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A Misconception about “Cinco de Mayo”

Happy Cinco de Mayo! In case you missed it the first time around, we are reposting a popular blog post from 2013 written by Sue Ottignon, Research Support Librarian for Languages & Literatures that answers the question, once and for all, what Cinco de Mayo commemorates. Always ask a librarian! 

Battle of Puebla, 5 May 1862

Battle of Puebla, 5 May 1862

Wait!!  Before you make the mad dash to enjoy all those delicious salsa combos you made to kick off your annual “Cinco de Mayo” celebration, I have some little-known facts to share with you about this day.

If you thought Cinco de Mayo was Mexico’s Independence Day, you would be mistaken! Mexico’s Independence Day is September 16th. Yup, you heard me. It was on that September day, in 1810, Mexicans declared their independence from Spain, which had controlled the territory referred to as “New Spain,” since 1521 when Hernán Cortés conquered the Aztec Empire. If you plan to add Independence Day, aka “Grito de Dolores,” to your celebration list, be sure to check out the article in the Encyclopaedia Britannica[1]on Mexico’s struggles!

So what’s so great about the 5th of May? Although it is not an official holiday in Mexico, it does commemorate the Mexicans’ victory over the French on May 5, 1862, in the town of Puebla; thus, the holiday is called “El Día de la Batalla de Puebla,” and there are celebrations. The Mexican-American community, from the western states, began the observance shortly after the event. Ultimately, the day’s events evolved within the US as recognition of the Mexican culture and heritage.  Moreover, the U.S. Congress recently issued  resolutions[2] recognizing the historical significance of Cinco de Mayo. The Congressional Record, for the House of Representatives, recorded on June 7, 2005, a concurrent, non-binding resolution recognizing the historical significance of the day,[3]

Selected resources about “Cinco de Mayo”:

Arellano, Gustavo.  Interview by Michel Martin. Arts & Life.  Natl. Public Radio, 5 May 2011. NPR.org. Web. 29 Apr. 2013.

“Cinco de Mayo.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2013. Web. 23 Apr. 2013.

Ganster, Paul. “Cinco de Mayo.” Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture.

Ed. Jay Kinsbruner and Erick D. Langer. 2nd ed. Vol. 2. Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2008. 413. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 23 Apr. 2013.

Hamnett, Brian. “Puebla, Battle and Siege of.” Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture. Ed. Jay Kinsbruner and Erick D. Langer. 2nd ed. Vol. 5. Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2008. 401-402. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 23 Apr. 2013.

“Monthly Record of Current Events: Mexico.” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine. 25.146 (1862): 261. Making of America, 1815-1901. Web. 29 April 2013.

“News from San Francisco.” New York Times (1857-1922): 1. Jun 01 1862. ProQuest. Web. 27 Apr. 2013.

Pérez, Daniel Enrique. “Cinco de Mayo.” Confluencia: Revista Hispánica de Cultura y Literatura 27.1 (2011): 210+. Academic OneFile. Web. 23 Apr. 2013.

Recognizing Historical Significance Of The Mexican Holiday Of  Cinco De Mayo of2007.  H.R. Con. Res. 44. 7 June 2005. Web.

Sue Ottignon is the subject librarian for romance languages and literatures. RS4540_FML164_SusanOttignon_018_EDIT---ed


The Highlighter: Need a Quiet Place to Study?


This video provides a lighthearted look at a resource the Library takes seriously: quiet study spaces.  (Enable Closed Captioning for silent viewing):

For additional “How to” videos, click the “Help” button on Falvey’s homepage.



May the Fourth Be With You! A Star Wars Dig Deeper


To say Star Wars is the best movie franchise of all time might be overselling it (especially considering the execrable episodes I-III), but it was the first movie I ever saw on the big screen, and yes, it was brand new when I saw it in 1977. I was five, and even though I didn’t understand the subtext, it helped define my lifelong love of science fiction and high fantasy and the same can be said of millions of fans worldwide. The question is “why”? Why is it so important to so many people? Why has it been translated into dozens of languages, spawned more movies, cartoons, dozens of novels, and a fanatical global following? Why are my friends handing down their original 1970’s Kenner action figures to their children, like some ancient sword passed down from their father’s, father’s, father? Why is it being reborn, yet again, by Disney and directed by the highly respected J.J Abrams?

