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Weekend Recs: Spooky Strolls

Hey, Wildcats! I hope you’re having a fun fall break. Jenna Renaud is enjoying the semester recess this week, so I thought I would share a few recommendations for your return to campus. The best time to see the fall foliage in Pennsylvania is mid-October, so take a study break and head outdoors! You may have a favorite park or trail nearby, but in case you’d like some new scenery, I’ve complied a list of walking trails within 30 miles of campus.

Image of fall foliage at the Haverford College nature trail.

The Haverford College nature trail.

Haverford College Nature Trail (2.9 miles away)

Radnor Trail (1.6 miles from campus away)

McKaig Nature Center Loop (3.8 miles away)

Rolling Hill Park (4.3 miles away)

Ridley Creek State Park (8.4 miles away)

Valley Forge (1o.7 miles away)

Andorra Natural Area (10.9 miles away)

Bartram’s Garden (11.1 miles away)

Houston Meadow (11.5 miles away)

The Wissahickon Valley Park (13.9 miles away)

Schuylkill Banks (17.6 miles away)

Pennypack Park Trail (21.4 miles away)

John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge (20.9 miles away)

Grays Ferry Crescent Trail Park (25.4 miles away)

The Perkiomen Trail (25.9 miles away)

 

Don’t want to leave campus? Check out the Villanova University walking trail. Looking for a new podcast to stream during your walk? Try these spooky recommendations from the staff at Falvey Memorial Library:

Kallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 


 


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Cat in the Stax: Fall Films for the Faint of Heart

By Ethan Shea

""

It’s finally October! That means it’s time for haunted hayrides, horror movies, and pumpkin spice lattes (now available at Holy Grounds Falvey). Many people thrive in spooky environments, but if you’re anything like myself, you try to keep the ghosts and ghouls at arm’s length.

I may need some extra convincing to partake in frightening festivities, but I know I’m not the only one who prefers when houses aren’t haunted. That’s why I’ve curated a short list of fall films for the faint of heart. Just because they’re not scary doesn’t mean they’re not in season!

""Fantastic Mr. Fox

I could have added a few other Wes Anderson films to this list, but I chose Fantastic Mr. Fox simply because it’s my favorite. It’s also especially fitting because fall imagery is found everywhere in this movie. From the foliage of the tree Mr. Fox calls home to Mr. Bean’s alcoholic apple cider, Fantastic Mr. Fox is steeped in autumn.

Despite the fact that, aside from food references, there are few direct links to fall activities, Wes Anderson is not subtle with references to this nostalgic season. For example, the film is almost entirely orange. Just like Mr. Fox’s fur, the cinematography of this stop motion animated film is the color of autumn leaves.

Even the sentimental score features a twangy, acoustic sound that makes one feel like they are striding through a grass field with their feet covered in dew on a cool October morning.

The Princess Bride""

The Princess Bride is one of the most quotable films I’ve ever watched, and it’s hilarious too. This is a movie choice that will never disappoint because it has something for everyone.

As the movie’s group of lovable characters travel over cliffs and through the woods, one can’t help but feel in the mood for fall. The colorful leaves covering the forest floor and the story’s romance are perfectly fit for the season.

I’m not sure if it’s the visuals or the comfort of having a bedtime story read to you, but something about watching The Princess Bride on a calm autumn evening just feels right.

Coco""

This movie actually has something to do with the season directly. Because it’s centered around Día de los Muertos, this Pixar film is literally made for the fall season.

As Miguel attempts to return to the Land of the Living after he is cursed for stealing from the dead, he makes unlikely friends and learns about the importance of memory. The orange marigold petals that are essential to the film’s imagery are reminiscent of autumn and traditional of Día de los Muertos.

Coco is actually one of the highest-grossing films with an all Latin American principle cast, and given that it is Hispanic Heritage Month until Oct. 15, the time to watch watch this film is now!

