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National Book Award Winners Announced

By Ethan Shea

"Man going upstairs on book. Business education concept"

In early October, the finalists for this year’s National Book Awards were announced, and last month the winners were finally made official. National Book Awards are among the most distinguished literary prizes. Recognition that comes with these awards have the ability to launch writers into stardom and increase their book sales dramatically.

There are five categories of the National Book Awards: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Translated Literature, and Young People’s Literature.

Without further delay, here are the winners of the five National Book Awards.

Hell of a Book

"'Hell of a Book' book cover"The recipient of the award in fiction went to Jason Mott for his fourth novel Hell of a Book. This story, which describes a Black author’s book tour among other stories intertwined into the narrative, has been over a decade in the making. After Mott’s hard work finally payed off with his recent win, he dedicated the award to “all the other mad kids, the outsiders, the weirdos, the bullied,” according to the New York Times.






All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake

"'All That She Carried' Book Cover"

In the nonfiction category, Dr. Tiya Miles won the coveted award. Her book follows a cotton sack that an enslaved woman gave to her daughter to trace a family’s lineage. Miles is a professor at Harvard University, and some other accolades she has received in recent years include a MacArthur Fellowship, Hiett Prize, and the Frederick Douglass Book Prize.







"'Floaters' Book Cover"

The winner of the 2021 National Book Award in poetry, Floaters, is a collection of poems dedicated to migrants who drowned in the Rio Grande. The book’s author, Martín Espada, is not only a poet. He is also an essayist, translator, and editor who has published more than 20 books. This book of poetry comes at an especially significant time in our nation’s history, when borders and migration are such turbulent topics in public discourse, which makes its recognition all the more important.





Winter in Sokcho

"'Winter in Sokcho' Book Cover"

The award for translated literature was earned by Elisa Shua Dusapin and Aneesa Abbas Higgins who respectively wrote and translated the novel Winter in Sokcho. Dusapin’s novel has been translated into six languages and already has been awarded the Prix Robert Walser and Prix Régine Desforges. Higgins has also won several awards for her translations. As a result of the inherent differences between languages, to keep the essence of a work intact while changing languages is a difficult process to say the least.





Last Night at the Telegraph Club

"'Last Night at the Telegraph Club' Book Cover"

Last but certainly not least is the winner of the young people’s literature category, Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo. This story follows seventeen-year-old Lily Hu as she falls in love with Kathleen Miller in San Francisco’s Chinatown in the 1950s. The story welcomes conversations about paranoia, citizenship, and sexuality.






Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.


Villanova Theatre Hosts Sue Winge Award-Winning Plays


By Jenna Renaud

Villanova Theatre is hosting the public reading of two 2021 Sue Winge Award-winning plays on Thursday, Dec. 2, and Saturday, Dec. 4, at 8 p.m., in the Smith Performance Lab at the John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing Arts. The reading includes The Invisible Ones by Aly Gonzalez and Laundry by Megan Schumacher, directed by Kimberly S. Fairbanks, Schumacher ’18 MA and Gonzalez ’21 MA.

The readings, directed by Kimberly S. Fairbanks ’11, are connected by themes of retaining individual identity and personal humanity while weathering unjust systems.  

“We’re really delighted to be able to confer this year’s Award on two playwrights with very different, yet equally engaging, theatrical visions,” Villanova Theatre Artistic Director Michael Hollinger says. “Aly’s The Invisible Ones is a beautiful snapshot of two unhoused teens living beneath an underpass, one of whom hopefully pursues a college education despite her strained circumstances. Megan’s powerful Laundry reveals another kind of ‘underworld,’ where five women, stripped of individual identity, labor under a dehumanizing system while struggling to retain their essential humanity.”  

Production dramaturg Paul Goraczko provided insight on the qualities both plays have in common: “In Laundry and The Invisible Ones we have two utterly compelling pieces of theatre about people who are marginalized, forgotten, and yearning to be seen. Seeing these plays back-to-back will surely be a thought-provoking experience that audiences won’t want to miss.” 

The Sue Winge Playwriting Award was established in memory of beloved Villanova University employee Sue Winge, who served the University for many years in the Theatre Department and the President’s Office. The award annually supports the creation and development of new plays at Villanova University, including the recent Bakkhai Variations commissions and workshop of Julia Izumi’s Sometimes the Rain, Sometimes the Sea.

