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Weekend Recs: Libraries

Happy Friday, Wildcats! Falvey Library is delivering you another semester of Weekend Recs, a blog dedicated to filling you in on what to read, listen to, and watch over the weekend. Annie, a graduate assistant from the Communication department, scours the internet, peruses the news, and digs through book stacks to find new, relevant, and thought-provoking content that will challenge you and prepare you for the upcoming week. A disclaimer that this column is intended for reflection and entertainment (not for academic research, for example), and infuses scholarly content as possible.

This week, April 7-13, is National Library Week, a week dedicated to appreciating what libraries do for communities. Whether it’s a university library like Falvey or a public library, libraries are absolutely vital for our communities to learn, research, create, and gather. They provide books, yes, but also technology, expert librarians, digital resources, and so much more. Even the physical spaces provide people with accessible spaces, whether it’s to work on homework, meet with peers, or curl up with a good book.

In celebration of National Library Week, this weekend’s recs are all about libraries.

If you have 2 minutes…and want to stay up-to-date on Library news and events, subscribe to our newsletter. More details here.

If you have 10 minutes…and want to read about a current problem many libraries across the country are experiencing, read this article about the increase in book bans.

Bonus: for more information on banned books, including the 10 most challenged books of 2023, check out the American Library Associations’ Banned & Challenged Books page.

If you have 15 minutes…and want to learn about how libraries are building and bettering communities, listen to this TED Talk. Not only are the books and academic resources that libraries provide vital, libraries also serve as accessible, safe spaces and community hubs for people to gather, create, and learn.

Bonus: if you want to see some of the things Falvey patrons had to say about what they loved about the Library, check out this “Curious Cat” blog post.

If you have 1 hour and 38 minutes…and want to watch a movie that makes you want to go to the library, watch Matilda, available in Falvey’s DVD Collection. I might be biased because this is one of my favorite movies, but this movie shows how important libraries can be for providing safe spaces and, of course, lots of books. (You can also stream the musical movie version of Matilda on Netflix).

Bonus: check out my “Libraries Go to Hollywood” blog post about the library in Matilda.

If you have 1 hour and 45 minutes…and want to watch a movie with a fun library twist, watch Ghostbusters (1984), available to stream for free through Sling TV.

If you have 5 hours…and like mystery novels, read Agatha Christie’s The Body in the Library, available at Falvey. It might be a private library, but it still counts.

Bonus: if you want to read another library-centric book, read Ruth Ozeki’s The Book of Form and Emptiness, available at Falvey.

If you want to celebrate Falvey Hall becoming a hub for Villanova’s academic resources and scholarship as the University’s Library, swing by our 75th Anniversary celebration on Monday, April 22 from 1-3 p.m. on the Falvey Hall Patio for some sweet treats and festivities. More details can be found here


Annie Stockmal is a second-year graduate student in the Communication Department and Graduate Assistant in Falvey Library.


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Libraries Go to Hollywood: Matilda

Famous Hollywood Hills in California, USA. Hollywood Sign. California Photo Collection.


By Annie Stockmal

This summer Falvey Library is going to the movies! Well, we’re using our beloved Library’s resources to research the coolest film scenes set in libraries. So grab a seat and a box of popcorn because the we’re going to look at when libraries go to Hollywood.

Although movies like It might try to give librarians a bad rap, the beloved 1996 classic Matilda, available in Falvey’s DVD Collection, contains one of the most heartwarming (and my personal favorite) depictions of libraries in film.

Based on the children’s book by Roald Dahl, Matilda is an ode to the power of books and education. Now, going to Falvey and reading books (probably) won’t give you telekinetic powers, but the film demonstrates how reading has the capacity to change our lives for the better, whether that’s furthering our pursuit of knowledge or escaping the stresses of everyday life. That’s something we at Falvey wholeheartedly agree with.

Before Matilda meets Miss Honey and the horrid Miss Trunchbull at Crunchem Hall Primary School, she begins her love of learning at her local library. With the help of a nice, grandma-coded librarian, Matilda is able to read her very first book and learns to find solace from her comically awful family through reading.

Photo courtesy of EEJCC on Wikimedia Commons

Matilda doesn’t just pay a service to kind librarians and the importance of reading. Director Danny DeVito and cinematographer Stefan Czapsky also capture its structural beauty. Although it’s branded as a public library in the movie, the majority of the library scenes were filmed in University of Southern California’s Doheny Memorial Library.

It’s not hard to make this massive library, adorned with high ceilings, stained glass, and beautiful stonework, look good. Yet, DeVito and Czapsky are able to use Doheny to make Matilda look even smaller (kind of like you might feel staring up at the tall windows in our own Dugan Polk Reading Room). It’s a memorable scene that sets up Matilda’s character and her aspirations.

