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For additional “How to” videos, click the “Help” button on Falvey’s homepage.
I’m Michelle Callaghan, a first-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is the first post of ‘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.
“Teach thy tongue to say ‘I do not know,’ and thou shalt progress.” -Maimonides
I had some time to kill before the graduate student orientation this past Sunday, and found myself in the Connelly Center. So there I was, stealthily eavesdropping on a first-year student-athlete in Holy Grounds while I bribed my phone to connect to the mobile WiFi on campus for the first time. I couldn’t stop listening to this conversation about what foods to eat before practice and when to do homework between workouts—not because of the oh-so-gripping content of the conversation but because of the bravery of the first-year student. She was unashamed, unabashed. She asked questions and she got answers. She found valuable resources in her upperclassmen teammates and, by taking advantage of that, wasted no time in finding her footing.
Because of her willingness to ask questions, she could focus on more important first-year matters and relax.
As a newbie in the Villanova world, Anonymous Student-Athlete inspired me. She has me thinking, too, about the importance of asking questions. It’s not always easy, but it can be learned, and it is probably the most invaluable tool you can learn in college—for research, especially, but also for life.
I’m no Maimonides, but here are my top three realizations about asking questions:
1) When a fellow human offers their guidance, they typically do want you to take advantage of it.
… and Falvey Memorial Library is staffed by incredibly kind, incredibly smart librarians who want to help you.
2) Asking questions in class, or asking questions of your support system, is smart.
… and the sillier your question feels, the more important it is. The basics are your base. Make them concrete right away by reaching out with questions, and then you can start building on your real goal. Plus, by formulating a question, you’re bettering your understanding of whatever you’re asking.
3) Asking questions lets you inhabit other people’s brains, and that’s where magic happens.
… that magic being mind control. Mua-ha-ha—just kidding. Sharing perspectives, whether it be the best place to get pizza in Ardmore (Jules Thin Crust!) or whether chaos is the natural state of the universe, is the one of the most exciting aspects of being part of a scholarly community like Villanova University.
I didn’t ask anyone how to log into mobile WiFi. I could have asked any one of the hundreds of students I’d been passing all afternoon, but instead I wasted time with a basic question. Lesson learned.
Here’s to you, Anonymous Student-Athlete. Cheers!
Article by Michelle Callaghan, graduate assistant on the Communication and Service Promotion team. She is currently pursuing her MA in English at Villanova University.
The Department of Energy is among the top funders of research conducted by Villanova faculty across several University departments. It is also a first mover among federal-research-granting agencies in establishing policies, procedures and infrastructure to comply with the Office of Science and Technology Policy mandate to enhance access to federally funded research. This week it released its Public Access Plan.
The Plan covers access to both published papers and underlying data. Classified data and scholarly research are exempt from the policy. The DOE will build a public portal called PAGES (Public Access Gateway for Energy and Science) and maintain a dark archive to assure long term access. The DOE will deploy a two pronged approach to making data more accessible. Through a review of data management plans, a cost-benefit analysis will be applied to identify data worth preserving and making public. Data will be submitted and made public via the Open Energy Information Platform, OpenEI, and further exposed to the public via data.gov.
This new policy will impact Villanova energy researchers. Principal investigators (PI) will need to submit open access links to articles (or the manuscripts themselves) and metadata for their publications for inclusion in PAGES. Data management plans may come under intensified scrutiny, and data the DOE identifies for inclusion in OpenEI will need to be submitted by the PI with metadata. As these repositories are built and populated, benefits should accrue to Villanova researchers as their good work receives increased public exposure and as they enjoy enhanced access to the research of their peers.
The Library can assist with the additional duties PI face by providing metadata assistance. Library catalogers are expert at parsing metadata schemas and applying them to unique objects. David Burke is the primary library contact for metadata services.
