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Renovation Review: Microfilm & Media Move

(from left to right, back row) Hatem Manosrah, Eric Ullmer, Eric Wagner, Bala Guduru, Raamaan McBride, Phylis Wright (left to right, front) Becky Whidden, Trisha Kemp

At a moment’s notice, Phylis Wright was asked to organize a group of staff to move the entire microfilm collection (28,000 reels) and videotape collection (4,000 items) from the Media Room to the Old Falvey 3rd floor stacks. She quickly assembled a group of volunteers from almost every team in the library. As needed, library team leaders and other staff provided input on the items to be weeded (close to 1600 reels) or on the placement of special materials. We also couldn’t have done this without the generous contributions of library book trucks from every library team. The project was accomplished in only four days, a Herculean effort given the amount of items to be moved. Hundreds of metal shelves had to be moved or adjusted to accommodate the 230 carts of materials that were moved while Phylis organized the process of “rack ’em, stack ’em, and pack ’em,” keeping the energy and good vibes flowing. Volunteers were provided with snacks, grapes, juice, and water throughout the week.

For those who wish to use microfilm or videotapes, library staff at the front desk are ready and waiting to retrieve them for you!

Our special thanks to: Trisha Kemp, Becky Whidden, Ann Stango, Bill Greene, Fr. Dennis Gallagher, Michael Foight, Darren Poley, Gina McFadden, Jeff Eisenberg, Raamaan McBride, Margaret Duffy, Gerald Dierkes, Donna Chadderton, Mimi DiLenge, Anne Ford, Sarah Hidding, Krishna Bethanbhatla, Bala Guduru, June Jiang, Chris Altonji, Hatem Manosrah, Eric Ulmer, Eric Wagner, FeiFei Yang & Luisa Cywinski.


A beachy summer in the digital library

Posted for: Alexandra Edwards (Falvey Memorial Library intern and digital library student employee)

Though the school year has been over for nearly two months, summer only officially began last week, on June 21.  The season of beach visits and beach reads has truly begun.

Summer vacation at the beach is hardly a recent cultural development.  Families have been going “down the shore” for at least 150 years, to prime oceanside destinations such as Atlantic City, New Jersey.  The first hotel commercial hotel built in the vacation hotspot appeared in 1853, and since then, visitors have been making the trek, by rail and road, in droves.

Joseph McGarrity, whose personal papers can be found in Special Collections, visited Atlantic City with his family sometime around the turn of the 20th century, and had their photograph taken on the beach.  (A caption for the photo can be found here.)

In the Sherman-Thackara collection, an 1865 photograph shows five Naval midshipmen on the beach, probably at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.  Though not on vacation, the five men nonetheless strike a casual pose on the sandy shore.

American beaches aren’t the only ones on display in the Digital Library, either.  Jack Butler Yeats drew images of the Irish coast, including the one below.

The small card, an advertisement for Player’s Cigarettes, contains an explanation of the Irish word sceire (skerries) on the back.


The ocean is an important image in Irish travel writing and poetry as well.  Rambles on the Irish Coast by William Hellier Baily not only explores the beach from a factual perspective, but it also includes excerpts like the following, from “The Cromlech on Howth” by Samuel Ferguson:

“They heaved the stone; they heaped the cairn;”
Said Ossian, “In a queenly grave
We leave her, ‘mong her fields of fern,
Between the cliff and wave.
The cliff behind stands clear and bare,
And bare above, the heathery steep
Scales the blue heaven’s expanse to where
The Danaan druids sleep.
And all the sands that, lest and right,
The grassy isthmns ridge confine,
In yellow bars lie bare and bright
among the sparkling brine.”

This small tour through the Digital Library’s beachy materials has only whetted (get it?) our appetite for a day at the ocean, whether it be down the shore like the McGarrity family or further afield, rambling on the Irish coast.



Renovation Review: Second Floor Books Move

Domenick Liberato and Tim Coghlan

The moving company arrived today with a team of about 20 people to start the transfer of second floor books to the newly renovated space in Old Falvey. Domenick Liberato, stacks manager, and other staff worked hard to prepare the space and to measure the exact sections that would be relocated. The movers are working in several sections of the 2nd floor and are using both elevators, a ramp from Falvey Library to Old Falvey, and specially designed wooden library carts. Patrons may contact the front desk to arrange for retrieval of books in the A – DZ call number range.

