Maria Gillan is a poet who writes about her experience as an Italian-American woman, navigating between the Italian language and culture of her youth and the English language of her adult self. She writes with great attention to detail, in poems such as “Public School No. 18, Paterson, New Jersey,” where she speaks about the alienation she felt in an English language school as a native speaker of Italian. But she also speaks to universal themes, such as her sadness about the growing distance between herself and her son as her son grows up and starts a family of his own in “What I Can’t Face About Someone I Love.” Her work has been translated into Italian, and she now leads workshops in creative writing based in Italy, in addition to branching out into art as well as poetry, with works such as Redhead with Flying Fish and Cat. In addition, she maintains an active blog and website documenting her work.
Gillan will be speaking at Seton Hall, in the Theater in the Round on the evening of September 24 at 6pm. Her translator, Professor Carla Francellini, from University of Siena, will speak as well. This event honors the 2019 scholarship winners in Italian Studies.
While she is here, Professor Francellini will also be working in the Monsignor William Noe Field Archives, researching in Gillan’s collection here, where not only her physical papers but also Gillan’s blog and website are archived. Explore the finding aid for the collection, and also stop by and see the window featuring Gillan’s work on the bottom floor of Walsh Library, outside Walsh Gallery.
Under the dome of Walsh Library hangs a quote from St. John Paul: “Faith and reason are the two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth.” For 25 years, Walsh Library has stood as the cornerstone of Seton Hall’s pursuit of reason within our Catholic values.
In 1990, the University’s leadership noted the need for a new library. The Very Reverend Thomas Peterson, O.P., former university chancellor, said, “Seton Hall needs a new library and she needs it now. It must be her star, the jewel of her campus.”
Four years later, Walsh Library opened. In the April 28, 1994 edition of the University’s student-run newspaper, The Setonian, then-Dean of Libraries Robert Jones called the library dome “‘the outstanding architectural feature of the building.’ [Jones] said the dome is the library’s crowning feature and compared it to the dome of the Library of Congress.”
In 25 years, the library has seen much change. Richard Stern, acting dean of University Libraries from 2002-2004, said, “a jewel never changes. But as humans learn, they change the buildings they inhabit to suit their needs.” And so Walsh Library has changed from a place of quiet study to a place of lively academic discussion and socialization. In 2012, Dunkin’ opened on the library’s second floor. In March 2019, an after-hours study space opened for students’ use 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Daniela Gloor, BA ’14/MPA ’15, and her classmates in the University Honors took advantage of the library to blend their studies with this “lively academic discussion and socialization.” Walsh Library “was a place where you bonded with one another while studying, completing assignments, or writing your papers,” Gloor said. “My Honors Program classmates and I anxiously sought to study in the Library Rotunda when it was available, which has a picture-perfect view of campus and is one of the most unique places at Seton Hall. While we likely cannot remember all the works we read and studied, I can certainly recall the environment of the library, many of the memories made there, and the sleepless nights we spent working toward graduation.”
Seton Hall’s community continues to seek out the Library’s resources. In 2019, 66,000 items were borrowed, loaned and/or used, more than 44,000 books were circulated, 20,000 interlibrary loan transactions were fulfilled for books and articles and keys for the group study rooms were used more than 13,000 times.
Walsh Library has been a witness to the digital revolution that redefined research and study. Former Acting Dean Stern said the library “has grown from an institution where researchers came to find materials to an institution where researchers increasingly conduct all stages of their research in the digital sphere.”
Elizabeth Leonard, assistant dean of information technologies and collection services, said, “When Walsh Library opened in 1994, library technology, like all technology, was in its infancy…we did (yes, really) hand stamp all books going out on loan to patrons.” When the library opened, The Setonian wrote study rooms were “equipped with windows and outlets [which] are designed so students can bring their own computers and plug them into the University system.” Now, wireless laptops and a plethora of new Macs and PCs allow students to study wherever they like.
25 years later, technology touches almost every aspect of the library. In 2019 alone, roughly 427,000 full-text articles were downloaded, users viewed subject guides more than 64,000 times, the library website received 400,000 views and 1.4 million theses and dissertations were downloaded from the library’s collection. The library’s institutional repository, an online database comprising scholarly pieces such as dissertations and theses written by Seton Hall students and faculty, surpassed three million downloads in June 2019. Thanks to technology, Leonard said the library’s “resources are available to authorized users anywhere in the world, whenever they need them. We digitize lectures, books and other materials for virtual use.”
Walsh Library is looking toward the next 25 years of service to the University community. Leonard said, “We are looking forward by preserving born digital materials in a repository that will ensure they are accessible to future generations of librarians and researchers.”
In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month and the 45th Anniversary of the Joseph A. Unanue Latino Institute, the Archives & Special Collections Center is proud to present an exhibit that honors the contributions of this Center and its varied accomplishments.
The historical course of Seton Hall has been enhanced with the presence of Latino students from its foundation years to the present day. Within the earliest college registers it has been discovered that Mr. Ernesto Regil, a native of the Yucatan Mexico was the 20th student ever enrolled at the school on October 20, 1856. This milestone led the way to a number of other students from across Mexico along with future classmates from the Latin American countries of Cuba, Ecuador, and Panama among other lands who would consistently fill class rosters during the mid-late 19th century. Their example led the path, but over time countless students, faculty, administrators, and friends of the Latino experience have also contributed to the positive growth of Seton Hall in their own respective ways.
More formal recognition of the contributions made by the Latino community came about in 1974 with the creation of the Puerto Rican Institute (which would later come to be known as the Joseph A. Unanue Latino Institute) at Seton Hall University. Their objective has been to promote scholarship, culture, history, and build further recognition of the value connected with this unique area of study as shown in part through various examples found within this exhibit and within our collective research holdings.
Various reproductions from original texts found within the Archives & Special Collections Center have been included to highlight the early days of the Joseph A. Unanue Latino Institute in order to show in part the educational mission, cultural support, and overall vibrancy and value of this organization across campus and to the wider community.
Examples from our collection will be on exhibit from September through December of 2019 in the First Floor foyer of Walsh Library located across from the stairs and elevator.
For additional background and more information on this topic and other aspects of Seton Hall please feel free to contact University Archivist, Alan Delozier at: email@example.com or by phone: (973) 275-2378.