Category Archives: Books & Stuff

ALR Student’s Corner: North Carolina Criminal Trial Practice Forms

A form book can be helpful in many ways to a practicing attorney.  It provides checklists for litigation and fill-able practice forms within various areas of law that become a good starting point for lawyers, particularly were they to need to draw up a form in an area of law that is outside their practice area.  It is important to remember when using this resource that forms are unique in every case and should be modified to reflect the individual defendant.


North Carolina Criminal Trial Practice Forms, 5th edition, by Ronald M. Price, is a single volume resource filled with a bounty of criminal trial forms.  It has a table of relevant cases, general index, and a master table of contents, not to mention individual ones at the beginning of each chapter.  According to the table of contents, this form book addresses the following legal issues: stop and frisk, search and seizure, confessions and self-incrimination, double jeopardy and collateral estoppel, bonds, probable cause hearings, venue, arraignment, discovery, and motion to dismiss.  Each of these issues is broken down further in the table of contents by subject matter.  Under “Chapter 18: Capacity,” for example, there are forms dealing with capacity that a practitioner would need to file on behalf of a client, such as notice of defense of insanity, motion for mental evaluation, application of transfer of prisoner to a hospital, and motion questioning defendant’s capacity.

The table of cases is one of the most important features of North Carolina Criminal Trial Practice Forms.  The reader uses the table of cases to quickly look up and consider or cite the law used in any given form.  The index, organized by a more extensive topical listing than the table of contents, includes a range of legal topics and subtopics such as age, Batson, blood, children and minors, burglary, capital cases, interpreter, voir dire, and weapons.  These topical headings make it easier to locate the form relevant to your client’s situation. Additionally, the pocket part, at the back of the resource, includes the most current itineration of each form were its language and corresponding annotation to case law updated since the most recent publication.  This is important because failing to submit to the court the proper form, one that is reflective of the most current and binding legal authority, is a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

To locate North Carolina Criminal Trial Practice Forms, look up the electronic version of the resource in the universal search box on WestlawNext, or conduct a search for the print resource in the Charlotte School of Law Library catalog.  Getting here requires the following steps: 1) access the Charlotte School of Law homepage, 2) follow the link on the left-hand side, to “Our Law Library,” 3) click on the “Library Catalog” link on the right-hand side, and 4) search within the catalog for the call number using the following search string: “North Carolina Criminal Trial Practice Series.”  The print version of North Carolina Criminal Trial Practice Forms is located in the “Reference: Carolinas” section of the library, but unfortunately does not circulate outside of the library.  It’s always nice to have remote access to the electronic version of a specific resource so that you don’t have to commute to the library, but upon my graduation this summer, the luxury of remote access will be no more and, alas, I will have to come on campus for the print resource and its electronic counterpart on WestlawNext, just like the other attorney members of the CSL library.

To demonstrate how easy and helpful this book of forms is, let’s conduct a hypothetical search.  Let’s say that you are a new attorney and you wish to file a motion to suppress a coerced taped confession from your client.  First, you would start in the table of contents and locate “Chapter 5: Confessions and Self-Incrimination.”  It sounds like the perfect place to start, so you proceed to browse through the subtopics within the chapter.  Under “motion to suppress,” you locate two different forms for motion to suppress defendant’s statements and another helpful form for motion for exclusion of involuntary admissions and confessions, but nothing relevant to the element of coercion.  So, you go to the index and look up “confessions, generally.”  There, you find exactly what you are looking for, just in a different chapter, a form called “Suppression Motion for Taped Confession” which has the element of coercion.  After this, don’t forget to check for updates in the pocket part to complete your research effectively!  Also, remember, these forms are not a “one size fits all” kind of thing.  They should be modified and tailored to fit your client specifically; no two defendants are the same.

North Carolina Criminal Trial Practice Forms is an indispensable resource for any lawyer and even more so for newly admitted attorneys just learning which form to submit to which court on behalf of their respective clients.

