Tag Archives: Julie Morris

Summer Reading – Library Staff Picks

There are still a few weeks of summer left and we wanted to share some our suggestions for good reads you might want to take in before returning to school . . .



Last month my book club read Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. It’s a really good book to read at the beach as it is 560 pages and keeps your attention. Rarely, is there a book that I would like to read again to pick up on the pieces I missed the first time through, but this is one.

In an interview, Kate Atkinson talked about wanting to write about the London Blitz but also wanting to experiment with a character who constantly dies and is reborn. That character, Ursula lives a a different path each time she dies and is born again.  The historical fiction account of World War II in combination with an interesting structure makes this a good read.

~ Betty Thomas ~


I recently read and loved The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker. Here’s the blurb from Amazon:

In The Golem and the Jinni, a chance meeting between mythical beings takes readers on a dazzling journey through cultures in turn-of-the-century New York.

Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life to by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic and dies at sea on the voyage from Poland. Chava is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York harbor in 1899.  Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire born in the ancient Syrian desert, trapped in an old copper flask, and released in New York City, though still not entirely free.

Ahmad and Chava become unlikely friends and soul mates with a mystical connection. Marvelous and compulsively readable, Helene Wecker’s debut novel The Golem and the Jinni weaves strands of Yiddish and Middle Eastern literature, historical fiction and magical fable, into a wondrously inventive and unforgettable tale.

~ Jamie Sunnycalb ~


Tom Robbins’ warm, wise, and wonderfully weird novels—including Still Life With Woodpecker, Jitterbug Perfume, and Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates—provide an entryway into the frontier of his singular imagination. Madcap but sincere, pulsating with strong social and philosophical undercurrents, his irreverent classics have introduced countless readers to natural born hitchhiking cowgirls, born-again monkeys, a philosophizing can of beans, exiled royalty, and problematic redheads.  In Tibetan Peach Pie, Robbins turns that unparalleled literary sensibility inward, stitching together stories of his unconventional life, from his Appalachian childhood to his globetrotting adventures —told in his unique voice that combines the sweet and sly, the spiritual and earthy. (Amazon)

~ Julie Morris ~


The Time Travelers’ Wife  – Audrey Niffenegger

Don’t let yourself be swayed by the soft focus movie trailer and think this is some sappy chick flick novel – this story, in book form, is literally one of the edgiest and rawest love stories I’ve ever picked up, featuring a punk rocker time traveling librarian.  It ended up on my lap as a screenplay many years ago when it was first being shopped around and I was so touched by the screenplay I immediately went on a hunt for the book, starved for more words, for the original story.  And the book itself was such a magnificent, moving piece that after I finished, I put it down and said something I’ve never said before ‘I can’t even read it again.  It’s too good.’  And it was a year before I cracked and opened the cover again.  I still haven’t gone back for my third helping…

~ Ashley Moye ~


~Katie Brown~


The Paris Wife by Paula McClain

The Paris Wife is a fictionalized, but well-researched account of Hemingway’s first marriage to Hadley Richardson, told from Richardson’s perspective. It captures the warmth between the two individuals and provides a peek into the artsy, ex-patriot society which included F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound. I had seen this book in various book stores over the last two years, but had always walked right by it.  I’d never been a fan of Ernest Hemingway. I just didn’t “get” him.  The only works of his I had read were some of the short “Nick Adams” stories and his memoir, A Moveable Feast.  I enjoyed the latter.

I had learned that a newly restored A Moveable Feast had been published and so, along with this title, I picked up The Paris Wife.  The novel permitted me to see Hemingway in a new and more vulnerable way and has the potential of motivating me to read The Sun Also Rises.

~ Susan Catterall ~

And if none of these suit your fancy, check out these recommended reading lists:



~Julie Morris~

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Filed under Book Reviews - The Stranger the Better, Books & Stuff, CharlotteLaw Library Team Members, Librarians Can Be Fun Too

New Library Hours for Summer

sunclockThe Library would like to inform you of upcoming changes in service hours for the summer.  Beginning May 27th, the Library space will be available to you Monday – Friday from 7am to 11pm and Saturday and Sunday from 8am to 11pm, with extended hours to midnight during reading periods and exams.

Reference Desk hours will be:

Monday – Thursday from 9 am – 6 pm

Friday from 9 am to 1 pm

Saturday and Sunday – no reference service

Circulation Desk hours will be:

Monday – Thursday from 8:30 am – 9:30 pm

Friday from 8:30 am – 6 pm

Saturday from 10 am – 6 pm

Sunday from 12 noon to 9:30 pm

The Library will be closed on May 26th for Memorial Day and on July 4th for Independence Day, as will the entire Charlotte Plaza Building.

