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HEARSAY news from KU’s Wheat Law Library

Volume 7, Issue 1

Spring 2013


ISSUE Reporting from the Supreme Court Research Clinic By Chris Steadham

Library employees rock out at annual Pub Night event By W. Blake Wilson

Mythbusters: Wheat Law Library edition By Ashly LoBurgio Basgall

Joyce McCray Pearson honored for service to BLSA

Visit Us! In Person: Green Hall 1535 W. 15th Street Lawrence, KS 66045 Online:

DIRECTOR’S CORNER I find that the easiest two words for me to write or say are “thank you.” In this Director’s Corner, I want to formally thank our monetary donors and all others who donate their time and treasure to the Wheat Law Library. The generosity of numerous individuals and families who contribute to, share with, or invest in the law library speaks to the value they place on books, information and scholarly pursuits. Their gifts provide scholarships to students and allow us to purchase books, databases, library materials, equipment and other general library needs. As we continually expand the library’s collection to include ebooks, new databases and other technologies, the need for all types of support also expands. Without donor help and support we could not provide access and assistance to an ever growing wealth of information. I want to personally thank all of you for your ongoing contributions. To keep abreast of the changing needs of our patronage, we have surveyed them to find out what they need for research or what they need in terms of our facilities. The ability to respond to those needs is accomplished because we have the necessary funds. And your generosity allows us to keep the collection relevant, vibrant and accessible to library users. Thank you donors for assisting us with accomplishing our mission – to serve the law school and university community in legal and interdisciplinary scholarly pursuits and provide access to legal information for legal professionals and the general public. And thank you for making the Wheat Law Library the largest and best law library in the region. We could not do it without you! See you in the library! Joyce McCray Pearson, library director

BLSA honors Joyce McCray Pearson for service We, the members of the Black Law Students Association (BLSA), wanted to honor our amazing faculty adviser for her commitment to our organization. She is truly passionate and dedicated in promoting the educational and social needs of black law students and the diverse communities of young legal professionals. BLSA could not ask for a more caring, dedicated and supportive adviser. Professor Pearson has been nominated for a Jayhawk Choice Award: Adviser of the Year for her work with BLSA. This award is given annually to an adviser of a student organization who demonstrates dedication and impact to the organization and students within it, while promoting students’ personal growth within the organization. The Jayhawk Choice Award ceremony was held April 24 at the Kansas Union.


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Ebonie Davis, BLSA President 2012-2013

Another semester, another successful KSCRC

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: The Spring 2013 group of Kansas Supreme Court Research Clinic students and librarians pose in the courtroom after presentations; a group meets to discuss inside the Kansas Judicial Center; Justice Carol Beier, L’85, speaks with two third-year students at a meet-and-greet lunch.

By Chris Steadham The Wheat Law Library teaching faculty is busy putting the finishing touches on another successful semester of the Kansas Supreme Court Research Clinic (KSCRC). The class recently gave presentations to the Kansas Supreme Court and the Office of Judicial Administration (OJA) in Topeka – an experience that has proven to be a memorable moment for many KSCRC participants. These presentations will be followed up with informative research papers that the students have created over the course of the semester.

The research projects do not pertain to specific cases before the court. Instead, the projects involve general research questions on a wide variety of topics. Student research for this class is designed to be unbiased and informative, aiming to provide sufficient objective information on the topics to allow the court and the OJA to reach their own conclusions on any given issue. Along with this clear benefit to the judicial system, the students also learn a great deal from the research, writing, and public speaking experience.

The KSCRC serves the dual goals of providing students with practical research experience and assisting the Kansas Supreme Court and OJA with general research support. Students are assigned research projects from the Kansas Supreme Court and the OJA as arranged by the instructors. Students employ a variety of methodologies to conduct thorough research and concisely convey their findings, culminating with a final paper and presentation to the court at the end of the semester.

