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‘Cat in the Stacks: The Prodigal Undergraduate

CAT Heading

I’m William Repetto, a first-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is the “‘Cat in the Stacks” column. I’m your ‘cat. I’ll be posting about college life, about learning and growing here at Villanova, and, of course, about the Falvey Memorial Library’s role.


On this fourth Wednesday of fall semester, the ‘Cat in the Stacks has found it fit to recount the story of the Prodigal Undergraduate:

An undergraduate once came to the Falvey Memorial Library and demanded to have his share of the wisdom and resources. Being a loving library, we granted this wish to the undergraduate, imparting our knowledge of Zotero and ProQuest and Browzine.

We watched the student flourish throughout the semester, writing essays, case studies and annotated bibliographies without worry or hesitation. The undergraduate’s professors were very impressed and had to invent new grades beyond “A+” to accommodate for the student’s success.

After receiving a few of our best resources, though, the student did not return to the Falvey. This undergraduate thought that the library’s resources are final and that we are not always introducing new technologies and methods – he was sadly mistaken.

When the time came for the undergraduate to write a term paper, however, this particular student realized that more of the library’s resources were needed. He resolved, “I will go to the Falvey Memorial Library and say, ‘I have misused your resources, simply to impress my professors. I must return and learn more about the diverse resources available to me.”

The library saw the student coming at a distance, and the staff decided to build a new reading room in celebration of the student’s return. The resource librarians all poured into the new space to aid in the student’s research.

The graduate students put down their cup of ‘cat-feine, came downstairs from their lounge and said, “Falvey, I have never misused your resources, but you’ve never built a reading room for me.”

To which the Falvey Memorial Library responded, “You graduate students are always here anyhow; I’m sure you’ll find a nook or cranny in the new reading room suitable for composing your next masterpiece.”

Most will recognize this story as that of the Prodigal Son, and the devout few will recognize the story as this week’s Gospel reading. I’ve tweaked the story (moderately), in order to share some details of the Falvery Memorial Library with you.

Prodigal Undergrad

Courtesy of user “Bookends.” A surprisingly accurate rendition of those graduate students mentioned above.

The overall theme of the story is student versus semester. We, here at the Falvey, understand the matrix of stress, satisfaction, challenge, disappointment, late nights, early mornings, and fulfillment called the semester. It’s a real uphill battle sometimes, and we want you to know we’re here to help you level the playing field.

The assistance we can provide comes in many forms. While books and online databases are the most recognizable features of any library, the Falvey Memorial Library prides itself on providing a much broader range of services. Whether you need a space for silent or collaborative studying or if you need a research expert to help you along the way, the Falvey staff can point you in the right direction.

We know that the other obligations of the semester, e.g., internships, work-studies, athletics and other activities, pull you away from us. Sometimes it’s easiest to just scratch the surface of what the library provides and try to get through (sometimes very successfully) with just the bare minimum. Regardless, our staff continues to innovate on your behalf; we’re building a new reading room and providing new service, such as Zotero and Browzine to help expand your intellectual horizons.

Reading Room 500

An architect’s rendition of that reading room we’re still putting up. Image courtesy of BLTa.

If you haven’t been to the library in a while, that’s okay! Our staff does not just pander to those pesky graduate students (always typing away at their magnum opus), they are here to help you with any assignment, project, presentation you put in front of them. These resources are such an embedded part of your Villanova experience that we don’t even charge you any extra to use them. Not using them would be, in my opinion, quite prodigal.


Website photo 2 Article by William Repetto, a graduate assistant on the Communications and Marketing Team at the Falvey Memorial Library. He is currently pursuing an MA in English at Villanova University.

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Last Modified: September 14, 2016

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