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Attention Alumni: You’re Invited to Join The Villanova University Virtual Book Club

Once a Wildcat Always a Wildcat Chalk art

Earlier this month, Villanova University had the great honor of celebrating the class of 2021 with a lineup of memorable events leading up to Commencement. The Senior Picnic, the Blue and White Bash, a champagne toast with Fr. Peter: these events helped to mark the occasion as something truly special for seniors after facing an exceptionally challenging year.

With a group of freshly minted Villanova grads now out in the world, we want to remind alumni that they can stay connected to the Villanova community long after they leave campus.

The University’s Alumni Association offers many channels of support to Villanova graduates. Among the countless resources and programs available to alumni, as a Library we are particularly interested in sharing a fun one: The Villanova University Virtual Book Club.

The Villanova University Virtual Book Club is sponsored by the Villanova University Alumni Association in partnership with Professional Book Club (PBC) Guru. It is a virtual forum that offers Villanovans a platform to discuss an assortment of books on a wide variety of thought-provoking topics and genres.

The book club is entirely virtual and participation is free for alumni and staff as a benefit through the Alumni Association. Participants are responsible for obtaining a copy of the book. Otherwise, there is no cost.

So how does it work? One book is selected by the group every two months and selections are voted on by the book club members. Most books will take an average of about nine hours to read, so the time required is notMatt Haig author of The Midnight Library too overwhelming. Members can choose the level of their participation, depending on their availability and interest—there is no specific commitment.

A representative from PBC Guru moderates this private forum and helps facilitate meaningful discussion about the current book with members by providing access to related articles as well as questions to prompt deeper reflections on the books. Members are invited to introduce themselves and share their thoughts on the book as well as their personal responses to the moderator’s questions. The hope is that this sparks ongoing conversations by members.

Becoming a member of the book club has many advantages. It is a great way to expose yourself to unexplored ideas and perspectives that could help you gain new understandings on a range of topics. Selections may also contribute to strengthening skills that can carry over into the workplace, such as the ability to listen and communicate effectively. The basic act of reading may also be a good way to relax!

One of the biggest benefits of the club, however, is the opportunity to network and bond with fellow Villanova community members over a shared interest. This is a safe and easy way to connect with Wildcats from all over the globe, many of whom you might not have the opportunity to interact with otherwise.

Michele Harper, author of The Beauty in Breaking

The March to May book selection was Matthew Haig’s novel, The Midnight Library, which is a book that makes you ponder what life would be like if you made different choices along the way—whether big or small. The main character, Nora Seed, is a woman who has reached the depths of despair due to her perceived regrets in life. Through the book, we are able to follow Nora as she lands unexpectedly into the mystical “Midnight Library,” a place between life and death. The library holds countless versions of Nora’s lives, which are detailed in books found in the library. We we are able to follow Nora on different paths and travel along her journey of self-discovery.

As a special treat, book club members had exclusive access to a live Q&A discussion with Matthew Haig the author of The Midnight Library on May 20.

The next book selection for the May 27 -July 29 reading period is The Beauty in Breaking: A Memoir by Michele Harper, a female African American ER physician.

“The Beauty in Breaking is the poignant true story of Harper’s journey toward self-healing. Each of the patients Harper writes about taught her something important about recuperation and recovery. How to let go of fear even when the future is murky: How to tell the truth when it’s simpler to overlook it. How to understand that compassion isn’t the same as justice. As she shines a light on the systemic disenfranchisement of the patients she treats as they struggle to maintain their health and dignity, Harper comes to understand the importance of allowing ourselves to make peace with the past as we draw support from the present. In this hopeful, moving, and beautiful book, she passes along the precious, necessary lessons that she has learned as a daughter, a woman, and a physician.” (Amazon.com)

If you are interested in joining the Villanova University Virtual Book Club, please click here to sign up to be a member.

We hope that you always feel welcome and stay involved at Villanova. The book club is one avenue to do that.  Please remember that “Once a Wildcat, Always a Wildcat!”


Dig Deeper: Additional Resources for Alumni


headshot picture of regina duffyRegina Duffy is Communication and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 


 


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Free and Open Resources for Academic Research!

Open the door to research! (Photo by Jan Tinneberg on Unsplash)

By Susan Turkel

Villanova University spends a large part of its library budget on online journals, electronic books, and specialized scholarly search engines. These resources, such as Oxford Bibliographies Online, PsycINFO, the ATLA Religion Database, Compendex, and Advertising Age Datacenter, are invaluable resources for students in relevant fields.

The problem, however, is that the Library is essentially renting these resources from vendors, and we are therefore limited in how much we can share and with whom. For example, we would love to make these resources available to Villanova alumni and guests, but the Library is required to sign license agreements with resource vendors that restrict access to current students, staff, and faculty (plus walk-in users, when the building is open to guests). This means that as a student, after you graduate, your remote access to these resources disappears within several weeks.