You can register for your free tickets on the Villanova Theatre website:  

Source: Villanova Theatre (2021, November 29). Villanova Theatre Presents the 2021 Sue Winge Playwriting Award Winners: The Invisible Ones by Aly Gonzalez and Laundry by Megan Schumacher [Press release]. 

Jenna Renaud is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department.








Cat in the Stax: Hayao Miyazaki’s (Un)retirement

By Ethan Shea


For this week’s “Cat in the Stax” I want to take a brief break from the holiday season and discuss some other big news, Hayao Miyazaki’s (un)retirement.

It was recently announced that Hayao Miyazaki, internationally acclaimed film animator and co-founder of Studio Ghibli, will be coming out of retirement to create one last film. This is not the first time Miyazaki has gone back to work. In fact, he mentioned retiring from filmmaking as long ago as 1997 but did not formally “retire” until 2013.  In 2017, Miyazaki ended his retirement to create one last film, and now in 2021, he’s doing it again.

If you’re expecting to see Miyazaki’s new film sometime soon, you’re out of luck. Studio Ghibli animates its films with very little help from computer-generated imagery (CGI), so 12 minutes of film usually takes about a year to make.  Luckily, as of 2021, this new film, How Do You Live?, has already been in the works for a few years, so it has a tentative  release date of 2023.

The New York Times recently scored an interview with Miyazaki, his first interview with an English-language outlet since 2014, so if you’d like to read more about the man himself, I recommend checking it out here. As a Villanova student, staff, or faculty member, you have free access to the New York Times, so make use of it!

"Book Cover of 'Miyazaki World: A Life in Art' by Susan Napier"

“Miyazaki World: A Life in Art” by Susan Napier

I have to admit that I haven’t seen every Studio Ghibli film, but I hope to watch all of them during the upcoming winter break. The ongoing Studio Ghibli Fest at AMC theaters, which screens past Ghibli films on a monthly basis, has helped me watch some of these films. AMC will be screening My Neighbor Totoro this month, so if you haven’t already seen it, or even if you have, I’d recommend seeing it in theaters soon!

My personal favorite Miyazaki film is Laputa: Castle in the Sky.  This was one of Studio Ghibli’s very first productions, and I was lucky enough to experience it for the first time in theaters recently. I’ll stop myself from spoiling any of the plot, but everything about this film, from the score (which I love to listen to while studying) to the emphasis on the essentiality of nature through intimate visuals of greenery, is beautiful.

You can watch some Studio Ghibli films with the help of Falvey Library. Grave of the Fireflies is currently on the shelves of our stacks, and several other films, such as Howl’s Moving Castle and Ponyo, are available through interlibrary loan.

We even have several texts on the life and career of Miyazaki living in our stacks. For example, you could check out Miyazakiworld: A Life in Art or Sharing a House with the Never-Ending Man: 15 Years at Studio Ghibli to learn more about the famous storyteller.

Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.


Carrel-tas Commitment Contest

By Ethan Shea



Everyone knows those cubicle desks lining the outskirts of Falvey’s third and fourth floor stacks, but did you know those desks have a specific name? That particular type of desk is actually called a carrel, so here in Falvey, we’re transforming the CARITAS Commitment to the Carrel-tas Commitment!

"Decorated Carrel in Old Falvey"

Decorated Carrel in Old Falvey

To thank the patrons of Falvey Memorial Library for honoring our Carrel-tas Commitment by wearing their masks properly, Falvey will be coordinating daily raffles that culminate in a grand prize drawing. This grand prize gives you a chance to win access to the Falvey room 206 study suite for you and five of your friends during the entirety of finals week (Dec. 10-17)!

If you mask like no one is watching, go ahead and grab a raffle ticket at the reading room or main entrance, write your name on it and place it into a prize bin. Only one entry per person is allowed each day, but you can enter the raffle daily.

By entering any of the daily drawings, you are automatically entered into the grand prize drawing, but keep in mind that you can only win a daily drawing once. Everyone will have the opportunity to win the grand prize regardless of whether they already won a smaller prize or not.

The daily drawings will be picked on Dec. 1-3 and 6-9. Winners will be notified the following morning.

Winners of the daily drawings gain access to room 206 in Falvey on the day they win from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. the next morning.

Thank you again for wearing a mask and keeping our community in good health!

Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.


Happy Hanukkah!


Happy Hanukkah to our community’s Jewish members!

As we welcome the feast of lights, we invite you to take a look at a selection available in our digital collection: The Hanukkah Anthology.