~ Ashley Lawrence, L’14 ~

 Class Advisor – Cory M. Lenz, Esq.

Leave a comment

Filed under Advanced Legal Research, Books & Stuff, Of Interest to Law Students, Student Postings

ALR Student’s Corner: Criminal Procedure in North Carolina


For 20 seasons, on the television show Law & Order, we watched the police investigate the crime and arrest the criminal, and then, with bated breath, hung on Jack McCoy’s every question and objection as he prosecuted the crime for the win. We’ve seen this scenario play out countless times and believed it to be the criminal process, but is it really? In North Carolina, there is a clear beginning, middle, and end to the criminal justice system, and it revolves around the rules of criminal procedure. But, as new criminal lawyers starting out on our own, how do we know what to do?  After all, the beginning, middle, and end of the criminal justice system can seem a little overwhelming, especially so if we do not have a mentor to guide us through the process.

Luckily, there is hope! Criminal Procedure in North Carolina by Irving Joyner is the very practice guide that can help the new lawyer, and even some seasoned lawyers, navigate the rough waters of our state’s criminal justice system. To find this practice guide, locate the call number (KFN7975 .J69 2005) in the Charlotte School of Law library catalog, or look up the title using the “browse sources” feature in Lexis Advance.

After a defendant has hired you as her defense attorney, how do you know what to do? The great thing about Criminal Procedure in North Carolina is that, similar to the dramatic arc of Law & Order, the practice guide logically and sequentially moves the practitioner from arrest, to pre-trial, to trial, and then to sentencing.  At each stage in the prosecution of a crime, the practice guide explains the relevant processes and procedures, providing annotations to primary authority for greater context, and supplements with a plethora of other useful information for new attorneys, like sample forms.  The pre-trial section, for example, uses precedential case law to explain the importance of discovery and pre-trial motions practice to a client and the pre-trial issues that arise.

Furthermore, the pre-trial section includes sample forms that show the attorney how to draft and file a particular motion. I found the forms particularly helpful because, while I had learned how to file a motion in limine, others like a special venire were foreign to me.  So, how do you file a motion for a special venire? Well, the practice guide explains who can file this type of motion, when it should be filed, and the type of claim the defendant might bring, such as a motion based on array or racial composition. After the full discussions of the motions that a defense attorney can use, the practice guide then provides the forms so that the attorney can properly file the appropriate motion within the court, changing only what they need to change based on the court where the motion is to be filed.

What better way, when lost in the sea of the criminal justice system, than to go to Criminal Procedure in North Carolina to make sure that you are taking proper advantage of any and all pre-trial and trial motions on behalf of your client.  It doesn’t matter if you are a new attorney or have been admitted to the bar for 20 years, this practice guide is a great resource to make sure that you are following the proper criminal procedure guidelines in the North Carolina courts. Criminal Procedure in North Carolina makes better attorneys because it helps them provide their clients the representation that they deserve.

 ~ Adrianne Ribar, L’14 ~

 Class Advisor – Cory M. Lenz, Esq.

Leave a comment

Filed under Advanced Legal Research, Books & Stuff, Of Interest to Law Students, Student Postings

ALR Student’s Corner: North Carolina Crimes – A Guidebook on the Elements of Crime



Attorneys use practice guides in different areas of law as a way to quickly identify the rule of law and its respective authorities from which to craft a legal argument. These guides also help practitioners with the procedural elements and motions requirements of a cause of action.

About North Carolina Crimes: A Guidebook on the Elements of Crime

North Carolina Crimes: A Guidebook to the Elements of Crime (7th ed. 2012), written by Jessica Smith of the North Carolina School of Government, is a single volume, soft cover treatise detailing the elements of the criminal laws in North Carolina.  This guidebook only covers the state’s substantive crimes, excluding obscure ones, minor infractions such as traffic offenses, and special offenses related to alcoholic beverage control law and fish and game law.  A student, patron or attorney member can locate the call number (KFN7966.8 .N67) of North Carolina Crimes by plugging the following search terms – north carolina crimes – into the Charlotte School of Law Library catalog.

