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‘Twas the Week Before Finals: Learning Support Services

LSS logoThe 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

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You asked & we listened! Library expands 24-hour building access for Finals now through May 9.


If you’re searching for quiet areas where you can study uninterrupted and for unlimited periods of time, Falvey Memorial Library is pleased to announce the extension of areas available for 24/7 study in the building from now until Friday, May 9. The first, second and ground floors will now be available for Villanova students 24/7, in addition to the Holy Grounds lounge, Falvey Hall Lounge and Reading Room.

During this special finals hours period, be aware that from 3 a.m. until staff arrive in the morning, there will be no library services or access to the book collections on the third and fourth floors – but we can promise you plenty of peace and quiet!

A public safety officer will be in the building and making walk-throughs to provide an additional measure of security, in addition to the CCTV surveillance cameras we have in place.

Be sure to bring your Wildcard to gain access to the building.

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‘Twas the Week Before Finals: S.O.S. Robin’s Signs of Spring


Have you heard of the Pomodoro technique? It’s a time management technique developed by university student Francesco Cirillo back in the ’80s. The basics are simple:

  • Set a timer for 25 minutes.
  • Work solidly for those 25 minutes.
  • Ignore all distractions—email, your cat, birds chirping, roommates, giant lizard people—until the timer goes off.
  • Set your timer for 5 minutes, get up from your chair and take a break: get a cup of coffee, pet the cat, read Falvey’s blog, check Facebook, etc.
  • When the timer goes off, set it for 25 minutes again and get back to work.
  • Every 2 hours (or 4 work blocks) take a big break of at least 20 minutes off to take a walk, eat a meal, or save the world from lizard people.

This technique takes me from Queen of Procrastination to a work-doing machine.

If you’re into apps, there is a huge variety of Pomodoro timer apps.

On Android we liked Concentrato Pomodoro Timer, Clockwork Tomato and Pomodoro Tasks.

On iOS we liked DropTime, Pomodoro List and Po-Pomodoro.

evernote peek


From re-memorizing the vocabulary from the start of the semester to nailing down those last few dozen facts, studying for finals requires some hard-core memorization. The tried and true standby, flashcards, has morphed into a huge variety of study apps for your smartphone or tablet. The three we liked the best were—

has a huge pre-made library of flashcards or make your own and share them with your classmates. Schedule your study time and StudyBlue sends you a text message when it’s time to study from your smartphone, tablet, or computer.

Evernote Peek
lets you create and study flashcards on your iPad with a twist. Use a magnetic cover to read the question and then Peek to see if your answer was correct.

is opensource flashcards specifically with scientific or mathematical markup. On your computer, their website,  or on a mobile device, make cards with pictures, video, anything you like.


First, take a deep breath.


Whatever it is that’s freaking you out right now, chances are good we have something that will help …

at the Library!

The Library isn’t just all heavy books you need for papers; it’s also study guides, helpful videos, thought provoking reading and above all …

helpful people.

The Library is staffed until midnight Sundays-Thursdays and, starting Monday April 28, until 3 a.m. every day except Saturday until finals are over.

See our webpage for detailed hours.

You can also send us your questions from the comfort of … well, anywhere!

You can email, call, text, or chat us (graphics) your questions to be answered by our helpful array of subject specialist librarians.


Seniors, we all know how it is. The weather warms, the last few things on your to-do list are falling away and so is your motivation. Here are a few things you may want to do with your last weeks on campus:

– Remember your past … and your library books:

Now’s a great time to check in on your favorite professors and staff here at Villanova one last time.

Get letters of recommendation, secure contacts for the future,

and remember to return any outstanding library books! Having books on your account can prevent you from getting your diploma on graduation day, so stop in and make sure your account is clear with us.

– Look to your future:

gonova jobsOn Monday, May 19 it will seem like a whole new world. Be sure you know what direction you’re heading by stopping by the Career Center to meet with one of their professional career counselors or peer career assistants who can help you with your resume or show you the GoNova Jobs listings or help you take advantage of any of their other resources.

While you’re at it, look to your future as a Villanova alumni by stopping by the Library to apply for your alumni access card which lets you keep on borrowing library materials and ensures continued access to our electronic resources from within the building.

– Take care of yourself!

raccoon eyesWith all the excitement you’ll be tempted to skip sleep and meals to try to squeeze as much as possible into these last few weeks. Use common sense, however; regular sleep and meals help you keep these important memories for a lifetime and also make sure you won’t be mistaken for a raccoon in your graduation photos with Grandma.

 by Robin Bowles, research librarian on the Academic Integration Team and a liaison librarian to the Villanova University Biology Department.


‘Twas the Week Before Finals: Chicago-Style

chicago manual of style

Are you working on a final project or paper that requires Chicago Style formatting? Attend this helpful session to brush up before your deadline.

