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Librarians Promoted: Laura Bang, Robin Bowles and Kristyna Carroll

By Alice Bampton

Three junior librarians, Laura Bang, Robin Bowles and Kristyna Carroll, were promoted from Librarian I to Librarian II, University Librarian Joe Lucia recently announced. “They have each made a substantial contribution to the success of the Library, and all of them have been engaged professionally at a national level in advancing new ideas or promoting new initiatives that will help shape the future of academic libraries,” Lucia said.


Laura Bang, curatorial assistant in Special and Digital Collections, came to Falvey in 2010. Bang hires, trains and supervises students and staff in the Digital Library. She also develops and mounts the Special Collections exhibits, both online and physical, and catalogs Special Collections acquisitions. She has a master’s degree in library science from the University of Maryland. Bang’s undergraduate degree is in comparative literature from Bryn Mawr College.





Robin Bowles, Nursing and Life Sciences librarian, was appointed in 2009. She serves on the Biology/Nursing/Environmental Studies and Science/Technology subject teams. She earned her master’s degree in library and information science from Drexel University. Bowles holds a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies with a concentration in science and mathematics from West Chester University.





Kristyna Carroll, a research support librarian, graduated from Villanova with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and honors. She returned to Villanova in 2010 after graduating from Drexel University with a master’s degree in library and information science. Carroll serves on the Geography/Political Science/Naval/Cultural Studies and Communication/Education/Psychology/Sociology subject teams.



Librarians, like faculty, are appointed through the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs.

A librarian seeking promotion submits a dossier to the Library Promotion Committee comprised of librarians who hold the rank of Librarian II or higher. The Committee, chaired this year by Taras Ortynsky, descriptive services librarian, Resource Management Center, makes its recommendation to the University Librarian who sends his decision to the VPAA who takes the final action.

Lucia said, “Promotions are made on the basis of excellence in service to the University academic community, professional engagement at the local and national level, and contributions to the profession of academic librarianship as evidenced by a record of significant publication or presentation at major library conferences.”

Also contributing: Judy Olsen


Alexandra Edwards Wins English Department’s Best Graduate Essay Award

Alexandra Edwards won the English Department’s Margaret Powell Esmonde Memorial Award for Best Graduate Essay in 2012. Alex, a second year English master’s student and the Falvey Communication and Outreach Teams’ graduate assistant, wrote her winning essay, “Like Some Monstrous Stealthy Cat: Queerness and Felinomorphism in Charles Brockden Brown, Henry James, and H.P. Lovecraft”  for Dr. Michael Berthold’s “American Gothic” class during fall 2011. Alex, who recently defended her graduate thesis, will begin a PhD program in English at the University of Georgia in August.

Professor Esmonde, an English professor at Villanova from 1974 until her death in 1983, taught Early Modern literature, science fiction and children’s literature.


Bente Loj Polites to Retire

By Susan Markley

At the end of June Falvey Memorial Library will be losing one of our most experienced librarians with the retirement of Bente Loj Polites. Bente, Special Collections librarian and subject liaison team leader for Philosophy, Theology and Humanities, devoted 25 years of service to the University community. Under her co-leadership, Bente also helped implement many of the Digital Library initiatives.

She was born and raised in Denmark, in a small town along the Baltic Sea, and moved to Copenhagen to pursue undergraduate studies in philosophy at the University of Copenhagen. She followed this with a graduate degree at the Royal Danish School of Librarianship.

Bente actually came to Philadelphia for a one-year internship at the Philadelphia Free Library before returning to Denmark to work for several years in public library reference positions there.

Bente then accepted a position as a reference librarian at the European Parliament in Luxemburg where she was responsible for building a collection of Scandinavian materials in politics, social sciences and economics. During this ten-year period, Bente occasionally worked at the European Parliament’s satellite branches in Brussels, Belgium, and Strasburg, France.

With her husband, Bente moved permanently to Philadelphia in the mid-1980s. After a brief stint in reference at the Van Pelt Library, University of Pennsylvania, Bente joined Falvey in 1987 as a reference librarian. (more…)


Sue Ottignon Receives Facultas Award

By Joanne Quinn

Calling it a “reaffirmation of my love of Villanova and my work,” Research Support Librarian Susan Ottignon received the Facultas Award for spring 2012. Amid the clamor of the University’s annual faculty and staff community picnic on May 22, a “flabbergasted” Ottignon accepted the biannual honor from the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, ’75 A&S, University President, and Thomas Way, PhD, Computing Sciences professor and co-chairperson of the Awards subcommittee of the Committee on Faculty.

