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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Church of the Legal Mind

There are bibles everywhere!
How many out there own a Bible?  Did you know that 88 percent of people in America own at least one Bible?  88 percent!  That's a lot of people.  The problem is that owning and using are two different things since only 1 in 5 Americans actually read the Bible.  The thing is you'd think anything called "the Bible" would be THE one book people would read because it THE definitive words from the Word.

Turns out, there are a number of legal resources in the law business considered to be the bible in their respective fields.  For instance, Basset on California Community Property Law (West) is the bible for all things community property in California.  If you're in a family law matter and you NEED to know something about community property and you're in a California court/jurisdiction, then you're really going to want this book in your hand.  Really, really, and amen.

Another legal bible is California Probate Practice (Lexis).  Are you in probate court or are looking to be in probate court eventually?  If so, then this bible should be in your hands and you should be taking copious notes.  Hallelujah!

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the bible of criminal law, namely California Criminal Law: procedure and practice (CEB).  If you are a criminal or know someone who is a criminal or have ever contemplated becoming a criminal, then this is the bible for you.  It's contents contain all that is related to criminal law in California.  So, if you need to know anything criminal in California, this is the bible for you.  Testify!

Other legalesque bibles of note include:
There are other bibles out there, but these are the ones I reach for when I need some serious religion. 

So, if ever you find yourself a bit lost and confused, know that the good folks at your local county law library have seen the light.  We are eager to guide you on your straight and narrow way to the good word; baptizing you in the name of West, Lexis and CEB and to help you find your path to righteous researching.  Hallelujah and amen!  Can I get an amen?!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Word of the Month for October 2015: Matriculate

Not all lawsuits are winners
A cautionary tale.  Once upon a time a young woman enrolled in college.  She was the first in 5 generations to go to college.  She was very excited.  Her family was very excited.  Her dog was very excited.  Heck, let's just say everyone was very excited young woman was going to college.

Young woman filled out the forms for admittance, picked her classes, bought her books, supplies, new outfits (apparently the right threads help you think harder) and she was ready freddy!  First day of school, she walks on campus and sits in a chair.  Roll is called but for some reason, young woman's name is not called.  Huh, that's strange.  Perplexed young woman seeks out the Provost and demands to know why her name was not called in class (seems her name did not appear on the roll for any of the classes she selected).  Provost looks around and discovers that while young woman filled out the form for admittance, young woman had not paid her tuition.  Oops.

Of course, this all leads us up to our word of the month: MATRICULATE.  According to Black's Law Dictionary, MATRICULATE means to enroll or register (in a university, college, etc).  Apparently, merely buying books and threads does not a student make.  Turns out young woman had applied for student loan(s) and had received monies (initially) meant for college.  Somewhere between home and the registrar's office, young woman spent all the money on a new car because, she reasoned, how else is she going to get to school?  Take the bus?!  Ride a bike?!  Walk?!?  Heaven forbid.  Undaunted, young woman is determined to go to school (and keep her car) so she decides to sue the school and force them to let her attend classes without having to pay for said classes.  Uh, yeah.

As a law Librarian, it's my job to help people find the resources they think they need to get done what they're looking to get done.  Since young woman wasn't in the mood for logic (or reality, for that matter), I guided her over to:
In no time at all, young woman is burning through those resources looking for any angle to get the school to do what she is determined they must.  She doesn't have a chance in Hades of succeeding but, apparently, she has time to burn (what with not going to school and all).

Moral of the story, part 1.  If you must sue someone, don't waste your time online looking for stuff to get done what you're looking to get done.  Get up off your lazy backside and go to your local county law library.  Moral of the story, part 2.  If while explaining your/a potential lawsuit, the law Librarians happen to look at you like you have a third eye, you might want to re-think what you're planning on doing.  I'm just sayin.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Dinner Time!

Knowledge begets wisdom (or should)
When "most" people think of dinner, they see stuff they can eat with their mouth, tongue, teeth, taste buds.  The problem with "most" people is that they don't realize that there is more to consumption than filling the belly.  You can consume knowledge (i.e. food for the mind); you can work out and your body consumes energy; you can soak up the sun on the wind swept sands of the beach; you can even drink in the love of a significant other.

Yesterday I received the latest edition of the September/October edition of the American Association of Law Librarian (AALL) Spectrum in all of it's radiant glory.  The AALL Spectrum is the trade periodical for law Librarians the world over.  Generally it is a magazine written by Librarians for Librarians.  