The workshop will be held in Falvey 204 in the second-floor Learning Commons on Tuesday, April 29:  4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

For more information, contact history liaison librarian Jutta Seibert.


What’s that New Desk for in The Learning Commons?

Second floor service deskThe new Learning Commons Service Desk has opened on Falvey’s second floor. The Library has recognized the need for a service point in the Learning Commons to help library patrons locate resources, people and places. Falvey’s Information and Research Assistance team, whose mission is “to serve the Villanova community by connecting members and visitors with the resources necessary to achieve their learning and research goals while developing their information-seeking skills,” has assigned two of its team members to staff this new desk.

Information Services Specialists Donna Chadderton and Gerald Dierkes will be happy to—

  • Connect you with a research librarian,
  • Direct you to the print and online resources you seek
  • And get you answers for your questions.

Donna and Gerald staff the desk Monday through Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Stop by and say “Hi.”

Photo taken by Alice Bampton, digital image specialist and senior writer on the Communication and Service Promotion team.


Continuum: Falvey is the Place to Be

DarrenWith hints of spring in the air, I hope the Villanova community has been faring well during the recent severe winter weather. I need to inform you about a schedule change and a noteworthy event.

In response to the University’s plan to schedule make-up classes on Sundays as compensation for snow days, Falvey is offering expanded hours. The Library will be open two hours earlier (including collection access and desk services) on the following Sundays: March 16, March 23, March 30, April 6, April 13, April 27 and May 4—in other words, from 10 a.m. to midnight on the Sundays for rescheduled classes and for the last week of exams. The library’s first-floor lounge and Falvey Hall (aka Old Falvey), as places to study, are still Wildcard accessible 24/7.

Despite the weather’s disruption to classes, event programming in Falvey has not been hindered. We have been the venue for 62 events and meetings in the spring semester so far. It looks as though the Library will have hosted or sponsored close to 200 again this academic year.

scholars_bw.jpgOne library event that is on track for at the end of the semester is the annual Falvey Scholar Awards.

Falvey Memorial Library is now gathering Falvey-Scholars-Award nominations from faculty members who work with undergraduates on a senior thesis or capstone project. The individuals or teams of Villanova seniors who are accomplishing the most outstanding undergraduate research should be nominated.

The faculty-nomination deadline is April 4. We also welcome nominations before the April 4 deadline.

For the link to the nomination page and more information about the Falvey Scholars Award, go to the Library’s Falvey Scholars Webpage.

Nominated students or teams will be invited to apply for the award. Winners will be chosen from the pool of nominated undergraduate seniors who apply. Winners will be invited to present their research at the Falvey Scholars Award event, part of a weeklong celebration of outstanding Villanova research.

Falvey Scholars Event:

Date: Friday, April 25

Time: 9 a.m.-12 noon

Location: Falvey Memorial Library


Collection-and-Services Data Tell a Story

Out of the 570,000 print titles in our collection, about 60,000 circulated to Villanova patrons last year. This doesn’t include the journals, group study rooms or laptops. Many print materials are also used in-house without being checked out to patrons.

It’s perhaps not surprising that the main stacks titles with the heaviest circulation in the Falvey collection are a mix of fiction and non-fiction, including business, history and literature titles that can be associated with actively taught courses. Looking at the top five titles below, I’m going to have to say that Catching Fire is probably evidence that patrons still want to read for enjoyment and not just for assignments.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. (10 loans)

AchebePragmatism as Transition: Historicity and Hope in James, Dewey, and Rorty by Colin Koopman. (10 loans)

Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success by Rodney Stark. (10 loans)

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. (9 loans)

Business of Sports: edited by Brad R. Humphreys and Dennis R. Howard.  (7 loans)

While the most popular books borrowed in 2013 weren’t necessarily predictable, they showed us what students and faculty were interested in last year. By comparing this internal data with the external data below, we also see where gaps may exist in our collections.

between menBehavioural ecology (7 requests), Programming the World Wide Web (5 requests) and Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening (4 requests) were the top three requested titles through Interlibrary Loan, spanning the humanities and sciences. The two books borrowed most through E-ZBorrow were Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire (4 requests) and Introduction to Software Testing (4 requests), also representing the arts and sciences equally.

Moving on from monographs (print books), we have statistics showing the number of articles requested through Interlibrary Loan from other libraries’ journal holdings and through Document Delivery services from our own journal collection.

What is Document Delivery, you may ask? It’s a service rendered only to Villanova students, staff and faculty who need a scanned (digitized) copy of a print journal article from our collection.

It’s interesting to note the fifteen most requested journal titles through Interlibrary Loan are a mix of many disciplines, but most predominantly philosophy, theology, nursing and engineering, as evidenced by the top five titles from that list.

Critical care medicine (43)

Water Science and Technology (20)

Theology and Science (19)

The Leibniz review (17)

American family physician (17)

As you can see, journal data from the Document Delivery system shows that faculty and patrons are making good use of this service, although theology, nursing and engineering emerge as the frontrunners.