The Facultas Award was created in 1995 to focus attention on the “vital, yet often unnoticed, services essential to the smooth and efficient functioning of the Villanova community, especially the academic faculty.”

A Falvey librarian since 1992, Ottignon works closely with the Romance Languages and Literatures faculty, recommending books of interest, soliciting  requests, working with foreign language vendors and building a strong collection that supports the graduate and undergraduate curricula.

Ottignon also loves being the ‘good places to start’ librarian, as featured on the Library’s Subject Guide pages. As a generalist, she relishes the thrill of the hunt and theorizes that “students are the true specialists – they know what they are looking for – I just lead them to the water.”

University Librarian Joe Lucia says the award is a fitting tribute to Ottignon’s service to faculty over many years at the Library: “Sue is the consummate library professional who is always committed to going the extra mile in supporting students and faculty in their learning and research endeavors.”

When asked what she said to Father Peter that elicited such a large laugh from the University President while he was presenting her plaque and gift certificate, Ottignon laughed: “I have no inkling what I said!  But it was a joyful, sweet moment!” (more…)


“Ancestry” taps rich trove of genealogical and historical resources



Ancestry — Library Edition is now available at Falvey Memorial Library. Access to Ancestry is available via the library Databases A-Z list as well as from the History and Biographies research guide pages.

Ancestry encompasses a vast collection of genealogical data which trace the history of millions of individuals, going back as far as 1300 in some cases. The collection consists of census data, vital records, directories, photos and more. Faculty members in the History Department are already planning student research projects with  Ancestry data sets for the coming semesters.

For more information, see Jutta Seibert’s blog on this new resource.


A View from Falvey: The Grotto – Past, Present, Future

Our Mother of Good Counsel

By Alice Bampton

The meeting space just across the road from Falvey’s main entrance is called The Grotto, yet a grotto is understood to be a cave or “an artificial recess or structure made to represent a natural cave.” One might ask why this area is called The Grotto when it really is a Shrine to Our Mother of Good Counsel.

For the answer, one can look to the University history. Originally there was a true grotto, built between 1906 and 1907. It was a small structure “at the point where the walk from the railroad station entered the campus (near the present Falvey Hall)”(1) and was probably on the road between Falvey and Alumni Hall.

The Grotto was an ivy-covered, rounded mound with a door leading inside. On top were two statues of white Carrara marble, St. Nicholas of Tolentine on the left and St. Rita of Cascia on the right, both Augustinian saints. Inside was another statue, probably an image of the Virgin Mary as Our Mother of Good Counsel, to whom Augustinians promote devotion.

St. Rita of Cascia

The three statues for the original Grotto were purchased from the Daprato Statuary Company in Chicago, Ill., for $900. Giovanni Tonsoni was Daprato’s main sculptor, working there from 1879 until 1910 and he is likely the sculptor of the three statues. Tonsoni was a native of Carrara, Italy, the site of famous marble quarries, and he probably received his artistic training there before coming to the United States.(2)  Carrara marble has been a favorite stone for sculptors throughout history, especially during the Renaissance. Michelangelo carved his “David” from Carrara marble.

The statue of St.Rita is now in one of the courtyards of the Saint Augustine Center for the Liberal Arts, but the location of the others is not known.

The original Grotto was demolished in 1949 during a campus expansion. (more…)


Need help? Biology research strategies demystified by your Life Sciences subject librarian

By Robin Bowles

What is the best database for Biology articles?

The best bet for comprehensive biology research is Biological Abstracts. If your topic is animal related, you should also check Zoological Record. You can use PubMed for biology topics, but be aware that it contains a vast amount of medical literature that won’t be useful to you. Google Scholar (which is not really a database) and Scopus also have many good scholarly articles for biological research.


How do I pick good search terms when looking for articles?

The key to choosing effective search terms starts with answering one question: “What words or phrases will appear only in articles that interest me?” For example, if you are researching “how little brown bat colonies cope with white-nose syndrome,” you should select those words or phrases that will only appear in articles on your topic, in this case the phrases “little brown bat” and “white-nose syndrome.”

Your next step is to combine those search terms into an AND statement: “little brown bat” AND “white-nose syndrome.”

Then take it one step further and look for other terms and phrases that are synonymous with the ones you’ve already picked.

You may turn to Wikipedia and discover that other names for the little brown bat are “little brown myotis” andMyotis lucifugus.” “White-nose syndrome” is also written as “white nose syndrome” or “WNS” and is believed to be caused by the fungus “Geomyces destructans.”


Wait a minute! Did you just use Wikipedia?

Yes, Wikipedia is a good place to look for alternate names and terms. I’m using it here to inform my search strategy, not as a research source itself. (more…)



Last Modified: June 1, 2012