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Weekend Recs: The Royal Family

By Allie Reczek and Daniella Snyder

Happy Friday, Wildcats! Falvey Memorial Library is happy to present a new edition of Weekend Recs, a blog dedicated to filling you in on what to read, listen to, and watch over the weekend. Daniella, graduate assistants from the English department, teams up with Allie Reczek, a Library’s undergraduate student worker, and, together, they scour the internet, peruse the news, and dig through book stacks to find new, relevant, and thought-provoking content that will challenge you and prepare you for the upcoming week.


Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's engagement photo.

Source: CBS News.

Happy New Year, Wildcats! It’s the start of a new decade and with that comes waves of stories that shock the world. One of the top, early headlines of 2020 is Prince Harry’s and Meghan Markle’s decision to step back from their senior duties in the royal family, with their goals to become financially independent and split their time between the United Kingdom and North America. 

With this change within the royal family, many questions arise, such as how the couple plans to support themselves and what they will do with their time now. Stay up to date with our weekend recommendations:

  • If you have 3 minutes: Listen to this NPR podcast about the split.
  • If you have 5 minutes: Watch this video summarizing the news from People Magazine.
  • If you have 9 minutes and you’re as obsessed with Meghan Markle as Daniella is: Watch this Youtube video of the speech she gave at the UN Women Conference in 2015.
  • If you have 15 minutes: Read this CNN article discussing the logistics of separation from the Royal Family.
  • Finally, if you’re bored this weekend and in the mood for a total television binge: Watch Suits on USA, a television show Markle starred on before her royal marriage.

What do you think of this change? Tell us on social! 

Daniella Snyder Headshot

Allie Reczek is a sophomore Psychology Major and works as a Communication & Marketing Assistant in Falvey; Daniella Snyder is a Graduate Assistant in the Communication & Marketing department at Falvey.





Curious Cat: New Year’s Resolutions

Welcome back, ‘Cats! The new year is upon us and the treadmills are full, pizza shops are empty, wallets pinched tight, and Twitter has been replaced with a New York Times subscription.

In the spirit of these lifestyle adjustments, we asked students at the library what they resolved to change this new year.

Here is what they said!

John Colosimo

“Try new things.”
—John Colosimo ’23 (Undecided)

Casey Shager

“Spend less money.”
—Casey Shager ’23 (Biochemistry)

Diana Baldo

“Take this last semester by storm!”
—Diana Baldo ’20 (Communication)

This week’s Curious Cat is brought to you by Allie Reczek and Annabelle Humiston, two of our wonderful undergraduate student workers in the Falvey Memorial Library Communication & Marketing Department. Keep an eye out for them every Wednesday, asking students their opinions on a range of subjects and topics.



New Year’s “Readsolutions”

By Daniella Snyder

I’m Daniella Snyder, a graduate student at Villanova University, and your ‘Cat in Falvey Library’s Stacks. I’ll be posting about academics–from research to study habits and everything in between–and how the Falvey Library can play a large role in your success here on campus!

My favorite part of a new year is asking people about their resolutions. You can learn a lot about a person through their goals: what their passions are, what they’re afraid of, or the kind of person they want to become over the next 365 days.

This year, I made some resolutions I’ve never made before. Since I love to cook and try new things, I promised myself to try one new food every week. My mom and I are happiest when we travel together, and this year I hope to travel to four new states with her. Finally, in an attempt to be a “mature adult,” I will start investing my money this year.

However, each year, I always make a “readsolution:” a resolutionfor books! In 2020, I am committed to reading 50 books. While I do not make a strict list of what those 50 books will be, I always like to begin the new year by researching the best books of the last year as well as the most anticipated books in the year to come, and you’ll find some of those books below.

Do you have any “readsolutions?” Tell us! Message us at @villanovalibrary on Instagram or @falveylibrary on Twitter for a chance to be featured!


