You are exploring: VU > Library > Blogs > Falvey Memorial Library Blog

‘Cat in the Stacks & Elizabeth Kolbert

CAT Heading

I’m William Repetto, a first-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is the “‘Cat in the Stacks” column. I’m your ‘cat. I’ll be posting about college life, about learning and growing here at Villanova, and, of course, about the Falvey Memorial Library’s role.

“Everyone who is part of the modern capitalist economy – whether he’s employed flipping burgers, writing code, or putting out a weekly magazine – has at one point or another considered that his efforts had an ascetic cast.”

– Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker “Why Work?” (2004)

During Elizabeth Kolbert’s visit to Villanova on Thursday, Sept. 22, the ‘Cat in the Stacks asked Kolbert about her experiences as a student, as a researcher, and as a writer for The New Yorker. Her experiences demonstrate that hard work and dedication are the crucial components of becoming a successful professional.

Students at Kolbert Event.

Students line up for Kolbert’s book signing.

When Kolbert and I had a chance to speak informally, I learned a little bit about her background and what her present job entails. Kolbert started in journalism by writing for the New York Times. When she began writing professionally, the Times had a section that consisted of articles published without by-lines. She wrote for this section until her higher-ups noticed her talent and gave her a credited position.

This sounds like every writer’s dream, right? Moving from anonymous contributor to column writer at the Times, though, was only one step in a road that would ultimately lead to a Pulitzer Prize. In the late ‘90s she began writing for the New Yorker; her Metro Matters column that covered everything New York from Donald Trump to “Adult Establishments” must have charmed the New Yorker management.

They brought Kolbert aboard in 1999, and she began writing for their “Talk of the Town” section, including an “Around City Hall” piece critical of Rudy Giuliani. As her interests focused in on climate change and global warming, her workload expanded. Kolbert mentioned that she doesn’t even have an office in New York to go into; she spends all her time on the road investigating or at home writing.

'Cat and Kolbert.

‘Cat in the Stacks and Kolbert sit down to chat.

Of course, every minute on the road does not present elucidating discoveries. She told me that the writer’s experience and the reader’s experience are vastly different, and sometimes days and weeks go by while investigating a piece that nothing major happens or comes to light.

Sometime around 2009 or 2010, Kolbert began writing The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, a process that took about four years. Reflecting on the acclaimed book, Kolbert stated, “College students are exactly the audience I wanted to reach.”

Kolbert was speaking of the fact that young people will feel the effects of global warming more so than our parents and older generations. Her words though, spoken during a career that seems to trend only upwards, take on a double meaning. While college students stand to gain the most from The Sixth Extinction, it’s college students too who could learn great lessons about hard work and passion from the life’s work that lies behind the book.

As college students in today’s world, we’re often told that networking yields the best career prospects. Kolbert’s life, however, seems to demonstrate an amendment to that assumption about networking. Each of her advancements came from being recognized for stellar output. If there are any questions about the veracity of that statement, try sifting through the 756 articles that ProQuest attributes to her newspaper work from 1984-1998 or read maybe just a few of the 179 pieces attributed to her from the New Yorker magazine.

Kolbert at book signing.

Kolbert signs a copy of The Sixth Extinction.

On behalf of my readers, I had to ask, what is the ratio between networking and hard work? How much time should we spend in the library versus at networking events? Kolbert replied:

I do think that you need to strike some kind of balance and what you produce needs to be well done and well researched and well informed, otherwise, why bother producing it? You need to not spend all your time networking and think that’s a substitute for producing your best work.

Kolbert added that she tends not to give career advice and that she might not be the best person to ask, but added, “when students ask me about journalism, and this sort of applies to natural sciences as well, the only advice I have is to become adept across a lot of different media.”

Kolbert may eschew giving career advice, but after spending some time talking with her, I will tell you that the only reason she needs to avoid giving such advice is because her career already speaks for itself: work hard, find your passion, and those intangibles that fall under the umbrella of “success” will find their way to you.

