Blueprints: Falvey Library

Contents: November 2003



"Tourist Third Cabin": Falvey Memorial Library Faculty Book Talk features Dr. Alexander Varias

By Dennis Lambert, head, Collection Development and Management

Imagine passenger ships nearly as long or longer than the Eiffel Tower is high. “Mauretania,” “France,” “Queen Mary,” “Normandie,” “Queen Elizabeth,” and others, ornately embellished, art deco styling or traditional, paneled with wood, all served as nationalistic, spiritual symbols of leisure and escapist travel. Ads from Cunard, White Star, or the French Line strove to create a feeling of convenience, economy, and adventure for an emerging consumer society. Such was the experience of transatlantic ocean liner travel between the world wars.

The latest Falvey Memorial Library Faculty Book Talk  on October 8 featured Dr. Alexander Varias (Core Humanities program and history department) talking about the book he and his wife, Dr. Lorraine Coons, Chestnut Hill College, wrote about ship travel, Tourist Third Cabin: Steamship Travel in the Interwar Years (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003). For a time, Dr. Coons worked for the Holland-America Line; Dr. Varias, to his surprise, tried ship travel and developed a passion for it. Those present in the audience were treated to many slides of the ships, design features and poster art.

Before World War I, ships enabled emigrants to travel to America in cramped lower deck quarters while first class passengers enjoyed palace-like accommodations on upper decks. Emigrant fares, however, made the traffic very profitable.


Following World War I, the United States reduced its quotas for immigrants; in response, the shipping lines started promoting travel to the middle class and created a tourist class of accommodations to fill the ships. This enabled many more people to travel between Europe and America.  However, money remained a barrier at sea that sharply divided people by class and social strata.

The shipping lines competed intensely with one another. The English lines, more conservative and traditional, tended to use wood paneling more often in their interiors. The French experimented with new ship and interior designs and emphasized an experience that was uniquely French. Captains sought to make the fastest crossing, and individual ships cultivated devoted clienteles.

World War II ended the heyday of these ocean liners. The ships were again painted as troop carriers or floating hospitals. Despite hopes for a resurgence following the war, it soon became clear that the war was a major blow to transatlantic shipping, as airplane travel soon became the primary means to cross the oceans.

The book explores many themes of ship travel in the interwar years. Women began to travel on ships alone and in greater numbers, and some women even served on crews. The concepts of pleasure cruising developed at this time, though it was later refined during the cruise ship phenomenon of the 1970s. Other innovations during the interwar years were organized activities and entertainment for passengers.

Dr. Alexander Varias

While few still use ships to cross the oceans, the passenger ship phenomenon continues.  On September 25, the new “Queen Mary 2,” 150,000 tons, left St. Nazaire, France for a three-day test cruise. When it enters the cruise ship or transatlantic lanes in 2004, it will handle up to 2,600 guests as the longest and tallest liner ever built. The romance of the passenger ship continues!


From Joe Lucia, University Librarian and director of Falvey Memorial Library:

Remarks recognizing the Kolmer family’s gift, the renovation of the Special Collections Room

October 23, 2003

“I want to take this opportunity to recognize a gift to the Library that brings special resources into our midst for which we should all be grateful.  The Kolmer family stepped forward several years ago when a need was articulated by my predecessor, Dr. Jim Mullins, to provide a better facility for housing and preserving the unique materials held by Falvey Memorial Library.  Special Collections, though seemingly a rather esoteric corner of the Library, represent to great degree an embodiment of our core mission to collect, preserve, and provide access to artifacts that are the physical containers of the cultural and intellectual heritage our students and faculty do research on and study.

It is especially gratifying to me at this moment to formally dedicate this room, and to thank our donors for making this facility a reality.  In addition to the shelves of rare books, manuscripts and archival materials you will find here, today we have on display for the first time recently digitized copies of two significant items from the collection – a complete run of the Irish Press and an early illuminated manuscript of St. Augustine’s Confessions. One of the key roles of academic libraries at this time is to take such unique holdings and make them available over the Web to a worldwide community of scholars.  We are taking a step in that direction at this very moment, opening the doors of our new Special Collections Reading Room both physically and virtually, which makes this precisely the right time to celebrate the Kolmer family’s inspiring generosity.”

Dr. Bernard Prusak, acting department chairperson, theology and religious studies department, and Rev. Thomas Martin O.S.A. examine items from Special Collections during the reception on October 23.






Effective information skills by design: Barbara Quintiliano’s new position

This past summer Barbara Quintiliano assumed her new full-time role as information literacy/instructional design librarian. This appointment expands her previous duties as reference librarian/information literacy coordinator, a position she has filled on a part-time basis at Falvey since 1998. Besides the day-to-day coordination of instruction sessions conducted by the Falvey librarians, Barbara’s responsibilities include the overall development and continued enhancement of the Library’s information literacy program.

Information literacy can be described as one’s ability to recognize when information is needed, to know where in the vast quantity of print, electronic, and media resources to look for it, and then to evaluate and use it in an appropriate and ethical manner. Barbara and her colleagues at Falvey are constantly seeking the most effective ways to impart to students a method and conceptual framework for finding and integrating information.  

