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‘Cat in the Stacks: Introducing the Dugan Polk Family Reading Room


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 Library’s role.


The pace of twenty-first century development and innovation necessitates the constant reinvention of oneself. The Falvey Memorial Library did just that – reinvent itself – with the opening of the Dugan Polk Family Reading Room this past Monday. The library staff hosted an open house for students to talk and ask questions before the room was officially open for quiet study.

The feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive and stands as a testament to the great work of the planners here at the library, the construction personnel who made the plan a reality, and the donors who financed the project. Here are just a few of the positive remarks we received:

“It’s beautiful, super spacious and very bright.” – Maggie Cavanaugh, Senior

“It takes my breath away. I came in here a lot over the last two years, looking at what they said was going to be done. It’s really cool to see the final product.” – Nkemka Obineche, Junior

“I’d do group projects here because there are so many chairs and tables.” – Connor Larkin, Freshman

“I was shocked at how many tables and chairs there were and how much space there is to study. Then I was really excited because it’s such a comfortable space that’s also so beautiful and eloquent.” – Gabriella Berman, Senior

The opening of the reading room itself could not have come at a more appropriate time during the semester than it did. The couple weeks after fall break mark the period during which the pace of the semester picks up, and we start quickly moving toward those busy and hectic, yet rewarding and fulfilling final weeks.

A Panoramic View of the Dugan Polk Family Reading Room

A Panoramic View of the Dugan Polk Family Reading Room

In dramatic terms, we’ve reached the period of falling action. This means that our goals are now affirmed or realigned and the semester’s story is heading toward its moments of last suspense. The opening of the reading room, in addition to offering a space for students’ final push for the end of the semester, reinvents the library’s offerings and demonstrates our commitment to the goal of providing cutting-edge resources for Villanova students.

In addition to leaving their positive comments about the new space, some people talked about the struggles of the old reading room, including: having to leave because there were no three-pronged outlets, contorting to the sunlight to get enough light to read, and peaking through a fence to see an old piece of art.

The Dugan Polk Family Reading Room solved all of these issues and many more. In addition to three-pronged outlets, each outlet in our new space has two USB chargers (eliminating the need to bring two adapters to charge your phone at the library!). You can also leave those extension cords at home as well, as each desk has built-in power strips, and wall outlets can be found nearby each and every seating area.

The new reading room features cozy armchairs and places to charge your phones, tablets, phablets, cameras, Nintendo DS, etc.

The new reading room features cozy armchairs and places to charge your phones, tablets, phablets, cameras, Nintendo DS, etc.

I can best describe the lighting in the room as immaculate. Instead of the dangling ceiling lamps of the old reading room, the Dugan Polk Family Reading Room now features LED lighting that adjusts to the brightness of the room. The “Triumph of David” painting benefits immensely from this lighting. Even people walking outside of the reading room during the evening and night will be able to see the spectacular baroque piece from the Falvey walkway.

The "Triumph of David" spectacularly lit.

The “Triumph of David” spectacularly lit.

These are some of the technical features of the room, but the breathtaking gestalt of sitting down in such an aesthetic space offers the recognition that the library staff understands the needs and experiences of the students. At a time in the semester when it’s time to buckle down and get the work done, we (along with our donors) have provided this new reading room for you to focus in and get the work done.

Enjoy your new space, Wildcats. As you prepare to tackle those term projects, remember that just as much as you want to succeed, we, here at the library, would love to see you prepare to flourish utilizing our continuously reinvented resources and spaces.

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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: October 19, 2016

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