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Library Open 4 p.m.- Midnight on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017

  • Posted by: Luisa Cywinski
  • Posted Date: February 9, 2017
  • Filed Under: Library News

The library will offer limited hours from 4 p.m. to midnight. Only basic services will be available. 24-hour study areas remain available and reference librarians are available on Live Chat from 12 – 5 p.m.


Library Closing at 12 p.m. on Wed., Nov. 23

  • Posted by: Luisa Cywinski
  • Posted Date: November 23, 2016
  • Filed Under: Library News

In light of, and with appreciation for, Rev. Peter M. Donohue’s message to faculty and staff, University offices, including Falvey Memorial Library, will close at noon today. The full library hours for Nov. 23-27 are listed below.

Wednesday, Nov. 23: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Thursday & Friday, Nov. 24 & 25: CLOSED

Saturday, Nov. 26: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 27: 12 p.m. – 12 a.m.

We wish you all a safe and happy Thanksgiving!


Stay Connected After You Graduate

  • Posted by: Luisa Cywinski
  • Posted Date: May 9, 2016
  • Filed Under: Library News

How do you plan to stay connected to Villanova after you graduate? Here’s a post-graduation checklist to get you started.

1) Borrow books with your Falvey Courtesy Alumni Card!

That’s right!  You can keep visiting the Library, using the computers, borrowing books and searching databases (while on site). Just apply for a courtesy card at Falvey’s front desk!

Library bag checkout


2) Take a swim in the Pavilion Pool!

As Villanova Alumni, you can apply for a Villanova Alumni card at the Wildcard Office!

pavilion pool lg


3) Get some great advice from the Career Center!

Even after graduation, career services are available to you! You can also stay connected with Villanovans on LinkedIn and on University social media accounts.

V earth online








4) Follow Villanova University groups and Falvey Memorial Library on social media!

The Library and other Villanova organizations and departments have multiple social media accounts where they post human interest stories, news, events, inspirational messages, photos, humor, etc. It’s a great way to stay in touch with your favorite places and people!

Social Media Directory VU


Poetry in the Kitchen

  • Posted by: Luisa Cywinski
  • Posted Date: April 17, 2016
  • Filed Under: Library News

In poetry or prose, the word “marrow” can be used as a literary device to signify one’s existence, life or energy. For example, Henry David Thoreau uses marrow in his book, Walden, to convey his pursuit of the simple and essential truth of life.

“I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.”

In the case of our recipe today, marrow is the soft, fatty substance found inside the round bones of veal shanks that adds a richness to the recipe for Osso Buco, or veal stew. I used Julia Child’s recipe, which is a Provençal version that can be found in the first edition (1970) of her cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Julia Child cookbookSome years ago, Falvey’s copy was being withdrawn from the collection after years of heavy use by library patrons. I was more than happy to take it home, even in its damaged condition. It wasn’t only the recipes that interested me, but Child’s practical advice on selecting high-quality ingredients and kitchen tools.

Many of the recipes and the way Child describes her methods remind me of the days I spent as a child watching my Belgian grandparents cook for us at home. As children, we were also sometimes allowed to sit quietly in the kitchens of their wealthy employers while they prepared meals and desserts.

It’s easy for me to romanticize those days, running around without a care in the world, gathering fallen apples in the grass, watching my grandmother in the vegetable garden, playing on the cool, slate patio with pots and pans, or spinning around outside with a wire mesh basket of freshly washed lettuce. When I look back, there is poetry in those memories. Maybe that is what inspires me to cook.

As I searched for poets who found similar inspiration in food or in memories of family meals, I remembered a favorite poem, “Osso Buco,” by Billy Collins. I was lucky to have seen him in person years ago at the Agnes Irwin school near Villanova University. An excerpt of Collins’ poem follows the recipe and photos of my foray into the realm of Julia Child.

I’m going to attempt to simplify what Child wrote in her book, which can seem confusing as she directs you to follow steps 1 & 2 of a “Master Recipe” on earlier pages before having you continue with Osso Buco.

You may want to order the veal shanks a few days or a week in advance as butchers and grocery stores don’t always have them in ready supply.

Osso Buco

Two veal hind shanks 1 ½ inches thick, tied with butcher string

Salt & pepper (for seasoning veal)

½ cup flour (for dredging veal) on a dinner plate

osso buco ingredients1 cup sliced yellow onion

3-4 tbsp. olive oil for cooking

½ cup dry white wine

½ cup chicken stock or broth

½ tsp. oregano

1 bay leaf

2 cloves garlic, smashed

2-3 small Roma tomatoes, seeded, peeled, and roughly chopped

1 orange

1 lemon

Recipe serves two and can easily be doubled.