Images from Energy.gov
Did you know Falvey Memorial Library existed years before the current building was completed in 1967? May 5, 1963, the Villanova University Library (now called Falvey Hall) was rededicated as Falvey Memorial Library. Planners called the 1967 building an “addition” or “wing” despite its larger size. Learning about the possibilities the planners considered fires the imagination.
A rooftop solarium, for example, was proposed but then declined due to possibility of additional floors being built. The new library had been constructed with “a fortified foundation” that would support additional stories, to be added as needed. Other plans included an outdoor patio and reading area in front of the current 24/7 study lounge. And a second elevator was proposed but declined due to its cost.
An architect had planned a doorway between Falvey Memorial Library (Falvey)’s third floor and Falvey Hall. Those plans changed, but a recess in Falvey’s third-floor wall remains. Falvey Hall’s exterior stonework is visible at the back of this niche. A statue of Mary, the mother of Jesus, now occupies that alcove.
For reasons unknown, the new building lacked a first-floor public restroom. That deficiency remained until the renovation of the library’s first floor in 2004.
Looking back from 2014, I think readers would agree that some of Falvey’s features turned out better than planned. For instance, planners did not intend to have windows in the fourth-floor wall adjacent to Falvey Hall because the view would be dominated by Falvey Hall’s roof. But the glass was less expensive than bricks, so windows were installed. Despite the mundane view, those windows do bring a great deal of natural light into the Library.
And the then-futuristic ceilings throughout the building, which conserve space by integrating lighting and HVAC systems with sound-absorbing acoustical panels, were designed by a Villanova University professor of mechanical engineering.
Falvey Memorial Library turns 47 years old in 2014.
(sources—“Library Rededicated by Board of Trustees as Falvey Memorial” The Villanovan, May 5, 1968, pp. 1, 7, “The Library Story” The Villanovan, Sept. 18, 1968, p. 4)
Article by Gerald Dierkes, information services specialist for the Information and Research Assistance team, senior copy-editor for the Communication and Service Promotion team and a liaison to the Department of Theater. Bottom photo by Joanne Quinn.
Hey blog fans, have you discovered the wonderful feed published by the Villanova Department of English? Not only is it an informative site for events, job leads and people news, it’s also a place for unexpected delights, like poems and photos of bright blue bicycles! Be sure to check it out regularly!
On a recent visit, we discovered a booklovers’s dream – a first-class summer reading list compiled by Department of English professors, written in their own voices. Ranging from classics to books just under the radar, you can be sure that time spent with these picks will be worthwhile – and if you’re not careful, you just might learn something! We’ve reprinted their recommendations here, including either a link to their Falvey catalog information or to our super speedy E-Z Borrow and ILL services.
One of the first books I plan on reading this summer is Lydia Davis’ new collection of short stories, Can’t and Won’t. I recently heard Davis read at the Free Library in Philadelphia, and her stories invariably manage to be both oracular and hilarious. An entire story from Davis is sometimes only one sentence long. Here’s “Bloomington,” for example: “Now that I have been here for a little while, I can say with confidence that I have never been here before.” EZB/ILL.
Life after Life, Kate Atkinson. All about the roads that could have been taken or, more to the point, all about the what-if when even the small life junctures might have been different. Title might be “life after life after life . . . ,” as the work reverts to the main character’s beginnings repeatedly and re-imagines different results. EZB/ILL.
The Flamethrowers, Rachel Kushner. A very edgy work that merges a woman’s motorcycle escapades with art, romance, cross-country wanderings, and a European trek that flirts with violent politics. (Finalist for 2013 National Book Award.)
A Tale for the Time Being, Ruth Ozeki. A lonely young woman bullied by her classmates and faced with dysfunctional behavior from her parents finds acceptance in her great grandmother’s Zen world.
Water by the Spoonful, Quiara Alegria Hudes. An Iraqi war vet returns home to Philadelphia where he struggles to balance his life against PTSD and the dynamics of change and tragic circumstances within his family. (Winner of 2012 Pulitzer Prize.) EZB/ILL.
