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Take a Sneak Peek: Reading Room Renovation

Reading Room ceiling resize

                                                                 Photo by Kevin Covaleski.

The new ceiling in the Falvey Hall/Old Falvey Reading Room is installed and, as of July 25, is being painted.


A Summer Reading Recommendation: The Sixth Extinction

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Are you still searching for something to read on a hot summer day? How about “The Sixth Extinction:  An Unnatural History,” the non-fiction Pulitzer Prize winning book by Elizabeth Kolbert? And if that isn’t enough to convince you that it is a good read, “The Sixth Extinction” is this academic year’s One Book Villanova selection, one of the “New York Times Book Review’s” ten best books of the year and a national book critic’s circle award finalist – all this in 319 pages.

Falvey has copies available to check out or you can purchase your own paperback for eight dollars at the circulation desk. And while you are in the Library do visit the exhibit created by Joanne Quinn, featuring copies of the book and a large prehistoric skeleton.

There have been five extinctions already, “the Big Five mass extinctions,” which reduced the diversity of life forms and we are now facing a sixth one, this one caused by humans. Kolbert says, “The story of the Sixth Extinction, at least as I’ve chosen to tell it, comes in thirteen chapters. Each tracks a species that’s in some way emblematic … The creatures in the early chapters are already gone … The second part of the book takes place very much in the present … One chapter concerns a die-off happening in my own backyard (and, quite possibly, in yours./ If extinction is a morbid topic, mass extinction is, well, massively so. It’s also a fascinating one. … I’ll try to convey both sides:  the excitement of what’s being learned as well as the horror of it.” (Kolbert, “Prologue,” p. 3.)

Kolbert, a journalist rather than a scientist, writes in a non-technical way that is readily understandable, although she documents her sources and includes a multipage bibliography. Nonfiction may not be your idea of light summer reading, but this book deals with the mounting losses humans are causing – we are the cause of a growing problem.

Each of the One Book Villanova’s co-chairs has commented on “The Sixth Extinction.” Teresa (Terry) Nance, PhD, Associate Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer, says, “Kolbert’s description of what’s happening in nature and the environment takes on immediate and personal consequences. Even more important, many members of our Villanova community have already expressed their deep interest and concern about this topic.” Jeffrey Brown, Director of Student Involvement, says, “This year’s One Book Villanova selection combines the dialogue surrounding the scientific, moral, and theological implications of climate change. Through reading ‘The Sixth Extinction’ we come to a better understanding of the real changes happening right before us.  …”  ” ‘The Sixth Extinction’ will resonate strongly with the Villanova community. This generation of students is deeply and particularly cognizant of the intimate, inseparable connection between human activity and life on this planet. … “The Sixth Extinction’ is both powerful and accessible, and is something everyone should read,” says Millicent Gaskell, University Librarian and Director of Falvey Memorial Library. (Quotations from https://www1.villanova.edu/villanova/media/pressreleases/2016/0705-1.html)

Want to explore the some other views of the sixth extinction? See the Dig Deeper below.

Dig Deeper:

Scientists Build Case for “Sixth Extinction’ … and Say It Could Kill Us

Will Humans Survive the Sixth Great Extinction?

It’s official: scientists say we’re entering Earth’s sixth mass extinction

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Foto Friday: New Growth

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“Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.”

James Cash Penney (1875-1971), founder of J. C. Penney stores.


Photo by Alice Bampton, Communication and Service Promotion team.

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A Historic Hiring: Carla Hayden, New Librarian of Congress

Hayden resize-courtesy of LOC


The United States Senate confirmed Carla Hayden, PhD, the CEO of Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Md., as the fourteenth Librarian of Congress. Hayden is the first woman Librarian of Congress, the first African American Librarian of Congress and the first professional librarian to hold that position in over sixty years. Nominated by President Obama in February, the Senate approved her nomination on July 13. Hayden succeeds James Billington, PhD, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1987. Before his appointment Billington was a leading Russia scholar, but did not have a degree in library science.