Preheat oven to 325°

Season veal shanks with salt & pepper and then dredge in flour. Shake off excess. Heat 1-2 tbsp. olive oil in large heavy frying pan on moderate to high heat on stove. Once oil is hot, but not smoking, place veal in pan and brown on both sides, then set veal aside.

Heat 1-2 tbsp. olive oil in heavy oven-proof dutch oven on moderate heat on stove. Add onions and cook until soft, then raise heat and brown lightly. Add veal to onions in dutch oven.

Discard oil from frying pan and add white wine to deglaze the pan. Scrape up any bits while deglazing and pour the contents of frying pan into the dutch oven with veal and onions.

Stir in chicken stock, herbs, garlic, and tomatoes. Bring to a slow simmer.

Using a vegetable peeler, carefully cut only the zests from half or 2/3 of the orange and half or 2/3 of the lemon. Be careful to cut only the zest, the outer orange or yellow peel, and not the white, bitter pith underneath. Cut the pieces of zest into julienne (very thin) strips.

Add the zest strips to the veal and vegetable mixture in the dutch oven. Cover and place in preheated oven for 1 to 1 ¼ hour. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

Serve with risotto or pasta.

Osso Buco


The following excerpt is from Billy Collins’ poem, “Osso Buco.” The full poem can be found in his book, Sailing Alone Around the Room, or in the journal Poetry, which is available online through JSTOR (Villanova University credentials required).

Osso Buco

I love the sound of the bone against the plate
and the fortress-like look of it
lying before me in a moat of risotto,
the meat soft as the leg of an angel
who has lived a purely airborne existence.
And best of all, the secret marrow,
the invaded privacy of the animal
prised out with a knife and swallowed down
with cold, exhilarating wine.
I am swaying now in the hour after dinner,
a citizen tilted back on his chair,
a creature with a full stomach —

More Food-infused Poems:

Stew Meat Blues” (unknown author, Columbia Granger’s World of Poetry online)

American Cooking” (from the book Natural Trouble by Scott Hightower)

Once Upon a Time” (A Broadside in the Villanova Digital Library)

Food for Poets” (full text in Eighteenth Century Collections Online)

Poetry Collections Featuring Food:

Appetite: Food as Metaphor.

The Milk of Almonds: Italian American Women Writers on Food and Culture.

Roman Food Poems.


Food blog by Luisa Cywinski, writer on the Communication & Service Promotion team and head of the Access Services team.

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NCAA Championship Parade – Library Hours on April 8

  • Posted by: Luisa Cywinski
  • Posted Date: April 7, 2016
  • Filed Under: Library News

On Friday, April 8, the day of the parade honoring the Villanova Wildcats, Falvey Memorial Library will offer limited services during the hours of 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Color Wil D Cat books


Library Open 5pm-midnight on Tuesday, April 5

  • Posted by: Luisa Cywinski
  • Posted Date: April 5, 2016
  • Filed Under: Library News

First, let us congratulate the Villanova Wildcats on an amazing game and win last night at the NCAA Championship!

Second, after that amazing game last night, the library will provide limited hours and staffing tonight so that Villanova students can get caught up on their studies and assignments. We will open from 5 p.m. and close at midnight with only limited services.



Library Closing at 9 PM on Monday, April 4

  • Posted by: Luisa Cywinski
  • Posted Date: April 4, 2016
  • Filed Under: Library News

The Library, including overnight library study areas in the main library and Old Falvey, will close at 9 p.m. today so that staff and students can cheer for Villanova in the NCAA Championship game. GO WILDCATS!!

LOVE Villanova


Easter in Port Richmond, the “Little Poland” of Philly

  • Posted by: Luisa Cywinski
  • Posted Date: March 20, 2016
  • Filed Under: Library News
Polish flag Czerws

The Polish flag is painted on the side of Czerw’s Kielbasy store.

In preparation for the Easter celebration this week, I’ve put together a photo essay that features an area of Philadelphia that few people know about. Port Richmond is about 30 minutes by car from Villanova University, an easy distance for students who want a little adventure. It’s a completely walk-able section of the city filled with thriving local businesses.

Port Richmond

As a primarily Polish neighborhood, there are several beautiful Catholic churches within a small radius, and lots of Polish markets that carry imported packaged foods as well as Polish goods made on the premises.

As my daughter, Jen Cywinski (’10 CLAS), and I strolled around this section of Philly, we had one very specific purpose in mind: to procure kielbasa and pierogis for our Easter feast. If, in the process, we stumbled across culinary offerings at other fine establishments, so much the better.

Czerw's with Jen

Our first stop was Czerw’s Kielbasy on Tilton Street. We could smell the firewood burning and the tantalizing aroma of smoked meat while we stood in line with other die hard customers. Our bags were filled with the Czerw’s famous homemade kielbasa, pierogis, “dilly” dill pickles and babka. They also gave us free samples of sausage sticks to eat on the way home.