Two simple words: It’s awesome.

Prior to Star Wars (now known as Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, an inelegant name for an inelegant time) a “Space Opera” was a pejorative term for the cheap, pulp comics of the 1940’s, 50’s, and 60’s. The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “a science fiction story or drama set in space; space fiction esp. of an unsophisticated or clichéd type.” These stories are known for their melodramatic and overly romantic portrayals of enemies fighting each other in outer space using advanced, futuristic weaponry and technology.

By 1977, Space Opera was a well-established – if fringe – genre in comic books like Flash Gordon (1934), television shows like Star Trek (1966), and films like Barbarella ( 1968). But Star Wars brought something new to the equation; a complex coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of a totalitarianism and rebellion.


Themes of mysticism, oppression, community, colonialism, trade politics and self-discovery gave the first trilogy a depth that did not jibe with the “unsophisticated” definition of Space Opera. The genre had suddenly become something for grown ups: The number of times you saw “Jedi” became a badge of pride for geeks and non-geeks alike. Its state-of-the-art special effects blurred the line between reality and fiction to the point that robots and fighting teddy bears became lovable – and essential – characters. Discussions about hyperdrive, Jedi mind tricks, and the feasibility of real world light sabers became water cooler conversation. It marked a sea change that first legitimized Space Opera and, by extension, science fiction as a mainstream genre.

Viewership for shows like Star Trek and Battlestar Gallactica swelled as fans hungered for more and the success of these shows and ancillary movies spawned hundreds of sci-fi knock-offs and permutations. Whether you love Star Wars or not, it can be argued that all modern science fiction, from blockbuster movies like Interstellar and Transformers to TV shows like Futurama and Doctor Who, owe their continued success, and even their genesis, to a low budget 1970’s film trilogy about a farm boy, a scoundrel, a sassy princess, and a few droids who toppled an oppressive empire and saved their galaxy a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

To learn more about the Star Wars universe and its influence, check out these Falvey Memorial Library resources:

Non-Fiction Books:
Star Wars and Philosophy : More Powerful than you Can Possibly Imagine
by Kevin S. Decker
PN1995.9.S695 S76 2005 – Falvey Main 4th Floor

Empire Building : The Remarkable, Real-life Story of Star Wars
by Garry Jenkins
PN1995.9.S695 J46 1999 – Falvey Main 4th Floor

Culture, Identities, and Technology in the Star Wars Films : Essays on the Two Trilogies
by Carl Silvio
PN1995.9.S695 S55 2007 – Falvey Main 4th Floor

From Star Wars to Indiana Jones : The Best of the Lucasfilm Archives
by Mark Vaz
PN1995.9.S695 V3913 – Falvey Main 4th Floor

Fiction Books:
Star Wars: Darth Plagueis
by James Luceno
PS3562.U254417 D37 – Falvey popular reading collection, Main floor

Star Wars: Heir to the Empire  by Timothy Zahn  PS3576.A33 H45 1991 – Falvey Main 4th Floor

How Star Wars Conquered the Universe : The Past, Present, and Future of a Multibillion Dollar Franchise
by Chris Taylor

Search for articles using the search terms “Star Wars” (in quotes) and Film. Other useful search terms: politics, mysticism, influence, impact, technology, etc.

For help with research on the movies and their influence, contact Rob LeBlanc, first-year experience & humanities librarian at robert.leblanc@villanova.edu.