Photo by Alice Bampton


"Remembering the U.S. Civil War," a Special Collections display

By Alice Bampton

The Special Collections first floor exhibit, mounted by Laura Bang, Special and Digital Collections curatorial assistant, commemorated this year as the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the American Civil War.

This display of six books, published from 1863 to 1902, covers a variety of topics: Ulysses S. Grant’s personal memoirs, travels through a number of Southern States, poetry, a novel, a report to the Pennsylvania House of  Representatives and a tribute to those who supported the Union cause.

A small book of poetry, Candle-lightin’ Time (1901) written by Paul Laurence Dunbar and illustrated with photographs taken by members of the Hampton Institute (now Hampton University) Camera Club, is opened to a poem, “When Dey ‘Listed Colored Soldiers,”  and its illustration. Both pages have decorative borders by Margaret Armstrong. Dunbar was the son of freed slaves and a noted poet who frequently wrote in dialect as he did in the poem on display, a work presenting the view of a female slave watching a man she loves leaving for the Civil War.

Shoulder-straps: A Novel of New York and the Army, 1862, written by Henry Morford, was published in Philadelphia in 1863 during the height of the conflict. A book review from the time period noted that Morford dealt with some of the strange social and criminal relations growing out of a period of civil war” (Curator’s placard). Bang notes that modern readers may not appreciate the author’s writing style, but “the novel may still be of interest from a social history perspective.”

The other works on display include Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant (1885); The Southern States of North America: A Record of Journeys in Louisiana, Texas, the Indian Territory, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland (1875) by Edward King with illustrations from original sketches by J. Wells Champney; Report of the Select Committee Relative to the Soldiers’ National Cemetery [Gettysburg]: Together with the Accompanying Documents (1864); and The Tribute Book: A Record of the Munificence, Self-Sacrifice and Patriotism of the American People During the War for the Union (1865) by Frank B. Goodrich.


Second floor books to be moved

Beginning Monday, June 27, the books located on the second floor of Falvey Library (including call numbers A through D and comprising the general collections devoted to philosophy, theology and world and European history) will be moved to a new location in the Old Falvey stacks. This move is in preparation for a renovation project on the second floor that will begin in mid-July.

Books in these subject areas may be inaccessible for public browsing for approximately two weeks, but library staff will retrieve titles as necessary for library users during this period. Please stop by the front desk. Contact Phylis Wright if you have questions about book retrieval.


Old Falvey Stacks Improvement – Progress Report

(See related Falvey Library Book Move for important information about collections access.)

Did you know? The former bound periodical stack area is getting a face lift. After the removal of outmoded fixtures, professional cleaning, repairing and painting, the space already looks much improved. Additional work is planned that will make that space fire code compliant and available for browsing. Once that work has been completed, patrons will be able to enter and browse at their convenience.

The target date for completion will be sometime this fall. In the meantime, our staff will retrieve items for you. Please feel free to contact us at the front desk or by phone at 610-519-4271 for assistance.


Summer Reading: Some Titles to Help You Enjoy a Change of Pace

From Demian Katz

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

George R. R. Martin’s fantasy novels are currently being aggressively marketed in association with a new HBO series, but don’t let all the grunge and swordplay of the television promos put you off: this is not a typical fantasy series. As a genre, fantasy has a bad habit of repeatedly presenting the same thinly-characterized archetypes engaged in a stereotypical confrontation of good vs. evil.  Martin avoids this trap through heavy doses of realism and ambiguity, portraying complex characters facing difficult decisions in a dangerous and unstable world. It is frequently difficult to decide who to root for, as few of the conflicts are entirely straightforward. This can make for a somewhat tense reading experience, and these books aren’t necessarily for the faint of heart. However, as long as you aren’t put off by the genre and subject matter, you should find this to be an engaging summer page-turner, and you probably won’t be able to stop after just the first book.