Key Features of North Carolina Crimes

North Carolina Crimes analyzes each criminal offense within its own chapter and divides each into the following four categories: elements, punishment, notes (explanatory points regarding the offense, including case law) and related offenses. State of mind, defenses, and structured sentencing are additional topics discussed in the introductory chapter of each offense. Because the clear and concise layout of the guidebook makes locating and understanding the criminal elements easy, the supervising attorneys and judges, at my externships, consider it an excellent reference guide during trial or at a court hearing.  For this reason, North Carolina provides the latest version to all state prosecutors, and most state law enforcement officers and judges keep the guidebook handy at all times, as well.  Law enforcement officers refer to North Carolina Crimes when they need to make a quick charging decision about a perpetrator’s alleged criminal behavior; prosecutors use the guidebook when putting their cases together; and judges rely on it when deciding the rule of law or explaining it to a jury.  Essentially, North Carolina Crimes helps to keep all of the parties participating in the prosecution of a crime on the same page.

There are several useful ways to search for your topic in North Carolina Crimes.  To begin, there is a master table of contents at the front of the book, listing every topic and subtopic with its corresponding page numbers, and an individual table of contents at the beginning of each chapter. North Carolina Crimes also has the following useful indexes: 1) a case index that lists the cited cases alphabetically, 2) a table of statutes that organizes the enacted laws in ascending numerical order, and 3) a subject index that helps the reader navigate to a particular subject or crime.

Researching using North Carolina Crimes

North Carolina Crimes is an excellent place to begin legal research on a criminal issue. For example, suppose you need to understand the difference between voluntary and involuntary manslaughter in North Carolina.  Upon consulting the guidebook’s table of contents, you locate the subtopic “manslaughter” within the topic “homicide” and then navigate to the corresponding pages.  In North Carolina, manslaughter is a common law crime which means its rule of law stems from state court decisions and not the legislature.  The “manslaughter” section highlights the elements for voluntary and involuntary manslaughter and provides an extensive list of on-point cases interpreting the scope of each element.  To update the authority, you would then KeyCite with WestlawNext or Shepardize with Lexis Advance.


North Carolina Crimes: A Guidebook to the Elements of Crime uses a simple, easy-to-navigate style to detail and annotate the rule of law of the major North Carolina criminal offenses, making the guidebook an essential tool for law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and judges.

~ Maria Fisichello, L’14 ~

 Class Advisor – Cory M. Lenz, Esq.

Leave a comment

Filed under Advanced Legal Research, Books & Stuff, Of Interest to Law Students, Student Postings

Check Out Our New Federal Tax Research Guide

If you are new to the Charlotte School of Law community, you may be interested to know that CSL librarians develop and maintain a collection of electronic legal research guides.  These guides “contain a range of information tools that are designed to assist you with your research and study at Charlotte School of Law. They are a pathway to library resources most relevant to your area of study. LibGuides are created by CSL librarians and contain recommended library resources – books, databases, journals and websites, as well as helpful research tips.”

One of the most recent legal research guides added to the collection is a Federal Tax Research Guide.  This guide “covers both primary and secondary sources of tax law and was created to help facilitate the tax research process.”  It directs users to both print and electronic tax law resources, including the Internal Revenue Code, judicial sources, agency orders and opinions, memoranda and announcements, current awareness resources, the U.S. Master Tax Guide, the Internal Revenue Manual, and more.

To browse other legal research guides or to receive email alerts when guides of interest to you are published, click here.  And, as always, contact the reference desk if you have any questions or need any assistance!

~Shannon Reid~

Leave a comment

Filed under Books & Stuff, electronic resources, Free Online Resources, Libguides, Of Interest to Law Students

ALR Student’s Corner: North Carolina Corporation Law and Practice


North Carolina Corporation Law and Practice is a practitioner’s resource, which comprises part of the “North Carolina Practice Series” of treatises.  As with other examples of treatises, this title is available both in print and, with the advent of new technology, in e-book form. I chose to review North Carolina Corporation Law and Practice (Fourth Edition) because the formation and dissolution of corporations has always interested me. I have always been fascinated by the variety of forms one may choose from when incorporating a business.