In the interim, between Billington’s resignation on Sept. 30, 2015, and Hayden’s appointment this month, David Mao was the acting Librarian of Congress effective Oct. 1. Mao had been the Deputy Librarian, appointed on Jan. 12, 2015.

The American Library Association (ALA) had actively supported her nomination and encouraged people to contact their Senators to support Hayden’s confirmation. Hayden is a past president of the ALA (2003-2004) and is the Library Journal’s 1995 Librarian of the Year, the first African American to receive the award.

Hayden spent 23 years at Enoch Pratt Free Library as its CEO (1993-2016). From 1991-1993 Hayden was Deputy Commissioner and Chief Librarian of the Chicago Public Library. Earlier she taught Library Science at the University of Pittsburgh (1987-1991) and was Library Services Coordinator for the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago (1982-1987). From 1973 to 1982 she held positions with the Chicago Public Library.

She was born in Tallahassee, Florida, and earned a bachelor’s degree from Roosevelt University. She received her master’s degree and doctorate from the University of Chicago Graduate Library School.

ALA President Judy Todaro says, “The library community is elated that Dr. Hayden is our nation’s new Librarian of Congress. … There is no doubt that Dr. Hayden will have a positive impact by leading efforts to establish a more modern approach to serving members of Congress, researchers and the public at large. … I believe that through her visionary leadership the Library of Congress will soon mirror society’s rapidly changing information environment, while successfully preserving the cultural record of the United States.”

The Library of Congress has one of the largest collections in the world. The collections include a wide range of materials in more than four hundred fifty languages. The Library is housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., and the Packard Campus, Culpepper, Va. The Library is open to the public, but only government officials can check out materials. The general public can check out materials through InterLibrary Loan (ILL).

The Library of Congress has a long history. James Madison proposed it in 1783. It was founded on April 24, 1800, with a $5,000 appropriation for books and space to house them. The Library was founded for the use of Congress and therefore housed in the new capitol, Washington, D.C.

Dig Deeper:

 Carla Hayden

America’s Library:  The Story of the Library of Congress, 1`800-2000 (2000)

The Library of Congress:  An Account, Historical and Descriptive (1958)

For Congress and the Nation:  A Chronological History of the Library of Congress through 1975 (1979)

Librarians of Congress, 1802-1974  (1977)


Image courtesy of Library of Congress.


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Periodicals have new home in Speakers’ Corner

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The Speakers’ Corner, created in 2012, now has a new, more open look. Workmen recently moved the periodical shelves, which used to surround a seating area, to the wall where newspapers were housed. All periodicals – newspapers and magazines – are now in one clearly defined place, making them more accessible, and opening up space for more seating. The new configuration also makes the Speakers’ Corner  more flexible for the numerous events held in the Library.

Photo by Alice Bampton, Communication and Service Promotion team.

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We’re Renovating! Transforming the Library’s Reading Room into a Signature Space


Architect's rendition of the Reading Room. Note: the furniture arrangement may change.

Architect’s rendition of the Reading Room.

Have you heard? Falvey Memorial Library’s Reading Room is currently undergoing a significant renovation! The donor funded project, which began in June, is expected to be completed in early September, in time for fall semester studies. The Reading Room will remain closed during this construction.

University Librarian and Director of Falvey Memorial Library Millicent Gaskell said the goal of the project “is to provide an inspiring space for quiet study and contemplation that better meets the current needs of Villanova’s diverse student body.” The renovation will greatly increase power outlets and provide a greater variety of seating.

An exciting addition will be the creation of a connection from the Reading Room in Old Falvey to the Learning Commons in Main Falvey. The new entrance on the Main Falvey side of the Reading Room will have a ramp to provide ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessibility.

The large windows will be replaced to improve environmental conditions and provide ultraviolet filtering to protect the restored painting, “Triumph of David” by Pietro da Cortona, from future deterioration. In addition, the space will be refreshed by replacing the ceiling, flooring and lighting. “We hope the Reading Room will be a signature space for the campus,” Gaskell says.

The Reading Room plans were developed by BLT Architects (BLTa) located in Philadelphia. BLTa also designed the Learning Commons (dedicated Feb. 17, 2012) on Falvey’s second floor.