Rob LeBlanc is first-year experience & humanities librarian.Rob-ed


Mood Board: Falvey Scholar Joseph Schaadt

This week, we are featuring the 2015 Falvey Scholars and giving you the chance to get to know these bright young adults up close and personal. Not only are they very smart – they’re very interesting! Just last week, Falvey Memorial Library, the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships, and the Honors Program announced the 2015 Falvey Scholars Award winners: Katie Kline, Elizabeth Long, Jessica Swoboda, Nicholas Ader, Joseph Schaadt and John Szot. These six remarkable senior students have been selected from a pool of candidates from various disciplines for their outstanding undergraduate student research projects at Villanova University. Click here for a listing of their projects as presented at the 2015 Falvey Scholars Awards Presentation and Reception Ceremony.

Featuring Joseph Schaadt

“I’m a mechanical engineering major from the Bay Area in California and I work in Dr. Aaron Wemhoff’s Multiscale System Analysis Laboratory (MSAL) here at Villanova as part of the National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) for Energy Smart Electronic Systems (ES2). When I’m not conducting research aimed at improving the energy efficiency of data centers, I can be spotted playing on the Villanova men’s water polo team or using my free time to play recreational basketball with my friends. While at Villanova, I have enjoyed taking advantage of the numerous opportunities to do service in the community, being involved with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers as the Vice President of our student chapter, and being a cohost on The Zone, a sports talk program on WXVU 89.1 Villanova Radio.”

Project Title: “Load Capacity and Thermal Efficiency Optimization of a Research Data Center Using Computational Modeling”

I am inspired by my father Russell. His diligence, hard work, confidence, and pursuit of excellence are something I try to copy daily.

If I could be any person for a day, I’d be Brandon Stanton, the creator of Humans of New York. He has a great passion for his job and is able to reach and inspire millions of people through his art.

My favorite Villanova memory is being at the Syracuse basketball game my sophomore year when we upset them in overtime at the Wells Fargo Center. I was with some of my best friends Ricky, George, Adam, Brandon, and Chris that day and had a great opportunity to go to a car show, see Reading Terminal market, and explore the city of Philadelphia after. Juice the Cuse!

While working on my research project, I was challenged by having to explore a topic so foreign to anything I had ever known. It forced me to step outside of my comfort zone, learn quickly, and seek out experts in my field of research who could offer advice when I needed help.

Today I’m feeling the color Yellow. I can’t wait for summer!

I’m listening to the Grateful Dead. Their music is relaxing and has a special peace about it and always reminds me of my Dad and my home.

One Summer Adventure I’m daydreaming about is adventuring around my birthplace and home of San Francisco with my Dad. I can’t wait to get back to the city by the bay.

Happiness is the feeling of what it’s like to have a wonderful family, close friends, and good health.

Everyone should know that everything you want in life is just outside your comfort zone or else you would already have it.

I am amazed by the inherent beauty and complexity of life on Earth. It’s easy to forget just how many great things there are to see in this world and how little time we have to do it!

Thanks, Joseph!


‘Caturday: The Nights Belong to Us Wildcats

Every dog has his day, but the nights belong to us Wildcats!

You can take your pick of 24-hour study in the Falvey Hall reading room, lobby, or basement soft seating or, stick with the tried and true main library seating on all four floors, most nights until 3 a.m., and the 24-hour lounge.

Whichever you choose, good luck on your final exams and papers, Wildcats!

falvey at night old falvey moon




‘Caturday feature by Luisa Cywinski, writer for Commmunication & Service Promotion team and team leader, Access Services team.


Foto Friday: “Bring out … The Comfy Chair!!!!”

2015-04-29 20.57.15-2

If ever a photo needed a caption, this is it!

Rev Peter Donohue VU PresidentEveryone’s favorite good sport, The Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, ’75 LAS presided at the Annual Staff Recognition Dinner this week, and applauded Falvey’s own Bill Greene, Access Services specialist with a rather special tongue-in-cheek tribute! Staff members with 40 years of service were each presented with a commemorative captain’s chair, emblazoned with the University seal. Bill immediately gave his a whirl, and settled in comfortably. So comfortably, in fact, that Father Donohue immediately and theatrically went into ottoman-mode and offered Bill a place to rest his weary feet as well! (As photographer, I apologize for the somewhat blurry image, as I was giggling so hard, the camera couldn’t focus!)