About North Carolina Corporation Law and Practice

North Carolina Corporation Law and Practice is authored by James E. Snyder, Jr.  A native of North Carolina, Snyder was born and raised in Davidson County. He received his J.D. from Wake Forest University School of Law in 1970.  In addition to authoring seventeen books, Snyder practices law in North Carolina. Last updated in August 2012, the title may be located in the Reference Carolinas section of the CSL Library, using the following call number KFN7613.A65.  The e-book version of the treatise may be located on WestlawNext.  From the WestlawNext homepage select “Secondary Sources” as your content type then choose “North Carolina” as the jurisdiction.  Next, pick “North Carolina Text and Treatises” and click into the following link “North Carolina Corporation Law & Practice.

North Carolina Corporation Law and Practice is arranged into nineteen parts, each sub-divided into chapters, which discuss the various types of corporate structures. A researcher may follow a business entity through the entire process, from start (formation) to finish (dissolution). The treatise also includes discussions on such topics as shareholders, reorganization, bonds, notes, securities, and contracts.  One of the great features of this treatise is the detailed table of contents.  For example, a person researching market associations may easily go straight from the table of contents to part seventeen on marketing associations. The treatise also includes references to statutory and common law authority related to the following types of business corporations: non-profit corporations, professional corporations, cooperative associations, marketing associations, limited partnerships and limited liability companies.

Special Features in North Carolina Corporation Law and Practice

As referenced earlier, North Carolina Corporation Law and Practice is also available in e-book format on WestlawNext. A researcher may use either the table or contents or perform full-text searching in order to quickly and efficiently locate specific topics.  Another great benefit of the e-book, is the ability to link directly into the full-text of referenced cases or statutes. Lastly the e-book format allows seamless and efficient updating.

Another important feature of North Carolina Corporation Law and Practice is the way in which the treatise is organized. The treatise is arranged in a manner that enhances one’s understanding of the process required to select the appropriate business entity. Throughout the treatise, various checklists, forms, and lists of requirements for specific organizational structures are also provided.


Overall, North Carolina Corporation Law and Practice is a great resource for attorneys or persons interested in forming a corporation in the great state of North Carolina. It lays out all of the requirements needed to form a variety of business entities.

 ~ Jeremy N. Hughes, L’14 ~

 Class Advisor – Susan L. Catterall, Esq.

Leave a comment

Filed under Advanced Legal Research, Books & Stuff, Of Interest to Law Students, Student Postings

What ARE Your Favorite Study Aids?

During National Library Week, the library conducted a survey polling our current students about their favorite study aids.

The results have been tallied and sifted through, and we are proud to present the official word on Charlotte Law student’s preferred study aid materials!

Our top five study aids are:

  1. Examples and Explanations – 28.57%
  2. Emanuel Law Outlines – 12.78%
  3. Flash Cards – 12.03%
  4. Black Letter Outlines – 11.28%
  5. Glannon Guides – 10.53%

Here’s the full breakdown:

Want to know why people prefer one type of study aid to another?  We’ve got a graph for that too!

Here’s some of what our students had to say:

“I use The Black Letter Outlines for supplement reading because they provide a solid overview of the specific material and key terms that I should be pulling out of the cases I am assigned.”

“This study aid speaks in regular language. It breaks down concepts to make them very simple to understand (Emanuels).”

“I am an audio learner. It allows me to think visually while I listen to the subject I’m studying (Audio CDs).”

“I’m not one to use study aids, but I like the Examples & Explanations because they’ve been consistently recommended by professors and because they give an opportunity to test your knowledge rather than just rephrasing.”

“I find that most professors suggest this series as a supplement to their teaching. Additionally, I have found that the explanations are very clear and helpful to explain complex theories (Examples & Explanations).”

