Week (September 27 to October 3, 2015) where we celebrated the freedom to read and raised awareness of the issue, the Charlotte School of Law Library has created a Libguide of information about Banned Books Week. Check it out at http://cslguides.charlottelaw.edu/bbw


The guide provides background information about Banned Books Week and why it is an annual event. For those who may not know, the section Banned/Challenged Books of the guide gives specifics about the who, what and why of challenged and banned books. An Infographics section provides a place to catch the great graphics on this subject. The American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom’s list of classic books and the reasons they have been challenged is included in the Classics section.  Many of the challenged or banned books in the Charlotte School of Law Library’s Collection section are highlighted. These books are available for checkout.

This Year’s Activities section highlights the different ways that we celebrated the week this year including blog posts, book displays, a poll in OrgSync, this year’s poster that has been added to our collection on the 4th floor, announcement of the Read Out!, and addition of three favorite banned books to the CSL Library’s collection.

Probably the most important section of the guide is Advocacy. This section highlights the First Amendment to the United States Constitution; what action anyone can take in protecting our right to read; and the organizations and websites that monitor the threats and advocate for our rights.

While we celebrate our freedom to read during Banned Books Week each year, we all should be aware of the challenges that continue to happen all too frequently at other times of the year and be prepared to act in support of the schools and libraries that face those challenges.

 ~Betty Thomas~

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Filed under Books & Stuff, collection, Libguides, Library, Student Information

How to Renew Library Materials

Did you know that you can renew your library book through the library’s catalog in the comfort of your own home? All books other than Course Reserves and 3 hour Study Aids can be renewed one time online.

Besides renewing online through the library’s catalog, you can renew items by using our new Self-CheckOut Machine, calling us at the LUX desk, or visiting us at the LUX desk.

If your materials are overdue, you will need to call or visit the LUX desk directly for renewal.

Renew through the Library’s Catalog

Log into OrgSync and click on the link to the Library’s Catalog on the left side.


Click on Login in the top right corner of the landing page.


Enter your name and the barcode from the back of your Charlotte Law identification badge. Submit.


Because of some quirks with ENCORE, you may get another landing page. This time click on Logout.


A box will appear asking if you want to log out. Click Yes.


You will get the landing page a third time. This time click Login.


Again enter your name and library barcode from your Charlotte Law School identification. Submit.


Now you can just click on your name that appears at the top of the screen.


And then Checkouts on the left side of the screen.


Check the box next to the item(s) that you want to renew and then click the Renew All or Renew Marked buttons.

ENCORE will ask you if you really do want to renew those items. Choose YES.


The item is successfully renewed for either 3 or 28 days depending on the type of item.


All books other than Course Reserves and 3 hour Study Aids can be renewed one time.

Course Reserves and 3 hour Study Aids can be returned to the LUX desk and checked out again after a 30 minute wait if no one else needs the item during the waiting period.

Renew using the new Self-CheckOut Machine

The library has a new Self-CheckOut Machine located to the right of the LUX desk on the 5th floor. Renewing using the machine is a lot like checking out at the LUX Desk. Scan your barcode with the scan line on the right side of the machine and follow the prompts on the screen. It is so easy!


Renew by calling the Library User Experience (LUX) Desk


Renew by visiting the Library User Experience (LUX) Desk

Mondays through Thursdays: 8 am – 8 pm        

Fridays: 8 am – 6 pm

Saturdays: Noon – 5pm

Sundays: 2 pm – 8 pm

Library hours are subject to change.

Download a copy of this information here: How to Renew Library Books.

~Betty Thomas~

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North Carolina Library Association, 61st Biennial Conference – 2015


A day at the North Carolina Library Association Conference enabled me to attend three excellent sessions besides the opportunity to reconnect with professional colleagues and vendors.  A summary follows:

Opening Keynote: State of North Carolina Libraries

Dale Cousins, NCLA President
Wanda Brown, Wake Forest University
Rodney Lippard, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College
Kathy Parker, Department of Public Instruction

Each presenter highlighted the current issues or themes for their type of library.

