Mr. Darren G. Poley, MA, MS
Interim University Librarian, and Director of Falvey Memorial Library
Scholarly Outreach Librarian, Falvey Memorial Library
Instructor, Department of Theology and Religious Studies
Villanova University, 800 Lancaster Avenue, Villanova, PA 19085
Office: Falvey Memorial Library, Telephone: 610 – 519 – 6371
"You have accompanied me on my path, O Truth, teaching me what to avoid and what to desire" - Augustine, Confessions X, 40
A brief personal narrative:
I was raised in a small town in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York which is the area where my parents still live today. I had the nickname of "Schatzi" when I was very young. As a youth, when not enjoying village life in rural Trumansburg, New York, my family would visit nearby Ithaca where our cultural life mostly centered around Cornell University and the Hanger Theater. The area was an interesting and eclectic place to live in those days, and it still is.
We moved to Pennsylvania in 1981 where I attended Abington High School in the suburbs of Philadelphia. It was at AHS that I became involved in theater. I won the best actor award twice in 1983 and 1984, and earned a school letter for acting. I was actively involved in the Latin Club, Key Club, and Scouting. Major interests in high school were the British Empire, poets like Dante and Milton, and my hero Theodore Roosevelt. I served my senior year as President of the Abington Key Club.
I went on to attend Gettysburg College, a historic institution in Pennsylvania with which my family has had a relationship since its founding in 1832. In fact my college choice was a deathbed promise to my maternal grandfather The Rev. C. Leighton King, "Granddad;" Gettysburg Academy '30, Gettysburg College '34, Gettysburg Seminary '37. Due to weak eyesight, I was rejected from USMC OCS for which Mother was thankful (Dad was a DI, USMC third division, in the '50s, old school, 'nuff said). While at college I played rugby, was active in politics, on Chapel Council, participated in ROTC, and had a lot of fun at Sigma Nu. I was better known as "Buzz" in those days. My senior thesis for my one major, Classical Studies, was on the cultic ritual and practices surrounding the ancient Greek mystery religion of Samothrace for which Dr. Charles Zabrowski, of blessed memory, was advisor. I participated some with theater as a college student including a rather fun outdoor production of "Medea" where I got to play Agamemnon under the direction of Classics professor Dr. Leslie Cahoon. It was in college that I discovered my affection for Plato and Jane Austen, and would gladly debate rationalism vs. empiricism, taking either side. I focused on American government in my other major, Political Science, which I studied primarily under Dr. Shirley Anne Warshaw. It was a thrill being involved in the Center for the Study of the Presidency in those halcyon days. I graduated with a BA in Liberal Arts and went on from there to attend grad school in Columbia, South Carolina.
I began in the MDiv program at The Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary with the intention of becoming a Lutheran minister. I was a rather orthodox Lutheran all through college, and got the nickname "little Luther" among my classmates at seminary, when I wasn't called "Spanky" after the leader of the Little Rascals. The first course was an intensive summer program for learning New Testament Greek. My previous study of Latin helped a lot, and Dr. Charles Park Siegel, professor emeritus, was a marvelous teacher. It was at LTSS that I also had the honor of studying with Dr. David S. Yeago. A student of the "Yale School," it was from him that I first learned classical theistic systematic theology, about Nouvelle Théologie, and the merits of narrative theology. I grew to love the early church fathers and the Catholic ressourcement patristic revival, discovering in the process an affinity for Anglo-Catholicism of nineteenth-century Tractarianism, a.k.a., the Oxford Movement. My Christian Neoplatonist tendencies, rooted in my college experience, began to flourish as an adopted personal philosophy. I studied intently the Alexandrian school of early Christian thought, and read ancient and Anglican poetry like that of Gregory Nazianzus and John Keble. It was then that I also grew to love South Carolina BBQ and Palladian architecture. I earned a MA in religion having concentrated on ecclesiastical history and historical theology. Due to the teaching of Dr. Robert Hawkins, rites, liturgy and festal calendars are still an avocation of mine.
