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Past Masters: The World’s Greatest Thinkers at Your Fingertips

As we make our way into finals week, some of you may be getting more intimate with Falvey’s lounge in Holy Grounds, Falvey Hall’s reading room or the new Student Lounge for graduate students in the liberal arts and sciences, all of which are open 24/7. As you plug in, charge up, and tune in to finals mode, you should know that, if the worst should happen – if you forget to checkout a book – resources from the library are available to you even when our doors are closed.

Past Masters is a massive digital collection of published and unpublished works, articles, essays, letters, reviews and more from some of the world’s greatest thinkers. In addition to classical, medieval, continental, British and American philosophy, you can find electronic editions of works in religious studies, political thought, sociology, the history of science, economics and the classics. Past Masters also offers The English Letters Collection, which consists of letters, notebooks diaries and memoirs of everyone from Austen to Yeats, and The Women Writers Collection: primary works, letters, journals and notebooks of de Beauvoir, Bronte, Shelley, Wollstonecraft and other famous women writers.

You can find Past Masters on our Database A-Z list, or through the philosophy, theology/religious studies, English, classical studies, and Augustine and Culture seminar subject guides.

(Images from Past Masters)

(Images from Past Masters)

Test your knowledge: How many of these authors do you recognize? (See below for answer key.)

Need to locate a passage from Augustine’s Confessions? Or trace the use of a single word throughout Aristotle’s entire works? Past Masters allows full-text searching by term, author, title and subject. Texts are available to you in in Latin, French, German, Danish, English and in authoritative English translation. Many works in the collection even feature hyperlinked endnotes and pop-up annotations, so you don’t have to flip back and forth through any dense books in print. You can even get a citation in plain text, or export it to your RefWorks or EndNote account.

Encountering a problem with Past Masters? Have a question or comment? Feel free to contact the Library by phone at (610) 519-4270 or by text at (610) 816-6222, or email me personally at alexander.williams@villanova.edu.


Author Portrait Answers

From left to right and top to bottom: W.B. Yeats, Mary Wollstonecraft, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Adam Smith, Katherine Mansfield, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu.

Alexander Williams, ’11 MA, is the temporary librarian liaison to the Department of Theology and Religious Studies and a research librarian on the Academic Integration and the Information and Research Assistance teams. He is currently pursuing an MS in Library and Information Science at Drexel University’s iSchool.


Don’t Let This Be You! Part Three: Late Night Reference Librarians


Stuck on a paper, a point of study, or a matter of research? Research Librarians in all fields are available to answer questions via meeting, live chat, or text at Falvey Memorial Library. They’re even pulling later hours during the busy finals season. 


Script by Corey Waite Arnold, writer and intern on the Communication and Publications team. He is currently pursuing an MA in English at Villanova University.


Don’t Let This Be You! Part Two: 24 Hour Study Rooms



There’s no reason to flee the campus or keep your roommate awake during a long cram session—Falvey Memorial Library offers plenty of quiet study space in the lead-up to finals, including the new 24 Hour Reading Room.

Script by Corey Waite Arnold, writer and intern on the Communication and Publications team. He is currently pursuing an MA in English at Villanova University.


Don’t Let This Be You! Part One: Coffee


Falvey Memorial Library has got you covered for late-night java and snacks during finals season. Holy Grounds in the 24-Hour lounge will stay open past midnight beginning December 16th.  

See the barista for specific hours and information.

Script by Corey Waite Arnold, writer and intern on the Communication and Publications team. He is currently pursuing an MA in English at Villanova University.


Extended Library Hours December 9 – 19


To provide students with additional late night study facilities, the main Library will have extended hours beginning today, Monday, Dec. 9th. We’ll be open most nights until 3:00 a.m. As always, the 24/7 lounge is accessible via wildcard access. Check the Hours link on the library homepage for a full listing of extended hours.

rrwindtreAnd, now open for its inaugural finals season, the Falvey Hall lounge and Reading Room provide a cozy and inspirational space for quiet study.

From everyone at Falvey, good luck on your papers and final exams!