“The Understanding Series breaks down the subject material in terms in which you will understand it better.”

Want to take a closer look at our study aids collection?  Check out our Academic Success LibGuide, and as always, don’t hesitate to contact the library with additional question or feedback!

~Ashley Moye & Erica Tyler~

Leave a comment

Filed under Books & Stuff, collection, Student Information

Employer Expectations for Legal Research Skills

Several weeks ago LexisNexis hosted a webinar about the legal research skills that employers expect from newly minted JDs. While this is a popular topic and quite a few articles have been written on the subject, I found this particular session to be more practical for students and faculty. The webinar included three guest speakers.


Sally Wise, Library Director, University of Miami School of Law spoke about the American Association of Law Libraries’ (AALL) Principles and Standards for Research Competencies. AALL has created a website ( delineates the five principles, seventeen standards, and forty-three related competences of legal research education. These standards are meant to bring value to the legal profession in several, practical ways. The competencies can be incorporated in law school curriculum, law firm training, and CLE instruction. As an assessment tool, the principles and standards can be used as part of the ABA Learning Outcome Standards, questions in bar exams, and lawyer performance evaluations.

Elaine Egan, Manager, Department of Information & Knowledge Services, Shearman & Sterling spoke about expectations from a large law firm perspective. She sees that there are a number of challenges for new graduates:

  • Now, there are countless electronic content resources, where in the past there were a limited number of print resources.
  • Law firms now operate more like businesses. The mentoring and apprenticeship model is a luxury that firms no longer can afford.
  • Firms deal with complex global markets that add cultural complexities.
  • Firms have to provide higher levels of service, efficiency and cost containment than in the past.

Egan finds that her colleagues are giving new associates the following advice:

  • Ask questions to completely understand the research assignment.
  • Ask about specific resources that the firm might have that were not available in law school.
  • If you must use Google, use it correctly. Use the 10 minute rule and validate your results.
  • Make sure to use valid, authoritative sources such as Bloomberg rather than Yahoo! Finance.

She sees a need for graduates to have business and knowledge management skills. Graduates would benefit from understanding finance, accounting, marketing and operations, the core courses required in traditional MBA programs. Also, understanding knowledge management principles help new associates relate to clients as well as benefit their own organization. Furthermore, as with many types of organizations, Egan recommends that new JDs be knowledgeable of project management processes.

Julie M. Jones, Branch Librarian at the Second Circuit Court of Appeals Library in Hartford, Connecticut talked about expectations for working in the Federal Courts. As law clerks, new law school graduates spend much of their time reading case law and writing. The top primary tasks of law clerks require important critical thinking skills.

Jones points out the availability of libraries in the federal courts system. The headquarters is at the circuit court of appeals and there are branch libraries around the circuit. The judges advise clerks to use the 10 minute rule. When clerks have spent that time, judges will tell clerks to contact the library for help.

Jones highlighted several sources that new law clerks need to have extensive knowledge:

  1. Citations. Law school students need to know how to use the BlueBook index, search case law for examples, and cobble together citations. The source to know:  BlueBook.
  2. Case Law.Law clerks research case law all the time, so they must be able to do online advanced searching with skilled Boolean queries, field and segment searching, leverage Lexis Advance and WestlawNext, and be able to correctly Keycite and Shepardize results. The Source to know: PACER. Students need to understand binding authority and levels of authority in the same court.
  3. Statutes & Rules. Students need to know how to use annotated codes. Law clerks live in the Federal Rules of Civil and Criminal Procedures. Sources to know:  Fed. R. Civ. Pro., Fed. R. Crim. Pro., Moore’s, Wright & Miller. They should be familiar with the treatises because they are used regularly.
  4. Jury Instructions. Questions come up on this subject all the time. Sources to know: Sand’s Modern Federal Jury Instructions (preferred in 2nd Circuit) and O’Malley’s Federal Jury Practice and Instructions. Incoming law clerks should know what jury instructions are; how to use them; and how these are different from pattern jury instructions.
  5. Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Law students need to know what they are and how they are calculated. Some familiarity with crack cocaine sentencing guidelines in particular would be helpful. Source to know: U.S.S.C. Guidelines Manual.
  6. Format: Print or Online?With federal budgets, formats change. Federal courts do have access to WestlawNext and Lexis Advance. However, court accounts do not have folder and note taking features for security reasons so students should know how to work without those features. Some judges have strong preferences for clerks to use print resources. Also, the Second Circuit has limited access to Bloomberg Law. Sources to know: HeinOnline, Lexis, and Westlaw.


