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Continuum: Welcome 2014


As classes get back into full swing for the spring semester, I hope students continue to see their Library as a welcoming and inviting place to interact and explore intellectually. My concern is that, because they grew up in a digital world, students may not recognize that the Library is significant and also relevant to current learning and study needs.

A good contemporary academic library, such as Falvey, functions as a setting for group study, a collaborative environment for interacting around computers, a place to connect with complex digital resources while receiving instructional assistance from a librarian, and a venue for a broad mix of cultural and intellectual events, in addition to providing access to learning resources in print and digital forms. Falvey strives to provide students with a lively and diverse learning environment.

We know students come to study in Falvey and Falvey Hall, both individually and in groups, often using the group-study rooms, Reading Room and similar study spaces we have available. They come for quick access to email; if they don’t have their laptop with them, they borrow one of our laptops; and they use the wireless network to sit comfortably and read, write, browse the Web, or perform similar tasks. They come to Falvey to print documents (we have the busiest printers on campus!) and for assistance with class assignments. They come to access services on the second-floor Learning Commons: the Writing Center, the Math Learning Resource Center, Learning Support Services, Library Research Support.

Our mission is to provide a positive supportive experience from the start, so our users will see the Library as a place to come when they need assistance and support with academic and co-curricular pursuits. We very much see Falvey Memorial Library as essential to the Villanova experience.



Continuum: Building on Our Success

Darren2014 will be a year for Falvey to build on its successes. We are a Library recognized nationally for excellence in many different areas, and internationally for innovative thinking and action.

When I look around our Library, I see champions. When I look at the teams and groups around the Library, both formal and informal, I see collaborative efforts for the common good which are willing to experiment and nurture new ideas. When I think about Falvey, I see a Library that has already achieved greatness by balancing risk with return on investment. When I talk to folks outside the Library, I hear amazement. They desire to emulate the things we have done if they are at other academic libraries, and they desire to work with us on big ideas in support of the University’s strategic goals if they are members of Villanova’s community. It is a proven fact: we are a great Library when we work together.FOIGHTACRL In 2013, for example, the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) presented the Excellence in Academic Libraries Award in the university category to Falvey Memorial Library (See more about the award here.)

I want Falvey to build on its successes, and there are many. I will measure my own success as interim director based on the success of everyone at Falvey, individually and collectively. I cannot control or invent our success. It is something we will achieve by continuing to do the things we already do well, and by building on our many accomplishments. Together we will accomplish the greatness we have only just begun to realize.



Continuum: Your Academic Library, both Active and Passive

DarrenThe answer to what an academic library is varies based on one’s need. I suggest, however, it must be both active and passive in providing services if it is to be relevant to its community. The needs of our university-community members constantly change: sometimes daily, even hourly. To be ready to meet the challenges this situation presents, the academic library should be a nimble yet stable institution. Active and nimble while remaining passive and stable is a pretty tough role. So what allows us to fulfill this role, and how is Falvey accomplishing this “all things to all people” model when it comes to providing services?

Falvey Library Mobile Website

What keeps an academic library active and nimble is looking to the immediate needs for which students and faculty turn to the library: access to data and assistance transforming data into information in the pursuit of knowledge. Current sources, many of them instantaneous, can give anyone access to data by means of devices that can fit in your backpack or even your pocket. Knowing how to locate relevant data, sift through results, and evaluate the academic appropriateness of what is discovered is the true hurdle. While technological facility and some degree of discovery sophistication are almost innate among today’s students, real information literacy is the key for unlocking data in an effort to turn it into knowledge.

An essential element of this process is the librarian, who actively reaches out to scholars in an effort to guide and instruct, helping them successfully migrate from data seeker to knowledge worker. The pedagogy for information literacy, therefore, needs to be seamlessly combined with many different efforts at customer service. To achieve this end, the reference-books area on Falvey’s second floor is being reconfigured into a research service center to strengthen the library’s customer-service presence on the Learning Commons street. This improvement is precisely the kind of service provision outreach that helps students find their way to advanced library research assistance and the librarians with subject expertise.