Foto Friday: Reopening the Reading Room

Poley DeGhetaldi Ellis

Darren Poley, Interim Library Director; Kristin DeGhetaldi, Conservator, University of Delaware; Rev. Kail C. Ellis, Ph.D., O.S.A., Vice President for Academic Affairs

The reopening of the Falvey Hall Reading Room and public restoration of Pietro da Cortona’s painting of David and Goliath.

Photograph by Alice Bampton, digital image specialist and senior writer on the Communication and Publications Team.


Magnificent but hidden reading room (and new 24-hour study space) unveiled


Falvey Hall reading room

In 2012, when St. Joseph’s University opened a multi-million-dollar addition to its library, a highlight was the new reading room: a comfortable, inviting space with two-story-high ceilings and large windows along one wall. Sounds like an ideal, even inspirational space for studying, doesn’t it? How surprised would you be to learn that, right now, Villanova University has a similar reading room? Falvey Hall’s reading room features a two-story-high arched ceiling and enormous windows along not one but two walls that flood the room with natural light.

I joined Falvey Memorial Library’s staff in 2002; at that time the room was a staff-only space used to store the VHS tape and DVD collections as well as microfilm and microfiche. It also housed the Mathematics Learning Resource Center. Whenever I brought a new student-employee through there, each one would have the same reaction: we’ve got to make this place a reading room again.

In 1949, when our current Falvey Hall opened as the Villanova College Library, The Villanovan described the reading room as follows: “The reading room, the largest room in the structure, occupies the entire two floors of the north wing. Book racks line the walls at about shoulder level, and long blond-oak tables with matching chairs are arranged in the room.” “Curtained windows, almost from the floor to the ceiling filled this room with homey warmth” (“A Century of Progress” The Villanovan, Feb. 15, 1949, p. 3). How did such a wonderful resource for students become unused and forgotten?

RS5189_BookScanStation-2012-06-07-02-34-03-PM (1)Less than two decades after its opening in 1949, the Villanova College Library had become inadequate to meet the needs of a growing University and its expanding student body. Villanova built a new library, Falvey Memorial Library, which opened in 1968. This new facility included a reserve room. Filled with tables and chairs, and intended for quiet study, this one-story room on the new library’s ground level served as a replacement for the former library’s reading room.

(The Rev. Dennis Gallagher, OSA, PhD, University archivist, provided the information in the following paragraph.)

Also at this time, the University had been providing a graduate program in library science, and, the Library Science Department had occupied the Villanova College Library’s second floor. After the new library opened, the Library Science Department moved into the Villanova College Library’s first floor, including the reading room. “On September 21, 1974, the dedication of the Eastern Area Branch Library Examination Center took place. This collection was located in the … reading room for several years. After the Examination Center moved, the room was used for the professional collection of the Library Science Department, including children’s literature, reference resources and other materials. [In the] late 1980s, microfilm, microfiche, film, slides, VHS tapes and DVD collections were housed in that area. Early in the 1990s when the Library Science program was terminated, [additional reading-room] space was allocated to the Mathematics Learning Resource Center,” according to Father Gallagher. (more…)


Falvey Faculty Satisfaction Survey: results are in!

In March 2013, the Falvey Satisfaction Survey was administered through the University’s Office of Planning and Institutional Research (OPIR) to a random sample of 669 full-time and adjunct faculty members. The aim was to learn how their teaching and research activities interact with Falvey Memorial Library resources and services.

Results included responses from 14 academic administrators and chairs, the College of Engineering, College of Nursing, the Villanova School of Business, and a majority of responses from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences – humanities, social sciences, and sciences.

THANK2We are grateful to every one of you who took the time this year to tell us what you think. Some highlights appear below. A full report about library services and collections, e-book usage, students’ use of information, data indicators and written comments are linked below. The report is accompanied by an appendix of selections from a U.S. faculty survey.

Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 9.51.42 AM

Library Services & collections

The library website remains one of the best ways to learn about library events, services or resources along with Campus Currents Newswire, email and the liaison librarian. An average of 83% of full-time faculty knows one or more of their liaison librarians, a slight increase over the past survey. More than half of adjunct faculty responding know one of their liaison librarians, a significant increase since our last survey.