These changes have been made in an effort to provide concentrated services to you during the times most needed.  The Summer Hours will be posted on the website and at the Circulation and Reference Desks as well.


 ~ Julie Morris ~

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Law Library to Re-Open to Attorney Members and the Public


After many months in transition, The Charlotte School of Law Library will be re-opening to our attorney members and to the public at 9:00am, Monday, March 31st.

 Background:  The Library closed to the public last August in preparation to move from our Suttle Avenue location to Charlotte Plaza in uptown Charlotte.  Upon arrival at Charlotte Plaza, the Library was temporarily located on the 12th floor until our new space on the 4th and 5th floors was completed.  After the holidays, we moved into our new space and began the setting up and settling in process.  The staff worked diligently to get their offices unpacked and their work spaces squared away.  The Circulation and Tech Services departments discovered that a great many books were shelved incorrectly so a major shifting project began, which was just completed earlier this month.

We are still awaiting the final touches for our grand staircase and adjacent seating area on the 4th floor, but the Library is definitely open for business.  With an increased number of study rooms, two designated research zones, and additional casual seating located throughout, our students have been utilizing the space in ever greater numbers.

From the number of inquiries, which have steadily grown over the last several months, we know that many people are looking forward to visiting the Library again.  For our public patrons, the process remains the same.  You may visit the Library once per week, Monday – Friday, between 9am and 5 pm.  You must have a valid legal reason to request access to the Library and you will need a government issued photo ID.  There will be times when the Library is closed to the public, such as assessments and exams.  Please check the calendar on our website to make sure we are open if you are planning to visit.

The process for our attorney members has changed slightly.  As in the past, attorneys may purchase a quarterly or annual membership for a very reasonable price which has not changed over the past five years.  For details, please see here.  In the past, membership cards were issued, however these will no longer be recognized.  Attorney members will be asked to present their NC or SC bar membership card as well as their driver license or a valid government issued photo ID.  If they choose not to become a Library member, attorneys may still utilize the Library as a public patron.

We are happy to be able to share our Library again and appreciate everyone’s patience!

~ Julie Morris ~

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The Happiness Advantage: Part II

Principle #1:  the Happiness Advantage

Positive brains have an advantage over negative or neutral brains.  Our outlook and mood are positive when we are happy and this makes us smarter, more motivated and ultimately, more successful because we are happy.  Competitive, successful people are those who capitalize on positivity.

How do scientists define happiness?  After years of testing, involving millions of people, it has been determined that happiness is “the experience of positive emotions – pleasure combined with deeper feelings of meaning and purpose”[1].  Martin Seligman, the pioneer in positive psychology, has determined there are three measurable components to happiness:  pleasure, engagement, and meaning.  Aristotle defined happiness as “human flourishing”.  The main components of happiness are positive emotions – awe, amusement, gratitude, hope, interest, inspiration, joy, love, pride, and serenity.  Aggregating over 200 scientific studies which involved about 275,000 people, it was determined that happiness translates into success in almost every aspect of our lives, both personally and professionally.

Positive psychology studies show us that happiness leads to greater success, higher performance and greater productivity – not the inverse.  “Happiness precedes important outcomes . . .happiness causes success and achievement”[2] and can also improve out physical health and well-being.

Negative emotions narrow our thoughts and resultant range of action.  Happiness has an important evolutionary purpose.  It helps to “broaden the amount of possibilities we process, making us more creative and open to new ideas”[3].  Broadened possibilities increase our creativity and help us build more physical, social, and intellectual resources which ultimately leads to greater success.

Biology plays a part in the effects of happiness.  When we are happy, our brains are flooded with serotonin and dopamine, making us feel good and also boosting the learning centers of our brains into higher gears.  This leads to increase neural connections resulting in the ability to think more quickly and with greater creativity.  We become “more skilled at complex analysis and problem solving, and see and invent new ways of doing things”[4].  Every time people experience happiness they are mentally primed for greater creativity and innovation, leading to greater success.  Happiness can also help decrease stress and anxiety so we can function on a higher level.

Our happiness fluctuates continually but with concentrated effort we can raise our baseline so that when we are happy we reap even greater rewards.  There are many activities that we can engage in to do just that.  These should be mindfully practiced over time to reap the greatest benefit:

      • Meditate
      • Find something to look forward to
      • Commit conscious acts of kindness
      • Infuse positivity into your surroundings
      • Exercise
      • Spend money (but not on stuff – spend it on experiences)
      • Exercise a signature strength

Lastly, be mindful of the effects on others of negative comments and encounters.  According to a study conducted by Marcial Losada, the ratio of positive to negative interactions is a key determinant in success.  It takes at least three positive experiences, interactions, or comments to negate the effects of one negative experience, interaction, or comment.  Increasing your positivity ratio leads to greater performance, trust, and ability to deal with the negative.