The Mountaintop, Katori Hall. Play imagines the last hours of Martin Luther King at the Lorraine Motel on the night before his assassination. EZB/ILL.
Rapture, Blister, Burn, Gian Gionfriddo. One woman: committed homemaker. One woman: committed careerist. Each wonders if she made the right choice or if she can have it all. Solution: change places with each other. (Finalist for 2013 Pulitzer Prize.) EZB/ILL.
Other Desert Cities, Jon Robin Baitz. A writer returns home and announces to her parents that she is about to publish a memoir that reveals compelling family secrets. (Finalist for 2012 Pulitzer Prize.)
Disgraced, Ayad Akhtar. Work explores attitudes toward religion and, in particular, the conflict between modern life and the way faith challenges cultural mores. (Winner of 2013 Pulitzer Prize.) EZB/ILL.
I recommend War and Peace. It’s worth every hour (day, week) spent reading it and difficult to find time for once student life ends and summer vacations are no longer.
Asking me to pick just one is sort of like taking my son to the candy store and allowing him to buy a single jelly bean. Impossible! So how about three?
Marcel Proust, Swann’s Way. I first read Proust on my Northampton porch in between junior and senior year of college, when a surprisingly well paying busboy position meant hours of daytime leisure. The easy pace of summer allowed me to linger in Proust’s sentences and that lingering was maybe the most immensely pleasurable reading I’ve ever done. (For what it’s worth, many people prefer Lydia Davis’s translation published by Penguin, but I’m partial to the earlier Moncrieff, Kilmartin, Howard translation published by Modern Library.)
Saidiya Hartman, Lose Your Mother. Living in the United States, it seems to me we can do one of two things: think long and hard about race and racism or, like Captain Delano in Melville’s Benito Cereno, work assiduously at making ourselves ignorant in the face of our own reality. Hartman is one of the most insightful living scholars of slavery, a descendant of slaves, and an enviable writer. She uses her memoir, Lose Your Mother, to describe her journey along a slave route in Ghana, allowing her personal experience to help her readers better understand our own location within the geography and history of the Atlantic slave trade. I’d heard people talk before about the “legacies of slavery” and even used the phrase myself, but this book made me realize I can only ever begin to understand the full extent of what these “legacies” entail.
Alison Bechdel, Are You My Mother? A sequel to Fun Home, this graphic memoir describes Bechdel’s relationship with her emotionally distant mother in western Pennsylvania. I love it for its painfully unflinching look at the relationship between mothers and children. But I love it just as much for its exploration of the relationship between books and readers. Bechdel turns to books whenever she reaches an impasse in her life–in this account turning to the psychoanalytic writings of Freud, Jung, Winnicott, and Phillips. I recognize myself and many of my most avid students in her representation of reading as self-exploration, and I found that, like Bechdel and the reading she describes, I understood myself better once Are You My Mother? had come to a close.
Those three, plus Teju Cole’s glorious Twitter feed.
My pick for a summer novel for our students is Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. It’s a beautifully written book full of interesting characters and ambitious ideas about time and history.
Two books come to mind. Neither is a book of poems, exactly, but both get pretty close to being poetry by being about it so lovingly. The first is Words in Air, a book that collects all of the letters written between the poets Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell . They lived thousands of miles apart for most of their lives, and this book, in some sense, isn’t just about their friendship, it is their friendship.
The other is a book I just picked up for the first time: Madness, Rack, and Honey, which is a collection of quite playful lectures by the poet Mary Ruefle. I’m already stealing time to read it. Here is a representative moment, from a piece called “Short Lecture on Shakespeare”: “Yet there is one hard cold clear fact about him, a fact that freezes the mind that dares to contemplate it: in the beginning William Shakespeare was a baby, and knew absolutely nothing. He couldn’t even speak.” Isn’t that wonderful?
Two-Part Invention, by Madeline L’Engle, is a beautifully written memoir about an in-many-ways-wonderful 40 year marriage.