1 People Like This Post

Need a Book or Article That’s Tough to Find? . . . Have It Delivered via E-ZBorrow or ILLiad!

BOOKS—If the book you need is listed as “Unavailable” in Falvey‘s catalog or is not part of our collection, have it sent here from another library. Here’s how—

If you’ve searched our catalog, found the title, but it’s not available,
Click the E-ZBorrow link from within the item’s catalog record to request the book from another library.Blog post - E-ZBorrow 2If you’ve searched our catalog but have not found the title—
Click the E-ZBorrow link on Falvey’s homepage.

Blog post - E-ZBorrow 3

Once you’ve logged in with your Villanova username and password, use the E-ZBorrow search engine to find and request the book(s) you need.

E-ZBorrow Policies

Only current Villanova University students, faculty or staff …..may use E-Z Borrow
Borrowing term = 6 weeks
Renewals = one time (for 6 additional weeks)

Here’s a full description of E-ZBorrow policies

If you’re seeking an uncommon book, it’s possible E-ZBorrow-member libraries may not have it. If you don’t find the title in E-ZBorrow, Interlibrary Loan (ILLiad) may be able to get it for you.

Click the Interlibrary Loan link on Falvey’s homepage.Blog post - E-ZBorrow 9

Blog post - E-ZBorrow 10
Once you’ve logged in with your Villanova username and password, click “book” in the menu on the left to connect to the “Book Request” form.

Please provide as many details—such as the book’s ISBN (International Standard Book Number), the date of publication, the edition—as possible. This information will help our staff to quickly and accurately process your request.

Interlibrary Loan Policies

Only current Villanova University students, faculty or staff …..may use ILLiad
Borrowing term = about 30 days
Renewals = either one week, two weeks or none
…..(depending on the lending library)

ARTICLES—If you need an article but it is not available through Falvey‘s website, have it sent to you from another library. Here’s how—

Click the Interlibrary Loan link on Falvey’s homepage.
Blog post - E-ZBorrow 9
Blog post - E-ZBorrow 11

Once you’ve logged in with your Villanova username and password, click “article” in the menu on the left to connect to the “Article Request” form.

Please provide as many details—such as the title of the publication in which the article appears, that publication’s ISSN (International Standard Serial Number), the date of publication—as possible. This information will help our staff to quickly and accurately process your request.

………Here’s a full description of Interlibrary Loan policies

1 People Like This Post

Sneak Peek: Falvey Reading Room Renovation – The New Ceiling

The beautiful new ceiling in the Reading Room is installed and the scaffolding is gone! Indirect lighting is also installed around the perimeter of the ceiling.

The new ceiling.

The new ceiling.


The ceiling just before the renovation.

The ceiling just before the renovation.


Photographs by Alice Bampton, Communications and marketing Dept.

1 People Like This Post

#FalveyPeek at the Week: Sept. 26-30

PEEK graphic2

Quote of the Week:

“It is remarkable how closely the history of the apple tree is connected with that of man,” –Henry David Thoreau,
who wrote an entire essay on the importance, practicality, and mystique of the wild apple—which Johnny Appleseed would’ve definitely retweeted (well, probably), especially since today is National Johnny Appleseed Day!

He, instead, had to tweet the old fashion way. (Photo from Pixabay.com)

He, instead, had to tweet the old fashioned way. (Photo from Pixabay.com)

This Week at the Library:

Monday, September 26th
-ORA Open House Luncheon, Room 205, 11:30-1:30 p.m.

Tuesday, September 27th:
-Food for Though Discussion-VITAL, Room 206, 11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m.
-OUS: Pre-Law Advising Workshop, Room 204, 12:05 p.m.-1:15 p.m.
-Agape Latte Event, First Floor Lounge, 8:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.

Wednesday, September 28th:
-Food For Thought Discussion-VITAL, Room 206, 11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m.
-Theology & Religious Studies: Talk by Professor Agnieszka Lekka-Kowalik, Room  205, 4:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m.

