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Law Library News for April 1, 2002

Ann Hemmens, editor

Law Library News Archive


Library Materials on the Move

by Mary Whisner

During spring interim (March 23-31, 2002), the Law Library was closed so that all staff members could work on a major shift of the collection. Here is a summary of what was moved and why.

Library of Congress Classification

There just isn�t a way to arrange half a million volumes that is both simple and useful. Do you want to sort by topic? By jurisdiction? By date? By format?

Rather than making an organizational scheme up from scratch, our Library (like many others) uses the Library of Congress�s classification system. Everything that starts with a �K� is about law. K (with no other letter) includes comparative law and human rights. KD is British law, KF is U.S. law, and KFW is Washington State law. For more about call numbers, see our guide on Library of Congress Call Numbers.

In addition to call numbers, we also use locations to sort our books. For example, many materials on labor law will have call numbers around KF3365. The current nutshell and hornbook are on Reserve; the looseleaf services are in the Reference Stacks; and a number of monographs, newsletters, and other materials are in the Classified Stacks on the fifth floor. Older materials are in the Historical Collection in the basement. For more information, see the section on Arrangement of the Collection in our Library Holdings page.

International Law

Back in 1910, the Library of Congress decided that international law materials should have call numbers starting with JX, putting the topic with political science (J). We followed suit. In the 1990s the classification experts at the Library of Congress rethought their system. They created two new categories: KZ (for public international law) and JZ (for international relations), and they stopped using JX.

We�ve been using the new call numbers for materials we have received in the last several years. But we have thousands of volumes with the old call numbers (JX). That splits up the topic. Why should some international law be in JX and the rest be in KZ?

Our catalogers assigned new call numbers to the old international law books and we relabeled and moved thousands of books during Interim. Since JX was on the fourth floor and KZ is on the sixth floor, we had to move a lot of books in between, too! The international law materials in the Reference Stacks have already been moved. For more information, see our guide on Call Numbers for Foreign Law.


As you know, we keep most of our periodicals in alphabetical order by title on the seventh floor. However, some journals on specialized topics have call numbers � for example, Tax Lawyer (KF6272.B84) and Harvard Human Rights Journal (K3236.2.H38). There are advantages to having specialized journals shelved near books on the same subject, but there are also advantages to having all journals in the same area. Before we move to the new building, we want to have more of the periodicals together in one periodicals area. So over interim we relabeled some of those specialized journals and moved them to the seventh floor.

Take Your Kids to Work

by Nancy McMurrer

Calling all parents: students, faculty, and staff! Thursday, April 11 is the date set for the sixth annual Take Your Kids to Work Day, sponsored by the Law Library. Our program is based on the one developed by Ms. Foundation to expose adolescent girls to the many career possibilities awaiting them; their day is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in April.

Here at the Law School, we have expanded their idea to include all school-age boys and girls and have moved the date to coincide with the week of spring break for most Seattle area schools. If your children would like to bring a friend or two along to share the experience, all will be welcome!

What do your children know about the law? What do they imagine law school is like? The Take Your Kids to Work Day is a great opportunity for them to experience first hand a bit of what you do every day. In the past, boys and girls have explored such legal concepts as statutory interpretation (does the sign "No Vehicles Allowed in the Park" includes bicycles, strollers, ambulances?), questioned Goldilocks during the case involving her trespass at the bear's house, argued hypotheticals involving school absences, and grappled with reasons why the contract between Rumpelstiltskin and the miller's daughter should or should not be enforced.

This year's program, like past years', will consist of two classes on the morning of April 11. Parents, please bring your school-age children to the Reference Office on the second floor of the Library between 10:20 and 10:30. Reference Librarian Nancy McMurrer will meet them there for a quick tour of the Library before they head to room 125 for the first class. The boys and girls will stay in that room for the second class, led by Professors Lea Vaughn and Sam Donaldson. You parents will pick them up at the end of the second class (at 12:20pm), there in room 125.

Be sure to save the morning of April 11 for Take Your Kids to Work!

Earthquake Damages at the Law Library

by Vicky Santana, Reference Intern

Imagine watching library shelves sway, seeing books tumbling off the shelves, and hearing an unearthly rumbling coming from beneath your feet. That's what you would have experienced in the Law Library during last year's Nisqually Quake.

The swaying of the building was more pronounced on the upper floors; so more books fell on the seventh floor. Last March, the University Week included a photograph of Mary Whisner, Assistant Librarian for Reference Services assessing the earthquake damage on the seventh floor, Once the shaking stopped, the Library staff checked all the floors and found water leaking from the ceiling on the seventh floor. Wet books were quickly taken to dry, and none suffered lasting damage.

Books were damaged from falling, however. In a tremendous effort by the Library staff, the books were back on the shelves the next day. As the books fell, some fell open, tearing pages away from the spine and covers. Others, bound in already fragile leather, broke their spines and pages were torn. Some books that landed on their edges had bent and crushed covers and torn pages. Binders burst open, mechanisms broken, and pages were torn and disarrayed.

Although several thousand volumes fell off the shelves, only 160 were identified as damaged from the earthquake. Using the procedures regularly used for damaged books, the damage was assessed. The Library catalog entry for the book was changed to show patrons that the book was damaged and in the basement awaiting repair. The estimated repair and replacement cost was $1950. A report was given to the UW Libraries, to include in their claim to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

As time passed with no word from FEMA, technical services staff repaired and reprocessed the books with minor damage. Many were tied with cotton tape and returned to the shelf "as is." There were 50 volumes that sustained so much damage that they need to be replaced. The Library prioritizes book replacement based on factors such as demand for the books; these are books with low circulation, and so it may be a while before they are once again available.