“We have wanted to renovate the Reading room for some time and are very fortunate that all the pieces came together,” Gaskell said. The University’s project to restore the “Triumph of David” was completed in the fall of 2015. Gaskell says, “I don’t think anyone wanted us to rehang that magnificent painting in the tired-looking Reading Room. There was tremendous support for the project from the Provost’s Office, Advancement, and Facilities, but the project would not have happened this summer if not for the generous funding from donors.”

Image of renovated Reading Room courtesy of BLTa, the architects responsible for the design of this and of the second floor Learning Commons. Furniture arrangement indicated in rendering may change.


Smart Travel Tips for Academics (or people who really, really love books)

Summer is a glorious time for academics and booklovers alike, with the prospect of long interrupted afternoons and time, sweet time allowing us to finally get things read. It’s also prime time for traveling and wrestling with fitting the essentials (chargers, backup chargers, books, electronic devices and one more charger) in with all those darn non-essentials (i.e., socks, underwear) in your kit bag. Good thing that intrepid English/Theatre liaison librarian Sarah Wingo knew just who to ask for smart, concise travel tips tailor-made for people just like you (i.e., people who frequent library blogs!) :-) Sarah Olive is a lecturer at the University of York and University of Birmingham who travels often with just one bag and sometimes a cat yet a commodious need for books, notes and other trappings of academic life. Here’s her tips!


Walking Hipster styled woman


I’m going to Helsingor tomorrow (Elsinore, to those of you who are more familiar with Hamlet than maps). Last week I was leaving a fortnight’s research mobility in Hong Kong to return to my teaching at the University of York. Last month, I was in New Orleans to run a seminar at the annual Shakespeare Association of America congress. I live in Stratford-upon-Avon. When I’m in the UK, my cat travels on the train with me between the two institutions where I work twice a month.

You can probably tell the important things you need to know about me from that introduction. I’m a Shakespeare academic. And I know how to pack (a requirement when you’re working with someone whose complete works weigh 4.8 pounds in paperback). As a student or a member of staff at a university or in your graduate life, I hope you will get to travel as much as I do. It sounds fun and it is fun which is why I work really hard at it. You can usually find me slamming in funding bids, jamming my trip schedule full to make the best possible uses of my time and that of my hosts at other institutions, or writing reports and papers when I’ve finished a trip. Some days I’ll be doing all of the above – quite probably on different projects. These trips bring me unquantifiable amounts of knowledge (it’s handy that it’s unquantifiable because otherwise I’d totally be over my luggage limit).

Travelling for study, academia and other graduate work isn’t much fun if you get your packing wrong – particularly when you have a bad habit of book-ending trips (at the end of this month, I’ll have done 6 talks at 6 institutions, on 3 continents in 6 weeks: it sounds like a boast, and it kind of is, but more about my logistical abilities than intelligence). You’ll be too hot, too cold, or covered in plane food stains, need a taxi rather than being able to manage on public transport (usually ace and affordable in East Asia, where I travel most), have male delegates offering to help you carry stuff – which is very kind, but not necessarily how you want to network as a feminist scholar. I was asked to share my work-travel tips with you for this blog, which isn’t necessarily how you should travel and won’t work if you don’t like dressing in women’s clothing (it’s also very tongue-in-cheek). But you should be able to adapt it to your needs and tastes.