Public Libraries

  • Responsiveness to their communities
  • Services to children
  • Technology services and instruction: 8.5m internet sessions, 2800 workshops
  • Intellectual freedom: Invisible Man was challenged in Randolph County so the county chose that book as their community read. Chapel Hill held a community forum with the ACLU on censorship.
  • Stats: 5m card holders, 35m visitors and 7m reference questions.
  • Advocacy: “Day in the District” where local officials were invited to Fontana Regional Library for a day with librarians.
  • Weakness: Public libraries portraying themselves as victims.

Community College Libraries

  • Challenges: To define who are we? Workforce needs, academics…
  • Taking on other responsibilities in the library: tutoring, testing.
  • Political climate, discussions of free community colleges, and how that will impact libraries.
  • Open educational resources to keep the cost of textbooks down.
  • ADA compliance including evaluating library websites.
  • Reaching out to the underserved.
  • Partnerships with other departments.
  • ESL students and meeting their needs.

Academic Libraries

  • Balancing print vs. electronic and still meeting the needs of patrons.
  • Open data and open access.
  • Educating and supporting faculty.
  • Space: user centered and including other areas such as IT, advising, writing centers.
  • Technology: how to make webpages accessible for mobile devices and visually impaired.
  • Providing value to the university and doing a better job telling the library’s impact stories.
  • Digital humanities: curation of data for research
  • Staffing: while collections have shown more diversity, staffs are still not as diverse.
  • Fundraising: growing needs with older buildings.
  • Salary increases: 3.5% nationwide for librarians but not in North Carolina.

School Libraries

  • Evolving role of school librarians in leadership and technology.
  • Physical spaces: rethinking learning environments to include maker spaces, learning commons.
  • Print vs. electronic resources and finding funding for digital content.
  • Equitable access for students who do not have access to technology at home.
  • Financial resources for staffing and instructional materials with threats from state legislature.
  • Staffing: diminished for school library programs and support staff.

Step Away From the Desk: Circulation Issues in Today’s Libraries

Jenny Boneno, Forsyth County PL
LaCreasha McCloud, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
Cathy Fletcher, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
Carla Hollar, Swannanoa Library

Panelists discussed various hot topics and presented creative ideas to address circulation situations. One of these librarians presented her “7 Secrets to Surviving the Desk:”

  1. Listen to your instincts. If a patron is giving you a hard time, don’t let them intimidate you and be sure to have a witness for what you are telling them.
  2. Know the facts. Look at the patron’s record before talking with them. Customers are not always right.
  3. Make notes on the patron’s record to help other librarians. For example, an “*” indicates a problem patron.
  4. If the situation with a patron gets rough, give them an option. For example, tell the patron they can either replace the book themselves or pay for the replacement. Giving them an option to consider can divert a confrontation.
  5. Pay compliments. When patrons walk up to the desk, compliment them so they see you as friendly and personable.
  6. Tag team or trade off. If you are having a difficult time with a patron or there is a patron that gets on your nerves, get someone else to work with that individual.
  7. It is not personal. If someone snaps at you because they are having a bad day, just take a breath and remember that it is not personal.

Another discussion concerned tips for interacting with patrons with disabilities. Since 1 in 5 people have some sort of disability, libraries need to be responsive to these patrons. Some of the ideas presented follow:

  • Speak directly to the person. They are the customer, not the interpreter.
  • Write down what is said or repeat it for clarification.
  • Ask if they need help; do not assume they need help.
  • Do not use the term “handicapped.” They are “a person who uses a wheelchair.”
  • Be respectful. Do not ask about the disability or other personally intrusive questions.
  • A wheelchair is part of the person’s personal space. Do not guide the wheelchair and do not ask patron to hold books. Sit at a table with them to see eye to eye.
  • Visually impaired: identify yourself and ask “How can I assist you?”
  • Hearing impaired: tap lightly on the shoulder and speak slowly.
  • Mentally impaired: work to lessen their stress. “Is there something I can do to make you more comfortable?” If the situation escalates, ask them “Is there someone I can call?”

A Library for the Whole Student

Hubert Womack, Meghan Webb, Susan Smith, and Mary Beth Lock from Wake Forest University.

