Goodbye Karen!

IMG_2866Today we bid adieu to our long time colleague and dedicated librarian, Karen Gause.  Karen has served the law school community at Villanova for 25 years, always with a smile and a positive attitude that puts our librarians and our patrons at ease.  Many people in the law school are familiar with Karen’s excellent work in interlibrary loan, where she has helped countless faculty and students to find those elusive articles and treatises that they so dearly need for their research… in fact, she even won an award for her tireless work in the library!

As invaluable as Karen has been to the law school community, she is even more important to her colleagues Continue reading

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One Million Downloads and Counting!

Digital Commons NumbersLast week, the Law School’s Digital Repository reached an extremely significant milestone as we crossed the one million mark for full-text downloads of materials archived on the site.  Over the last three years, we have been gradually building up the online collection of scholarly articles, historical archives, and federal court opinions available on to house over 28,000 electronic documents.  Our mission was to create a repository to preserve and disseminate scholarly and historical information about our law school, and these download counts show that we have accomplished that mission with great success! Continue reading

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A Gnome in the Library

This week, the Villanova University Staff Council recognized one of our law librarians who has made a lasting and extraordinary contribution to the law library and the law school community.  Many of you may not be aware that Karen Gause, our Senior Reference Librarian, will be retiring at the end of this academic year after working in the law library for over 25 years. In that time she has filled many roles as a librarian, and helped countless law students and faculty with crucial research during their time here.

IMG_2783In recognition of her dedicated and tireless service, the University Staff Council, which is comprised of representatives from departments throughout Villanova, awarded Karen with the “Villagnome” award, which is given to those “people and departments on campus who have been caught performing exceptional acts for the good of the community.”  Those who have had the pleasure to work with Karen during her time here will not be surprised that she has been rewarded for performing “exceptional acts,” as that is certainly her hallmark.  Especially in the time she has served as our Interlibrary Loan Librarian, many students have witnessed her resolve to find even the most obscure documents for cite checks and research papers.  You can read more about Karen’s award at the University Staff Council Page (click on the “Villagnome” link).

Please join us in congratulating Karen on this well-deserved award.  Expect a more detailed post soon celebrating Karen’s retirement.

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It’s Crunch Time!

What have I done!?

@ miguelavg  on Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license

How can it be? Do exams really start a week from today? The spring exam period is so short compared to the fall so you may be wondering how you’re going to cram in all of that studying into just one week? Well, you don’t have to go it alone-let the Law Library give you a helping hand!


  • Listening to free podcasts from Lawdibles on your commute or while at the gym. These 10 minutes or less lectures cover narrow subjects of law including things like character evidence and causation in criminal law. Available via iTunes or download from the blog.
  • Taking old exams to practice your skills. They are available online and in print (ask at the Circulation Desk for the list)
  • Answering some shorter sample questions to test yourself on specific topics. The Examples & Explanations series is great for this as is the Questions & Answers series!
  • Reviewing concepts using the CALI online tutorials—completely free and gives you a chance to answer questions as you go through the lesson. Click on Lessons to browse by subject. Many different topics are covered, everything from Contracts to Evidence even Tax! There’s even a list of what lessons correspond to what chapters in particular textbooks—see if your casebook is included!
  • Checking out headphones at the Circulation Desk if you want to re-watch a recorded class lecture or listen to one of the Lawdibles podcasts
  • Organizing your notes using outlining software

You can find many other study aids and exam prep suggestions on our Study Aids & Exam Prep online research guide.

And if you’re finishing up a research paper, check out some of these resources or stop by the Library Reference Desk for some last-minute help. We also have other research guides chock full of resources!

And take a deep breath—the good news is that this will all be over in 2 weeks!

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Get Up, Stand Up – Standing Desks in the Library!

standing desk 2In response to numerous requests from library visitors over the past few months, the law library has converted some of our carrels into standing desks to keep you on your feet while studying.

Currently we have two standing desks on the third floor of the library in the Northwest corner.  Coming from the main stairway, turn right as soon as you reach the bookshelves and you’ll see them.  One of these carrels has a functioning monitor that you can plug your laptop into to reduce neck strain while you work (Mac users will need a VGA/Displayport adapter to connect to the monitor).

Unfamiliar with the benefits of using a standing desk while you work?  It has been quite a growing trend over the last few years, as research has shown the health risks involved with extended sessions of sitting and sedentary life.  For a glimpse at the upside of standing desks, see this article on

Although we are starting with two converted desks, we will certainly consider adding more depending on demand from the student body.  If you are excited about this new development and would like us to add more or make improvements, come by the desk or use our online suggestion box!

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Advanced Legal Research Student Wins Philly Bar Association Writing Competition

by Matthew McGovern

Tohanczyn Article2015 graduate Katherine Tohanczyn won the Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Pursuit of Justice Legal Writing Competition with the paper she wrote for Advanced Legal Research last spring.  The Competition’s purpose is to recognize the importance of excellence in legal analysis and writing skills.  More information about the Competition is available here.

Katherine’s submission grew out of her interest in public health and vaccine laws.  She wanted to research and write about the problem of parents requesting exemptions from school vaccination requirements because they wrongly believed the vaccines caused serious adverse effects such as autism.  The opening paragraphs of Katherine’s article are reprinted in the the Winter 2016 issue of The Philadelphia Lawyer.  Or, read the full article here:

You Could Be a Winner Too.  Check out the Library’s guide to Writing Competitions for Law Students:

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The Dean Abides

This… might require some explanation:

The Librarians Abide2

El Deanerino Vicenc Feliu atop his steed in the library with librarians Matt McGovern, Robert Hegadorn, MaryJo Heacock, and Karen Gause

A motorcycle in the library? A coffee can? A heart attack? A white russian? What is going on in the law library these days?

This photo is a submission to the AALL 2016 “Day in the Life” Photo Contest (You can see the growing list of current entries here).  Every year law libraries across the country stage and shoot funny, poignant, and beautiful images of librarians and libraries to the contest to be voted on by members of the American Association of Law Libraries.  It should be clear that we’re going for the “funny” angle.

But, what’s going on in this photo?  Many of you will notice the obvious references to The Big Lebowski, including Assistant Dean Feliu in the classic dude sweater holding a white russian, Professor McGovern’s spot-on Donny impression, Professor Hegadorn mourning his lost friend, dreamy viking Maude, nihilism, and of course the rug tying the reference desk together.


Roy Mersky showing off his cowboy side in the law library

You may also wonder why the director of the library is sitting on top of a motorcycle in this shot, as that is not a reference to the movie.  Well, the motorcycle is his (he is an avid rider), and this is actually a subtle reference to a famous photo of the late Roy Mersky, a celebrated law librarian from the University of Texas, depicting him upon a horse at the circulation desk of Tarlton Law Library in Texas.  We had a lot of fun staging this shot!  Wish Dean Feliu luck when the voting begins in a couple of months!

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