I’d highly recommend Claire Kilroy’s All Names Have Been Changed (about a group of Dublin creative writing students and their professor at Trinity College in Dublin) or her Tenderwire (an intelligent page-turner about a “reckless young musician’s obsession” with a very old violin). Claire Kilroy is one of Ireland’s best leading young writers—and she’ll be the 2015 Heimbold Chair of Irish Studies, so you can take a class with her!
My recommendation is James McBride’s Song Yet Sung. A brilliant story teller, McBride sets his penultimate novel on the eastern shore of Maryland in the 1850’s. And while the tale certainly asks readers to consider the concepts of slavery and freedom, it is as much an exploration of the contemporary moment. One of my absolute faves.
I’m going to read Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, and finish Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch. I’ve had the Mantel books for a year and I’m desperate to read them and we just read her really witty and biting essay, “Royal Bodies,” in my Contemporary British novel class. You should read her essay if you want to have a different perspective on Kate Middleton’s, errr, body parts. Donna Tartt—because The Secret History is just so so good. EZB/ILL.
I’m interested in spy novels in part because my father was in intelligence, and I highly recommend the novels of John Le Carré (I’ve recently re-read Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy). Beyond being page-turners (and more complex than simply good guys vs bad guys), I’m told that Le Carré’s novels give an accurate portrayal of the world of spycraft at a particular historical moment.
Consider reading The Round House by Louise Erdrich. I read this book over Christmas break and said to everyone who walked past me, “I just love this book.” It’s a great work by an important author—it won the National Book Award in 2012—but it’s also an addictive page-turner, a murder mystery, and an escape to a different world with a different culture. The Lit Fest novels this year were also excellent, especially Lord of Misrule and & Sons.
Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union. Set in a counterfactual future in which after losing the 6-day war, Palestinian Jews settle in Alaska, making a society alongside indigenous Alaskans, the novel explores worlds made of language as much as politics.
Robin McKinley, Sunshine. Not literarily significant, perhaps, but beautiful in its own way. Psychologically nuanced, surprisingly delicate novel of vampires and pastry chefs. EZB/ILL.
Charles Mann, 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created. Mind-openingly wide-ranging study of the non-human as well as human facets of European-American encounter.
Reprinted with permission of the Villanova University Department of English, with much appreciation. The post originally appeared on their blog Friday, May 9, 2014. Follow their blog here. Introduction and links prepared by Joanne Quinn.
Congratulations, Class of 2014 ! Now comes the hard part! Before you leave, let’s review a list of some things you might actually miss from Villanova.
Say goodbye to that $60 in print quota, and hello to notion of buying a home printer.
Remember when you felt like a king with all of the NovaBucks you had…
Picking out your own schedule and avoiding sunlight as if you were a vampire.
That feeling when the ACS professor lets you use a 3×5 index card for your final.
Doesn’t really work like that in the real world.
Deciding between bell-bottoms and Uggs or gym shorts with stilettos was a tough choice. Now comes the realization that 95% of your wardrobe is not business appropriate.
Using the gym on campus was convenient and modern. Now you have to resort to more dangerous tactics.
All of those friendships you have built up over the college years are basically cut in half, with friends moving home or to another city for a job.
Say goodbye to those 3 month vacations, unless you are becoming a teacher, of course. If you have the money for a vacation, it will probably be just 2 weeks.
Falvey grants courtesy memberships to alumni, making it possible for you to access our entire collection and online databases (while on site). No need to break the computer to find out more information.
Article by Raamaan McBride, writer on the Communication and Publications team, and specialist on the Access Services Team.
The US Department of Homeland Security’s United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team has released a major warning suggesting people stop using the popular Internet Explorer web browser until further notice. Security flaws in the browser allow malicious programs to be installed on a computer without the user’s knowledge simply by opening an email or visiting an infected website. While a fix from Microsoft is expected shortly, this may be the perfect time to upgrade to a safer, more modern browser.
