Think of them as research accelerators,
personal coaches …
… we call them “subject librarians.”
Today’s subject librarian—Philosophy Librarian Nikolaus Fogle
What’s new this year?
NF—Well, the Philosophy program is about to welcome six new graduate students, who I’ll get to meet in August. And of course the philosophy collection is constantly growing. We’ve recently acquired the online version of the Loeb Classical Library, which is great for people doing ancient philosophy. We’re getting more resources online generally, including Oxford Handbooks and a Bloomsbury e-book collection in political thought.
What are the challenges for philosophy students who want to use the Library?
NF—People often just don’t know where to start. Depending on the project, they might need to use any number of different research tools. And once they figure out where to go, students don’t always know the right sorts of questions to ask themselves in order to use them effectively. A related problem, too, is waiting too long to ask for help.
What resources does the Library offer to help philosophy students overcome those challenges?
NF—We try to make navigation as easy as possible. The subject and topic guides on the website are pretty helpful, but librarians are also here in person to provide guidance whenever it’s needed. In addition to individual research consultations, we also do in-class orientations and workshops on research skills, tools and techniques throughout the year.
What do you wish philosophy students knew about you, about the Library?
NF—I guess I just want them to know that the Library is here to provide them with help, and with resources. There’s practically nothing you might need that we won’t be able to get a hold of for you. And it’s not just materials—we’re here to provide you with the knowledge and know-how to enable you to move through the research process as effectively as possible.
What do you like best about being a librarian?
NF—I love getting to help people, and finding out what they’re working on. I really enjoy collaborating with my colleagues in the Library and elsewhere on campus. And I love that I get to be a philosophy nerd in a really big way.
What do you like best about working with Villanova students?
NF—Villanova students have such a wide range of interests, and so much enthusiasm. The humanities curriculum here is really great. I like that I never know what the next question is going to be. I also like seeing people’s interests coalesce as they decide on a paper topic, or a major, or a dissertation.