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‘Cat in the Stacks: Stacks Aversion


I’m Michelle Callaghan, a first-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is our new 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.



Shortly before Thanksgiving break, I took out two books from Falvey—the first books I’ve taken out from our library all semester. I guess that’s not super scandalous; I’ve been busy reading the books I actually bought for the semester, and I’ve mostly used online databases for journal articles for all my supplementary research. Now that it’s paper-writing time, I went for a swim in the stacks.

But this is kind of scandalous: as an undergraduate English major, I never took a book out of the library.

Not once.


If you’re cringing, I’m sorry. But if you’re embarrassed for me, don’t be. I did very well.

Still, even though I didn’t use the library in the traditional sense, every single resource I used was provided to me through the library—library subscriptions, interlibrary loans.

But I don’t advocate a life without the stacks! My stacks aversion meant I did five times more work than I actually had to by draining databases dry instead of checking out dozens of relevant books. And I missed out on so many incredible research avenues because I was too, what, lazy? Afraid of asking a librarian for help?

Why didn’t I browse the stacks? I had all sorts of excuses.

Wah, it’s outdated, wah! It’s not. I just took a book out about digital culture in World of Warcraft. This isn’t grandma’s local library.

Wah, it’s hard! It’s not. Falvey’s online catalog even has maps. The circulation desk has signs to point you where you go about checking out and returning materials and your Wildcard does the rest. I’m partially allergic to approaching Front Desks, and I survived.

Wah, I don’t want to leave my room! Well, I still don’t wanna leave my room.

But I did! just took out three awesome books on video games (and if you want them, too bad. You’ll have to wait until the end of January because I’m doing super important research. But then I promise I will stop monopolizing the video game holdings. Maybe.)



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: December 4, 2014

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