Start your research here (Photo by Surface on Unsplash)

We have good news! Some publishers and authors choose to make their work available to all, regardless of university affiliation (“open access” resources), and we’ve created a guide listing free and openly available academic search engines, e-book collections, and e-journal collections, along with links to more extensive listings from other libraries.

View the new research guide here: Open Access and Freely Available Resources.

As the guide suggests, a great place to start your research is Google Scholar. This powerful database indexes the full text of online journals in all fields, as well as electronic books and materials in academic repositories. It provides links to full text when possible; if a free version of the item is not available, you can use the author/title/publication information in Google Scholar to request the full article or book via Interlibrary Loan from your public library.

You can also download browser extensions, such as Unpaywall, CORE Discovery, or the Open Access Button, to help you find or request free versions of a resource.

Many of the resources on the new guide are available to all, rather than hidden behind a paywall or licensing restrictions, because they are published as Open Access (OA) projects. Guided by the principle that it is beneficial for society when scholarly research is available without barriers, OA materials are online research outputs that are made available without cost to the reader. Instead, the expenses associated with OA publications are covered by the authors, their institutions, and/or grant funding. There are a variety of OA publications, repositories, software, and projects out there; read more about OA in Peter Suber’s Open Access Overview.

Falvey Memorial Library places a high value on openness. As stated in the Values statement on the Library website,

Openness

We believe that the broad sharing of information, ideas, knowledge, skills, and tools benefits society by enabling information equality, facilitating life-long learning, and driving innovation. We support and encourage open access publishing, open content, and open source software. We strive to make our resources accessible to all. We promote the open exchange of ideas and transparency in communication and decision-making.

Many Falvey initiatives demonstrate our commitment to openness. Here are some examples.

Read freely! (Photo by Ying Ge on Unsplash)

Falvey Open Access Collections

Falvey Open Access Support for Faculty, Staff, and Students

  • Falvey provides financial support to qualifying VU researchers who need help paying processing fees in order to publish open access via the Scholarship Open Access Reserve (SOAR) Fund program.
  • Sarah Wipperman joined Falvey in early 2020 as our first Scholarly Communications Librarian. Sarah is our expert on helping Villanova researchers navigate copyright, author rights, and making their work more visible and openly accessible.
  • Villanova University’s Affordable Materials Project is a campus-wide collaboration that intended to help faculty select high-quality, affordable course materials. The library’s participation includes helping instructors find and adopt open educational resources (OER), which are online, open access course materials.

Falvey Open Software

  • Falvey supports open source software: our Technology Team developed and maintains VuFind, a widely used open source library resource portal. When you search our library catalog or look for articles via the library’s search box, you’re using VuFind!

For more information about Open Access, please explore the websites linked above, and/or contact Sarah Wipperman.


Susan Turkel is a Social Sciences Librarian at Falvey Memorial Library. Thanks go to Michael Foight, Rebecca Oviedo, Jutta Seibert, Marianne Watson, and Sarah Wipperman for their input on this article.

 


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Distinctive Collections: The Smallest Item

What is the smallest item in your collection?

While our Distinctive Collections have many small and fascinating items (a Sumerian clay tablet, a miniature edition of Shakespeare’s plays), the smallest item has to be this tiny seed pod amazingly filled with even tinier carved ivory animals. This item belongs to the James D. Reap, Jr. World War II Collection, which coincidentally also houses one of the largest items from Distinctive Collections (see: Scanning a Panoramic Sketch).

 

The little red seed comes from the red sandalwood tree, common in India and other tropic areas. Sometimes called the Red Lucky Seed, Circassian Seed, Jumbi-Bead, or magic charm bean, the hollow seeds filled with carved ivory animals (usually elephants) were likely sold or distributed as souvenirs that would bring good luck with each animal inside. This seed, like a fancy perfume bottle, has a carved stopper on top that fits just right. Inside easily and comfortably fits thirteen paper-thin little animals. The animals are intricately carved and some are quite recognizable. There is a camel and a giraffe, an elephant, and other four-legged creatures. Each one is only about 4 mm tall (the giraffe is 6 mm tall) and the seed with stopper measures 8 mm wide and 12 mm height.

We are not sure where Reap acquired it, but it was certainly while overseas between 1944-1946. After enlisting in the Navy in November 1943 and training at Bainbridge, MD and Fort Lauderdale, FL, he was then ordered to San Diego to join the Japanese invasion force. The USS White Marsh took Reap to Pearl Harbor, HI, where he was assigned to the USS Proteus, a submarine tender, as a radar and communications technician. He was stationed at various times at: Guam; Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands; Japan; and Panama. After the war, Reap was honorably discharged from Naval service on April 6, 1946.