Matilda isn’t the only film to appreciate Doheny’s beauty. You can also see the library featured in some pretty recognizable films, like Forrest Gump and The Graduate, both available in Falvey’s DVD Collection.


Annie Stockmal is a graduate student in the Communication Department and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.


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Libraries Go to Hollywood: Ghostbusters & New York Public Library

Famous Hollywood Hills in California, USA. Hollywood Sign. California Photo Collection.

 

Courtesy of Wikicommons: George Eastman House, Set 72157608512488080, ID 2987740376, Original title [NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY]

By Shawn Proctor

This summer Falvey Library is going to the movies! Well, we’re using our beloved Library’s resources to research the coolest film scenes set in libraries. So grab a seat and a box of popcorn because the we’re going to look at when libraries go to Hollywood.

 

Want to win a cool “Falvey Says Read” tee shirt? Email your favorite movie library to libraryevents@villanova.edu, and we’ll pick a winner at random!


 

We’re not afraid of no ghosts! But the opening scenes of Ghostbusters, the 1984 classic horror-comedy, are actually pretty scary as we follow Alice, an older librarian, down the shadowy bookshelves.

“Deep in the basement of the New York Public Library (NYPL), strange things are happening: Books float from shelf to shelf in midair, cards spew from catalog drawers, and a librarian confronts a terrifying . . . something. Enter Drs. Venkman (Bill Murray), Spengler (Harold Ramis), and Stantz (Dan Aykroyd): “paranormal studies” researchers working in, but barely tolerated by, the psychology department of Columbia University,” explains The Laughing Dead: The Horror-comedy Film from Bride of Frankenstein to Zombieland. (Access available via ProQuest.)

While the film made use of many notable New York City landmarks, the ominous exterior of the NYPL, complete with massive marble lions, sets the tone for all of supernatural scares ahead. The pair of big cats look as if they might pounce off their pedestals right then!

 


Courtesy of NYPL

Did you know? The two lions are named Patience and Fortitude! And they are 112 years old, according to the NYPL!

If you want to see more images of the lions through the years, visit this NYPL Google Drive.


 

“(T)he screenwriters imagined that the urban setting was appropriate not only to the comic riffs of their characters (and the unflappable locals), but also to the mythology they were creating for their demons and ghouls. The buildings in New York are old and rich with history, full of ghosts and their legends,” says the book Fun City Cinema : New York City and the Movies That Made It. (Access available via ProQuest.)

“Of course, it adds to the comedy when the Ghostbusters themselves are only fractionally braver than Alice the librarian,” adds Karen Kettnich and Paul T. Jaeger in their Library Quarterly article “Libraries and Librarians Onscreen and in Library Quarterly, Part 2, Or, The Greatest Hits of the ’80s, ’90s, and Today!”

 


Do you still use physical media like DVDs? You can borrow a DVD set of Ghostbusters 1 & 2 via Falvey’s Interlibrary Loan service!


 

Throughout the movie, the exteriors were consistently New York, but you might not realize that very few of the interior sets resided on the east coast. Filming shifted to Los Angeles due to save on filming costs. The library scene is no exception.

“…the stacks of the library are the stacks of the library. Even though they’re quite particular at the great New York Public Library on 42nd Street, we didn’t think it would be a problem to move that scene [to L.A.],” Ivan Reitman told LA Weekly in 2016. “Where we made use of the great reading room [of the New York Public Library] — and we were always going to film there as soon as I walked through it and was given permission to shoot there — I said, “Well, this is incomparable, so we have to shoot here.”

As Falvey is home to the impressive Dugan Polk Family Reading Room, we can completely understand that sentiment.

 

Got a favorite movie that features a library? Comment below!

 

Falvey Library Resources Cited:

Columbia Pictures,, et al. Ghostbusters 1 & 2. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Inc., 2017.

Jason Bailey. Fun City Cinema : New York City and the Movies That Made It. Abrams, 2021.

Kettnich, Karen, and Paul T. Jaeger. “Libraries and Librarians Onscreen and in Library Quarterly, Part 2, Or, The Greatest Hits of the ’80s, ’90s, and Today!” Library Quarterly, vol. 90, no. 4, 2020, pp. 389-411, https://doi.org/10.1086/710268.

ProQuest Ebook Subscriptions, et al. The Laughing Dead: The Horror-comedy Film from Bride of Frankenstein to Zombieland. Rowman & Littlefield, 2016.


Shawn Proctor Shawn Proctor is a Communication and Marketing Manager at Falvey Memorial Library.


 


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The Faces Behind the Falvey Fan Page @humans_of_falvey

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!

Most Villanova students spend a significant amount of time in Falvey, viewing studying in the library as one of their many academic obligations. However, for two students, Melwin “Solu” Rajan ’20 COE and David Sepulveda ’20 COE, Falvey was an integral part of their college experience. During their four years as Villanova students, the Library was not just a place to study. Falvey was a place to meet new people, find community among fellow students, and make lasting friendships. 

