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The Great, Good Place

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American author Henry James wrote a short story in 1900 in which protagonist George Dane, a successful author (and as most surmise, James’ alter ego), dreams of a ‘great good place’ far from the busy day to day trappings of reading, writing and responsibilities. AKA, what today’s generation would label #firstworldproblems! 

Sociologist Roy Oldenburg borrowed the term for the title of his influential book The Great Good Place: Cafes, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons, and Other Hangouts at the Heart of a Community, a treatise on the human need for third places for congregation and happiness. Oldenburg found communal bliss in places like pubs, cafes and libraries.

We hope that the Class of 2015 and all members of the Villanova community who come to Falvey Memorial Library have utilized and enjoyed our third place creature comforts (i.e. the comfy chairs, whiteboard art, Peet’s coffee and the close company of others in the same boat) as much as the academic trappings of reading, writing and responsibilities. As Pete Hamill wrote, (and Oldenburg included in his introduction),  “But aside from friends, there must also be a Place. I suppose that this is the Great Good Place that every man carries in his heart…”

Villanova University Class of 2015, we hope you remember Falvey as a great, good place. 


Photo by Joanne Quinn. Follow the library on Instagram @falveylibrary.


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Last Modified: May 14, 2015