Carolyn Bach, Manager of Faculty Programs, Law Schools forLexisNexis concluded the session by covering LexisNexis™ Think Like a Lawyer Resources like the on-demand tools, cost effective research classes, and the new microsite at . Again this summer, students will have the same access to Lexis that they have during the year. May graduates can get an ID that can be used for educational purposes through December 2014.

~Betty Thomas~

Leave a comment

Filed under Books & Stuff, Careers, electronic resources, Of Interest to Law Students

A Study in Environmental Activism

Stand Up That Mountain: The Battle to Save One Small Community in the Wilderness along the Appalachian Trail  by Jay Erskine Leutze.

Stand Up That Mountain: The Battle to Save One Small Community in the Wilderness along the Appalachian Trail by Jay Erskine Leutze.

For anyone who loves the North Carolina mountains, the Appalachian Trail, the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Great Smoky Mountains… this is an all too familiar story. Jay Erskine Leutze’s first book is his account of the battle against a large gravel mine set to take down Belview Mountain in Avery County, North Carolina. Not only was the largest surface mine in the South to be located adjacent to homes in the small community of Dog Patch but also within close view of the Appalachian Trail, a federally protected park.

Jay Erskine Leutze is a non-practicing lawyer who graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After law school, Leutze retreated to an “intentional” quiet life in Avery County intending to write, fish and hike. His quiet life ended in 1999 with a test blast that shook his home and a call from fourteen-year-old Ashley Cox that got him involved in a legal battle against Paul Brown and the Clark Stone Company. The case became known at the Putnam Mine case.

This book is the story of Leutze’s four year campaign that started with pulling together a legal defense team to a landmark decision upheld by the North Carolina Supreme Court. Along the way, his legal team partnered with advocacy groups such as the Southern Environmental Law Center, the Appalachian Trail Conference, and the National Parks Conservation Association to oppose the mine. In an ironic twist, they were also drawn into supporting the State of North Carolina as the state Division of Land Resources revoked Brown’s ninety-nine year mining permit, an unprecedented decision. The story clearly shows the twists and turns of multiple court battles as the case goes through the legal process.

Just as the case meanders through the court system, Leutze’s story fleshes out the importance of the area, describing in detail the scenic aspects of the mountains and the history of various parts and people like Sugar Top, a condominium complex built on the top of Sugar Mountain that resulted in North Carolina’s landmark Mountain Ridge Protection Act. Leutze’s humble tone and passion for the cause makes this an unusually attractive story. Here is a true guide to environmental advocacy.



~Betty Thomas~

Note:  Stand Up That Mountain has been added the Charlotte Law Library’s collection and is available for check out.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews - The Stranger the Better, Books & Stuff, collection, Of Interest to Law Students

Books, Libraries and Serendipity

As we celebrate National Library Week, I encourage you to reflect upon the enchantment which attaches to certain books.  Book lovers know the value of a good book; how it may inspire, challenge, foreshadow and, in other ways, impact lives.  However, even book lovers acknowledge that sometimes a book is more than just a book.