This tome is described as delving “into the stories and messages of Hanukkah as they have unfolded in Jewish literature over the past two thousand years: biblical intimations of the festival, postbiblical writings, selections from the Talmud and midrashim, excerpts from medieval books, home liturgies, laws and customs, observances in different nations, stories and poems, art, and recipes.”

The Hanukkah Anthology is a successor to Hanukkah: The Feast of Lights by Emily Solis-Cohen, Jr., published in 1937.


TBT: Fading Fall Foliage

By Ethan Shea

"Boy sits under tree with beautiful foliage. Image from 1968 edition of Belle Air"

Photo from 1968 edition of Belle Air

As the autumn leaves adorning our campus begin to fade, this photo from the 1968 edition of Belle Air serves as a reminder to appreciate nature’s passing beauty. Hopefully the tranquil tone of this image sets the mood for your Thanksgiving dinner and the imminent transition to less temperate weather.

Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.


Cat in the Stax: What are you thankful for?

By Ethan Shea

"Green beans with bacon for Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving dinner"

A year ago, in spite of the chaos of November 2020, Jenna, last year’s “Cat in the Stax,” wrote about what she’s thankful for in this Thanksgiving blog. To continue this tradition of revisiting reasons to be thankful annually, this holiday edition of “Cat in the Stax” describes a few of the many people, places, and things I’m grateful for.

In-Person Classes

Considering the entirety of my senior year as an undergraduate was online, I’m very thankful to be back on a college campus. Although my experience at Zoom University was as good as it could have been, I definitely connect more with the material and my classmates in a face-to-face setting. Campus life remains imperfect. Still, "Open book"our ability to adapt to the tumultuous world and gather once again is something I will no longer take for granted.


Any library’s blog about thankfulness would be incomplete without mentioning books! Thanks to Falvey’s vast selection of material, I’ve discovered a new passion for aimlessly wandering the fourth floor stacks until I find a book I can use for my research. Not only have the stacks been there to help me with academics, but, of course, I’m looking forward to indulging in some leisurely reading during the upcoming winter break, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to do so.

Family & Friends

It goes without saying that I would not be able to function without my support system. From friends who are willing to let me crash at their apartments on the weekends to family eager to drive four hours to visit me, I’m thankful for everyone in my life who keeps me in good spirits. The comfort of knowing I have people who will help me get back on my feet if I’m struggling is something I couldn’t live without, which is why I’m especially grateful for friends and family this year.

Professors"lecturer in university - students listening to teacher"

Before this semester began, I was apprehensive about conducting research at the graduate level, but, luckily, all my professors have made my first semester at Villanova a memorable one. By taking the time to discuss my ideas and giving guidance where it’s needed, my professors have made the collaborative process of work in the classroom enjoyable. I couldn’t have asked for better courses to kickstart my graduate career.


As someone who has only lived in Pennsylvania since August, these past few months have been an eye-opening experience with regard to gas station cuisine. Back home in Connecticut, we swear by Dunkin’ Donuts, but I have to say, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Wawa. I don’t have enough fingers to count the number of meals I’ve bought from Wawa this semester, but the breadth of options there really made me understand the hype. I guess this means I’m officially a Pennsylvanian now?

…maybe not, but regardless, I hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving!

Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.



Geo Week: Mapping Natural Gas, Aiding Developing Countries

Geography Awareness WeekRecognizing that young Americans have a gap in their understanding of geography and their roles as global citizens, National Geographic “created Geography Awareness Week to raise awareness to this dangerous deficiency in American education and excite people about geography as both a discipline and as a part of everyday life… Each third week of November, students, families, and community members focus on the importance of geography by hosting events; using lessons, games, and challenges in the classroom; and often meet with policymakers and business leaders.” 

 To celebrate Geography Awareness Week, Falvey Memorial Library and the Department of Geography and the Environment (GEV) invite you to attend this week’s geography-focused events, to check out our list of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) projects below, and to follow along with Falvey’s blogs sharing projects and discussions from GEV’s students. 

GIS Projects 

Today we talk about mapping natural gas infrastucture in GIS and how geography can aid developing countries.



Mapping Natural Gas Infrastructure in GIS

My name is Lloyd Willis, and I am a Villanova Alumni who graduated in the Class of 2020. I discovered an interest in Global  Interdisciplinary Studies (GIS) while taking classes in the Department of Geography and the Environment (GEV). The GIS specific classes that I attended during my time at Villanova made me realize I wanted to pursue I professional career in Geographic Information Systems in some form or another.