The Topeka School by Ben Lerner is not only one of Barack Obama’s favorite books of 2019, the novel also made the list of “Top 10 Books of 2019” on the list published by The New York Times and The Washington Post. Lerner writes a tender and expansive family drama set in the American Midwest at the turn of the century: “a tale of adolescence, transgression, and the conditions that have given rise to the trolls and tyrants of the New Right” (

little women book cover


Little Women by Louisa May Alcott isn’t a new book, but there’s been a buzz surrounding the classic book because of the brand new and (already critically acclaimed) movie starring Laura Dern, Timothee Chalamet, Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, and Florence Pugh. If you haven’t read this book since middle school (like me), maybe the book deserves a fresh read.




Literary genius Zora Neale Hurston passed away in 1960, but Genevieve West edited and compiled 21 found short stories of Hurston’s to create the new Hitting A Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick: Stories from the Harlem Renaissance. The book is “an outstanding collection of stories about love and migration, gender and class, racism and sexism that proudly reflect African American folk culture that enriches our understanding and appreciation of this exceptional writer’s voice and her contributions to America’s literary traditions” (Google Books). To read an excerpt from the book, check out the New York Times article here.



Voyage of the Sable Venus and Other Poems is the debut collection of poetry by Robin Coste Lewis. The Collection won the National Book Award for Poetry in 2015, the first debut collection to win the award since 1974. Coste Lewis will be visiting campus on April 21 as part of Villanova University’s 22nd annual Literary Festival. She will speak at 7 p.m. in Falvey’s Speakers’ Corner, and the event will be followed by a reception and book signing. To learn more about the other authors coming to Lit Fest, click here.

(Images sourced from


Daniella Snyder HeadshotDaniella Snyder, Graduate Assistant in the Communication & Marketing department at Falvey, read 47 books in 2019. Some of her favorite 2019 reads were Educated by Tara Westover, The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer, To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf, Becoming by Michelle Obama, and Three Women by Lisa Taddeo.




Falvey Staff Members Work Together to ‘Change the Subject’ on the Term ‘Illegal Aliens’  

student at computer

By Deborah Bishov and Shawn Proctor  

Imagine searching the library catalog for books such as Migrant Deaths in the Arizona Desert and Whose Child am I?: Unaccompanied, Undocumented Children in U.S. Immigration Custody—and seeing the term “illegal aliens” appear on the results screen. Library users everywhere have encountered that term for many years, as it has long been the official Library of Congress subject heading assigned to books and other materials on the topic of immigrants who are undocumented. 

Users of Falvey Memorial Library’s catalog no longer encounter this pejorative subject heading in the public display, due to changes made by Falvey staff this past fall. Instead of the term “illegal aliens,” the Falvey catalog now displays “undocumented immigrants” as a subject heading term.

The changes affect variations on the subject heading as well; for example, “children of undocumented immigrants” now appears instead of “children of illegal aliens.” All instances when “alien” referred to a human being have been changed. 

Falvey staff members recognize that terms like “illegal alien” are not in alignment with Falvey’s or Villanova’s support of diversity as an integral component of our shared mission and values. This change to the library catalog is a reflection of Villanova as a welcoming community. We hope that it is also a step toward a respectful, globally-minded society. 

How do subject headings work? 

Falvey Memorial Library, like most academic and public libraries, uses Library of Congress subject headings to organize materials and make them discoverable to users. This cooperative system allows libraries to share resources. Subject headings are set by the Library of Congress, and, in general, changes to subject headings go through a process of approval there.   

Librarians and college students lobbied several years ago to have the “illegal aliens” subject heading replaced with other terms in all library catalogs, and the change was approved by the Library of Congress in 2016. This decision was widely supported by the library community. The 114th Congress intervened and overturned the decision before it could be implemented.

Why change the catalog, and why now?   