This change is active, too, in that it results from a data driven decision to offer a concierge-like service. It is nimble in that Falvey as a facility is not so fixed that it is unable to adapt. In fact, the space which we are identifying as the research service center will convert to an area of mixed furniture for studying when it is not staffed. This capability results directly from a survey of library users, primarily undergraduate students. So the space passively waits to be made active by librarians reaching out to assist students, and students can inhabit the space for studying when it’s not active as a service center.

READING2 ROOM SUNNYAnother example of a passive space that becomes animated with activity is the Falvey Hall lobby and reading room. Recently, areas of Falvey Hall (aka “Old Falvey”) that for years had been unavailable to students have been re-opened for quiet study 24/7. The spaces now passively wait for university community members to use them for their intended purposes. The newly opened study lounge and reading room greatly increase the capacity for the Library to be the place on campus to study, anytime, day or night. Yet these stable venues are activated in that students use white boards in the Falvey Hall lobby to diagram and articulate, and in the reading room, long the hallmark of an academic library, they can participate as a spectator in the ongoing Baroque painting conservation campaign. Mere passive spaces again become lively and furtive for the transformation of data to information, and on into knowledge.

Falvey is poised to provide active library research assistance, and is active in providing passive yet engaging spaces around the clock. It is a blend of active and passive. This function is important for an academic library: to be active and responsive when it needs to be but also there when you need it, as it should be.





Darren Poley is the interim library director and can be reached by email or by phone at 610-519-4290.


Continuum: Partnerships Are a Goal of the Interim Director

DarrenThe fall semester is underway, and Falvey’s focus has once again turned to tending to the immediate needs of the University community it serves. However, this pursuit requires a balance of day-to-day tasks with visionary aspirations. I think Falvey is uniquely and importantly placed at the juncture of the prosaic and the inspirational.

We affirm the basis of what a university library is: a common place where information is made publically accessible to scholars. Increasingly this role has included gaining and granting access to many forms of scholarship available online, while maintaining a commitment to the enduring technology of the book as a means of sharing and discovering knowledge. What’s new is that the Library at Villanova is recognized as an anchor institution engaged in its community. In a community of teachers and learners, this posture means we are moving beyond meeting only basic library research needs. Because the nature of higher education is changing, Falvey is working very hard to continually embrace knowledge generation, in addition to data curation and access.

Knowledge generation on a university campus is happening everywhere you look. Ubiquitous micro and mobile devices for gathering, analyzing and sharing data have made it possible for professors and students to continue the educational enterprise well beyond the classroom and study hall. Falvey has, and will have, traditional learning spaces and areas for quiet study, but it will also provide anarchic spaces that promote interaction, collaboration and growth. The library is becoming more and more a laboratory and a makerspace, and Falvey is committed to this new educational enterprise. It is in keeping with the best a twenty-first century university has to offer to its community of scholars.

Two examples of the ongoing transformation of Falvey are the adding of an editorial suite for the premier journal in feminist philosophy, Hypatia, which is now lead by a Villanova faculty member, and the public restoration of a hidden seventeenth-century masterpiece in the Falvey Hall (aka Old Falvey) reading room.

The Hypatia editorial suite will be an active space, located on Falvey’s first floor and visible to students, in which seminars and workshops on academic journal publishing can occur. hypa 26-3 (2)It may even be shared with other top scholarly journals, such as The Japanese Political Economy. It is momentous that the editorship of these very significant interdisciplinary publications is going to Villanova faculty, but almost just as important is the invitation Falvey is making to allow library users see the productivity of a scholarly community happening in a public space like the Library.

The other example is the in-situ conservation of Pietro da Cortona’s painting Triumph of David. Faculty from the departments of chemistry and history and others will be working with the conservation team. The Library intends to open the Falvey Hall reading room for quiet study, but from that area the restoration of the painting will be visible. Falvey is also collaborating with many entities on campus to document the conservation process, from its very technical scientific aspects to its progress over time. This initiative is supported by the University administration; the Office of the Vice-President for Academic Affairs specifically. It is yet another instance where the focus of the Library on the multi- and trans-disciplinary life of our vibrant University can contribute to the intellectual climate of campus.