The KSCRC will be offered again during the Fall 2013 semester. If all of the above isn’t enough to entice an application, students should note that lunch with the court and a guided behind-the-scenes tour are also part of this unique experience. Interested students should contact Wheat Law Library Associate Director Chris Steadham ( for information (as of this writing, some spots remain open).

spring 2013


Breaking librarian stereotypes one jam at a time

By W. Blake Wilson On April 12, Women in Law sponsored their annual Pub Night. Proceeds from tickets and live and silent auctions go to a public interest stipend for law students and The Willow Domestic Violence Center in Lawrence. a charity that provides support and assistance to women and children. The highlight of the evening for many years has been the Moody Bluebooks, a rock band made up of law school faculty, staff, students and alumni. This year, two of our librarians, Blake Wilson and Allison Reeve, served as lead and backup singers. The set consisted of six songs: KU Law School Way performed by Blake Wilson (“Rocky Mountain Way” by Joe Walsh) Call on Me Maybe performed by Allison Reeve and Director of Career Services Leah Terranova (“Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen) Law Interruption performed by Blake Wilson (“Love Interruption” by Jack White) Jimmy Green performed by Blake Wilson and Leah Terranova (“Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson) Questions Run Too Deep performed by Allison Reeve (“Rolling in the Deep” by Adele) Piece of My Heart performed by Allison Reeve (Janice Joplin) The band is made up of Rick Levy (keyboards), Tom Stacy (drums), Issaku Yamaashi, L’00 (guitar), Lou Mulligan (guitar), Grant Harse, L’10 (bass), Jade Brown, L’01 (sax), John Head (trombone), Blake Wilson (vocals), Leah Terranova (vocals), and Allison Reeve (vocals). The entire set can be found at


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Meet Wheat Law Library’s spring student workers Steven Rowe grew up in Mission Hills, Kan., where he set the record for number of traffic accidents that were somebody else’s fault. He earned his undergraduate degree at a place you’ve never heard of: Wabash College, in Crawfordsville, Ind., where he studied philosophy and French and managed to have a social life despite the all-male environs in the middle of nowhere. He also has been making the Snuggie cool since 2009. Paul Budd is a 1L at KU Law. He’s from Minnetonka, Minn. and received my undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota - Duluth. Two interesting facts about him are that he drinks about four cups of coffee a day and finds the sound of bagpipes to be one of the most moving, beautiful sounds in the world.

Landyn Harris is a firstyear graduate student in the museum studies program. She graduated from Missouri State University with a B.A in history, with emphasis in American history, and a minor in dance. Landyn volunteered at the Springfield-Greene County History Museum as a student at Missouri State, where she worked with their archival collection. She is working now as a student librarian assistant at the Wheat Law Library. Kevin Wempe is a 2L from Topeka. He received a bachelor’s in business from Emporia State University. Despite their best efforts, the Kansas City Royals have not ruined his first 25 years.

Wheat Law Library celebrates National Library Week

By Pam Crawford Wheat Law Library celebrated National Library Week, April 14-20, in fine fashion. We asked both students and faculty to answer a brief survey, online or in paper, on library services. Many responses included kudos for current databases and services or ideas for improvements. We decorated the front desk with a colorful sign and a pot of tulips. The door to each staff member’s office and other staff areas bore large gold stars with the slogan “Libraries Work Because We Do.” On Monday, we served all faculty, staff, and students pieces of cake in the law school’s informal commons, and we held surprise give-aways in the library the rest of the week.