The embossed book plate bore the words, “Sioux City Public Library, Sioux City, IA” and the inscription read “From the Children of Sioux City, Iowa to the Children of Lund, Sweden.”  All in all, it was pretty straight forward, but I still had no answer for my friend, Nancy’s question – “Does your library often give books away to other libraries?”  It wasn’t an unheard of practice then, and it continues today. However, this exchange involved a heartland city of approximately 75,000 and similarly-sized city in southern Sweden.  Actually, I wondered how Nancy had happened upon that particular book. Or to paraphrase a classic, “Of all the books in all the libraries in all the world,” how did she pull that one off the shelf?

Nancy and I had been friends since college.  My goal was to finish grad school and land a job in a college or university library.  Nancy was finishing up her degree in education, but also planned to enter graduate school and earn her degree in library science.

As it happened, we were both side tracked. After graduation, Nancy married, temporarily put her career on hold and moved with her husband to Lund, Sweden where he pursued his post-doctorate work.  My first job after graduate school was not in an academic library, but rather as the Young Adult librarian at the Sioux City Public Library.  I was working there when I received Nancy’s letter.

My direct supervisor, Ella Lauritsen, was the Assistant Director and in charge of Children’s services for the entire library system. By the time I met her, Ella had served that library for nearly 40 years and was nearing retirement. She was of Danish heritage and her pride in her ancestry lead her to make almost annual trips to Denmark.  In my mind, it seemed logical that perhaps on one of these trips, she had taken the ferry across to Malmo, Sweden, boarded the train to Lund and had bestowed gifts to several libraries along the way.  For all I knew she traveled around all of Scandinavia presenting books to various libraries on each trip.  But when exactly would that have been?  At the time, the book in question was over 40 years old (and is now nearly 70).  Anyone, Ella, or someone prior to her, could have sent or taken the book to Sweden.

Many years earlier, 1941, in particular, Robert McCloskey published a children’s book, Make Way For Ducklings. The book, for those who aren’t familiar with it or can’t recall the plot, relates the story of a Mother duck who parades her baby ducklings across the Boston Public Gardens and is assisted by a kindly policeman who stops traffic for them.  The book won the Caldecott Medal, became a beloved classic and has delighted many generations of children, both in this country and around the world.  Even today, one may view the charming statues of the duck family in Boston Public Gardens.

Yet when I asked her about the book, Ella was stumped.  And, as it turned out, she didn’t carry armfuls of books around the world to other libraries.  She deliberated on how and when this title had ended up in Sweden. She also asked me how I had learned of it.

As I mentioned earlier, Nancy had put her career on hold while in Sweden. As a young mother, she often took her baby for walks.  Also, because her plans were to become a children’s librarian, she thought it would be interesting to explore some of the children’s books at the local library.  She had enjoyed reading Make Way For Ducklings as a child and was pleasantly surprised when she found the book on the shelf of the children’s section. The book, after all, had been translated into several languages.  What startled her was that this specific book was in English and bore the aforementioned book plate.

What made this situation all the more fluky was that I was in the midst of planning a trip to Lund in order to visit Nancy and her family.  In the days before internet access and cell phone availability, all negotiations had to be done by airmail letter or phone.  Because Nancy had no telephone, arrangements had to be made sufficiently in advance (again by letter) in order to ensure that she would be near a phone, should I call.  When I received this particular letter, I had expected it to include further plans and directions, but not a mystery that seemed to foreshadow the plans of two fairly unexceptional young women.

I never actually found an answer to her question.  Ella thought there may once have been, years before, an international children’s literature conference which had been held in Lund and that her predecessor had attended.  We could never validate this.  The predecessor was deceased and no one at the library actually recalled any literature conference.  It probably didn’t matter.  I have chosen to suspend evidence-based reality and, instead, embrace a more ephemeral explanation involving serendipity, kismet and karma.  Yes, sometimes a book is just a book and yet… .

~Susan Catterall~

Leave a comment

Filed under Books & Stuff, National Library Week Activities

10 Historic Bars Every Book Nerd Needs To Visit

Express your inner literary passion by drinking where the greats drank.

~Brooke Rideout~


Leave a comment

Filed under Books & Stuff, Librarians Can Be Fun Too