 “Happiness is the center around which success orbits.”[5]

If you would like to read the first article in this series, please see here.  Next time . . . “The Fulcrum and The Lever:  Changing Your Performance by Changing Your Mindset.

~ Julie Morris ~

[1] Achor, Shawn, The Happiness Advantage (New York: Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., 2010), 39.

[2] Achor, 42.

[3] Achor, 44.

[4] Achor, 44.

[5] Achor, 61.

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

February is LOVE YOUR LIBRARY Month


How much do you love your library here at CSL?  Our new library provides a beautiful, quiet place to study, reflect, check your email and check-in on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, among other things.

Why do you come to the library?  To study, meditate, center yourself for the day’s work ahead?  Could there actually be reference materials needed for your next class?  The assistance of a professional law librarian who can guide you in your research needs?  Technical assistance in accessing the many electronic databases we have to offer?

You should stop by your library today.  Pick up a bookmark and check out the hearts at Circulation and Reference – tell us what your library means to you.  They will be available all month for your comments.  What do you like?  What would you like to see more of?  Wishes?  Expectations?  Dreams?  Thoughts?

See you in the library!


~Julie Morris~

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Filed under Books & Stuff, Events, Librarians Can Be Fun Too, Unique Libraries

The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor: A Book Review


An exploration in how increasing your happiness can elevate your overall quality of life and your productivity at work and school, to boot, this book gives the reader seven basic principles to work through to increase their happiness factor exponentially.  Utilizing the concepts of positive psychology, Mr. Achor presents ideas that we all can integrate into our work and personal lives, that enable us to increase our happiness, accomplish more and, in effect, take greater control of our lives – in a good way.  Success first, happiness second, right?

He takes this idea of “working hard leads to becoming successful which leads to greater happiness” and turns it on its head.  He postulates that this theory is broken because with each victory or success, we find our goals pushed out further and further.  Where’s the happiness in that?

Achor also puts forth the idea that “the relationship between success and happiness works the other way around”.  Conversely, optimism and success fuel achievement and performance.  “Waiting to be happy limits our brain’s potential . . .”  Who knew???  Feeling grateful for where we are in life, what we have accomplished so far and celebrating our goals for the future can fuel our happiness and lead to greater success and achievements.

We, as students and working people alike, cannot lose sight of our accomplishments.  Review those and celebrate them daily.  How about taking five minutes each day to reflect on your accomplishments today?  They can be large or small – they all count.  After all, no one can conquer everything in one day!  Be grateful for everything you have accomplished.  It is all for good – yours and others.

Yes, every day presents us with another set of things to be accomplished.  But if you balance that new list against what you’ve already accomplished and learned, don’t you think you should feel empowered and equipped to take on the next challenge?  Celebrate your successes and keep in mind that the knowledge and experience you have gained will serve you well in achieving your next challenge, goal, marathon, graduation, etc.

Check out Shawn Achor’s TED Talk here.

More in the coming weeks about his Seven Principles to achieving the Happiness Advantage:

1 – The Happiness Advantage

2 – The Fulcrum and the Lever

3 – The Tetris Effect

4 – Falling Up

 5 – The Zorro Circle

6 – The 20-Second Rule

7 – Social Investment

 ~ Julie Morris ~

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The Library – We’re Up on 12


The Library Team is here to serve your Library needs, as always.  Contrary to current myth, CSL does have a vibrant library located in our temporary home on the 12th floor at Charlotte Plaza, complete with books, study aids, group study areas, ample quiet study areas, and study rooms that can be booked online.  Circulation is open for business and ready to assist you with course reserves and study aids.  And our reference librarians are also ready to assist with your research questions.  There is also a copy/print room with four copiers/printers available for your use.

The Library is just a short elevator ride to the 12th floor where you can step back in time and visit our 70’s retro-looking space.  Our current vantage point on the 12th floor offers beautiful views of all parts of Charlotte and local sites.  It is a tranquil, calm, welcoming space for you to study.  Check out the sunrise any morning – beautiful!

Several floors below, our construction company is working hard to complete our permanent home on the 4th and 5th floors.  When completed, our new home will house our entire print collection and provide even more study rooms, print release stations and expanded services that will once again include our attorney members as well as public patrons.

Come see us!  We are looking forward to seeing you soon and often!