Mercer Cafe

After a long wait out in the cold we decided that breakfast at a local diner would be needed to fuel the rest of our visit to Port Richmond. Seeing some of the local police force and the Zagat ratings on the wall of the Mercer Café convinced us the food would be good.

Krakus pierogiPolish Easter cards KrakusOur next stop was the Krakus Market on Richmond Street. Their shelves were packed with authentic imported Polish products and the refrigerator cases contained homemade desserts and pierogis, as well as deli meats and cheeses. They also had Polish language greeting cards and other non-food gift items. The cashiers spoke Polish and English fluently, switching from one to the other depending on the customer. (And I’m pretty sure I spied a Villanova graduate student in the store.)



St. Adalbert's







On the way back to our parking spot we stopped at St. Adalbert’s Roman Catholic Church on Allegheny Avenue and stepped inside to behold the beautiful altar. Attached to the church is Our Lady of Port Richmond, a regional Catholic school that serves the combined communities of St. Adalbert’s, Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Our Lady Help of Christians. All three are within a 6 block radius.

In the space of a few hours, we covered a good bit of the Port Richmond section and may have to go back later this week to restock. The kielbasa, pierogis and babka we purchased might not survive until next weekend and the eggs, dyed the old fashioned way in red & yellow onion skins, beets, turmeric, and tea, are destined to become egg salad.

Easter Polish style

To read more about Easter in Poland and around the world, follow the links below to articles found in library databases. Or contact a librarian for help using the databases and other library resources.

A moveable feast: a Polish Catholic would be a basket case without this annual blessing of Easter goodies

It wouldn’t be Easter in Buffalo without Butter Lambs (written by a retired librarian!) butter lamb

5 unusual ways Europe is celebrating Easter

Easter in Poland (Littel’s Living Age, 1850)

Happy Easter, everyone!

Food blog by Luisa Cywinski, writer for Communications & Service Promotion and team leader of Access Services.

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Extended Midterm Study Hours

  • Posted by: Luisa Cywinski
  • Posted Date: February 19, 2016
  • Filed Under: Library News


To provide students with additional late night study facilities, the main Library will have extended hours Monday – Wednesday, February 22 – 24, when we will be open until 3:00 a.m.

As always, you can use your Wildcard to swipe into the 24/7 lounge, Falvey Hall lounge and Reading Room after regular hours.

Take advantage of our cozy and inspirational spaces for quiet study.

From everyone at Falvey, good luck on your papers and midterms!


A Visit to Oman, the Switzerland of the Middle East

  • Posted by: Luisa Cywinski
  • Posted Date: February 17, 2016
  • Filed Under: Library News

Oman Ward BarnesWard Barnes is a long-time service desk supervisor at Falvey Memorial Library and resident of Radnor Township. If you have used the Library at night or on weekends, then you have probably seen or met Ward at the front desk. What follows is a travelogue of Ward’s recent trip to Oman, a region of the Middle East that he compares to Switzerland. Read more to find out why.

For many years the Nursing School at Villanova University had an arrangement with the nation of Oman to train some of its young nurses. One of these nursing students rented a room from me in 2008, and then through a web of connections and by word of mouth I met many more Omanis, including more Villanova students. A goodly number ended up staying at my house, some for many months and some for much shorter periods while vacationing in the U.S. In some cases I got to know the Omanis quite well, and in one instance over the last two years virtually adopted the family of one roomer, Saud Al Suleimani. He brought over his wife and five very cute and charming children, all under the age of 12, and moved from my house into a nearby apartment. I found all of my Omani acquaintances to be delightfully friendly, open and generous, and they kept beseeching me to come to their country. Thus it was that I finally responded to their invitation with a 9-day visit in early January.

Oman desert group photo

Standing in the middle of an Omani desert.

Those in the West who are at least vaguely aware of Oman probably think of this country located on the Arabian Peninsula south of Saudi Arabia, as a postage stamp-sized entity. Juxtaposed to some nearby states—Saudi Arabia, Egypt, or Iran—it does indeed seem small. But my trip though a sector of the northeast corner of the country, suggests that it is really quite sizable.  I travelled for many hours and on four or five days through mountains and deserts and along the seashore in a triangle from Muscat, the capital, to Nizwa in the interior, and to Sur on the coast 2 hours south of Muscat, and afterward noted on a map– to my amazement–that I had seen less than 3 or 4% of the country. When I looked up some square mileage figures later, I found that Oman is larger than Italy, more than twice the size of England, and bigger than Pennsylvania and New York combined.