The timing was inspired in part by the 2019 documentary Change the Subject. This film shares the story of a group of student activists at Dartmouth College who began the movement for change. The Villanova community had the opportunity to view the film at a screening this fall, organized by Deborah Bishov, Social Sciences & Instructional Design Librarian, and Raúl Diego Rivera Hernández, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures. The event featured a discussion with two of the filmmakers behind Change the Subject, Jill Baron and Óscar Rubén Cornejo Cásares.   

During conversations leading up to the screening, Falvey librarians—with the approval of Millicent Gaskell, University Librarian, and Jee Davis, Associate University Librarian for Collections & Stewardship—made the decision to change the subject in Falvey’s catalog.  

“Libraries use the subject headings established by the Library of Congress. The process for requesting a subject heading change was followed and the Library of Congress approved. In an unprecedented move, Congress overrode that decision. It’s been almost four years since the Library of Congress gave its approval. We believe now is the time for individual libraries to take the lead,” Davis says.

How did Falvey’s information technology infrastructure enable this change?    

Since the Library of Congress is still using “illegal aliens” in its shared catalogue, Falvey staff created code to display “undocumented immigrants” instead. Demian Katz, Director of Library Technology, worked with librarians at Falvey to alter the subject headings in VuFind, an open-source software for displaying the information in library catalogs. It was developed at Villanova University and is used by libraries around the world.  

One of the advantages of using open source software at Falvey is that staff can make customizations more easily than if they had to negotiate with a vendor to achieve the same results. Katz says, “In this instance, it only took a few hours of work spread across a few days to fully solve the technical problems involved.” While only the new subject headings appear in our public catalog, the old subject headings are still searchable.   

Libraries using VuFind can implement the same solution using the documentation on the Library’s technology blog. The Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law has already implemented this update into their catalog.   

“This change is about upholding our professional values to connect people to information and recognizing the power of the language we use as we do that,” Bishov says. “Making this change means that people who use our public catalog will not encounter this dehumanizing term in subject headings in the course of doing their research. And we’ll also be using terminology that matches language widely accepted by the people to whom it refers, by journalists, and by scholars.”

headshot of Deborah Bishov

Shawn Proctor

Deborah Bishov is Social Sciences & Instructional Design Librarian and Shawn Proctor is Communication & Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library.

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Spring Semester Hours

Woman changing the hours on the front door


By Shawn Proctor  

It’s the first day of the spring semester! With that comes new classes, new textbooks, and new Falvey hours!

Find the access hours below, but remember, Falvey access is available 24/7 with your Wildcard.


  • Monday-Thursday: 8-12 AM
  • Friday: 8 AM-5 PM
  • Saturday: 9 AM-5 PM
  • Sunday: 12 PM-12 AM

Shawn Proctor Shawn Proctor is Communication & Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library.




Changing the Subject with VuFind


Recent discussions related to the documentary, Changing the Subject, raised an interesting technical question: what should you do if your local needs come into conflict with national practices for describing a particular subject?

While Changing the Subject specifically addresses the conflict between using the terms “Illegal aliens” vs. “Undocumented immigrants,” we took this conversation as an opportunity to reduce user confusion over a whole host of terms using the word “Alien” to mean something other than “Extraterrestrial.”

The challenge, of course, is that this is not a problem that can be easily solved by editing records in our Integrated Library System. Not only are the tools for changing headings fairly difficult to use, but there is also the problem that new records will be constantly getting loaded into the system as we acquire new items, making maintenance an ongoing headache.

Enter VuFind: since we have an open source discovery layer to allow users to search our collection, and all of the records in our Integrated Library System are automatically loaded into VuFind through a software process, this gives us an opportunity to introduce some data transformations. By solving the problem once, we can introduce a system that will automatically keep the problem solved over time, without any ongoing record-editing maintenance.