 ~ Julie Morris ~


Filed under Building Updates, collection, Library Membership Program, Student Information

Meck Dec Day — May 20, 2013


The citizens of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, declared independence from Great Britain a full year before the Declaration of Independence was written.  The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, originally called the resolution of the citizens of Mecklenburg County, was signed and read aloud on the county courthouse steps on May 20, 1775.  This document put Great Britain on notice that we were dissolving “the political bands which have connected us to the Mother country” and declaring ourselves “a free and independent people”.  The speed with which this Declaration was written, adopted and signed was apparently driven by reaction to the battles of Concord and Lexington, Massachusetts, where the British had attacked and killed fellow British citizens a month earlier.  The resolutions took less than 24 hours to transpire.  You can read them here.

Realizing that these resolutions were hastily put together and lacked organization and coherence, a committee was appointed right away to revise them.  What came about by May 31st that year was a completely different document which was called the Mecklenburg Resolves.  Subsequently, Captain James Jack was sent to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia to ask that the proceedings in Mecklenburg County be approved by the Congress.  The North Carolina delegation was supportive of the actions taken, but deemed it premature to talk of a declaration of independence in Congress. 

After 1819, when the Mecklenburg Declaration was first published (the original having been lost in a fire much earlier), the people of North Carolina began to take a new pride in their part of the American Revolution and gaining independence, despite the controversy over the validity of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence.  The early NC government maintained that North Carolinians were the first Americans to declare independence from Great Britain.  To commemorate that belief, the seal and the flag of North Carolina both bear the date of May 20, 1775.  There are two camps on this point – believers and non-believers – however, the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence does not attract very much attention from historians these days. 

The first “Meck Dec” celebration was held in Charlotte on May 20, 1825.  For many years it remained a celebrated state holiday.  It continues to be celebrated on The Square (at the corner of Trade and Tryon Streets uptown) each May.  You can see last year’s celebration here and here, complete with dignitaries, speeches, re-enactors and cannon fire.    You can also read more about the Mecklenburg Declaration at the Mecklenburg Historical Association website.  Other activities are planned in celebration as well:


The Mecklenburg Declaration has also been memorialized at the North Davidson underpass at Matheson Avenue.  Check out artist William Puckett and photos of his murals on concrete here.


~ Julie Morris ~

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Celebrate Service: National Volunteer Week


April is National Volunteer Month, although it began as National Volunteer Week in 1974 when President Richard Nixon established the week of volunteer service recognition.  Across America volunteers are honored for their unpaid community service to hundreds of organizations.  Many of these organizations will be distributing the President’s Volunteer Service Award.  This award is the most prestigious award a volunteer can aspire to receive.

National Volunteer Month is about encouraging people to come up with imaginative ways to demonstrate that by working together, we can meet our challenges and accomplish our goals, as an organization, as a community and as a nation.

Interested in volunteering?  The American Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity are always seeking volunteers, as are many other local organizations.  Looking for other volunteer opportunities?  Check out VolunteerMatch and the Points of Light Institute where you can search for the types of volunteer opportunities you are looking for both locally and elsewhere.



 Take action, be at the center of social change, demonstrate your collective power.

 ~Julie Morris~

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Developing Trust and Humility

developing trust

I have come to realize that my success at work is due to the coming together of a vast wealth of knowledge from all those I work with.  Without collaboration and discussion, we would not be the team we are at work.  We would not be able to move forward to create something new for ourselves and others, and ultimately would not feel fulfilled in our working lives.

How do we, as a group of people who work together, reach a place of fulfillment and even greatness?  Might I suggest humility?  Humility is defined as modesty, lacking pretense, not believing that you are superior to others. Great leaders direct their ego away from themselves toward the larger goal of achieving collective greatness.  They shun public adoration, shift the focus away from themselves and continually recognize the contributions of others.

Approaching situations from a perspective of humility opens us up to more possibilities as we choose open-mindedness and curiosity over protecting our own point of view.  As you become more willing to learn from others, you move toward security and enlightenment.  Mindfully practicing humility improves all relationships, reduces anxiety, and enhances self-confidence.  Modeling this behavior is self-reinforcing and regenerative at greater and greater levels.

So, how do we, as a group of people who work together, reach this place?  We can start with trusting ourselves and others.  We should acknowledge that what we are all working for is the greater good.  With that realization we gain appreciation for the talents and skills of those around us and the contributions made by all who are invested in a goal.  When we are willing to work towards that goal, and make the knowledge we possess available to others, the group will achieve more and become a force of real change.

Do you have a stalled project?  Are you in dire need of fresh ideas?  Do you struggle in creating an action plan for a goal that is part of your life’s work?  Do you just need a different perspective?  Reach out to those with knowledge or experience greater than yours.  Take advantage of what your teammates bring to work with them every day.  Ask for help and offer to help others.

What do you have to lose?

Check out these tools:

 ~ Julie Morris ~

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