Tag Archives: Betty Thomas

Leading From Where You Are


“Stand up if you are a leader of anything,” was Kate Irwin-Smiler’s opening to the session. Of course, the question quickly raised by someone in the audience was whether our leadership was in our own estimation or whether it was based on our title. (Lots of laughter here.) Then she asked us to sit down and those who are followers stand. This interactive exercise led into Kate Irwin-Smiler, Reference Librarian at Wake Forest University School of Law and Sara Sampson, Assistant Dean for Information Services & Law Library Director at Ohio State Moritz College of Law’s presentation “Leading from Where You Are.”  Both women talked about how they are leaders and followers. Sara Sampson pointed out that although she has a traditional leadership title, she is still a follower as she follows more experienced deans and the dean of the law school who is also a leader and a follower. They pointed out that being a good follower can give you the skills to become a good leader.

What is a leader?

People who think creatively and are passionate about what they do. People who think about problems and work to fix problems. – AALL Leadership Academy 2014

People who realize you have to work through other people to achieve results. They bring people together to make things happen. – The Introverted Leader

Sampson found that there are lots of different definitions of leadership and those who write about leadership do not agree. Some believe leaders are born with certain traits that help them become leaders and others define leadership by what they do: they innovate, they take charge, and they make decisions. She concluded there are many ways to be a leader and the definition needs to be broadened.

Different Types of Leaders

Even official, formal leaders like the President of the United States or our AALL Board cannot be effective unless they have followers.

Then there are leaders like those in Selma who stood up to the leaders with official powers of the state and they got some of their objectives accomplished.

Sandra Day O’Connor was a trail blazing leader. Just by her presence on the court, she led the way for other woman to be on the Supreme Court. She had to do her job and do it well for others to follow.

Rosalind Franklin whose work on the structure of DNA was overshadowed by others in her field was a leader too in that she continued with her work despite lack of recognition. She was a thought leader.

Pope Francis is a leader, not only because he is head of the Catholic Church but because he is quietly keeping the focus on issues like poverty over a long period of time.

The Pope, Mahatma Gandhi and many in the law library profession are servant leaders.

The facilitating leaders of our profession make connections between people with needs and resources. These people are often quiet leaders who are integral to the success of an organization.

Collaborative/negotiating leaders work across departments or across the university.

Mentoring and sponsoring leaders not only advise mentees but also give critical, honest feedback, make connections, open doors at higher levels so that the mentee can succeed.

A cheerleader leads by touting other’s success, showing how important their work is to the organization.

How Library Staff Can Lead In Your Library… a Brainstorm List

  • Managing programs
  • Chairing committees
  • Trusting others to do their job
  • Giving people what they need
  • Using creativity
  • Teaching
  • Facilitating opportunities
  • Using different language that does not diminish what we do
  • Bridging the gap between the library and other departments
  • Participating in teams
  • Providing institutional knowledge to others
  • Raising issues that need to be addressed
  • Identifying problems and proposing solutions

How to Be a Responsible Follower

Whether or not you choose to be a leader, here are ways of being a responsible follower:

  • Managing up
  • Engaging at work
  • Being prepared and participating in meetings
  • Sharing ideas in a respectful way
  • Leading yourself and your reactions
  • Being willing to do what others will not
  • Investing in work relationships
  • Lightening the leader’s load
  • Thinking about what people will need and having it ready in advance
  • Knowing when to push for your ideas and when to let go
  • Realizing that dissent is a gift

“Be Better Tomorrow Than You Are Today”

Further Reading

Sara Sampson and Kate Irwin-Smiler shared their bibliography:

  • Fillipa Marullo Anzalone, Servant Leadership: A New Model of Law Library Leaders, 99 Law Library J. 793 (2007).
  • Shirley K. Baker, Leading from Below: Or, Risking Getting Fired, 9 Library Administration & Management 238 (1985).
  • Robert K. Greenleaf, The Servant as Leader (rev. ed. 1991).
  • Marc Hurwitz and Samantha Hurwitz, Leadership is Half the Story: A Fresh Look at Followership, Leadership, and Collaboration (2015).
  • Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, The Introverted Leader (2013).
  • Martha Lagace, “The Quiet Leader & How to Be One,” Working Knowledge http:hbswk.hbs.edu/item/2766.html (Feb 11, 2002).
  • John C. Maxwell, The 360° Leader: Developing Your Influence from Anywhere in the Organization (2005).
  • Peter Guy Northouse, Leadership Theory & Practice (2004).