The Goonies""

This classic story of a few kids with a treasure map and a taste for adventure is not just about pirates. The cool atmosphere of the group’s quaint Oregon setting is full of autumnal nostalgia. According to a newspaper found in the film, the events of The Goonies take place from Oct. 24 to Oct. 25, which is partially why this movie feels like sweater weather.

Although there are some suspenseful scenes, this movie is definitely not one I’d call scary. Even though I used to cringe at that one scene with the blender when I was younger (don’t worry, it’s not bad), there is not a whole lot to be afraid of. If you somehow haven’t watched this movie before, make sure you put it at the top of your list!

Fantastic Mr. FoxThe Princess Bride, and Coco are all available for viewing with subscriptions to Disney+. The Goonies is available on Hulu.


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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Cat in the Stax: Running to the Library

By Ethan Shea

""

Running is a hobby I’ve had for a while now, but during the past couple years, I’ve become very passionate about the sport. Aside from the obvious physical benefits of exercise, running has been essential to maintaining my mental health. There’s truly no better feeling than finishing a long run on a crisp October morning.

The most difficult part of being a runner, at least for me, is motivation and consistency. Its easy to fall into a rut where you begin running less frequently, and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing lately. New trails, schedules, and opportunities have made the last month exciting, but coping with the loss of my treasured running routes back home hasn’t been easy.

Here at Falvey, we know the best motivation is found in a good book, so I recently ran to the library for help with getting my running back on track. If any one else is planning to hit the track or trails, here are a few books I’d recommend.

"Once a Runner"

Once a Runner by John L. Parker Jr.

Once a Runner by John L. Parker Jr.

This is one of those classic running books your dad would probably recommend to you. Published in 1978, this novel thrived off the energy of the first running boom in the 1970s. It channels the gritty mindset of a runner who wants to be the best and is willing to do anything, even 60 consecutive quarter mile repeats, to achieve his goal.

The athlete in question is a fictional collegiate runner named Quenton Cassidy. Cassidy is a top-of-the-line athlete and four-minute miler, but he has lots of work to do before competing against John Walton, who holds the world record in the mile with a blazing time of three minutes and 50 seconds.

Admittedly, Once a Runner isn’t the most eloquent book I’ve ever read, and it will probably be most appealing to those who are already into running, but that’s what makes so called “cult classics” special. There’s just something about this story that stuck with generations of runners. The copy of this text I own was actually gifted to me by a former semi-pro runner I used to work at a running store with, so maybe I’ll continue the tradition and hand it off to another eager runner a couple decades from now.

"Advanced Marathoning"

Advanced Marathoning by Pete Pfitzinger

Advanced Marathoning by Pete Pfitzinger

Pete Pfitzinger is a former Olympic marathoner with a personal best time of 2:11:43 over the 26.2 mile distance (that’s about five minutes and two seconds per mile). Needless to say, Pete is fast, and that’s why I trust his training advice in Advanced Marathoning.

This book isn’t the most exciting read if you’re not a running geek, but it provides a lot of valuable information that any runner can benefit from. It really digs into the science of marathoning and the physiological changes that your body undergoes during training. The training plans provided are fairly advanced, but that doesn’t mean everyone can’t apply their principles to their own routines.

If the marathon isn’t your favorite event, Pfitzinger also has a book titled Faster Road Racing that provides similar sorts of information as Advanced Marathoning but focuses on distances from 5k to the half marathon. I’d say if you want to nerd out over some running science, Pfitzinger’s books were written for you.

"Born to Run"

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

This is without a doubt one of the most influential books about running out there. The true story follows members of the Tarahumara Native Mexican tribe as McDougall himself learns how the community is able to run distances of over 100 miles without injuring themselves.