Journal of Ecumenical Studies (74 requests)

Tetrahedron Letters (35 requests)

JAMA : the Journal of the American Medical Association (22 requests)

National Catholic Register (20 requests)

Journal of Heat Transfer (19 requests)

Falvey librarians use all available data to make purchasing decisions in consultation with individual academic departments. We also strive to improve patron access to our immediate collection and to offer services that extend the collection beyond our walls.

Article by Luisa Cywinski, editorial blog coordinator, Communication & Service Promotion team; team leader, Access Services.


Critical care medicine

Water Science and Technology

Theology and Science

The Leibniz review

American family physician




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Longer (Sun)days and Midterm Hours

2014-02-04 11.50.54The weather may have shortened the lead time for midterms, but we’ve lengthened the library hours. Not only will the Library stay open until 3 a.m. on February 24 – 26, we will also open the Library earlier on Sundays, at 10 a.m. So when you hear those early birds chirping outside your windows as harbingers of spring, you can jump out of bed and head to Falvey. And don’t forget, you can also use the 24-hour study lounges in the Library and Falvey Hall!


Photo by Joanne Quinn




Sunday Hours Extended to Accommodate Make-up Classes

Painted in WaterlogueAs we all know, the past month has been rife with severe weather and power outages that forced the University to close for a total of seven class days so far.

In response to these events, the Rev. Kail C. Ellis, PhD, OSA, vice president of Academic Affairs, has offered faculty the option to “schedule make-up classes on Sundays in order to offer classroom/lab teaching possibilities which will minimize faculty and student conflicts … and spread the make-up sessions throughout the second half of the semester.”

Interim Library Director Darren Poley quickly responded to this decision by extending Sunday library hours. Starting Feb. 23, the Library will open at 10 a.m., two hours earlier than usual.

The Sundays before and after Spring Break, and Easter Sunday, will not be affected by this temporary adjustment to library hours.

Feb. 23: 10 a.m. – Midnight

March 2 (Beginning of Spring Break): Closed

March 9 (End of Spring Break): 2 p.m. – 12 a.m.

March 16: 10 a.m. – Midnight

March 23: 10 a.m. – Midnight

March 30: 10 a.m. – Midnight

April 6: 10 a.m. – Midnight

April 13: 10 a.m. – Midnight

April 20 (Easter Sunday): Closed

April 27: 10 a.m. – Midnight

May 4: 10 a.m. – Midnight

As always, late night study hours will be available during midterms.

“We encourage everyone to work together to manage this problem in a spirit of cooperation and patience.” –Father Ellis

Photograph by Joanne Quinn, graphic design specialist and team leader, Communication and Service Promotion.


How Easy is E-ZBorrow?

ezborrow logoWhen current Villanova University students, faculty or staff can’t find the book they need in our collection, they turn to E-ZBorrow or Interlibrary Loan (ILLiad).

The recently upgraded E-ZBorrow service, which delivers books to Villanova library patrons within 4-5 days of their requests, is popular because it’s easy to search for and request books from 50 participating Mid-Atlantic libraries. The newest library to join E-ZBorrow is New York University with close to 4 million volumes in its collection. Once a requested item arrives, it can be borrowed for up to 12 weeks (6-week loan with optional 6-week renewal).

Very often, when a Falvey title is unavailable, the library’s catalog provides the user a “Search E-ZBorrow” link.

ezb vufind charged


ezb facetedThe E-ZBorrow link can also be found on our homepage. The E-ZBorrow web interface was recently improved with better advanced searching and faceted results that offer the patron related headings, like author and subject. Its advanced search is more robust, allowing users to combine search words in several fields, including author, title, keywords and ISBN.

Also new on the E-ZBorrow service site are icons that indicate the format of the material at lending libraries. Although regular print books can always be requested, only some libraries will have copies available. As shown below, libraries with requestable copies are listed, but E-ZBorrow also shows that Villanova (PVU) has a copy available and provides a link to the Falvey catalog.

ezb link to pvu


If the E-ZBorrow system deems that no copies are available, it will prompt the user to click on a link to Interlibrary Loan (ILLiad), another excellent service that provides users with materials from libraries all over the world.

ezb link to ill


ILLiad policies are a bit more limited (2-3 week loans), but some users prefer ILLiad because they can find and borrow unusual or rare materials not held by the E-ZBorrow libraries. ILLiad is also used by patrons to request articles from print and electronic collections. We can very often deliver requested articles within 24-48 hours.

If you need additional assistance, don’t hesitate to call the Information Desk at 610-519-4270. You can also contact a subject librarian for more specialized help.

Article by Luisa Cywinski, team leader of Access Services and editorial coordinator on the Communication & Service Promotion team.


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Last Modified: February 11, 2014