Betty Thomas with the Lincolns at the Opening Reception

~Betty Thomas~

This article was featured in the Spring 2015 issue of the Southeastern Law Librarian, the official newsletter of the Southeastern Chapter of the American Association of Law Libraries.  It is reprinted here with permission.

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How to Find and Use the Library’s Catalog

Recently, we had one of our student workers scan through previous blog content and choose a few of the ones she found most helpful as a current Charlotte Law student.  We’ll be re-posting this content throughout the summer so it’s readily available to all of our incoming and returning students for Fall of 2015.  This post originally ran in January of 2015.

A recent student survey showed that many students do not know where to find the library’s catalog or how to use it. This blog post is a guide for using ENCORE, the name of the library’s catalog.

How to Find the Catalog

There are several ways to access the catalog.

1. The primary method for student access is to use the Bookmarks on the left side of the page when you log into OrgSync at orgsync.charlottelaw.edu.

catalog12. Another way, appropriate for external patrons such as our library members, is to use the new CSL website. Search for Charlotte School of Law or go to http://www.charlottelaw.edu/.  The library is located under the Academics drop down at the top of the page. There is a button for the catalog under the Search the Collection section.

How to Use the Catalog
Charlotte School of Law’s online catalog called ENCORE has features that would be helpful for anyone doing research. Although the catalog has a Google-like search box, it also has an Advanced Search option.


ENCORE supports a basic Boolean search. Searches can be done by Keyword, Title, Author, or Subject. Search limits include Format (Kit, Graphics, Audio CD or Cassette, DVD, EBook, Electronic, Maps, Microform, Printed Material, and Video Tape), Language (English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish), and Publication years. Below is a screen shot of the Advanced Search page.

Some search tips:

  • An asterisk (*) can be used for right-hand truncation and as a wildcard within a search string. A question mark (?) can be used as a wildcard character, replacing a single letter within a word.
  • Use “and” or “or” or “not” to specify multiple words in any field, any order.
  • Keyword search results are grouped by relevance, bringing the top three most relevant titles to the top of the list. Then ENCORE brings up the top three most relevant articles.
  • If after looking at the results you are interested in a particular format, the different types are listed in the column on the left. The catalog also indicates how many of that type of format are in the catalog. For example, a search on Animal Law shows there are 14 Printed Materials (most often these are books).


Electronic items can be opened on your computer. The entry for each Printed Material gives information on its availability, location in the library, and call number. For example, Careers in Animal Law is available, located in the Treatises section of the library at KF299.A55 E37 2011.

Because of partnerships between ENCORE and databases like HeinOnline, the search results include articles. HeinOnline is a legal database that contains the full text, PDF of legal documents from most major law reviews and journals. The top three most relevant articles come in this section. Clicking on the PDF button will get to the article.

Advanced features of ENCORE include a “My Research” account which can hold results. The discovery features include Did you mean? A Related Searches (Additional Suggestions) section appears at the bottom left of the search results to help with further searching.

Finally, there are links to other library services such as a form for suggesting purchases, new purchases, and a way to email comments.

If you have any questions about ENCORE, please contact any of the Reference Librarians at libreference@charlottelaw.edu or call 704-971-8573. We are always happy to help.

If you’d like to download a print copy of this post, click here: How to Find and Use the Library.

~Betty Thomas~

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Know Your Law Library: Fiction Collection

Heading to the beach for a weekend this summer or just relaxing on the porch… maybe you would like a good read. The Charlotte School of Law Library has a collection of fiction.


The collection includes many of John Grisham and Scott Turow’s legal thrillers as well as a number of books that have been banned by various communities.

The Fiction Collection is located in the Reference area of the 5th floor behind the attorney member carrels.

These books can be checked out for 28 days (note the yellow dots).

We also welcome donations.

Come browse the collection.

If you need help, ask a librarian!

~Betty Thomas~

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Know Your Law Library: DVD Collection

Hooray it is summer!  Maybe you need a break from your classes… you might be interested in one of our lesser known collections. The Charlotte School of Law Library has an extensive collection of DVDs both fiction and non-fiction.

The collection of over 400 titles is located in the Reference area on the 5th floor behind the attorney member carrels.