One of the more controversial takes found in this book is McDougall’s belief that modern cushioned running shoes cause injuries. He points to the minimalist shoes worn by Tarahumara runners as evidence of the inferiority of traditional running shoes. The popularity of this book even led to a minimalist running craze. You may remember those Vibram foot-shaped shoes that people were running with a few years ago. Those are (unfortunately) an indirect result of Born to Run. Interestingly enough, minimalist running is not the main focus of this book. The text only spends a couple chapters talking about the benefits of minimalism, and the rest explores other aspects of training with the Tarahumarans.

I could go on about why I passionately disagree with McDougall’s opinions on running shoes, but I’ll let you read and make a decision on your own. Shoes aside, this story captivated millions, and it’s certainly worth reading if you’d like to dive into the running shoe debate for yourself.


Headshot of Ethan Shea

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


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Tony Awards Take on Adaptations

By Ethan Shea

""

On Sept. 26, the 74th Tony Awards took to the stage. Having been delayed an entire year, the ceremony was a welcome sight on Broadway. One aspect of this year’s Tony Awards that stuck out is the prevalence of adaptations among the winners and nominees. Falvey Library has access to many of the works that inspired these award winning shows, so if you would like to learn more about how this year’s Tony recipients came to be, check out the links below.

Additionally, feel free to browse a complete list of the winners and nominees here.

The Inheritance and Howard’s End

The Inheritance became one of the biggest winners this year by taking home the coveted award for best play. Matthew Lopez, the playwright of The Inheritance, stated that E.M. Forster’s Howard’s End is his favorite novel, which is unsurprisingly why he took inspiration for his play from it. In Howard’s End, Forster tells the story of three conflicting families living in England around the year 1900. Critiques of social conventions and discussions of economics surround an unconventional love story between two members of opposing families.

The Inheritance is far from a strict adaptation of Forster’s novel. Rather than England, the play takes place in New York a generation after the height of the AIDS crisis. E.M. Forster was a closeted gay man when he wrote Howard’s End, so The Inheritance uses the text’s queer subtext to create a play fit for the 21st century. The performance is a whopping 6 hours long and is presented in two separate three hour performances. Although the plots of these two stories are very different, if you are interested in theater and what inspired this award-winning play, I’d recommend you check out Howard’s End while keeping in mind the underlying themes that brought its theatrical offspring to life.

Moulin Rouge! The Musical and Moulin Rouge!"Moulin Rouge! Play Image"

Moulin Rouge! The Musical is a more direct adaptation of its source material. Rather than a novel, this play was inspired by the 2001 Baz Luhrmann film of the same name. The over-the-top nature of the film translates beautifully to the stage. As a result, this play was the biggest winner of the 74th Tony Awards and walked away with 10 prizes. A few of the awards Moulin Rouge! won are for scenic design, costume, lighting, and sound design, which are similar to some of the Oscars won by Luhrmann’s film that celebrated the extravagance of the costumes and set.

One point of departure between the film and play is that the songs used are distinctly different. In the film, Luhrmann famously mixed modern pop songs with the score, and in the same vein, this adaptation used songs that were written in the 17 years since the film’s release.  For example, Katy Perry’s hit song Firework and Sia’s Chandelier are both incorporated into the show’s musical performances.

"A Christmas Carol"A Christmas Carol and A Christmas Carol

This play needs no introduction. The adaptation of Charles Dickens’ 1843 novella is truly timeless and has been adapted countless times. Nonetheless, this most recent production became the first holiday play to win a Tony. Not only did A Christmas Carol win a Tony, it won five, including best score, making it the first play to beat every contending musical in that category.

The reduced competition due to the COVID-19 Pandemic certainly affected the Tony Awards this year, but that should not take away from the achievements of these shows. Regardless, theatre-goers worldwide are certainly looking forward to a much more crowded theatre schedule in the coming months, which should make next year’s installment of the Tony Awards all the more exciting!

 


Headshot of Ethan Shea

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

 


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Cat in the Stax: Banned Books Week Hits Close to Home

By Ethan Shea

""

Sunday, Sept. 26 marked the official beginning of Banned Books Week 2021. This celebration of the freedom to read hit close to home this year when controversy surrounding a book ban in York, Pa., made national headlines.