From Gerald Dierkes

Goin’ Across by Doug Landman

Could you quit your job, leave your home and family (temporarily) and otherwise put your life on hold for two months to pursue a lifelong dream? Delaware County resident Doug Landman did just that when he left his successful career to drive his bicycle, with a tent and little else, across the continental United States. Did he undertake this challenge to test himself against nature, against himself? The answers are unexpected and more complex than one might imagine. Rather than jet over neighborhoods or cruise past them on the interstate, he encountered communities and individuals on his solitary journey who challenged his perception of America. He also discovered hidden aspects of himself as he struggled with setbacks and self-doubt. The author did not intend to create a book about his trek. He did, however, carefully document the details of each day’s travels, which he would mail home from the next post office. A passionately delivered topic, vivid details and humorous anecdotes make Goin’ Across a captivating story and an ideal summer read.


From Bill Greene

Calculating God by Robert J. Sawyer

Earth had made contact with extraterrestrials. The protagonist does not believe there is a God. But the extraterrestrials say that God definitely exists. And they can prove it!  Good writing, good science, excellent character development: Anything by this author is a good read.





Friday Film Review: Waiting for Superman

By Raamaan McBride

Public education in the U.S. is a broken system. When one school has a college-like campus but another one can’t even afford enough books for its students, something has to change. Directed by Davis Guggenheim, Waiting for Superman tries to shed light on this subject by looking at the past and predicting the future.

The film takes several different tracks. The first follows five families who enter lotteries to try to get their children into better schools. Waiting for Superman also examines the history of public schools and how these were formerly the best schools in the country. It then looks at current problems with public schools and finally suggests solutions.

The information is mind-blowing, especially one scene in particular which shows a chart of the “education gap” versus the money spent on education. It was shocking to see that it’s been unchanged for three decades. The statistics provide a good break from the film while offering meaningful information.

The families that they follow are heart-breaking, and Waiting for Superman challenges the viewer to think of better ways than watching children hope to win a lottery to get a better education. With that being said, the film does show bias. It spends a lot of time bashing teachers’ unions (which are honestly not great in my opinion), but unions are not the only contributors to the problem.

Anyone who has children or who is interested in education should see this film. Waiting for Superman is thought-provoking and sweet; it’s suspenseful while also being informative. This film isn’t perfect, but it does a great job telling you that there is a problem and it makes you want to fix it.

A documentary is supposed to inform while being enlightening; it’s supposed make you think and, hopefully, want to engage. This film does that and more. This review doesn’t come close to describing the greatness of the film: I can honestly say that this is one of the best documentaries I’ve ever seen.

(DVDs are located on the first floor and circulate to Villanova faculty, staff and students.)


Falvey Library Book Move

Beginning Monday, June 27, the books located on the second floor of Falvey Library (including call numbers A through D and comprising the general collections devoted to philosophy, theology and world and European history) will be moved to a new location in the Old Falvey stacks. This move is in preparation for a renovation project on the second floor that will begin in mid-July.

Books in these subject areas may be inaccessible for public browsing for approximately two weeks, but library staff will retrieve titles as necessary for library users during this period. Please stop by the front desk. Contact Phylis Wright if you have questions about book retrieval.


Technology developers share ideas at national "code4lib 2011"

Three members of Falvey Memorial Library’s staff, David Lacy, Demian Katz and David Uspal, gave presentations at the code4lib 2011 conference held Feb. 7-10 at Indiana University, Bloomington, Ind. code4lib is a “loosely-structured conference for library technologists.”

(l. to r.) Demian Katz, David Uspal, David Lacy

David Lacy, library software development specialist, spoke on “(Yet Another) Home-Grown Digital Library System, Built Upon Open Source XML Technologies and Metadata Standards.” He discussed Falvey’s “homegrown digital library” and its workflow process, demonstrated the software’s flexibility and features, and showed how it allows “rapid digital preservation and online access” to the Falvey Digital Library.

Demian Katz, library technology development specialist, presented “VuFind Beyond MARC:  Discovering Everything Else.” He explained how “VuFind has grown to accommodate just about anything you can throw at it,” and explained new work flows and tools and “some of the non- traditional applications of VuFind.” To see VuFind in action, go to the Falvey catalog.

David Uspal, web specialist for library and scholarly applications, gave a “lightning talk” titled “Generating a Sitemap from a Solr Index.” code4lib 2011 lightning-talk speakers were allowed five minutes. David has used Solr, an open source search platform, to write code that “helps search engines like Google do a better job of leading people to the Library’s website.”

Contributed by Alice Bampton and Gerald Dierkes



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Last Modified: June 13, 2011