Thursday, September 29th
-VSB Advisory Board Meeting, Room 204 and Room 205, 7:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Friday, September 30th
-DH Launch: Intro to DH Class, Room 204, 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
-Villanova Electronic Enthusiasts Club: Regular Group Meeting, First Floor Lounge,   2:30 p.m.-4:30


In case you’re in a warm, Autumn mood, here is a recipe for apple cake which only requires apples, a dry cake mix, and melted butter to help you keep in touch with the season:
1.) Heat oven to 350°F. Spray bottom of 13×9-inch pan with cooking spray.
2.) Place chopped apples in pan. Top with dry cake mix, and pour melted butter over top, making sure to cover top with butter as much as you can.
3.) Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until bubbly. Serve warm.

Tailored to those of you who have pantries like mine (Photo from Flickr.com)

Tailored to those of you who have pantries like mine (Photo from Flickr.com)

Save the Date:
Monday, September 26th
-First Presidential Debate Watch Party, Cyber Lounge

Wednesday, September 28th
-Register to Vote Drive, All of Campus

Friday, September 30th
-CAT FILMS: Star Trek, Connelly Cinema, 5:30 p.m.

Snap Us!
Falvey Library finally has a Snapchat and is snapping regularly (it wasn’t exactly easy to learn all the tips of the trade, but we think the staff has it down). Add us at vulibrary (we’re #teamfollowback if that’s still a thing?). We will keep you updated of the soup de jour, library events, and cozy study spots.
Also, we promise to not even add one dog-face selfie to our story.
For anything else you’d like to see snapped, please reach out to hhoutzer@villanova.edu! (which is me!)

Look! We already have 8 points!

Look! We already have 8 points!

Books for your App(l)etite:

Resource librarian Darren Poley valiantly stepped in when I vocalized trouble in finding Johnny Appleseed themed books (my mother complains I speak too loudly, but this time it paid off). I remain living proof that contacting library staff is the perfect—and sometimes, only—way to find what you’re looking for:

Hoosier folk legends, Ronald L.

The tree of life, Hugh Nissenson

The botany of desire: a plant’s eye view of the world, Michael Pollan, for which the abstract explains, “In nineteenth-century America, frontier dwellers far from the trading posts of the East lacked a source of sweetness in their diet-and sugar with which to make alcohol. So when a man named John Chapman (a.k.a. Johnny Appleseed) floated down the Ohio River with bushels of apple seeds in his canoe, the settlers seized on the opportunity to grow the fruit on their new land. The pioneers’ desire for sweetness was satisfied-and the apple was given a whole new continent on which to blossom.”

#FalveyPeek at the Week provided by Hunter Vay Houtzer, a graduate assistant on the Communications and Marketing Team at Falvey Memorial Library. She is working toward an MA in Communication at Villanova University, and slowly learning to eat spaghetti noodles more neatly so she can stop needing so much stain remover. Send your thoughts/suggestions to Hunter at #falveypeek. See you next Monday for more.

1 People Like This Post

Sravanthi Adusumilli – New Library Technology Development Graduate Assistant

Tech grad asst 1 resize

Sravanthi (Sravs) Adusumilli , a graduate of Acharya Nagarjuna University, Guntar, India, joined the Library Technology Development team in August. She reports to Demian Kratz, team leader. She is currently working on redesigning “Finding Augustine.” “Finding Augustine” is “[a] rich and readily accessible biographical collection concerning Augustine of Hippo and his legacy;” it is sponsored by the Augustinian Institute at Villanova University.

Adusumilli has a bachelor’s degree in computer science engineering and is now enrolled in the Master of Science in Computer Engineering program with an anticipated graduation in May 2018. She plans to work as a data scientist.

Her hometown is Machilipatnam, India, a city on the southeast coast. Adusumilli’s hobbies are cooking and gardening.