Just a couple weeks ago, there were several protests against the Central York School District’s imposition of what was effectively a book ban targeting antiracist literature. Some of the banned material included a children’s picture book titled I Am Rosa Parks, a story of the life of Malala Yousafzai, a documentary about James Baldwin, and an episode of Sesame Street on racism. The Central York School District claimed these texts were merely under review, yet this “review process” nearly lasted a year.

These books were banned last October, but this August, teachers in the district received an email telling them to continue to avoid a list of texts that included several Black writers. This ban was recently lifted as calls to reverse the ruling became more widespread, but the fact that the ban endured for so long shows that the fight for the freedom to read is ongoing. Banned Books Week comes at an especially apt time this year, as the reversal of this book ban gives readers everywhere a special reason to celebrate.

It is worth noting that denying access to books through exorbitant costs can work as an effective ban against material. If students cannot afford to buy certain texts, they have just as little access to them as they would if the texts were banned entirely. This is why the Affordable Materials Project (AMP) collaborates with Falvey Library to assure all students have access to much needed educational materials. This project has saved students over $1 million since 2018, so if you’re a student at Villanova who has not heard of AMP, I would highly recommend looking into it here.

"I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings"

“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou

To conclude, here are a few famous books that have been banned at some point in history:

"Brave New World"

“Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Maya Angelou is one of the most banned writers in the United States. Since she published this autobiography in 1969, it has been challenged time after time for its depictions of racism and sexuality. Other works by Angelou have also been banned, such as her poetry collection, Still I Rise.

Brave New World

This classic dystopian novel by Aldous Huxley has been repeatedly banned for what some interpret as the glorification of sex and drugs. The 1932 work of fiction takes place in a futuristic society and warns of the dangers of industrialism and commodity culture.

"Go Tell It on the Mountain"

“Go Tell It on the Mountain” by James Baldwin

Go Tell It on the Mountain

This 1952 novel by James Baldwin was also banned for portrayals of race and sexuality. The text documents the life of John Grimes, a teenager growing up in Harlem. Much of this story is based on the life of James Baldwin himself

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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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Pulitzer Prize Winners Announced Along with Booker Prize Finalists

By Ethan Shea

""

2021 Pulitzer Prize

On June 11, 2021, the Pulitzer Prize Board announced the winners of prizes in Journalism, Books, Drama, and Music. This recent recognition of excellence in the aforementioned fields is an opportunity to acknowledge the importance of truth and art in our everyday lives.

Pulitzer Prizes are traditionally awarded annually in April, but like most events over the past year and a half, the ceremony was delayed due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic. The reason this prestigious prize is trending once again is because last month, on Aug. 27, a special citation and grant of $100,000 was awarded to journalists in Afghanistan to commend their efforts to give ordinary people access to truth amid dangerous circumstances.

"Person reads the New York Times"Villanova University is committed to giving students access to reputable sources of information. In fact, all Villanova students, staff, and faculty members have complimentary access to both The New York Times and Wall Street Journal. It is important to take advantage of these resources, especially during the current age of mass information.

Additionally, Falvey Memorial Library’s database tool makes research on any of the following topics possible. Innumerable databases that contain a wide array of scholarly articles are available here. Students are encouraged to be critical consumers of information and use these resources to do their own research on whichever prevailing topics may interest them.

To return to the subject of Pulitzer recipients, here are some notable winners from this year’s award selection:

The New York Times

The New York Times was awarded the prize for public service in recognition of their coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The organization’s reporting has directly helped individuals protect themselves and others against a virus that continues to challenge the global health care community.

Megha Rajagopalan, Alison Killing, and Christo Buschek

These reporters for BuzzFeed News were awarded the international reporting prize for bringing the systematic mass incarceration of Uighur Muslims in China to light. At least 268 internment camps or prisons were discovered as a result of their work, and recent reporting continues to reveal atrocities taking place at these locations.