This panel of librarians from the Z. Smith Reynolds Library at Wake Forest University presented programs and initiatives they have used to create a Multi-dimensional Culture of Health and Wellness.

Physical Wellbeing

  • Ziesta Room project. The idea for a napping room was presented by a student group involved in bettering the university. The library bought 5 industrial strength recliners. The room includes a storage unit where students can power up their devices while sleeping. The students developed rules and self-police the area. The room is not meant to be a study space; the space is also a tech free space; there is no monkey business; and the area is to be kept tidy. The library and the university have gotten lots of publicity from the napping room project.
  • Standing desks. As a result of student recommendations, this is a current pilot project.
  • The library has been buying furniture that is ergonomically correct for studying.
  • Flu shots are given in the library.
  • Walking paths were created in the library for students to use their Fitbits.

Emotional Wellbeing

  • 24/5 schedule. Students were stressed about not being able to use the library. The library is now open from Sunday at 10 am to Friday at 7 pm.
  • The library relaxed its food and drink policy.
  • “Wake the Library” is a tradition at the end of the semester. The library provides coffee around the clock and food at midnight.
  • During exams, there are yoga sessions, relaxation stations (tea, candy, coloring books, and puzzles), therapy dogs, and a pep band at midnight.

Social Wellbeing

  • A “Capture the flag” event for freshman is held at the end of orientation. The library is now doing “Human v. Zombies” tag and 250 freshman attended this year. The library provides nerf blasters and pizza. The event is scheduled from 9 to 11 pm on the first Friday of classes. (There is no library instruction at this event!)
  • “Project Pumpkin” is where students go from booth to booth in the library and collect candy.
  • Students can become ZSR Ambassadors who advocate for the library. They are like a friends of the library group.
  • The library tried “Friday night with Folk Night” to provide alternative programming for students.
  • “RUSH ZSR” t-shirts were designed and sold as a fundraiser.

Environmental Wellbeing

  • The library replaced flooring with cork that absorbs sound.
  • In conjunction with serving coffee all night, the librarians held a “Coffee Cup Giveaway” with mugs that they had gotten from Goodwill. Students are encouraged to bring their mug and refill it at events.
  • In partnership with the Sustainability Office, the library has installed two water bottle refill stations.

Financial Wellbeing

  • The library partnered with the Financial Aid office to provide a table near a high foot traffic area to provide financial education.
  • There is also end of year loan counseling for graduating students.
  • The bookstore sets up a table in the library to buy back books at the end of each semester.

These were just some of the initiatives that were mentioned by the librarians from Wake Forest University.

In sum, there were a lot of good ideas presented in these sessions. First, the priorities of the different types of libraries was interesting. The panel member’s comments gave a good picture of the challenges  in each type of  library in North Carolina. The grass is not always greener elsewhere.

Second, I felt like some of the circulation tips were intuitive but with new staff and students on the desk, these tips might be useful for someone new to dealing directly with patrons and disabled patrons.

Third, the librarians at ZSR Library at Wake Forest are busy trying out new ideas and initiatives. They must have a sizable staff to be implementing so many plans. These were just some of the ones that were presented. While some ideas would not be applicable to Charlotte School of Law, other ideas could be adapted or generate more applicable ideas for implementation here.  Overall, I had a great day and felt positive about the future of libraries in North Carolina.

~Betty Thomas~

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Follow-Up to Banned Books Week at the Charlotte Law Library


A Poll

Every September since 1982, the library world celebrates the freedom to read by creating programming around Banned Books Week. At Charlotte School of Law Library, we created displays, blog posts, signage, and held a Read Out to raise awareness of the issue of books being challenged and banned.

The American Library Association (ALA) defines a challenge to literature as an attempt by a person or group of people to have literature restricted or removed from a public library or school curriculum.

Few people realize that since the inception of Banned Books Week more than 11,300 books have been challenged. Last year, 311 challenges were reported to the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom. They track challenges, at least the ones that are reported. A lot are not reported.