Foto Friday: St. Thomas of Villanova Day

Sculptor - A. Visco. Sculpture behind monastery. Photo by Alice Bampton.

Sculptor – A. Visco. Sculpture behind Monastery. Photo by Alice Bampton.

Friday, Sept. 23, is St. Thomas of Villanova Day. Saturday, Sept. 24, is St. Thomas of Villanova Day of Service. For information on St. Thomas of Villanova Day, see here.

Villanova University is named for the Spanish Augustinian, St. Thomas of Villanova.



1 People Like This Post

The Curious ‘Cat: “Wildcats go green!”

This week, the Curious ‘Cat asks Villanova students, “In honor of Elizabeth Kolbert’s ‘The Sixth Extinction,’ what have you done to go green?

Erin Mysogland – “I’ve stopped using plastic bags and have been using plastic containers instead since there’s so much plastic in the ocean.”








Katie Guy – “Recycle! And, I use a reusable bag, when I remember, to take it to the store so I stop using all those plastic bags.”










Connor Kovacs – “I got a canteen water bottle, so I stopped using plastic water bottles.”










Tim Flanagan – “Well I live off campus, so we try and recycle in the house. And we try to save water, well for the water bill too, but for the environment. And we try to turn off lights and stuff.”







Elizabeth Cronin – “I’ve been using a reusable water bottle every day!”











Mark Brady – “I try to be conscious of recycling using renewable materials. And, I try to be conscious of driving around and using gas and stuff.”








1 People Like This Post

Dig Deeper: Elizabeth Kolbert

Elizabeth Kolbert will be visiting the Falvey Memorial Library today, Sept. 22, at 1:30pm to sign copies of her One Book Villanova selection The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History. As good academics, you will note that this book was published over two years ago now. While the academic community’s excitement over the book has not subsided, ecological and geopolitical realities have continued to change – and Kolbert has not stopped bringing these realities to her readers’ attention.


Cover of this year’s One Book selection.

Kolbert’s main platform for discussing climate change, among other environmental and scientific topics, is The New Yorker magazine. She has been a staff writer for that publication since 1999, and following her three-part series “The Climate of Man” (from 2006), her notoriety as a critic of global warming has only increased. Since the 2014 publication of The Sixth Extinction her work has focused on conservation and rising water levels, check out these New Yorker articles as a sampling of her work:

Save the Elephants

Rough Forecasts

The Siege of Miami

Eliz Kolbert Headshot

Elizabeth Kolbert

While these works give a good glimpse into Kolbert’s life work, The Sixth Extinction remains her most popular piece. She has given a number of interviews on the book, linked below, including an extremely high profile interview on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart:

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

The Daily Show

These five pieces, plus The Sixth Extinction, should get you up-to-date for asking some intelligent questions at today’s book signing! Make sure to check out Kolbert’s twitter as well (@ElizKolbert); she tends to tweet and retweet the newest statistics regarding the climate and global populations. Enjoy these reads, and we look forward to seeing you at today’s events!

Website photo 2

Article by William Repetto, a graduate assistant on the Communications and Marketing Team at the Falvey Memorial Library. He is currently pursuing an MA in English at Villanova University.






‘Cat in the Stacks: Beauty in Simplicity

CAT HeadingI’m William Repetto, a first-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is the “‘Cat in the Stacks” column. I’m your ‘cat. I’ll be posting about college life, about learning and growing here at Villanova, and, of course, about the Falvey Memorial Library’s role.


The ‘Cat in the Stacks had the chance to wander outside of the library this week. I made it all the way across the front lawn of the Falvey Memorial Library to the fountain that sits a few yards from the main entrance.


(That fountain we’re talking about.)

The benches surrounding the fountain offer an excellent place to contemplate, converse or just unwind. On this particular day, I had the chance to sit, relax and just think.

What came to mind first was the question of what made watching the endless repetition of the fountain such an aesthetic experience. What makes this fountain so beautiful? The design is simple, with no elaborate carvings or etchings. The mechanism itself is simple as well; water is pumped into a central hub and then pumped up and out.