A photo of the admins of the humans of falvey instagram account

Melwin “Solu” Rajan and David Sepulveda are the no-longer anonymous faces of the Humans of Falvey Instagram account.

Thus, they created an Instagram account dedicated to highlighting Falvey’s biggest fans: @humans_of_falvey. With the account, they highlighted the Reading Room regulars, the night owls, and the Holy Grounds addicts. They applauded the Falvey Scholars, motivated students during midterms and finals, and shamed those who failed to recycle iced coffee cups properly (for more context, visit their Instagram!) Over the last three years, the account has gained over a hundred followers and counting, some of them Falvey staff and librarians.

The idea for the social media account materialized during the students’ sophomore year, a year known for massive workloads and countless hours of studying. “We were practically pushed into the library,” Sepulveda recalls. After weeks of spending hours in the library every day, Rajan and Sepulveda began to recognize other frequent Falvey-goers. 

Eventually, they became friends with these familiar faces, taking study breaks together. “We had this social group of people form by spending all of our time in the library,” Sepulveda noted with a laugh. “It really started as a joke,” Rajan admits. The two Engineering majors, along with a Nursing student and a few other friends were eating dinner in the “Pit” one night when the idea came to them. It felt like all of these students who were always in Falvey were in a club, “sort of social, sort of academic, but centered around Falvey,” he explains. 

Sepulveda remembers asking himself—and the rest of the group—“How do we do something to bring those people together?” 

They cleverly began to call themselves “members” of Lambda Iota Beta (LIB, short for “library”), printed off fraternity-style t-shirts, and created an Instagram account to accompany their new club: @humans_of_falvey. Rajan and Sepulveda started walking around the library, introducing themselves to some new Falvey fans. They would strike up a conversation, inquire about what they were working on, post a photo of the student (or study group) with a funny quote, either about coffee, staying up all night, or cramming for a big exam. 

Falvey: A Special Place

Ultimately, the goal with @humans_of_falvey was to “make sure people felt a sense of solidarity,” Rajan says. “None of us really want to be up all night studying, but we wanted to create a sense of camaraderie to make light of a situation that isn’t ideal.” However, Rajan and Sepulveda had no idea that some of their closest friendships would result from these brief interactions in Falvey. 

One post from April 2018 shows two gentlemen at work in Holy Grounds. Before that picture was taken by Rajan, none of them knew each other. Now, because of Humans of Falvey, not only are they all good friends, one of the students featured in the post became Rajan’s roommate! Another post features a student named Bryan, a then-sophomore who began studying with the upperclassmen members of LIB, and is now a close friend.

When I had the chance to speak with Rajan and Sepulveda, my main question was: “Why Falvey? What was so special about this space?” 

For an Engineering major whose assignments were usually group projects, Rajan needed Falvey’s group study spaces. Plus, the 24-hour access and close proximity to food and coffee are benefits, he admits. For Sepulveda, a late-night studier, the first floor keeps him motivated to power through studying until 2 or 3 a.m.

While Rajan and Sepulveda have acted as the semi-anonymous faces behind the account, after the library’s closure due to COVID-19, the two students finally revealed themselves with a heartfelt parting message:

It is with a heavy heart that the two of us say goodbye to studying with you in Falvey. It is a place we call home, to study, to laugh, to breakdown, and to remember. As the two of us see our college career come to an end, we want to thank each one of you for helping make the library our home.

While Rajan and Sepulveda originally intended to share this account between their circle of friends, the account “exceeded expectations,” with students all over campus hoping to be featured on their Instagram. Like they hoped to show, students can turn to the Instagram account to find camaraderie and community among their classmates. And, like them, Rajan and Sepulveda have inspired countless other students to make the library their home.

In the wake of COVID-19, Sepulveda’s relationship with Falvey has undeniably changed: 

COVID-19 has changed my appreciation of Falvey by allowing me to understand how privileged I was to have a location to study and collaborate with my peers. It was a place I felt very comfortable in, and learning to be a student outside of the confines of its walls has been challenging. I specifically have been missing tools like printers, scanners, computers…and I really miss the large tables on the first floor which are great for studying with friends.

Further, and also as a result of COVID-19, the continuation of the Instagram account is still uncertain. Sepulveda and Rajan, on top of their assignments and preparation for online finals, are trying to select potential successors to the account.

After graduation, Sepulveda will begin his career in his home state of Maine.


Daniella Snyder HeadshotDaniella Snyder is a graduate assistant for Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the English department. This week, she’s reading The Upside of Being Down by Jen Gotch.

 

 

 

 


 


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Last Modified: April 29, 2020

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