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Cat in the Stax: Reflection on the 2020-21 School Year

And with that the semester is officially overall papers submitted, all exams completed and all library books returned (hopefully!) As I sit here now writing my last Cat in the Stax for this academic year, I can’t help but reflect on the last year and all of the changes and growth that’s occurred. ""

Entering my first year of graduate school at a new school in the midst of a seemingly never-ending pandemic was definitely not the ideal scenario I imagined. That being said, I can’t help being grateful and confident that everything worked out the way it was supposed to. 

I’m grateful for the team at Falvey that I’m a part of and how they’ve encouraged my creativity at every point. I would say that by nature I am a reader and a writer, but that’s not something I’ve been able to fully tap into for the last handful of years. I was a little intimidated by the thought of rolling out a new and interesting Cat in the Stax each week, but here we are, and I think I did an okay job. Having and making the space for creativity is really all you need to tap into the inspiration ever around you. 

Falvey has become the center of my Villanova experience thus far. I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that other than my tour and COVID testing, I’ve only been inside Falvey and Garey Hall. That being said, Falvey is not the worst place to be spending all my time. Watching people continuously move through the library, studying, talking, and grabbing coffee from Holy Grounds gave a (albeit slightly off) sense of normalcy. 

And the best part? I’m not going anywhere and get to spend both the summer and all next year with this incredible team in Falvey! 

Congratulations to all for completing a pretty rough year, grab your sunglasses and stack of summer reads and relax a little because we deserve it!


jenna newman headshotJenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department.


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Cat in the Stax: Children’s Book Week

This week marks the first of two Children’s Book Weeks in 2021. For the last three years, it has been celebrated twice a yearonce in the spring, in May, and again in the fall, in November. Starting in 1919, Children’s Book Week is the longest running national literacy initiative, bringing together authors, publishers, booksellers, libraries, and, most importantly, young readers. 

Cat in the Stax, Jenna Newman, got started on reading at a very young age

Reading has always been a huge part of my life and, especially, my childhood. Whether it was relating to the elementary school woes of Junie B. Jones or traveling around the world in a treehouse with Jack and Annie, curling up with a book has always been a favorite pastime. Beyond generating fond memories, the reading you did as a child is crucial in developing your values, enhancing your imagination, and helping you learn resilience at a young age. 

Our reading time may be made up of more research articles and textbooks than 100-page chapter books, but we can still jump in and celebrate Children’s Book Week this year and every year!

  • Take a break, read a throwback: Sometimes, especially during finals, you just need that sense of accomplishment of completing a task, but also final exams and papers keep you from starting a new side project. Try taking a break and picking up a favorite childhood book to read. It’ll rest your mind from academics and when you finish it in an hour, you’ll feel accomplished.
  • Share a book with a young reader: With the semester coming to a close, maybe you’re heading home to a younger sibling or have a babysitting job lined up for the summer. Do some research and share a book, whether a classic or something new, with a young reader. A kid is never too young to start to enjoy reading. 
  • Join in the celebrations: Check out Every Child’s a Reader’s website to see ways you can get involved in Children’s Book Week. The website also has Superpower Book Lists so you can help young readers in your life find the perfect new book when you get home for the summer.


Fun Fact: Falvey has The Boxcar Children, Books 1-13 available digitally for some perfect throwback reading!


jenna newman headshotJenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department.

 

 

 


 


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Cat in the Stax: National Parks Week

Not only is next week Earth Week, but it’s also National Parks Week, so get ready for a list of ways you can celebrate both the earth and our parks, whether it’s through picking up a new book to read or finding time to get outside and enjoy nature.

Activities to Celebrate 

Villanova is lucky enough to be situated only 15 minutes from one of Pennsylvania’s national parks—Valley Forge National Park. This week or weekend get together a group of your close friends, find someone with a car and make the drive over to Valley Forge to walk around and enjoy nature. Not only is this a great way to celebrate National Parks, but it also lets you get outside, clear your head and refocus for all of the end of semester studying and papers that lie ahead. 

Villanova has a wide variety of Earth Week events going on, some of them starting as early as this week, and all of them are worth attending; however, I wanted to highlight another event that gets you outside and looking at nature, even if it’s not at a National Park. Next Thursday, April 22, Villanova’s horticulturist, Hugh Weldon will be leading a tour of the trees around campus. More details and registration can be found here.