In an effort to raise awareness, a librarian decided to ban a book. Scott DiMarco, Director of Library and Information Resources at Mansfield University of Pennsylvania announced the banning of One Woman’s Vengeance by a local author named Dennis R. Miller. DiMarco declared the ban on the library’s Facebook page and got a swift response of outrage, but only eight people actually asked to discuss the ban with him. He wrote about his experience in a blog post.

We are interested to know what you think about this librarian’s method of raising awareness.

Banned Books Week at Charlotte School of Law Library in Photos

Take a look at our OrgSync album on Banned Books Week for more pictures!

~Betty Thomas~

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Filed under Book Display, Books & Stuff, Library

A Checklist for Difficult Conversations


Delivering a difficult message is like throwing a hand grenade. Coated with sugar, thrown hard or soft, a hand grenade is still going to do damage. Try as you may, there is no way to throw a hand grenade with tact or to outrun the consequences. And keeping it to yourself is no better. Choosing not to deliver a difficult message is like hanging on to a hand grenade once you’ve pulled the pin. (p. xxix-xxx)

The quote above is one of the best in the book. The Charlotte Law Library staff read and discussed Difficult Conversations during our staff meetings. We have all experienced difficult conversations so this book is applicable to both work and outside work life. Although published in 1999, the techniques offered by the authors still resonate today.

Stone, Patton and Heen teach at Harvard Law School and work for the Harvard Negotiation Project  (HNP), whose mission is to improve the theory and practice of conflict resolution and negotiation by working on real world conflict intervention, theory building, education and training and disseminating new ideas. This is the group that produced the classic book Getting to yes: Negotiating agreement without giving in. Last year Stone and Heen published Thanks for the feedback: The science and art of receiving feedback well.

The authors define a difficult conversation as “anything you find hard to talk about.” (p. xxvii).  Their solution to a difficult conversation is the “learning conversation.”  Instead of trying to convey information or explain yourself; in their approach, you want to listen and learn about what’s going on with the other person.

There are five steps in the process of creating a Learning Conversation:

Step 1:  Prepare by Walking Through the Three Conversations

Within every difficult conversation there are actually three conversations:  the What Happened conversation, the Feelings conversation, and the Identity conversation.  Before starting the difficult conversation, think about these three conversations.

  • Sort out What Happened. We assume we know everything about what happened to understand a situation.  Think about where your story comes from (your past experiences and views) and theirs.  We assume we know their intentions and those are not always correct. What impact has this situation had on you? Figure out where your story is different from theirs. What have each of you contributed to the problem?
  • Understand Emotions (Feelings). Think about your bundle of emotions. What are you feeling?
  • Ground your Identity. What’s at stake? How do you see yourself? What do you need to accept to be better grounded?

Step 2:  Check your Purposes and Decide Whether to Raise the Issue.

What do you hope to accomplish by having this conversation?  How can you shift your stance to support learning, sharing and problem solving? Is this conversation the best way to address the issue and achieve your purposes? If you don’t raise it, what can you do to help yourself let go?

Step 3:  Start from the Third Story.

If you decide to deal with this issue, don’t start with your story. Begin as a neutral party and describe the problem as the difference between your stories. Include both viewpoints as legitimate parts of the discussion . Share your purpose(s) from step #2. Invite them to join you in sorting out the situation.

Step 4:  Explore Their Story and Yours.

Listen carefully to understand the other person’s perspective on what happened.  Ask questions. Recognize the other person’s feelings as legitimate. Paraphrase to make sure to make sure you understand. Figure out how you two got to this place. Share your viewpoint, past experiences, intentions, and feelings. Keep reframing the issue to keep from getting sidetracked into conversation about right and wrong, blame, and accusations.

Step 5: Problem-Solving.

Invent options that address each side’s most important concerns and interests. Set standards for a good solution. Plan for ongoing conversations as the solution moves forward.

While the authors go into much more detail and meander through some stories, these steps provide a  solid framework for dealing with difficult conversations.


  • Stone, D., Patton, B., & Heen, S. (1999). Difficult conversations: How to discuss what matters most.  New York, NY:  Viking Penguin.

~Betty Thomas~

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Filed under Books & Stuff, Library, Of Interest to Law Students