Blurry photo by Joanne Quinn, Communication and Service Promotion team leader

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Mood Board: Falvey Scholar Elizabeth Long

This week, we are featuring the 2015 Falvey Scholars and giving you the chance to get to know these bright young adults up close and personal. Not only are they very smart – they’re very interesting! Just last week, Falvey Memorial Library, the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships, and the Honors Program announced the 2015 Falvey Scholars Award winners: Katie Kline, Elizabeth Long, Jessica Swoboda, Nicholas Ader, Joseph Schaadt and John Szot. These six remarkable senior students have been selected from a pool of candidates from various disciplines for their outstanding undergraduate student research projects at Villanova University. Click here for a listing of their projects as presented at the 2015 Falvey Scholars Awards Presentation and Reception Ceremony.


Featuring Elizabeth Long
Elizabeth Long

“I am a senior nursing major from Kensington, CT. I have been fortunate to participate in multiple activities on campus including the Student Nurses Association of Pennsylvania (SNAP). It has been a wonderful experience participating in undergraduate research as a Davis Grant recipient and also as serving as the Vice President of the National Student Nurses Association this past year. I have Villanova to thank for all of these enriching opportunities!”

Project Title: “Nurses’ Perceptions of Human Trafficking in an Urban Emergency Department: A Qualitative Study”

I am inspired by the strength of my patients.

If I could be any person for a day, I’d be Joe Biden.

My favorite Villanova memory is going on a nursing service experience to the Dominican Republic.

While working on my research project, I was challenged by recruiting subjects.

Today I’m feeling the color purple.

I’m listening to The Wolf, Mumford and Sons


Boston, MA

One Summer Adventure I’m daydreaming about is exploring New England.

Happiness is laughing with my friends.

Everyone should know I love barbecue.

I am amazed by my fellow Villanovans.

Thanks, Elizabeth!

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The 8:30 | Things to Know Before You Go (5/1)


Here’s your daily dose of library-oriented speed-reads to start your day!


VSB Peer Tutor Reading Day Office Hours. 12:00-7:00 p.m. in room 205. Open to all VSB students. Walk-in study sessions. Questions? Contact: patricia.burdo@villanova.edu

May is National Bike Month. If the warm temps put you in the mood to crank the chain-wheel, downshift the derailleur and hammer your hybrid, then check out these Falvey resources:

10 Smart Routes to Bicycle Safety 

Bicycle Design: an Illustrated History 

Bicycle Diaries 

No Hands: the Rise and Fall of the Schwinn Bicycle Company: an American Institution

Bicycling Science

You may also want to check out the University’s Nova Bike Share program.

If you want a goal to work toward (in addition to improved health), check out these fundraisers:

Bike-a-Thon for cancer

Bike MS: City to Shore Ride

Tour de Cure for diabetes


THREEOCLOCKJust spreading the news that the main building of the library is open until 3:00 am most nights during finals. As always, the Holy Grounds lounge and Falvey Hall foyer and Reading Room are accessible after hours with Wildcard, but during the below times, students will have access to the main building as well:

Thurs., April 30 – Fri., May 1
8 a.m. – 3 a.m.

Sat., May 2 9 a.m. – Midnight.

Sun., May 3 10 a.m. – 3 a.m.

Mon., May 4 – Thurs., May 7 8 a.m. – 3 a.m.

Fri., May 8 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

RebelMouseDo you want easy access to a lot of our social media and blog content in one spot? Check out our Rebel Mouse site.





According to David Graeber, London School of Economics, the book Degrowth: a vocabulary for a new era represents the importance of the movement “of thought, and of action” at a “time in history when political, economic and intellectual leaders assure us that nothing fundamental can any longer be questioned.”


