Remarks from the Faculty New Books Reception

Library Director and Professor of Practice Kenneth J. Hirsh gave the following remarks at today’s first annual Faculty New Books Reception. The event recognizes faculty who have published books in the past year.

Good afternoon. I am Ken Hirsh, Director of the Robert S. Marx Law Library, and on the library’s behalf I welcome you to this event, in which we congratulate our faculty colleagues who have published new books in the past year. Law professors have three main components of their work: to teach, to provide service to the college and the university, and to develop and write their scholarship for the benefit of their profession and for the improvement of that thing we call, “the law.” Today we gather to recognize some of that scholarship, as expressed in the long form of a book.

When one hears the word “book,” many images may come to mind. For most of us, our first books were likely composed of pictures, brightly colored to hold the attention of a toddler. Soon after letters and then words appeared with the pictures, as we learned how to express our simple concepts in ways others would understand. Words and thoughts like mommy, daddy, dog, hungry caterpillar, and cows jumping over the moon. Story books entertained us as they have done for generations, and as they still do, despite the latest gadgets. As we moved into a formal education, we were introduced to textbooks, explaining the knowledge we should absorb, and great works of literature, which not only entertained, but gave insights into human behavior. If we were fortunate along the way, we were introduced to libraries and librarians early in our education. Librarians gathered books, yes, but just as importantly, they answered questions and most importantly, taught us the research skills to answer our own questions. As a librarian, I am known for saying that if you have shelves of books but no librarians, then what you have is not a library, but a bookcase. At the College of Law we are blessed with talented librarians who collect books, plug us into online resources, and often find the seemingly unfindable.

Sir Francis Bacon, who counted Lord Chancellor among his titles, wrote that, “Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.” The books we honor today will require some significant amount of mental mastication by the reader. Each of them aims to advance the knowledge and experience of those learning the law, and those learned in the law. Those books and their authors are as follows:

Blind Injustice: A Former Prosecutor Exposes the Psychology and Politics of Wrongful Conviction by Mark Godsey.

Principles of Tax Policy by Stephanie Hunter McMahon

Unequal: How America’s Courts Undermine Discrimination Law by Sandra F. Sperino and Suja A. Thomas.

Federal Law of Employment Discrimination in A Nutshell by Mack A. Player and Sandra F. Sperino.

Clean Power Politics by Joseph P. Tomain.

Race, Criminal Justice, And Migration Control edited by Mary Bosworth, Alpa Parmar and Yolanda Vazquez.


Let us show our appreciation to our authors. [Applause]


I gave each of our authors the opportunity to talk to us about the writing process, and Professor Sandra Sperino has kindly accepted my invitation.

[Sandra read the acknowledgements section of her book.]

Thank you, Sandra, and thank you to our authors for sharing an important piece of their work with us. Thank you all for attending this inaugural event. Please have a great day, and keep reading!

Comments are closed.