Currently, I am a GIS Technician II and a part of the AIS (Asset and Information Strategies) unit at an engineering consulting firm called Mott MacDonald. We use a GIS application called Smallworld, which is provided by GE Digital, a division of General Electric. Smallworld is widely known as the leader for GIS in utilities and communications. The work that we provide to our clients is updating natural gas main and fitting data from fields documents ranging from the 1940’s to present in the Smallworld GIS application to make the data more accessible and easier to manipulate. Since I began working at Mott MacDonald, I have been able to use GIS in new ways and in my everyday work. My work is specifically focused on the utilities side and involves editing data on maps for engineers to use in the field. This GIS work my unit does daily is crucial in correctly updating and manipulating data for engineers to conduct field work safely and efficiently. Without the use of the Smallworld GIS application, it would make the work of the engineers more complicated and dangerous. GIS allows the technicians to effectively and accurately edit thousands of feet of natural gas main data daily. Meaning we can produce large quantities of precise data to our client in a reasonable amount of time.

The utilities aspect of GIS is something I previously have not had much experience in. That being said, I continue to learn and understand how expansive the range of opportunities are in GIS fields and applications. I hope to continue my GIS journey and learn even more useful and practical skills in this field.

Lloyd Willis is a Villanova GEV undergraduate alum from 2020. He majored in Environmental Science and Geography.


Using Geography to Help Developing Countries

My name is Peter Nikitin, and when I tell people that I am a geography major their first reaction is “what are you going to do with that”, “that is a useless major, you should’ve majored in"GEV Logo" something that can get you a job and make you money”. These comments troubled me for a while, but I always had a strong passion and interest in geography and maps since I was 13 years old, and I never wanted to give that up. I was always able to absorb a wealth of information from simply looking at a map and see the value that most others don’t. Despite the question marks I trudged on in my academic career as a geography major at Villanova.

Deciding to follow my passion has paid off for me as I have learned a lot in the past 3 years of how geography and mapping skills can be extremely beneficial to the developing world. Through a friend at Villanova, I met someone who lit up when I told him how I was learning geography and how to make maps using the programs Arc Map and ArcGIS Pro. He explained to me how it’s such a great skill to have and how he is working in many countries around the world where geospatial software and mapping is highly in demand.

"Map image"He introduced me to a team of people in India that were working on creating child friendly villages. The goal of these villages were to stop child labor in the mines and ensure that 100% of the children had access to education. I used Arc Map to create a map of which villages have a child school enrollment rate less than 75%. This showed spatial patterns of which parts of this area had higher and lower rates of education access. This was extremely helpful to the team. Right now, we are in the planning stages for my senior project. We hope to find a spatial connection between child labor and deforestation to bring more awareness to the areas we are working in and hopefully gain the support of companies that see deforestation as an important issue. I am especially excited to become more involved because it is very fulfilling to use my skills to help create a better world for children in India.

This is a map I created for a class which shows deforestation in the state of Rodonia in Brazil and the spatial relationship deforestation has with official roads and urban areas. A map like this can help people decide on a area that should be a protected forest for example.

I also received an internship this summer through my major with Catholic Relief Services. I received a scholarship for holding this internship as well. Catholic Relief "Nature overhead shot"Services takes requests from all around the world for mapping projects on ArcGIS Pro and dashboards on Power BI. Using these programs helps bring data collected in the field to life and can help developing countries in seemingly endless ways such as disaster relief, planning, and making information more readily and easily available. As an intern, I am especially helpful to the program because I have access to technology that many people don’t, and I have the free time to work on projects that they’ve been unable to devote time to.

My main project has been using deep learning to identify and measure the diameter of tree canopies from drone imagery which would be used to calculate carbon sequestration in Madagascar. This model can tell people how much carbon is being stored in forests and show which areas are important to protect and preserve to mitigate climate change. It is important to know how much carbon is being sequestered when evaluating how much greenhouse gases are being released in an area. This project relies on user input to teach the software how to identify trees and measure the boundaries of them. I am very glad that I’m contributing to such a useful and interesting project, and I can’t wait to work on more projects like this in my career.

"Nikitin creating map of Madagascar"

Here is a picture of me using the software ArcGIS Pro to create a new map of Madagascar.


Peter Nikitin is a senior in Villanova’s Department of Geography and the Environment. He is majoring in Geography.