“There is no royal road to learning; no short cut to the acquirement of any art.” – Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope


If you have ideas for inclusion in The 8:30 or to Library News in general, you’re invited to send them to joanne.quinn@villanova.edu.

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Taylor De La Pena: Class of 2015 Creative Writing Awards contestant


Photo - Taylor De La PenaTo honor the University’s Class of 2015 Creative Writing Awards, the Library is publishing contestants’ poems or prose excerpts on Falvey’s blog. The Library also has created posters for the contestants’ poems or prose excerpts, which will be displayed throughout the library’s first floor.

The contest includes both poetry and prose (fiction or creative non-fiction). The Department of English will announce the Class of 2015 Creative Writing Awards winners at its annual awards ceremony.

Excerpt from “Purging”
by Taylor De La Pena

“The first thing I noticed about Robin was the sort of feline, fluid way which she moved and carried herself that seemed to extend even to the tips of her shiny, iridescent black hair. She was stunning in a bizarre way. I wouldn’t have called her pretty, per say; her eyes were stone gray and her lips were too thin, as if those features had aged prematurely. But she possessed a sort of alien beauty, something intriguing, something that made it almost impossible to look away.”

Taylor De La Pena, a Class of 2015 Creative Writing Awards contestant, says “When I started writing ‘Purging,’ I thought it was going to be about the modeling industry and eating disorders. But once I started writing, I realized it was less about eating disorders, and more about how society values and commodifies women based on physical appearance. I think that’s what I love about writing; I don’t see it as a creation that is meant to teach other people about something, but rather as a way for me to think more deeply and figure out my own opinions.”

Taylor De La Pena is an English and Spanish major from Redondo Beach, California. In her free time, she enjoys reading, running, trying new restaurants, and traveling. After she graduates in 2015, she plans to volunteer in Peru for a year with the Augustinian Volunteers.




‘Cat in the Stacks: When College Gets Hard


 I’m Michelle Callaghan, a first-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is our column, “‘Cat in the Stacks.” I’m the ‘cat. Falvey Memorial Library is the stacks. I’ll be posting about living that scholarly life, from research to study habits to embracing your inner-geek, and how the library community might aid you in all of it.

I’m going to get a little real right now. Whether you’re a freshman, super senior, or grad student, college gets hard. Of course it does—would it be worth our time if it weren’t a challenge? Still, that point of view isn’t particularly motivating when you’re in the throes of finals week. At this point, you’re a little sapped of energy and running on E. You might be missing sleep. You might be skipping meals for extra study time, or relying on Kraft Mac and Cheese and that dried out jar of peanut butter for dinner.
And if you’re a sensitive soul, you might just feel like crying sometimes.

And that’s okay.

You know that saying about your track record for getting through rough days? It’s one hundred percent, clearly, because time moves forward and life goes on. And that’s good to think about. If you feel overwhelmed, like you have to prove yourself, it’s because you do. That’s what this is. As pointless as things might feel right now (especially when Microsoft Word messes up your headers and page numbers for the nineteenth time), you’re earning something at the end of the program. If you feel pressed for time, that’s because you are—and let’s be honest: if you weren’t, you wouldn’t get things done.


Okay. Now that the tough love part is finished, let’s think about gratitude for a hot second. Sometimes what works for me is putting my workload in perspective via the First World Problems meme—stripped of its political implications, of course, and funneled down to its essential point: sometimes we complain about things that we are unbelievably lucky to be complaining about. That is, as unfortunate as it is for our perception of our own graciousness, we don’t see the forest for the trees. Blessed to be stressed? Maybe that’s pushing it, but you get the idea.

You’ll survive—you always do. But is that enough for you? To make it through? As long as your nose is to the grindstone, can you up the intensity? Now is your time to do something you’re proud of. Make your knowledge known, and own it! Don’t just finish the semester—make it count.


Go get ‘em, Nova Nation.

Article by Michelle Callaghan, graduate assistant on the Communication and Service Promotion team. She is currently pursuing her MA in English at Villanova University.


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Last Modified: April 30, 2015