Let me now take a step back. In your mental picture of me sitting by the fountain, zoom out a bit. The fountain is still humming along, and I’m still sitting on one of the benches, maybe with like one leg resting horizontally across the opposite knee in that weird way that guys sometimes sit.

After zooming out, you’ll notice that I am not alone. Villanova students and professors are coming and going from each direction to and from classes. Few people give the fountain a passing glance, and certainly no one stops to think about it. No one has to; they know it’s there, and they know it adds decoration to an already picturesque campus.

Like a heartbeat, the fountain doesn’t acquire special attention unless someone points your thoughts in that direction. And like a human heart, the fountain utilizes a series of pumps for generating circulation.

I will ask you now to zoom out once again. Your mental shot now includes me sitting, the fountain flowing, and students moving to and fro, possibly not looking up from their phones but definitely not glancing around at the fountain and certainly not paying any attention to the ‘Cat in the Stacks sitting contemplatively. Pull back once again until you see the Falvey in the shot as well.

Picture this as clearly as you can, because the library’s importance in the frame composition is of utmost importance. The library provides this picture with a sort of thematic backdrop, for circulation – in addition to underscoring the fountain and the human hearts – underscores the library experience as well.

Like the people walking by the fountain, I myself am guilty of taking the circulation services of the library for granted. In past posts, I have mentioned the new spaces we’re building, the excellent databases we maintain, and the importance of resource librarians.

While these aspects of the library provide innovative technologies and resources for students everyday, the Access Services team continues to circulate books both at campus and among local and national libraries. Through EZ Borrow & Inter-library Loan and borrowing for the Villanova community, they provide the type of services that have defined libraries since as early as the 16th century.

Because lending libraries date back to a period of time just after the development of the printing press, the beauty of the process can be overlooked. After all, for the library visitor it all seems so simple: check the book out, read the book, and return it by the date stamped inside.

The research support librarians are hard at work, though. They reach out to other libraries for your specific book, track down missing pieces, and somehow keep the shelves in perfect order throughout the floors. Like the fountain though, materials go out into the world and come right back to our central hub for redistribution.


(The ‘Cat in the Stacks’ natural habitat)

The flowing of texts and information through the library into your hands, which seems so simple yet requires a team of experienced librarians to see through, produces the aesthetic effect of the library experience – the part of the experience that, despite all the innovations, makes you associate wandering through endless bookshelves to find answers with the word “library.” With all the fresh, innovative and technological endeavors currently happening at the library, one can easily overlook the circulatory process at the center of it all – even someone hired to promote such services.

Sometimes someone or something needs to point our attention to a process or object for us to recognize its beauty. With this fact in mind, let us return to the question of the fountain: what makes the fountain so beautiful?

Its simplicity.


Website photo 2 Article by William Repetto, a graduate assistant on the Communications and Marketing Team at the Falvey Memorial Library. He is currently pursuing an MA in English at Villanova University.





1 People Like This Post

Falvey Memorial Library Presents: Info to Go at Driscoll Hall

Robin Bowles, research help, info to go, Driscoll Hall

Librarian Robin Bowles is all smiles with the crash cart!

Falvey Memorial Library is on the move. Research and Instruction Librarian Robin Bowles and Nursing Librarian Barbara Quintiliano are offering research assistance in Driscoll Hall to students! So, grab some research help with that cup of coffee. Look for the crash cart staffed by Robin or Barbara on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the Driscoll Hall café from 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. The rest of the day they can be found in Driscoll Hall room 343. Ask them anything. Seriously. They can get you stats, pertinent journal articles for a paper or just help you find the odd fact from a reputable source. Research life support is their specialty! (Added bonus: they always have free chocolate and pens!)

Barbara and Crash Cart

Librarian Barbara Quintiliano helps two students find the resources they need.

1 People Like This Post

Next Page »


Last Modified: September 20, 2016