Postcolonial Love Poem by Natalie Diaz

This collection of poetry is described by The New York Times as “one of the most important poetry releases in years”. Diaz’s work focuses on the experiences of queer women of color and makes use of beautiful imagery that calls upon her own life as a Native American growing up in Fort Mojave in Needles, California.

Darnella Frazier"protesters crowd the streets in the wake of George Floyd's murder"

On May 25, 2020, Ms. Frazier used her cellphone to document the murder of George Floyd on video. Her recording fueled protests against police brutality across the globe and ultimately led to the conviction of Floyd’s killer. This profoundly impactful act of journalism was awarded with a special citation by the Pulitzer Prize Board.

A complete list of winners is available here.

 

2021 Booker Prize

""

Even more recently, the final shortlist of nominees for the Booker Prize was announced. The Booker Prize is a prestigious award given to the best novel written in English and published in either Britain or Ireland. In 2014, rules regarding the prize changed to allow any English-language novel to qualify. Rather than only allowing writers from Britain, Ireland, Zimbabwe, and the Commonwealth into the competition, the Booker Prize committee started to welcome writers of all nationalities.

This change was met with criticism in 2018 after prominent writers such as Margaret Atwood, Ian McEwan, and Zadie Smith voiced concern over Americans winning the award in two consecutive years. The group argued that in an attempt to diversify the prize’s pool of nominees, the Booker Prize actually became more homogenized. The proposed solution to this issue was to bar Americans from the competition.

This year, three of the six finalists are American, so some are worried the aforementioned concerns will be renewed. Critics of the suggested American ban assert that it is critical for literary circles to broaden their horizons and push for inclusivity. Therefore, calls to narrow the scope of Booker Prize applicants seem counter-intuitive.

Nonetheless, this year’s shortlist is comprised of several spectacular nominees. The list includes A Passage North by Anuk Arudpragasam, The Promise by Damon Galgut, No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood, The Fortunate Men by Nadifa Mohamed, Bewilderment by Richard Powers, and Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead.

You can find more information on this year’s Booker Prize nominees 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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TBT: New Beginnings for Theatre

By Ethan Shea

"Excerpt from Belle Air 1969"

“Excerpt from Belle Air 1969”

As Villanova Theatre’s 2021 – 2022 Season begins this week with performances of James Ijames’ White, this excerpt from the 1969 edition of Belle Air reminds us of another time Villanova’s theatre program changed venues. The snippet describes the theatre’s “new location in Vasey Hall” with an enthusiasm similar to current attitudes toward the upcoming inaugural performance in the John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing Arts.

This new beginning gives us an opportunity to reflect on the changes Villanova has underwent since 1969. Upcoming performances of White will challenge audiences to reckon with “racism, misogyny and cultural appropriation”, contrasting the lack of diversity in the image above and reminding us of the importance of continuously striving to embody an accessible culture of inclusion.


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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Bloomsbury Cultural Histories

By Jutta Seibert

Bloomsbury’s Cultural Histories are multi-volume sets that survey the social and cultural construction of specific subjects through the ages. All volumes in a set explore the same themes. For example, the Cultural History of Western Empires consists of six volumes covering antiquity, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Age of Enlightenment, the Age of Empire, and the modern age. Each volume in the set includes a chapter on race written by an expert in the field. Compare the chapter on race by Cord Whitaker from the volume covering the Middle Ages in the Cultural History of Western Empires to the chapter on race by Vanita Seth from the volume covering the Age of Enlightenment to gain a better understanding of what the series has to offer.

The digital platform currently comprises 24 subjects ranging from animals to work. Recently added subjects include comedy, education, home, memory, and peace. Color, democracy, fairy tales, genocide, medicine, and sport are among the subjects currently in production.