Solution: Part 1 – Indexing Rules

The first part of the solution is to introduce some mapping into our MARC record indexing rules. We ended up adding these lines to our file in VuFind’s local import directory:

topic_facet = 600x:610x:611x:630x:648x:650a:650x:651x:655x, (pattern_map.aliens)
topic = custom, getAllSubfields(600:610:611:630:650:653:656, " "), (pattern_map.aliens2)
pattern_map.aliens.pattern_0 = ^Alien criminal(.*)=>Noncitizen criminal$1
pattern_map.aliens.pattern_1 = ^Alien detention centers(.*)=>Detention centers$1
pattern_map.aliens.pattern_2 = ^Alien labor(.*)=>Noncitizen labor$1
pattern_map.aliens.pattern_3 = ^Alien property(.*)=>Foreign-owned property$1
pattern_map.aliens.pattern_4 = ^Aliens(.*)=>Noncitizens$1
pattern_map.aliens.pattern_5 = ^Children of alien laborers(.*)=>Children of noncitizen laborers$1
pattern_map.aliens.pattern_6 = ^Illegal alien children(.*)=>Undocumented immigrant children$1
pattern_map.aliens.pattern_7 = ^Illegal aliens(.*)=>Undocumented immigrants$1
pattern_map.aliens.pattern_8 = ^Children of illegal aliens(.*)=>Children of undocumented immigrants$1
pattern_map.aliens.pattern_9 = ^Women illegal aliens(.*)=>Women undocumented immigrants$1
pattern_map.aliens.pattern_10 = keepRaw
pattern_map.aliens2.pattern_0 = ^Alien criminal(.*)=>Noncitizen criminal$1
pattern_map.aliens2.pattern_1 = ^Alien detention centers(.*)=>Detention centers$1
pattern_map.aliens2.pattern_2 = ^Alien labor(.*)=>Noncitizen labor$1
pattern_map.aliens2.pattern_3 = ^Alien property(.*)=>Foreign-owned property$1
pattern_map.aliens2.pattern_4 = ^Aliens(.*)=>Noncitizens$1
pattern_map.aliens2.pattern_5 = ^Children of alien laborers(.*)=>Children of noncitizen laborers$1
pattern_map.aliens2.pattern_6 = ^Illegal alien children(.*)=>Undocumented immigrant children$1
pattern_map.aliens2.pattern_7 = ^Illegal aliens(.*)=>Undocumented immigrants$1
pattern_map.aliens2.pattern_8 = ^Children of illegal aliens(.*)=>Children of undocumented immigrants$1
pattern_map.aliens2.pattern_9 = ^Women illegal aliens(.*)=>Women undocumented immigrants$1
pattern_map.aliens2.pattern_10 = (.*)=>$1

This uses two very similar, but subtly different, pattern maps to translate terminology going to the topic_facet and topic fields.

The key difference is in pattern_10 of the two maps — for the “aliens” pattern, we use the “keepRaw” rule. This means that we translate headings when they match one of the preceding patterns, and we keep them in an unmodified form when they don’t. Thus, with this pattern, none of the headings will ever get indexed in their original forms; only in the translated versions. This is because we do not want outdated terminology to display in search facet lists.

On the other hand, in the “aliens2” pattern, we use a regular expression to always index the original terminology IN ADDITION TO any translated terminology. Even though we have opinions about which terms should be displayed, users may still have expectations about the older terminology. By indexing both versions of the terms, we make sure that searches will work correctly no matter how the user formulates their query.

Solution: Part 2 – Custom Code

Unfortunately, index rules alone do not fully solve this problem. This is because when working with MARC records, VuFind displays subject headings extracted directly from the raw MARC data instead of the reformatted values stored in the Solr index. This allows VuFind to take advantage of some of the richer markup found in the MARC, but in this situation, it means that we need to do some extra work to ensure that our records display the way we want them to.