After moving back to the Philadelphia area, I began my library science studies at Drexel University's College of Information Science and Technology (also formerly known as the iSchool at Drexel and what is now the College of Computing and Informatics), while concurrently working full-time at the small but substantial theological library at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. I began at LTSP as an assistant in technical services and upon earning my MS from Drexel I became Public Services Librarian and later Assistant Librarian/Acting Director of Krauth Memorial Library. During that time I served two terms as president of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Theological Library Association, and had the pleasure of indexing a book by the premiere Melanchthon scholar in the U.S. While at LTSP I also worked part-time in the Lutheran Archives Center, and as an instructor in pre-Reformation church history. I was even awarded a fellowship by the faculty to continue my graduate studies, but I chose to leave the Lutheran Church after what I think were a series of ecclesial and theological missteps, i.e., several lost opportunities for ecumenical reunion with Rome since the Second Vatican Council, which (as a confrere of mine put it) made Lutheranism as a confessional movement irrelevant. I had great hope, at one time, for what in Lutheran circles was being calling the evangelical catholic movement, or the Pro Ecclesia movement, but with the conversion of Richard John Neuhaus to the Catholic Church, Jaroslav Pelikan to the Orthodox Church in America, the defection of William Lazareth from the cause, and some soul searching of my own. I knew I had to become what I was, a Catholic.
I had already begun working as a part-time reference librarian at Falvey Memorial Library. I started full-time as a Reference/Catalog Librarian in 1999. This meant I split my time between work as a reference librarian and as a cataloger. After starting work full-time at the Library at Villanova University, I also started teaching (beginning in 2000) as an instructor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Villanova. In 2005 I was promoted to Coordinator of Programming and Outreach for Falvey. This meant I would continue to participate in some very traditional activities as a librarian, including research assistance, instruction, and as a subject specialist, while growing with new responsibilities for overseeing academic/social/cultural programming and displays for the Library. (Special Exhibitions are handled by another team, Special and Digital Collections.) Coordinating events lead to managing programming and outreach for Falvey Memorial Library as the outreach librarian and programming team leader. As Outreach Librarian I am also responsible for the Community Bibliography project, the Academic Integrity gateway, and building relations for the library. Such as forging an agreement between the American Catholic Historical Society and Falvey Memorial Library, for which I was honored with a distinguished service award at the Union League, Philadelphia, PA by the American Catholic Historical Society 16 Nov 2007. I have held offices in the Catholic Library Association as well as the American Catholic Historical Society. I continue with research consulting as a member of the Philosophy / Theology / Humanities liaison team among my other duties. My most recent professional focus has been on scholarly communication. See a short presentation on You Tube I did October 13, 2010 as a part of a one day conference we had at Falvey Memorial Library, VuStuff I. I began my tenure as the Interim Director of Falvey Memorial Library July 1, 2013.
Beth, my wife and I dated in high school and college, and were married just after graduating from G-burg. Beth Poley née Garbutt (Alpha Xi Delta) earned her BA in psychology and education ('90). She got me involved in Alpha Phi Omega. Early in our marriage, like many young people, we took some time to figure out who we were and what we should do professionally. Thankfully we found occupations we love. I am a librarian and she is a Registered Nurse, in addition to our beloved vocation of matrimony and parenthood. So far we have been blessed with more than twenty years of marriage, and five daughters and two sons. In 1999, we were confirmed together and received into the Catholic Church at St. Francis Xavier Church in Sussex, New Brunswick, Canada. We are both seekers of the Truth. Like Ss. Augustine and Monica; one found it by study, and the other by prayer.
Darren G. Poley
Note: The above image is of the St. Augustine Center on the campus of Villanova University, seen from the Our Lady of Good Counsel grotto when it was located near the Library. The photographer is unknown.
Web Site last updated: 24 Oct. 2013.