Geo Week: Geospatial Tech for the Military, GIS and the Environment

Geography Awareness WeekRecognizing that young Americans have a gap in their understanding of geography and their roles as global citizens, National Geographic “created Geography Awareness Week to raise awareness to this dangerous deficiency in American education and excite people about geography as both a discipline and as a part of everyday life… Each third week of November, students, families, and community members focus on the importance of geography by hosting events; using lessons, games, and challenges in the classroom; and often meet with policymakers and business leaders.” 

 To celebrate Geography Awareness Week, Falvey Memorial Library and the Department of Geography and the Environment (GEV) invite you to attend this week’s geography-focused events, to check out our list of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) projects below, and to follow along with Falvey’s blogs sharing projects and discussions from GEV’s students. 

GIS Projects 

Today we talk about geospatial technology for the military and using GIS and geography to solve environmental problems.


Geospatial Technology for the Military

My name is Kylee Giblin, and I am currently using Global Interdisciplinary Studies (GIS) for a job I got after graduation with Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific (NIWC). Because of my GIS experience during undergrad I was able to get hired as a beginning GIS Technician. Currently I have been converting computer-aided design (CAD) documents into ArcGIS Pro for telecom data for various infrastructure areas on the island. This might sound confusing (it was to me too)! The maps we make show manholes and telecom or electrical lines that connect to the manholes. GIS work is important for this because we need to know where the communication lines lie in cases of emergency. The maps are also important for having the exact location of cables etc. in order to fix them or to check them. The job isn’t just computer restricted, we need to go into the field and physically GPS where the manholes and other data are so that when referring to the maps, they are correct.

Though this work is not environmentally focused, I am able to learn a lot about GIS tools that I could apply to future work. I am also learning about the land where I am from and the military areas that I did not know before.

Kylee Giblin is a Villanova GEV undergraduate alum from 2021. She majored in Environmental Studies.

Geography and GIS Help Solve Environmental Problems

My name is Caroline Dimich, and I am a recent graduate of Villanova’s department of Geography and the Environment (GEV). I double majored in Environmental Studies and Geography. I believe that studying geography was extremely beneficial to my education because it led me to understand how everything can be connected, even if it is far apart. I explored many different courses where geography was an undertone topic and I truly got to see how the world works with the meshing of cultures, people, and physical landscapes. I am grateful to the GEV department for inspiring me to learn more about my passion in geography in thought provoking classes with incredible concepts that made coming to class everyday exciting.

For my senior project I was lucky enough to work with Professor Jen Santoro and use Geographic Information Systems to look at a spatial problem that I find important. I completed a Multi Criteria Decision Analysis looking at the state of Montana and understanding its wind energy potential to see where future wind farms could be located. The issue of renewable energy is extremely important as the world faces the impending climate crisis. I grew up in Montana where I have been inspired by the differing landscapes and seeing how dependent the states is on Fossil Fuels while there is such a large potential for renewable energy to be captured. In this study I gained GIS and research experience while being able to locate large amounts land to capture enough wind energy to power the entire United States. This was an incredible opportunity to work with Professor Santoro and learn more about my home state as well as seeing a positive future for renewable energy.

After graduating from Villanova, I had the opportunity to intern with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) as a Data and Geospatial Analyst. During the three month internship I worked with people all over the globe who had one common goal which was to help people who were less fortunate and to make the world a better place. I had two main projects that I worked on throughout my time with CRS. The first project was to look at watersheds in Sierra Leone, Africa and determine areas that were at high risk for flooding in future rain events. This process would eventually be used to determine flooding risk in other areas of the world. The second project I worked on was understanding a GIS model that a Villanova research team had created to find areas in countries after natural disaster events. This model was very intricate and took many hazards and compared them to find areas of high risk. The model then looked at necessities that humans need such as healthcare, transportation, and land cover to determine where shelters must be located after natural disasters. This model will also be used in other areas of the world to help response teams act quickly in the event of a disaster to save as many people as possible.

In both my senior project as well as my internship I have learned why geography and tools such as GIS are important to the future of this world. Not only can the study of geography help bring people together around the world, but it can also help students understand how they can create a better place to live. I cannot express my gratitude to the GEV department for helping students such as myself expand their knowledge and want to help others.

Caroline Dimich is a Villanova GEV undergraduate alum from 2021. She majored in Environmental Studies and Geography.