Including these examples, Falvey has, for a library at an institution of our size, a stunning number of collaborative projects both internally and externally. Collaboration is also going to be key hallmark of the academic library of the future, which means Falvey has already positioned itself for a bright future. We will continue to expand the portfolio of partnerships we are engaged in, while strengthening the areas where we already have them. By partnerships, I mean mutually beneficial collaboration that can exist between and among Villanova and a variety of external partners, shepherded by Falvey staff; Falvey and other segments of the University; and library teams and groups. Falvey will continue to get involved and invested in these kinds of partnerships that enhance the scholarly community locally.


Darren Poley is the interim library director and can be reached by email or by phone at 610-519-4290.


Continuum: The Library Director Welcomes You

DarrenWelcome class of 2017, and welcome back to everyone else. This academic year brings exciting improvements, services and events at your University Library. Several small renovation projects, for instance, are underway that we hope will both enhance your library experience and enable us to provide more creative spaces for living and learning at Falvey.

The addition of the Learning Commons in Falvey has been a wild success in terms of the numbers of students aided by the Learning Support Services office, the Mathematics Learning Resource Center, and the Villanova Writing Center. Please keep in mind the 2nd floor of Falvey is also where you find the Research Support Center, including librarians ready to help you with your library research and projects. Last academic year we also held a record number of events and programs in Falvey, something we take seriously as a library at the cross-roads of campus. Intellectual and cultural programming benefits learning, provides consciousness-raising variety to student life, and counts as co-curricular activities for current Villanova students.

Falvey provides access to over 700,000 volumes of published human knowledge, but we also see the Library as a laboratory where the University community can now access just as much virtually as it can physically. In fact, the library website and its discovery software, VuFind, provide 24 hour access to an equal number of digital volumes of material, and another 20,000 items in our Digital Library.

In addition to being a gateway for services, such as E-ZBorrow and Interlibrary Loan, Falvey’s website provides a “My Account” link. Your account is where you can see a list of the items you have borrowed, holds, requests, fines, and saved searches. “My Account” even lets you renew items. Subject, topic and course guides are also on the library website. The website conveniently provides access to the many databases and other web-accessible resources essential to scholarly searches for information.

Near Falvey’s main entrance is the access and information desk where you can get quick help or be referred to a subject specialist librarian. Students invariably find making an appointment with their personal librarian a valuable experience for conducting library research more efficiently. If you need assistance, there are email, chat and texting options for connecting with library staff. You are the community we serve. We are here to guide and assist you. Please don’t hesitate to contact the Library for all of your research support needs. We are conveniently located on the web, as well as at the heart of Villanova University’s campus.

You can always learn about what is happening at the Library by checking our Latest News and Upcoming Events sections. As the interim director of Falvey Memorial Library, I plan to write a monthly blog feature. Stay tuned for more from Falvey, an award-winning academic library of excellence. We are planning to enhance our offering of services, as well as spaces for study, interaction and engagement. It is going to be an exciting year!





Darren Poley is the interim library director and can be reached by email or by phone at 610-519-4290.


Continuing the good things: a message from Darren Poley, the library's new interim director

DARREN-CASUAL-OKsmTo members of our community:

Falvey is a special place. It serves as the main library for Villanova University, but it is so much more than that.

For more than a decade, Joe Lucia, as library director, has worked with the staff in the Library and others at the University to transform Falvey into a ‘temple of the muses’ based on the commons model. Falvey’s transformation, however, is not just superficial. The dynamism of the Library as a living room for conversation, as a laboratory for collaboration to experiment with ideas and as a cross-disciplinary gathering place for engagement with scholarship outside the classroom has become the hallmark of Falvey. The Library staff has been incredibly sensitive to continuing to provide the best traditional library services, while always growing in ways that embrace new initiatives, new forms of scholarly communication, and new ways to support the academic mission of the University.

