PencePointers Issue Number 3: Fall 2013

Dean's Corner


We are now well into the new academic year.  The Law Library continues to expand its online and print collections.  What is always most important is our services to the faculty, students, and staff.

As a reminder, the library’s circulation desk checks out cameras, cords, back rests, and laptops to the community regularly.  We’ve had great success circulating 1L casebooks and accompanying study guides. Students appreciate this service immensely.  Library faculty teach the 1L Legal Rhetoric Legal Research lectures and are often invited to classes, seminars, and clinics to share subject specific substantive legal research resources.

This year we are most fortunate to have Bryan Thurmond added to the library staff as its first JDD Legal Research Fellow.  Bryan has a significant legal research background and specialty work in higher education.  We are so pleased he’s joined our team.

From time to time we need “focus groups” to help us test certain databases, products, or ideas.  We often call on the WCL student leadership, but if you like evaluating and testing services and various databases, please let Adeen Postar know at

We are sure that everyone knows of the library’s expansive hours – 24/7. These hours are for the law school community only.  They are designed to make sure you have adequate seating and use of labs, printers, and materials whenever you need them.  If you need reference services when the reference desk is not staffed, please contact

The law library will host various special hours in the lobby or near the sixth floor dining during the semester.  Stop by to check out what’s being shared and offer any suggestions or comments about service.

Lots of libraries have seating, collections, and databases. What sets Pence Law Library apart is our constant goal of providing the best service.

Let us know if you need anything at all!!

~Billie Jo Kaufman, Associate Dean for Library and Information Resources

Pence Law Library Announcements

Digital Commons Reaches One Million Downloads

Since its inception four years ago, Digital Commons @ WCL has grown to include more than 4,500 papers, and there have been 568,187 downloads in the past twelve months alone.  On July 16, 2013, the repository broke one million downloads when WCL Professor Padideh Ala’i’s law review article, "The WTO and the Anti-Corruption Movement," was downloaded.

As Digital Commons @ WCL grows in popularity, the library is looking for ways to expand the repository and further increase its utility to the WCL and legal community.  Please contact our Digital Commons administrator, Shannon Roddy ( or 202-274-4332), if you would like to set up a faculty SelectedWorks page; contribute an article, book chapter, working paper, or other scholarly work to the repository; use Digital Commons to highlight the work of a WCL program or project; or deposit WCL materials for long-term archival preservation.

Law Review Commons

We are pleased to announce a new portal for open-access legal scholarship: the Law Review Commons.  The site brings together a growing collection of law reviews and legal journals in an easily browsable and searchable format.  It contains both current issues and archival content spanning over 100 years from nearly 150 law reviews. Read more about the Law Review Commons on the DC Telegraph at

Featured Services

Mobile Apps

The Pence Law Library offers guides to mobile apps for the WCL community, for iOS, Android and Windows users. Mobile Apps for Law Students includes law-related apps, such as Black’s Law Dictionary, the U.S. Constitution, Lexis Advance and WestlawNext. Mobile Apps for Travel Abroad offers something for students and faculty studying and teaching beyond the U.S. Links to both guides are available on the library's A-Z list of information resources.

Database Developments

Thomas Is Now

Over the years, many of us have used Thomas, a site that archives Congressional documents and other congressional information. Now, the Library of Congress, which maintains Thomas, has created a new and better site for all things Congress: (Beginning in November, visitors to Thomas will be automatically redirected to offers videos and diagrams about the legislative process, a full range of congressional bills and public laws, committee reports and hearings, transcripts of floor debate from the Congressional Record and live-streamed floor action. Researchers may also find information about individual members of Congress and about the U.S. Capitol.

Questions about Contact a Pence Law Library reference librarian at

Social Science Data on ICPSR Database

If you do much original research, you have probably used the ICPSR database, a collection of government, academic and other reports that include original data sets, from the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research at the University of Michigan. These data sets have been available to academic researchers for many years, but searching for discipline-specific data is much easier now with the user-friendly ICPSR website.  Search tips are readily available to help users new to the site. 

A user may browse social science topics, such as Community and Urban Studies, Health Care and Facilities, and Legal Systems, or she may search for studies and data using keywords.  "Thematic Collections" include Race and Ethnicity, Health and Mental Health, as well asother topical archives.

A keyword search "voting preference" that restricts results to the US retrieves studies about presidential primary exit polls, census data, a 2004 "National Politics Study" and voting practices in Chicago neighborhoods, among other things.

If your research intersects with social science disciplines, the ICPSR database may be just what you have been looking for.  Contact a Pence Law Library reference librarian for more information at

Fall Library Hours

Monday - Friday: 8am-12am

Saturday - Sunday: 9am - 12am

WCL students, faculty and staff may access the Library 24/7 using their AU ID cards. Access is granted by swiping a current AU ID in the card reader to the left of the Library's entrance. Library services are not available outside of regular Library hours. Users without AU ID cards must sign in with Security in the lobby prior to using the Library and exit at the designated closing time.

Contact the Library


Reference Services:
Circulation Services:

Instant Message:

Chat with a reference librarian:

Pence People

Highlighting the faculty and staff at the Pence Law Library.

Khelani Clay is the Research and Reference Assistant at Pence Law Library. She assists library researchers at the reference desk, and works with the library and law school faculty on their research projects. An ongoing project is Khelani’s assistance to Adeen Postar in the administration of her Advanced Legal Research Techniques Class. Khelani holds a JD from the Washington College of Law (2009) and is a member of the Maryland State Bar. She also holds a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice from the University of Illinois-Chicago and she will receive a Master of Library Science from Catholic University’s Library & Information Science Program in May 2014. Khelani has experience in family law and disability advocacy and has expertise in Maryland legal research. She is a co-author of the Maryland chapter in State Practice Materials: Annotated Bibliographies, published by William S. Hein & Co. You can find Khelani at the reference desk on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

Bryan Thurmond recently joined the Pence Law Library as a JD Distinguished Research Fellow.  A 2013 graduate of WCL, Bryan served as the Senior Note & Comment Editor on the Administrative Law Review during his 3L year.  While at WCL, Bryan was a legal intern at various education-based organizations, including the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of the General Counsel, the American Association of University Professors, the Center for Law and Education, and D.C. Public Schools’ Office of the General Counsel.  Before law school, Bryan was a Teach for America corps member and taught elementary school in Prince George’s County, Maryland.  At the completion of his Pence fellowship, Bryan aims to work as a special education attorney for a large urban school system.

Shannon Roddy, Special Projects Librarian, and Amy Taylor, Access Services Librarian, presented a poster at the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) Annual Meeting poster session. The topic was Using Interlibrary Loan for Campus Book Delivery, which outlined how the libraries at American University use interlibrary loan for intra-campus borrowing.

Library Faculty Scholarship

Christine K. Dulaney, review of Rebels at the Bar: The Fascinating, Forgotten Stories of America’s First Women Lawyers, by Jill Norgren, 105 Law Library Journal (forthcoming Fall 2013).

In late July, Ripple Weistling, Reference & Electronic Services Librarian, attended the Leadership Institute for Academic Librarians at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. The Institute helps librarians prepare to be effective leaders in rapidly changing academic environments by teaching leadership concepts and how to apply them to the practical challenges facing academic libraries. The week-long course included intensive classes and small group discussions, analyzing cases. The highlight of the program included the speakers, management and leadership experts, who were knowledgeable and engaging, making the week an informative and interesting experience, and the opportunity to network with library leaders from around the world.

Contact Us

Facebook Twitter Email


Washington College of Law

Pence Law Library

Library Services