Geography and GIS in Urban Environments

How do you use geography/GIS in your work or research?

My name is Kate Homet, and I use GIS everyday in my own thesis work, but also for my classes! I’m in my second year here at GEV in the MS program and my thesis research utilizes GIS and spatial data to create a spatial model to help make the planning of green stormwater infrastructure across Philadelphia more equitable in terms of mapping social, infrastructural, environmental, and maintenance vulnerabilities. To do this, I use social demographic data and display it spatially by census block group, map the location of 10-year, 24-hour design storm flood inundation, utilize city parcel data to map which buildings are susceptible to flooding, and model where stormwater infrastructure maintenance impacts such as litter, leaf litter, and sediment tend to build up across the city.

"A map showing the severity of leaf litter buildup across the city based on data from foliage dropping in the 2018-2019 season in Philadelphia"

"A map showing the severity of litter buildup across the city based on data from the city’s Litter Index for 2018"















"Description of map images"

Not only am I using GIS and geography for my research, but I also use it in most of my classes as well! It is such an awesome tool to have in my toolbelt because it can be used for a variety of different purposes and in so many disciplines.

"image of map"

I use it in Remote Sensing with Professor Kelley to interpret satellite imagery, I used it in my Drones course with our GIS whiz Michele Gandy and Professor Strader, to download and analyze drone footage, and I used it in my Wetlands course with Dr. Weston to map marsh sites and sediment accretion. And that is only what I did this semester!

Why is geography/GIS important to the work you do?

The ability to understand the spatial relationships in the world around you is crucial. Whether you’re planning to move to a new city, and you need to know where you can get groceries, or you’re looking for a new hiking path to try, you will always be utilizing some sort of geographic information to navigate through life. The work I’m doing now is adding to my toolbox of GIS skills and spatial modeling, something I hope to bring into my future career modeling flooding and planning for climate change adaptation. If you haven’t already taken a class in GIS, I highly suggest it. Our program may seem difficult at first, or it may come as second nature to you, but having those baseline skills in GIS will come in handy one day, no matter what discipline you’re in.

Kate Homet is a Villanova GEV Masters of Science in Environmental Science (MSES) graduate student. She is working with Dr. Peleg Kremer.


Cat in the Stax: Why Daylight Saving Time Scares Me

By Ethan Shea

"Closeup shot of a broken clock"

Less than two weeks ago, on Nov. 7, daylight saving time (DST) came to an end as our clocks fell back an hour. Although our mornings are brighter, unfortunately, the sun will set at 4:43 p.m. on the day this blog is published.

As you know from the title of this blog, the business of messing with our clocks just doesn’t sit right with me, so for this week’s “Cat in the Stax,” I’m taking a closer look at the reason I’ll be walking home from class in the dark tonight.

To begin, we need to understand why we started “springing forward” and “falling back” in the first place. It may feel like the way we handle time has always been the same, but surprisingly, the United States did not officially begin practicing DST until 1918. The measure was enacted as a means of preserving energy during World War I. More natural light at night meant less coal being burned to illuminate the nation.

"Observance of daylight saving time by state"

Observance of daylight saving time by state

Stranger still, not every state uses DST. Both Hawaii (HI) and most of Arizona (AZ), aside from the Navajo Nation, have decided to opt out of DST, so they remain in their respective standard time zones throughout the entirety of the year. According to the Department of Transportation (DOT), which oversees time zones in the United States, states are allowed to remove themselves from DST but are not allowed to remain in DST.

There have been several bills put forth by politicians in recent years, each with different ideas of how to manipulate timezones so we can enjoy more daylight without messing up our clocks twice a year. In spite of their efforts, none have come close to being enacted.

To answer the title of this blog, DST is unnerving because it reminds me just how unstable our world is. If something as seemingly immutable as time can shift abruptly, what do we have, if anything, that is stable?

Altogether, the moral of this post is that time isn’t real, so go ahead, show up late to that interview, be tardy for that dentist appointment, or leave your date waiting! Don’t submit to the tyrannical Timekeepers at the DOT!

Jokes aside, I don’t recommend fighting an un-winnable battle against time. Unless you’re one of my dogs, who don’t seem to be phased by DST, we all need some sort of order to our days.

Regardless of how time flows elsewhere, students, staff, and faculty have access to Falvey Memorial Library 24/7 this semester! You can check out more detailed stacks and service desk hours here.

Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.

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Last Modified: November 17, 2021