Quest, the collaborative information literacy endeavor launched by Falvey Library and the Core Humanities Program in 1998, provided valuable experience and laid the foundation for an indispensable librarian-faculty network. Building on this model, Barbara works with groups of librarians (including Falvey Library director, Joe Lucia) and faculty to integrate information seeking and evaluation skills into appropriate courses in the various disciplines.



The challenge is a formidable one. With the burgeoning of subject-specific databases, many now featuring complete, fully indexed electronic texts, today’s students have unprecedented amounts of high quality information available literally at the click of a mouse. At the same time, non-intuitive search interfaces, coupled with unwieldy database structure and function, can discourage even today’s computer-savvy undergraduates, not to mention continuing education students trying desperately to keep abreast of the latest innovations.

And then, of course, there is the Internet, enticing unsuspecting students with a treasure-trove of information often more attractively packaged than solidly researched.  The ongoing collaboration between information specialists (librarians) and subject specialists (faculty) is a must in developing an engaging information literacy program that gives students the skills they need for their college career and throughout their lifetime.

Barbara also serves as liaison to the Center for Instructional Technologies. In this capacity she collaborates with their staff to integrate library resources directly into the WebCT electronic classroom environment. She also arranges workshops for her Falvey colleagues on innovative instructional applications.       

Barbara, who is married with two teenage sons, received her bachelor’s degree in French in 1975 from Rosemont College and her master’s in library science in 1977 from Villanova’s former School of Library Science. In spring 2003 she completed a master’s program in French at West Chester University. She plans to keep current in her profession by attending conferences and enrolling in online instructional design courses.



Michael Foight appointed business librarian

This semester, Michael Foight has taken on a more active and involved role in providing library research and instructional support for students and faculty in the College of Commerce and Finance. From his new office on the second floor of Bartley Hall, Michael provides scheduled and walk-in reference and research consultation services. Under Dean Stephen Stumpf’s leadership, Michael has also been more directly involved in planning and presenting instruction in a number of "core" classes. In recognition of this evolution of responsibilities and commitments, Michael now has the official title of "business librarian," reporting directly to Joe Lucia, University librarian and director of Falvey Memorial Library.

According to Joe Lucia, “Michael's role in C&F provides us with a service model that puts support in the professional colleges and builds a stronger bridge between library services and the learning and research activities of students and faculty.”



Merrill Stein to head state-wide College and Research Libraries Division

Merrill Stein, Falvey Memorial Library's head of Access Services, has been elected chairperson-elect of the College and Research Libraries Division (CRLD) of the Pennsylvania Library Association (PaLA) beginning January, 2004. This division promotes the professional growth of academic librarians and seeks to improve services in college and research libraries. 

Responsibilities of this three-year appointment include administration of state awarded Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds, support of state library chapters planning, and planning for the annual Pennsylvania Library Association CRLD program.

Founded in 1901, PaLA is the state's oldest and most diverse professional library organization representing more than 1700 personal, institutional and commercial members affiliated with public, academic, special and school libraries throughout the Commonwealth. The association represents the profession in Harrisburg and provides opportunities for professional growth, leadership development and continuing education for libraries.




Travel Day at Falvey Library  -- In search of distant lands

By Luisa Cywinski, Circulation supervisor

Who among us wouldn’t jump at the chance to immerse ourselves in another culture? Fortunately, those who have are willing to share with others the experiences that shaped their learning, writing and teaching here at Villanova University. Falvey Library invited such a group to an Open House October 8 celebrating the scholarly inspiration of travel, both geographic and imaginative. Although the open house invitation was focused on first year students, the Library welcomed the entire Villanova community. Food from around the world was served and visual displays were prepared to enhance the theme of travel.

Dr. Tim Horner, Core Humanities

Dr. Tim Horner, Core Humanities, began with his experiences at Oxford where he was steeped in the influences of such great authors as C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien. From there we were moved by Core Humanities Professor Linda Boettcher’s description of her trek through the Southwest with Edward Abbey. Not strictly in the footsteps of the apostles, Dr. Chris Daly, also Core Humanities, applied his Oxford education to a spiritual deepening in Turkey.

We headed south next, into Africa with Mary Beth Simmons, director of the Writing Center, whose journey inspired her to write a travel narrative. Dr. Emily Wittman, Core Humanities, traveled by train and discovered the restrictions of everyday life in Communist Czechoslovakia.


For Doug Drake, a Villanova University senior, it was quite the contrary; he exercised his freedom to expand his academic horizons at University College in London and, while on break, explored Italy and Ireland. Professor Nicole Duran, Core Humanities, made a familial journey to Turkey to visit her in-laws and got her share of a certain historical figure as well.

Several poets, Dr. Lisa Sewell, English, Joseph Lucia, University Librarian, Dr. Marylu Hill, Core Humanities, and Luisa Cywinski, Falvey Library, also shared their craft.

The organizing committee for the Travel Day open house included David Burke, Luisa Cywinski, Bernadette Dierkes, Marylu Hill, Susan Markley and Barbara Quintiliano.


Joseph Lucia, University Librarian, reads his poetry at Travel Day.



Also contributing to this issue of Blueprints: Donna Blaszkowski, Judith Olsen, Bente Polites, Barbara Quintiliano and the Graphics department, Instructional Media Services.