The interlibrary loan/E-ZBorrow services ranked essential or very high in importance for fully 95% of respondents, followed by research consultations for faculty and students, walk-in reference help, library website content, liaison librarians, and library online subject, course and topic guides.

“I have never been without what I need. If Falvey does not have it, ILL [interlibrary loan] has been great.”

Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 9.53.39 AMSee the full report here.

SteinMerrill Stein is team leader of the Assessment team and liaison to the Department of Political Science. Other members of the Assessment team include Dennis Lambert, Kathleen O’Connor, Susan Ottignon and Barbara Quintiliano. 




Open Access Week Defined

open access logoThis week we celebrate Open Access Week, which is now in its sixth year. What is open access: that free Facebook page you created or that summer blockbuster movie you want to download? According to openaccessweek.org, open access is “the free, immediate, online access to the results of scholarly research, and the right to use and re-use those results as you need.” It is typically used in academic circles. Furthermore, the goal of open access week is to “host faculty votes on campus open-access policies, to issue reports on the societal and economic benefits of Open Access, to commit new funds in support of open-access publication, and more.”

At Falvey we strive to follow the open access standard concerning our own policies, software and procedures. David Uspal, Falvey’s senior web specialist for library services and scholarly applications, discussed the many open access projects with which the Library is involved. Upsal explains that almost all of the software the Library uses, from VUDL to VuFind, is open source. For the future, the Library intends to establish an open source integrated library system, or ILS, called Kuali OLE. In addition, the Library publishes open access journals, and Upsal is working to add even more journals to Falvey’s open access publications.

Today, October 21st,  Villanova will discuss possibilities of moving further into open access. This faculty forum, the second out of three such forums, will be “devoted to a discussion of the high cost of journal publication and the emergence of open access journals as a potential vehicle for scholarly publication.” This forum will take place at 3:30 p.m. in the Connelly Center cinema and will feature brief talks by faculty and library staff.

Raamaan McBride is a writer for the Communication & Service Promotion Team and an Access Services Specialist on the Access Services Team.



Midterm Madness at the Learning Commons: Two Questions for Learning Support Services Director Nancy Mott

MIDTERM-MADNESS-GREYGUYWhat do you wish students knew about your services?

We have just completed 14 workshops on time management for first-year students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. As part of these workshops we address the need for long term planning so that the student doesn’t get overwhelmed by the midterm requirements.

Do you offer services/hours tailored to midterms?

Our one on one academic coaching sessions are the most utilized of our services.  At this time of year we have multiple requests for working up a study plan and techniques for addressing test anxiety.

These sessions are happening now since during the last week prior to break we are focused on proctoring exams for students needing testing accommodations.

Our weekly study groups for anatomy and physiology and gen bio are now up and running.

Encouraging students to check out our website for study tips and various resources would be ideal, along with our facebook page.

The photo below was taken at our weekly study group for general biology students. This group of 20 students meets every Thursday night from 8:00 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. here in the Learning Commons. LSS initiated this effort and hired a content person, Joanne Petrescu, to work with Emily McMordie (instructor, pictured), our graduate assistant.


In the midst of dreaded midterm exams, the role of Falvey’s Learning Commons is increasingly important. The Learning Commons, on the second floor of Falvey, houses the Writing Center, Room 210; the Math Learning Resource Center (MLRC), Room 211; Learning Support Services (LSS), Room 212; the offices of the research support librarians; and the office of Kimberley Bugg, team leader of Information and Research Assistance and Service Development.

Nancy Mott, EdD, is the Learning Support Services Director. Mary Beth Simmons, MFA, is the Writing Center director. Melissa Ferreira, MA, directs the Math Learning Resource Center. All are dedicated to helping Villanova students achieve their academic goals. A small non-circulating reference collection and several comfortable seating areas complete the Learning Commons.

Alice Bampton is an digital image specialist and senior writer on the Communication and Publications Team.


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Last Modified: October 10, 2013