For more about the security problem, check out the following news coverage:
Washington Post: “Internet Explorer bug offers yet another reason to upgrade from Windows XP”
USA Today: “Homeland Security: Don’t use IE due to bug”
National Public Radio: “U.S. Tells Users To Stop Using Internet Explorer For Now”
As alternatives, the Library recommends the Mozilla Firefox browser, which is available for free download for all operating systems at http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/new/
The widely popular Google Chrome browser is also free for all systems athttps://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/browser/
Apple’s Safari browser is free to the public for Windows and Apple Computers from https://www.apple.com/safari/
These three have no known major security flaws and work well with the library’s resources.
With finals rapidly approaching, now is a good time to learn about the library’s hidden gems. The Library offers so much more than books and study spaces (though those things are still pretty cool). Here are the top 10 things you may not have known you could do at the Library:
So much information is out there, and we want to help you access anything you need. Stop by Falvey to access current magazines and newspapers that will give any assignment extra flair. We want you to feel happy about your work.
Tired of waiting for a computer on the first floor? Does it make you feel like a lion scouting out prey? Try the Griffin Room in the back of the first floor, an instructional space that doubles as a computer lab.
We know finals are stressful, so we try to make it as easy as possible for you to get everything done. Falvey’s services allow you to scan and send documents to print, to your email or even to Google Docs! It’s like getting one of these …
There’s no need to stress out about finding an available computer to print. You can print right from your own laptop!
Yeah, you knew about the library’s 24-hour lounge (aka “Club 24”), but did you know the Library also has 24-hour study spaces in the Reading Room and lobby of Falvey Hall? And being surrounded by fellow night owls is encouraging: You’re not the only one cramming for a test or finishing that paper.
We know you’ll do great!
Good luck on finals!
Article by Raamaan McBride, writer on the Communication and Service Promotion team and specialist on the Access Services team.
Images & video researched by Kelly Forst, intern on the Scholarly Outreach & Events team.
The Library is a busy place, but during finals Falvey Memorial Library becomes even more of a hub for studying students. In Learning Support Services (located in the Learning Commons), we are keen observers of student study habits. As the campus population prepares for final exams, we want to share our top Do’s and Don’ts:
Do get enough sleep.
Even though Falvey Library’s 24-hour lounge is available, pulling an all-nighter is rarely a good idea. If you are too tired to think, you probably will not do well on your exam. Try using our end of semester calendar (found on our website) to plan out your prep so you don’t leave it all until the night before the big exam.
Don’t let distractions get the best of you.
Without the structure of regular class sessions leading up to and during finals week, it is easy to get swept up in a variety of tempting distractions. Netflix binge? Sure! A day lounging on Sheehan Beach? Why not?! Have fun, but strike a good balance between studying and free time.
Do find a study buddy.
Speaking of distractions, working in pairs or groups can be beneficial as long as you don’t use it as an excuse to procrastinate. Even if you prefer to study alone, consider teaming up with a friend while prepping for exams or working on that term paper. By choosing to study in the same place at the same time, you can support each other in achieving your goals.
Try pausing every hour to either quiz each other on material or read aloud sections from your essays. Have trouble resisting your phone or the pull of social media? If you are working at the same library table, trade phones with your study buddy for brief periods of time and agree to not answer them. That way, you know your phone is within reach, but you are not tempted to look at it every two minutes.
Don’t forget to test yourself.
The way students study is just as important as the time they devote to test prep. If you are not seeing as much success as you would like on your exams, there is a good chance you need to inject more self-testing into your study plan. Sites like Quizlet and Study Stack can be helpful. Notecards or two-column notes are old standbys. Practice tests and questions from the back of the chapter can also do the trick. The bottom line is: simply looking over your notes is not going to be as effective as self-testing.
We welcome the throngs of students who are about to come join us in the Learning Commons, and we wish you all luck on your final exams and papers! For additional learning strategies and stress management tips, check out the LSS website.
Article by Nicole Subik, learning specialist, Learning Support Services