The collection also includes a small selection of complementary cultural and social history books from Bloomsbury Academic, Berg, and Continuum. Among them are David Sutton’s exploration of the relationship between food and memory in Remembrance of Repasts: An Anthropology of Food and Memory (Berg, 2001) and Mark M. Smith’s Sensory History (Berg, 2017), to give just two examples.

Visual resources from the Wellcome Collection, the Rijksmuseum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art round out the collection, which also includes an interactive timeline and lesson plans for the undergraduate classroom. Remote access is provided through the Library’s Databases A-Z list under B.


Jutta Seibert is Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 



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Cat in the Stax: Answering All Your Study Questions

By Ethan Shea

""

It might seem like the semester just began, but believe it or not, in just a couple weeks it will be time for midterm exams. Luckily, that also means Fall Break will be at our doorstep in no time.

I hope everyone’s had the chance to get into the rhythm of their new daily routines. If so, we can all take advantage of this relatively calm time of the semester and prepare for the trials to come. One habit that’s crucial to surviving midterms is a productive study routine. At least for me, when it comes to lining up my idiosyncratic study tendencies neatly in a row, I’m always left with questions and concerns.

In general, I can never decide how I want to study. Where should I be studying? Should I be listening to music? What time is best to study?

For this week’s “Cat in the Stax” I decided to answer these questions once and for all. I hope you’re able to use the answers I found to improve your academic experience here at Villanova. Enjoy!

Does listening to music help or hurt study sessions?

A study carried out by the University of Wollongong in Australia concluded that the answer to this question depends on the music you’re listening to. Because music tends to reduce stress, students will be more likely to buckle down and focus with greater intensity when aurally occupied. This revelation disproved the complex theory that classical music stimulates specific parts of the human brain that make studying more efficient. Contrarily, just about any instrumental music can help you study if it improves your mood. Songs with lyrics tend to make reading comprehension a bit more difficult, so if possible, stay away from vocal performances.

Where is the best place to study?

At the risk of sounding a bit biased, I’ll posit that all the best places to study are located right here in Falvey Library, but I’m not just saying that because this is a Falvey blog. In fact, I’ve got science to back me up. The ability to retain information and concentration levels are increased when studying in new locations. Being in the same place over and over again does not stimulate the brain to the greatest possible extent in the same way that focusing on one subject for too long can lead to burnout. Studying in an area with very few distractions and relative quietude is also important to learning efficiently. Stimulation overload prevents you from focusing intently on anything because your focus spreads too thin.

Thankfully, Falvey Library has plenty of quiet spaces, such as Third and Fourth Floor Stacks in addition to the Reading Room. There are also many different places to study in Falvey, so you can try a new one everyday without rendering your mind weary!

When is the best time to study?

Odd as it may seem, research has shown that studying when you’re tired is actually helpful. For example, if you study right before bed, your brain will essentially be reviewing the material in your sleep, causing the information to soak in a bit deeper. On the other hand, studying after a workout session has its benefits as well. Because of the increased flow of oxygen and blood that exercise causes, our brains get neurological boosts immediately after exercise. With that being said, feel free to take a jog over to Falvey Memorial Library when it’s time to hit the books!


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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Support the Affordable Materials Project (AMP) on 1842 Day

 


Today is 1842 Day, Villanova’s annual day of giving! This 24-hour event celebrates the people and programs that are making a difference at Villanova and beyond. Support the Affordable Materials Project (AMP) by making a gift to its 1842 Day campaign.

Your gift of any amount goes further on 1842 Day. Your contribution will help support AMP’s programs, including Library-purchased assigned e-books made available at no cost to students, faculty grants that support the adoption and authoring of free, openly licensed textbooks known as Open Educational Resources, and purchase of loaner laptops and graphing calculators for students who may not be able to afford to purchase, replace, or repair their devices.

Thank you for supporting AMP and Falvey Memorial Library.


 


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Last Modified: September 21, 2021