  • •  Some people manage with just carry-on bags. I don’t unless it’s a weekend-sized trip.
  • • If you are checking luggage, a cheap suitcase is a false economy. It will most likely add extra weight (light frames seem to be the most expensive because of the materials and technology used) and may get torn apart during the handling. I like that mine is expandable – but I acknowledge that that could lead to problems on the way back (don’t travel with it expanded on the way out…you’ve got to leave space for conference programmes, cheap books you pick up on the last day at the publishers’ stands, and souvenirs!). I was lucky to get mine as a present from my parents who live in Australia, and it has survived thirteen years, including moving from there to the UK for my Master’s degree.
  • • Handwashing liquid means you only need to pack a week’s worth of clothing at most. You wash your clothes in your hotel bathroom, wring them a bit, lay them on a towel, then tightly roll one end of the towel up like you’re making a jellyroll or palmieres (that’s instead of your spin cycle, you’re welcome!) Then hang them up to dry.
  • • If you’re not sure what the temperature is going to be like, if you take long skirts or dresses you can always sneak on a pair of leggings or tights underneath if it gets chilly.
  • • Pack multifunctional clothes wherever you can. This may not be for the day you’re presenting, but for example, pack nightwear that can double as casual/lounge wear, gym wear that doubles as lounge wear (wash after heavy use as per above). You want the most multi-tasking stuff you can muster for your off duty wardrobe. If you have old clothes you can wear for nightwear, gym wear, etc., and then throw away rather than bring back if you end up close to the weight limit, do that.
  • • I still pack an old drawstring physical education kit bag from school. I use it to keep underclothes together on the way out, and to ram all my dirty laundry in on the way back. I like keeping my suitcase in order because sometimes I don’t hang things up and I just want to rummage through wearable stuff. While I’m on the topic of plastic bags, while you’re at your destination, hang on to the plastic bags you get given – use them to wrap and double-wrap any liquids you’re taking back (air pressure does funny things) or anything fragile.
  • • Take bath and beauty products that only have enough left in them to last the trip. Then you come back lighter! Besides, who has time to do messy decanting into miniature containers? Keep any sample perfumes you are ever given and keep them for travel.
  • • Try not to overdo or underuse the shoes. Take one pair that make you feel invincible for your presentation, however impractical. Then remember that airports, campuses and conferences usually mean you hit your 10,000 steps a day and you need to be able to walk. Stuff the cavity of your shoes with rolled up accessories like belts, or anything that needs a little cushioning, like shoving your camera into a sneaker.
  • • Take basic first aid – if you are at an international conference, not only can you make sure you look after yourself, not get overcharged at the super expensive hotel shop, but you will make friends with anyone who caught a cold on their flight…and one day they may hire you, or pass you in your viva, or whatever. Also save money on, again stupidly expensive, hotel breakfasts by taking individual oatmeal sachets, maybe some instant noodles for lunch, then splurge on somewhere gastronomically exciting and local when your day’s work is done. Invest in a spork for your oatmeal, noodles, take-away in case your accommodation only offers you a coffee stirrer. You can also clean your nails with it when you get bored (wash in between).

Carry on:

  • • Use a backpack. People who insist on ramming bulky, supposedly cabin-sized cases into the overhead lockers really get my goat. There’s hardly ever room for my dinky bag…and then, the whole flight, when you’re trying to sleep, they’re standing up, tinkering away to find stuff they want to take out of the case ‘cause it’s too heavy to lift down. Capacious handbags are beautiful, but if they’re made of leather, I often find them really heavy to be carrying around all day at a conference or across town for meetings. Instead, fit a clutch or something else streamlined or squashy inside it (or pack in your checked luggage) for any dressy occasions.
  • • Take a pashmina or another similarly multi-purpose piece of clothing on board. It will keep you warm, can be rolled into a head rest, used to mop up spills (wash it later!), catch your travel sick (throw it away & get a new one at your destination), as a blindfold (to shut our cabin light…tut), or to cover your nose if the person next to you smells bad.
  • • Pack a non-bulky, light change of clothes in here in case, heaven forbid, anything happens to your checked baggage. It will buy you a bit of time and comfort and freshness until you get to a mall.
  • • I discovered very cute, very cheap velcro or popper-secured cable tidies when I was in Korea, and I’ve accumulated more since in Japan and from Scandinavia (if you’re not into cute animals and pastel shades). They help me avoid irritating tangles of wires – headphones and chargers – in my bag and elbowing other passengers as I unpick them.

On the plane/train/boat:

  • • Adjust your watch (or any clocks on devices you’ll be checking) to the time at your destination as soon as you’re in your seat. Start thinking and behaving like you’re in that time zone. Don’t keep thinking, “Ugh, I’m so tired it’s 3.30am back home.” Let. It. Go. You need to be mentally and emotionally tuned into your destination (reading the guidebook you bought months ago when you first heard about your trip on the journey will do this too…I did get called out for having neon place-markers and making pencil annotations by the guy sitting next to me on my last trip but it turned out he was from my destination city, so we had a conversation and he added to my must do, must see list). And have a wonderful trip!