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Mythbusters: Wheat Law Library Edition By Ashly LoBurgio Basgall During my tenure as the inaugural non-librarian Faculty Services Researcher, I have come to realize that, despite the hours I have spent in libraries over the years, my knowledge of their inner-workings was extremely limited. Now that my accidental ethnography of the Wheat Law Library is nearing completion, I have decided to “bust” 10 myths about libraries, with a focus on academic law libraries. Myth #10: Library employees who work at the circulation and reference desks compose the entire library staff. Reality: Managing a library requires a team of librarians, support staff, and student employees, some of whom work in less visible roles. When I began working at the law library, I was surprised to discover the busy technical services processing area of the library. Myth #9: Adding an item to a library’s collection simply involves putting a call number sticker on it and placing it on the shelf. Reality: Adding an item to a library’s collection is a complex, multi-step process that requires specialized knowledge. Each item must be evaluated for inclusion in the collection, accurately cataloged, recorded for statistical purposes, incorporated into the existing collection, and made accessible to patrons. Myth #8: A library’s collection does not change much over time. Reality: Libraries constantly update their collections of books, journals, and electronic resources. Along with patron purchase requests, collections are improved via package or approval plans, consortium agreements, and donations. Items are also removed, or “weeded,” to ensure the collection remains relevant and accessible – removing an item is also a detailed process. Myth #7: People do not read books anymore, so librarians are no longer needed. Reality: While people may not check out as many physical books as in the past, patrons’ use of technology and their expectations about that technology are increasing. Using an electronic resource can be much more complicated than reading a book. This actually increases the relevance of librarians, who must provide instructional support for and maintain these resources. Myth #6: Librarians mainly check out and re-shelve books. Reality: Providing circulation desk service is a small part of our varied duties. Here is a partial list of some of our additional responsibilities: assisting patrons with legal and interdisciplinary research; instructing advanced legal research courses; training, supervising, and managing student employees; managing the library’s budget; and producing scholarship, such as writing books and articles. Myth #5: Librarians who teach courses and clinics are primarily instructors. Reality: The teaching duties of librarians are taken on in addition to their full-time responsibilities as librarians. For example, it is a normal semester for our associate director, in addition to his many library duties, to teach two Lawyering research labs, teach Advanced Legal Research, and instruct and manage the Kansas Supreme Court Research Clinic. Myth #4: Librarians are not tenure-track faculty members. Reality: Like other librarians at KU, our law librarians are tenure-track faculty, meaning that they must fulfill KU’s scholarship and service requirements. We currently have four tenured faculty members and one tenure-track faculty member on staff. Myth #3: Law librarians do not have graduate degrees. Reality: In the Wheat Law Library, we hold a total of 11 advanced degrees, including four law degrees and five Master of Library Science degrees. We also have degrees in anthropology, English, Spanish literature, political science, music education, elementary education, philosophy, and history. Myth #2: Most law students have the tools necessary to do the work of librarians. Reality: Legal research in particular has a steep learning curve, and after doing legal research five days a week for almost two years, I am still learning. And this is after going to law school for three years. Many other library duties also require expertise, experience, and an eye for detail. Myth #1: The Wheat Law Library only serves KU Law students. Reality: We do provide significant support to KU Law students and KU Law instructors in their scholarship, teaching, and service. However, we also provide research assistance to practicing attorneys, pro se patrons, prisoners, students and faculty from other universities, and KU students and faculty from virtually every department on campus. The conclusion to my “accidental ethnography” is that the Wheat Law librarians are some of the busiest people on campus. Nonetheless, my colleagues are always eager to provide excellent service with a smile. It has been a pleasure to work with the Wheat Law Library staff.


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SURPRISE VISIT: Black Law Students Association President Ebonie Davis, 3L, and other organization members surprise Joyce McCray Pearson.


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COURT DATE: A student in the Supreme Court Research Clinic, headed up by Chris Steadham, presents before Kansas Supreme Court justices.

As the largest and oldest law library in Kansas, the Wheat Law Library is an integral part of the School of Law. It serves the law school and university community in legal and interdisciplinary scholarly pursuits and provides attorneys, judges, and the general public with access to legal information. Key components of this mission include collecting and preserving Kansas, national, and international legal documents, teaching legal information literacy, and serving as a legal information gateway by providing access to sources beyond the scope of the physical collection.

Wheat Law Library Staff Ashly LoBurgio Basgall - Faculty Services Senior Researcher Pamela Crawford - Head of Public Services Joyce A. McCray Pearson - Director & Associate Professor Jeff Montgomery - Serials Department Manager Allison Reeve - Cataloging and Technical Services Librarian Christopher Steadham - Associate Director W. Blake Wilson - Head of Instructional & Research Services CONTACT INFORMATION: Phone: 785/864-3025 Email:

spring 2013


News from the KU Wheat Law Library | Spring 2013