Earlier this summer we had a chance to revisit this collection with James D. Reap, Jr.’s son and great-granddaughter during their visit to campus. They fondly remembered the little “ivory zoo” and son James J. Reap recalled his father proudly rolling out the sketch of Yokosuka Naval Base in his basement to show family and friends. The family is happy that the collection is now being preserved with Villanova University’s Distinctive Collections, and excited to see items shared online in the Digital Library.

 

James J. Reap, ’69 and his granddaughter, Abby, pose with items from the James D. Reap, Jr. World War II Collection.

 


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FotoFriday: Honoring One of Villanova’s Bravest

Photo of Bernie Mason

Happy Independence Weekend to Bernie Mason ’95 CLAS (he turned 99 years old in May) who served in World War II with the legendary Ghost Army before becoming a successful commercial artist!


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University Archives Acquisition: Ann Marie Cammarota Research Records

Pages from the archives

The University Archives recently acquired the research materials compiled by alumnus Ann Marie Cammarota for her 1985 Master Thesis, Consideration of the American Press Coverage of the Cuban Political Situation from 1952 to 1958 and its Influence of the United States Foreign Policy. Cammarota’s thesis investigated if American press coverage of Batista’s government influenced the State Department’s policies at the time. The papers include declassified memoranda from the State Department regarding Cuban activities between 1957 and 1958. The documents reveal the State Department’s growing apprehension surrounding escalating violence and the United States’ international reputation.

After completing her Masters in 1985, Cammarota continued her studies at Temple University for a PhD in History. She has been an instructor Neuman College, St. Joseph’s University, and Rosemont College. In addition to teaching, she has published a book, Pavements in the Garden: The Suburbanization of Southern New Jersey, Adjacent to the City of Philadelphia, 1769 to Present, which is also available in our general stacks.

The University Archives is excited for the new addition to the collections because the documents serve as significant primary sources for US-Cuban relations as well as highlight the work of our former students. The documents have been added to VUA 32 Alumni Records and available for research.


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‘Caturday: There’s a chapel in the pines…waiting for us, around the bend…

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We suppose we could have gone with These Boots Are Made for Walking as a suitable lyrical caption for this 50-year old photo of a lovesick Wildcat couple gazing across a snowy Mendel Field.

But it’s Valentine’s Weekend and we’re in the mood for love!

So instead, we’re going to imagine that it’s the other #1 hit from February 1966 – Lou Christie’s Lightin’ Strikes – that’s the soundtrack in the heads of these cooing ‘Cats. Admittedly, its lyrics are primarily about a guy not quite ready to settle down, but there really is a chapel there! And it is just around the bend from these two and surrounded by what probably is a dozen pines or so.

We just have to head to the Digital Library’s helpful  Arboreana to make sure.  🙂

Scanned from the 1966 Belle Air.


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Reunion Weekend FAQs: Falvey Alumni Questions

WILDCAT QUESTION MARK2Other than where are the restrooms (through the lounge doors, to your left) and when is Holy Grounds open (a bit trickier during summer months – check their website), here are the questions most often asked by visiting alumni!

Am I able to look at past issues of The Villanovan?

Yes! The collected issues of the Villanovan and the Villanova Monthly are available here. Issues are fully searchable from the Library Catalog and are in pdf format for easy reading, printing and downloading.

Search the fulltext in the Digital Library search box or in the library Search tab.  Selected content is available to the Villanova Community members from 1995-current in the Lexis-Nexis database.

Print copies of articles published since 1995 can be requested at the front desk.  When requesting an issue, please use the call number LD4834 .S75V (Garey Hall).

Falvey has an index, in excel format, to assist in finding specific articles published in the Villanovan from 1992 through 2006.

 

Can I look at old Belle Air yearbooks?

Yes! These are not digitized, but the library does has paper format only of the yearbooks available for browsing during library hours. Check our home page for hours – which do often vary during this time of year.

Here is the following information on the title and holdings:

Title: Belle-air. Publisher: [Villanova, Pa. : Villanova College, 1922- . Call Number: LD4834 .S75

Available Volume  Holdings: 1922, 1924-1941, 1943-2004, 2006- to present. Ask at Circulation for the specific volume.

 

Am I still entitled to use the library as an alumni?

Yes! VU alumni are eligible for a free courtesy membership that allows borrowing privileges and on-site access to most of our online databases. To apply, simply come to the Falvey circulation desk with a photo ID.  Check out the  ‘Alumni — Courtesy Membership’ and ‘Courtesy Member Borrowing’ pages for more information:

Villanova Alumni and Residents of Radnor or Lower Merion townships may apply annually for borrowing privileges and on site access to subscription databases. There is no membership fee for these privileges.

Villanova University Catalogs

Are you on social media?

Yes! We are on social media! Follow both the main library and the digital library on a wide selection of platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GoodReads, Google+ and Pinterest! Or, get a great sampling of all of them on our new Rebelmouse account.

 


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Last Modified: June 5, 2014