I have been at Villanova fifteen years. I have worked for and alongside Joe. It has been an exciting and invigorating time to be a librarian at Falvey. I have every intention of continuing the good things he has begun in Falvey and here at Villanova. I also intend to work with library staff and encourage building on the Library’s many successes. I consider it a privilege to work here.

My earnest desire is to be a good steward of the Library as its interim director.






Darren G. Poley


Author March Madness Rolls On – Guest Analyst Predictions

bookatology graphicCA: Falvey Memorial Library’s bracketed author tournament advances into the Sweet Sixteen round this week. To talk about the match-ups, we’ve invited guest analyst and Outreach Librarian Darren Poley, who will also make his predictions for the round of eight.

Stay tuned here for future tournament updates, including more re-caps, and even news about a prize giveaway during the Final Four. As always, be sure to check out the poster on the first floor near the circulation desk to vote in these exciting match-ups. Take it away, Darren! 

DP: Book-atology voting is shaping up nicely at Falvey, but there have been some upsets.


In the East, Hemingway and Melville made it to the sweet sixteen over Conrad and Dostoyevsky respectively. Joyce rolled on without a hitch. But the real story is Rowling squeaking by Poe, when Poe had such a strong start over Flannery O’Connor in the first round. Who from the East do I think will make it into the elite eight? Because Melville is polarizing, I think Rowling will prevail, and Hemingway will muscle his way past Joyce. The powerhouses will dominate the darlings of the literati, just like they did in the first round when Milton, Thoreau, and Charlotte Bronte went down.


The South is a different story where the edgier writers (Shelley, Salinger, Kafka, and Woolf) were beaten handily. I see real fights brewing in the matchups of Austen vs. Twain and Fitzgerald vs. Dickens. I think media exposure like the Lizzie Bennett Diaries and the Gatsby film deal will help, and even though Austen was seeded second and Fitzgerald fourth, I think the dynasties of Dickens and Twain will be too hard to beat in the end. I predict however it is going to be close, in fact perhaps too close to call beforehand, especially for Austen who is amazingly resilient.


After Dr. Seuss’ phenomenal display in the early rounds, in the Midwest; I predict Orwell will not make it to the elite eight. The other head-to-head in the sweet sixteen of Oscar Wilde vs. the Bard will be the biggest battle of the season. In the end I think because of Shakespeare’s dominance in the game and because folks love the way he keeps things ‘old school’ means Wilde is going down. This would have Shakespeare vs. Seuss going toe-to-toe in a matchup made in college vs. nursery heaven.


I see the seeding still holding true in the West. Tolkien seed number one will take out the upstart, Bradbury. C.S. Lewis the number three seed will defeat Christie even though she will give him a run for his money. The win of Tolkien over Dante and Bradbury over Faulkner in the last round however created quite a stir. Fantasy & sci-fi trounced pathos. I see Fantasy crushing sci-fi and mystery in the elite eight.

Overall I see the elite eight being the elegant eight with the classics dominating, except for the now popular Rowling and Seuss continuing to be the newcomers to watch due to their appeal.

(Click here to see the original bracketed authors.)



Catholica collection anticipates new dimension with addition of Sisters of St. Basil the Great

The Digital Library is proud to announce a new partnership between Villanova University and the Sisters of St. Basil the Great.

After the legal agreement was signed at the beginning of 2011, I had the pleasure of presenting to the Sisters on the project: to scan documents and other materials from their history, including realia (three-dimensional objects from real life) for the purposes of scholarship and digital preservation.   These items are vital to an understanding of a major aspect of the life of Ukrainian Catholics in the Philadelphia region.

It is greatly anticipated that this project will be of benefit to a greater understanding of this bit of Church history and for a wider understanding of the contributions this particular order of women religious and the Eastern Catholic tradition generally, have made and continue to make to both Catholic heritage and local history. Working to document and disseminate primary source material from particular ethnic communities for future generations of scholars in Catholic studies and allied disciplines widens the scope of Catholica which we have undertaken to preserve. Not only because it is relatively unique, but because it adds to the mosaic of materials from a variety of backgrounds which would otherwise remain in greater relative obscurity.


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Last Modified: March 22, 2011

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