The solution is to create a custom record driver in your local VuFind installation and override the getAllSubjectHeadings() method to do some translation equivalent to the mappings in the import rules. Here is an example of what this might look like:


namespace MyVuFind\RecordDriver;

class SolrMarc extends \VuFind\RecordDriver\SolrMarc
     * Translate "alien" headings.
     * @param string $heading Input string
     * @return string
    protected function dealienize($heading)
        static $regexes = [
            '/^Alien criminal(.*)/' => 'Noncitizen criminal$1',
            '/^Alien detention centers(.*)/' => 'Detention centers$1',
            '/^Alien labor(.*)/' => 'Noncitizen labor$1',
            '/^Alien property(.*)/' => 'Foreign-owned property$1',
            '/^Aliens(.*)/' => 'Noncitizens$1',
            '/^Children of alien laborers(.*)/' => 'Children of noncitizen laborers$1',
            '/^Children of illegal aliens(.*)/' => 'Children of undocumented immigrants$1',
            '/^Illegal alien children(.*)/' => 'Undocumented immigrant children$1',
            '/^Illegal aliens(.*)/' => 'Undocumented immigrants$1',
            '/^Women illegal aliens(.*)/' => 'Women undocumented immigrants$1',
        foreach ($regexes as $in => $out) {
            $heading = preg_replace($in, $out, $heading);
        return $heading;

     * Get all subject headings associated with this record.  Each heading is
     * returned as an array of chunks, increasing from least specific to most
     * specific.
     * @param bool $extended Whether to return a keyed array with the following
     * keys:
     * - heading: the actual subject heading chunks
     * - type: heading type
     * - source: source vocabulary
     * @return array
    public function getAllSubjectHeadings($extended = false)
        // Get extended headings from the parent:
        $headings = parent::getAllSubjectHeadings(true);

        foreach ($headings as $i => $heading) {
            if (isset($headings[$i]['heading'][0])) {
                    = $this->dealienize($headings[$i]['heading'][0]);

        // Reduce to non-extended format if necessary:
        if (!$extended) {
            $reduce = function ($var) {
                return serialize($var['heading']);
            return array_map(
                'unserialize', array_unique(array_map($reduce, $headings))
        return $headings;

You can learn more about building custom record drivers in the VuFind wiki.


While it requires a bit of redundancy, solving this problem with VuFind is still a great deal simpler and less painful than trying to maintain the records in a different way. If you would like to adopt a similar solution in your library and need more information beyond the code and configuration shared here, please feel free to reach out to the VuFind community through one of the methods listed on our support page.

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January Intersession Service Hours

By Kallie Stahl

January Intersession Service Hours

Monday, Jan. 6–Friday, Jan. 10: 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Entrance doors and book stacks close at 4:30 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 11 and Sunday, Jan. 12: 12 p.m.–5 p.m.
Entrance doors and book stacks close at 4:30 p.m.

Spring semester hours begin Monday, Jan. 13: 8 a.m.–12 a.m.

Kallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library.  View the complete January intersession schedule here


Hark! The Falvey Staffers Sing!

By Shawn Proctor


staff singing at christmas party

Falvey staff members Brian Warren, Library Technology Developer, and John Banionis, Metrics and Assessment Librarian, part of the Faculty/Staff Choir at Villanova, raised the spirits of all in attendance of the University’s staff Christmas Party.


Shawn Proctor

Shawn Proctor, MFA, is the Communication and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library.

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TBT: Gaining a New Perspective in Falvey

Students Drawing in the Stacks

In February 2019, students in the Basic Drawing Perspectives course utilized a viewpoint on Falvey’s third floor to practice illustration techniques.

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The Curious ‘Cat: Library Staff Share Seasonal Schedules

By Kallie Stahl

This week, the Curious ‘Cat asked Falvey Memorial Library staff,

“What are your plans for winter break?” 

Caroline Sipio, Access and Collections Coordinator

Jesse Flavin, Acquisitions and Electronic Resources Coordinator

Jeannine Ahern, Finance and Administration Specialist

Rob LeBlanc, First Year Experience Librarian

Kallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library. She is traveling home to Ohio for the holidays. 

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Last Modified: December 18, 2019