That was one of just many things that surprised me. The modernity of Muscat and many other areas, where most of the buildings and roads and other infrastructure look– and are– less than twenty-five years old, was another revelation. I kept expecting to see the sorts of shabbiness and signs of poverty of a third-world place– camels and goats providing transportation and food, rocky or sandy rutted paths for roads, scrawny, hungry-looking children, beggars—but I looked in vain. Instead I saw modern highways (is Oman the only country that lights its highways every inch of the way at night?) thronged with cars, attractive, solid, stuccoed homes, and a sturdy, healthy looking and evidently quite prosperous people almost everywhere.

Oman Mosque

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque where the world’s second largest Persian carpet resides. It took 600 women four years to make this carpet with 1,700,000,000 hand-tied knots.

The credit for this strikingly modern country of 4 million people must go to a large degree to its leader, the Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said. When Qaboos took over from his father in a bloodless palace coup in 1970, Oman was still mired in an essentially 19th century mode, a Middle East backwater. It had six miles of paved roads. The capital of Muscat had 2 public schools and one hospital.   An almost miraculous period of change followed, as Qaboos united the disparate and disputatious tribes, and  built the vast and complicated infrastructure and institutions of a modern state. Qaboos still rules today and is virtually worshiped by the majority of his people as the guiding light of what has been referred to as the Omani Renaissance.    Although he rules as an absolute monarch, and has many of the trappings of a rich potentate (7 palaces I am told, and at least 2 yachts, each the size of a cruise ship), still his reign has been intelligent, benign, and astoundingly successful in converting the country into an up-to- date, 21st century society. There is deep apprehension about his demise, as he has no children, and the succession remains mysterious and unknown except to Qaboos himself.  Will the next leader be as enlightened and public spirited?

The question of succession is one of two clouds on the horizon for Oman right now.  The other is the low price of oil, a commodity upon which the country is overwhelmingly dependent. Oil has been the key to its prosperity and its renaissance. The government gets over 80% of its revenue from oil, and in an expensive welfare-state system such as Oman’s, where the government is so responsible for much of the well-being of the people and physical development of the country, this is a critical problem.

The greatest resource of the country, on the other hand, could be its savior, and that is the people—robust, energetic, tolerant, open and above all friendly, generous and hospitable. I saw many examples as I walked around the cities with my Omani friends. On one occasion while in a souk (market place) in Muscat the Omani who was accompanying me began talking to a man from Kuwait, discovered some interests in common, and the next thing I knew they were exchanging names, email addresses and phone numbers. On another occasion, with another Omani host visiting an old fortress, my friend started talking to a couple from Germany, and within moments was inviting them to his home. Everywhere I saw Omanis greeting people on the street with handshakes and hugs and talking up the shopkeepers, tourists, laborers and total strangers with ease and evident pleasure.

Oman Family children farewell gifts

The children of Saud Al Suleimani, holding the books Ward gave them, smile and say goodbye from the gate of their home.

The openness of the people and their leader is reflected in the position of the country in the endless squabbles, disputes, religious schisms, competitions and wars that afflict almost every corner of the Middle East. Oman is an oasis of peace-loving, tolerant neutrality and stability in all of this.  As an example, its friendship with both the U.S. and Iran allowed the Sultan to be a vital intermediary getting the two sides together for the recent negotiations.

It was this neutrality in foreign affairs, the prosperity of the country, the openness and tolerance of the people, –and yes, even the mountains everywhere– that made me feel as if I was traveling in the Switzerland of the Middle East.

Additional Information

Some highlights of my trip and what I consider must-see sites: The Green Mountain in the Al Hajar Mountain Range. Beautiful views, best seen in summer. A superb tourist attraction in the area is the ghost village of Birkat Al Mawz. Another excellent mountain experience is supposed to be Sun Mountain, also in the Al Hajar range. Something that tourists and locals enjoy are visits to the wadis, deep valleys which have been cut by streams that often only flow during rainy periods. Tropical foliage and enjoyable hikes are sometimes available in these areas. I visited what is said to be one of the best, called Wadi Shab, which is north of Sur. Muscat, the beautiful capital city, is full of interesting things. Top tourist sites are the awesome Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, which is open for touring, and the Sultan’s Palace, which can only be viewed from the outside. Tourists should also try to get to an event at the Opera House with its beautiful interiors. There are sundry museums and a charming souk near the harbor, where you can usually view a couple of the Sultan’s yachts docked. Up and down the coast are fishing villages and ports which sometimes double as favored resorts. Sur may be the most famous. A drive among the sand dunes is another favorite tourist attraction.

Resources available at the Library and at the University

Oman & Its Renaissance by Sir Donald Hawley, 2010, includes a marvelous collection of pictures and informed text.

Oman: Politics and Society in the Qaboos State by Marc Valeri, 2009 provides a good description of what has been accomplished in Oman during the Qaboos years.

Arab and Islamic Studies Subject Guide

Villanova University Arabic Language and Cultural Studies


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Last Modified: February 17, 2016