The one piece that really got my attention was the article Is it Cheaper Online: tracking a library e-conversion by LaJean Humphries.  See, years ago (back when online materials were just getting started), the publishers came to universities and government law libraries and said that if they converted to online, the cost of print resources would go down.  That never happened and, in fact, the cost of print resources have risen with the cost of online stuff making this article that much more interesting what with the increased demand for online resources such as e-books.  Ms. Humphries details her conversion efforts from print to online.  While I personally prefer print over online resources, Ms. Humphires notes that:
electronic books share the ability to hyperlink, allowing users to instantly pull up linked cases, statutes, etc., where in the past the user would have gotten up, gone to the library bookshelf, found the case reporter or statute volume, looked up the case or statute, and read it. This added time efficiency at least partially compensates for the increased costs.
So, while the actual cost of online resources may be more than the print, apparently, the east of access helps to off-set the increased budget demands.  Huh, something to think about.

Other helpful articles of note include:
So, if you happen to have a few minutes, why not take a look-see at the new and improved AALL Spectrum.  Who knows, maybe between the online gaming and surfing the Internet, you might find time to increase the grey matter between your ears.

Monday, September 28, 2015

That's going to leave a mark

Cold hearted snake
In the news today is the story about a guy who catches a rattle snake (you know, the venomous scary one with fangs that scream leave me alone), drapes it around his neck and snaps a selfie whilst holding the DEADLY snake.  Moments after snapping the pic, snake wriggles free and bites his hand.  What an ungrateful snake - biting the person who held it.

Of course, this reminds me of a young lady who came into the library a short while ago.  Seems she was smitten by a snake-ish young man whom she met while he was incarcerated in prison for a securities fraud (among other things).  Seems a romance blossomed and when guy was paroled, he and she got married in a whirlwind wedding that she paid for.  Turns out she also paid for the utilities in the house s/he lived, the food that s/he lived, the lavish vacations s/he took every year, the clothes, the big screen TV, the...long story short, she was paying for everything because guy did not get a job like he promised he would.  FINALLY, young lady has had enough and lays down an ultimatum - either he gets a job or he moves out and they get a divorce.

Turns out guy is not so stupid.  Turns out guy says 
  • he's not going to get a job, 
  • that he's not moving out and, in fact, 
  • he has been having an affair with young lady's "best" friend for the last 3 years
In tears and with a not so small degree of righteous indignation, young lady storms into the law library to see what she can do to rid herself of deadbeat guy.  As things related to her impending dissolution of marriage, I suggested she first talk to the Family Law Facilitator.  After that, I suggest she take a look at:
As it related to kicking deadbeat husband out of the house, since guy is now technically a tenant at sufferance, I suggested she take a look at:
Sad that young lady was in such a predicament.  Happy that she knew that her local county law library was a one-stop-shop for all things happily ever after.  If you ever find yourself in a bind, just know that your local county law Librarian has what you need to help you move on down your yellow brick road.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Tales from the Reference Desk

Tall Tales from the Reference Desk
Have you ever been talking to someone and they say, "don't tell any one but..." and then they go on to tell you all the nasty things they've been doing over the last 6 months?!  I mention this only because the other day I was fed a couple of stories that were just like that.

So, don't tell anyone but this Lady came into the library the other day.  Seems Lady was head and majority shareholder of a close corporation.  Seems Lady had recently received (and accepted) a buy-out offer for her shares at a premium price to an outsider.  Seems, in doing so, Lady had breached the agreement made with the minority shareholders and was now scrambling to get away before she had to fess up and wanted to know resources she could use to help get her what she wanted (to keep her money).  Despite the fact that she knew she was doomed before she started, I suggested she take a gander at
Another one, you say?  Well, really, I shouldn't but (and don't tell anyone but) there was the couple who came in the library who's Uncle had just passed on to greener pastures.  Seems Uncle had stashed a large cache of cash literally under his mattress.  Seems Couple was first on the scene and "strange" but when other family members arrived, no cache of cash was to be found.  Notwithstanding the fact that Uncle had "allegedly" drafted a holographic will leaving the bulk of his estate to his niece, Couple was at my library to find ways to secure their "right" to all the money.  Staggered by their bravado, I was able to maintain composure and suggest Couple take a look at
Yep, everyone has a story and some are wilder than others.  Regardless of what you have to say, know that your local county law library is not so much concerned about what you do to others as we are that you do something to secure your "rights."  So, head on over to your local county law library to see what we can do for you.