Sarah Olive is lecturer in English in Education at the University of York. She also teaches at The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham…which is how she knows Sarah Wingo. Her research interests include Shakespeare’s popular cultural afterlives, especially on reality television, and the teaching of Shakespeare in East Asian higher education.



Foto Friday: “The Oreo”


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The Oreo” is a popular campus landmark.  Its artist, Jay Dugan, named it “Awakening” and donated it to the University in 1985.


Photograph by Alice Bampton, Communication and Service Promotion team member.

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Alert: Summer E-Book Access in JStor

JStor logo resizeWe wanted to address an e-book access issue that is currently impacting the Library and provide some information about it.  If you have attempted to access an e-book through our catalog and then found you were unable to access it when you followed the link provided to JStor, you are not alone. The brief answer for this problem is that over the last year Falvey Memorial Library joined a program with The Pennsylvania Academic Library Consortium (PALCI) where we and a number of other libraries in the consortia contributed a set amount of money and were given access to JStor’s entire e-book catalog.  If books in the catalog were accessed a certain number of times, this triggered an outright purchase of the electronic book in JStor.

While the program was running, anyone accessing the e-books wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between books that had triggered a purchase and those we were simply allowed access to. However, on June 30th we were notified that the program was “ending for the summer.”

Subject librarians know patrons need continued access over the summer and for faculty, this is one of the most vital times for them to conduct their own research. We have communicated these concerns to PALCI and have been told that the program will likely renew in the fall. We hope to convince them that allowing it to lapse during the summer is extremely undesirable.

In the meantime our tech team will be suppressing the records from our catalog, which means the books we do not currently have access to will not appear in a catalog search.  If you attempt to request one of these books through Interlibrary Loan or E-ZBorrow and receive an automated response indicating that the request cannot be placed because we have access, please contact your subject librarian and they will do the best they can to assist you.


Sarah Wingo resizeSarah Wingo is Humanities II team leader and the subject librarian for English literature and theatre. Email or phone 610-519-5183.




Check Out the Works of Alvin Toffler, Futurist, in Falvey

Alvin Toffler Photo by Vern Evans/Creative Commons

Alvin Toffler
Photo by Vern Evans/Creative Commons

Alvin Toffler, a futurist and author of ten books, but most famous for Future Shock, died on June 27 at age 87. The son of Polish immigrants living in Brooklyn, N.Y., he knew that he wanted to be a writer when he was only seven years old. He graduated from New York University as an English major and held various jobs including several years with Fortune magazine before becoming a freelance writer.

Toffler wrote his first book, Future Shock (1970), after five years of research. Future Shock sold millions of copies, was translated into numerous languages, made its author famous, and is still in print.

Farhad Manoo says, “It is fitting that his death occurred in a period of weeks characterized by one example of madness after another … It would be facile to attribute any one of these events to future shock. Yet … it seems clear that his diagnosis [in Future Shock] has largely panned out, with local and global crises arising daily from our collective inability to deal with ever-faster change.”

Dig Deeper:

Farhad Manjoo. “Why We Need to Pick Up Alvin Toffler’s Torch.” New York Times, July 7, 2016.


Toffler Biography


Books by Alvin Toffler:

Adaptive Corporation resizeThe Adaptive Corporation (1985)



Creating a New Civilization resizeCreating a New Civilization:  The Politics of the Third Wave (1995)



Culture Consumers resizeThe Culture Consumers:  A Study of Art and Affluence in America (1964)



Future shock resizeFuture Shock (1970)



Learning for Tomorrow resizeLearning for Tomorrow:  The Role of the Future in Education (1974)



Power Shift resizePowershift:  Knowledge, Wealth, and Violence at the Edge of the 21st Century (1990)



Third Wave resizeThe Third Wave (1980)


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Last Modified: July 11, 2016