There are classic movies like 10 Angry Men and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid to television series such as Law and Order. There are recent documentaries: Civil Remedy (human trafficking) and The Loving Story (miscegenation). Of course, there are more entertaining titles like Legally Blonde and Lord of the Rings. There is something for everyone.


In searching the catalog for these DVDs, use the keyword videorecording in the search box and select DVD format from the facets on the left side of the screen to see the long list of DVDs.

DVDs can be checked out for 7 days.

If you need help, just ask a librarian!

~Betty Thomas~

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Metrolina Library Association Tech Summit 2015


Librarians in the 21st Century are immersed in emerging technologies both in operating libraries and in helping patrons.  Each spring the Metrolina Library Association hosts a Tech Summit in Charlotte, North Carolina. Usually the format includes four presenters on topics of interest to Charlotte area librarians.  The focus is on state-of-the-art technology developments that might find use in libraries. On Friday, March 13th Johnson and Wales University – Charlotte hosted this year’s Summit. A summary of the presentations follow:

Really Augmenting Your Library: AR Possibilities for Librarians

Presenter: Judy Walker, J. Murrey Atkins Library, University of North Carolina – Charlotte

Describing augmented reality (AR) as QR codes on steroids, Judy got our attention. Augmented reality is along the spectrum from real world to virtual reality. Using augmented reality, graphics, audio, video, or text can be superimposed on real world items in real time. Information can be embedded in a “target” and read/played using a mobile device. She used her office sign as the “target.” Using Aurasma Studio she created an overlay (a video of her giving instructions) and then created an aura. By aiming a mobile device at the target, her video popped up. There are a number of free apps. ColAR, Elements 4D and Fetch Lunch are some interesting examples. Augmented reality could be used for creating after-hours messages, facilitating scavenger hunts, training student workers, putting information in different places within the library, or even having students talk about their art in a gallery display of student artwork. Short videos of different projects using AR can be found at Judy’s guide:  http://guides.library.uncc.edu/ar.

Telling the Library’s Story through Social Media

Presenter: Katy Rust, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library

Katy leads a team of 20 people, the Library 3.0: Social Media Team. These people come from all parts of the library and represent as diverse a mix as possible. Each person has access to the library’s social media platforms which include Tumbler, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. They divide up a schedule so that someone is always monitoring the online discussions. Some of the advice she gave during her presentation included the following:

  • Be really good where you are and not try to be everywhere.
  • Be there and manage the conversation.
  • Treat your community like people, not numbers. (Think of it as an extension of a branch.)
  • What happens on the internet stays there forever. (Don’t be defensive or argue.)
  • Carry the conversation in less public manner.
  • Social media is no quick fix.
  • Listen, then talk.

Since the project went into operation in January 2014, the team has worked to keep the library’s brand consistent in all places, found and created content that tells the library’s story, and constantly analyzed everything to see what works towards the organization’s goals and change what’s not going well.


Gestural Interfaces

Presenter: Beth Martin, J. Murrey Atkins Library, University of North Carolina-Charlotte

Beth demonstrated Myo ($199), a bracelet like apparatus that reads gestures made by the electronic impulses in your arm. She was able to stand across the room and advance a PowerPoint presentation by moving her arm in a certain way.


The armband can also be used to control iTunes, Spotify, VLC Media Player and Netflix video players. For video gamers, Myo and Oculus Rift will be a natural combination.  As with most technology, the key is to play with the device to figure out its usefulness. Beth pointed to Kickstarter as a good place to look for new technology.

Mindful Librarianship

Presenter: Richard Moniz EdD, Johnson & Wales University – Charlotte Library

Many of us are overwhelmed with technology. Multitasking, we divide our attention on many different things at once. Technology often facilitates that behavior. After leading a short meditation session, Richard defined mindfulness as “the art of observing your physical, emotional, and mental experiences with deliberate, open and curious attention (Smalley & Winston).” The research findings show that mindfulness, whether meditation, yoga, tai-chi, or just self-reflection has demonstrable effect on the brain. Being in the moment also has a reference service application as it ties well with the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) Standards requiring librarians to be present in the moment in interactions with others. Libraries are picking up on this trend by holding classes and workshops on the topic, setting up meditation rooms, and holding meditation sessions in student centers to help students reduce their stress and learn to be more mindful.


~Betty Thomas~

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