Books to Read 

The Falvey collection has a wide range of National Parks Travel Guides that you can reserve and pick up. The collection has guides for everything you need to know for parks from Shenandoah National Park to Glacier National Park. With only a month left of the semester, now is the perfect time to grab some guide books and start planning a summer road trip to a National Park near or far!

Fun Fact: Did you know each day of National Parks Week has its own theme?

The National Park Service website has a list with themes for each day of National Park week as well as other ideas for you to celebrate. Below are the themes for each day.

April 17 – Park Rx Day

April 18 – VIP (Volunteers In Parks) Sunday

April 19 – Military Monday

April 20 – Transformation Tuesday

April 21 – Wayback Wednesday

April 22 – Earth Day

April 23 – Friendship Friday

April 24 – Junior Ranger Day

April 25 – BARK Ranger Day

Let us know how you plan on celebrating both Earth Week and National Parks Week next week!


jenna newman headshotJenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department.

 

 

 


 


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Cat in the Stax: National Library Week

We’re officially halfway through National Library Week! There’s something about libraries that sticks with you throughout life, whether it’s memories of getting your first ever library card or late nights spent writing papers and studying for exams. For this week’s Cat in the Stax I’m going to reminisce on some of my favorite library memories and factors that make a great library.

My first library card was from the Mercer County Library, and I remember practicing writing my name over and over again because my mom said once I could write my own name, I could get my library card. Despite having not been there in over 10 years, I can still distinctly remember where everything is located. Every summer they would always have different events for elementary students that promoted reading and learning. One factor that makes a great library is the variety of programming and events that they have available, whether in-person or virtual!

During my undergraduate years, I spent quite a bit of time at the University of Delaware’s Morris Library. My four years there included many late night study sessions and trying to snag the best study spots between classes. Another mark of a quality library is definitely study spots and study rooms. My roommate and I would always meet up in our pre-booked study room after classes to study before heading back to our apartment!

Maybe I’m a little biased, but my favorite library right now is definitely Falvey! Beyond the extensive programming and study spots, Falvey also has an amazing group of staff and librarians that are always willing to help with papers and research projects. Plus, having Holy Grounds there to get a mid-study caffeine fix has become a deal-breaker for me as far as study spots go. Make sure to head over to Falvey sometime this week to celebrate National Library Week and let us know what you think makes a great library on social media or in the comments!


jenna newman headshotJenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department.


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Cat in the Stax: St. Patrick’s Day

By Jenna Newman

I hope you’re rocking your green today because it’s St. Patrick’s Day! This week I wanted to dive deeper into the history of St. Patrick’s Day and answer some FAQs about St. Patrick’s Day and typical ways of celebrating.

Who was St. Patrick? Saint Patrick was the patron saint of Ireland and its national apostle. He was brought to Ireland as a slave when he was 16, but later escaped. Later, he returned to Ireland and is thought to have brought Christianity to Ireland.

When did people start celebrating St. Patrick’s Day? Since the ninth or 10th century, people in Ireland have been celebrating the feast day of St. Patrick on March 17; however, the first St. Patrick’s Day parade actually took place in the United States! Records show that in 1601 there was a parade in the Spanish colony that is now St. Augustine, Florida. In 1772, homesick Irish soldiers in the English militia marched in New York City to honor the saint – celebrations have only grown from there!

What’s the significance of shamrocks? One of the most told legends regarding St. Patrick is that he used a three-leaf Irish clover (a shamrock!) to explain the Holy Trinity to the Irish people when he brought Christianity to the country. 

What do leprechauns have to do with St. Patrick’s Day? Legends of leprechauns and their pots of gold at the end of rainbows go back centuries, although it was more recently that they became tied to St. Patrick’s Day. One theory has to do with a movie Walt Disney released in 1959 called Darby O’Gill and the Little People, which was about an old Irish man and his experiences with magical leprechauns. This movie became increasingly popular in the United States right around the time that celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day also were becoming more popular. Since St. Patrick’s Day is about celebrating Irish culture and leprechauns are a large part of Irish folklore, the connection is fitting. 

Why do you wear green on St. Patrick’s Day? It all has to do with the leprechauns! Leprechauns are known for their trickery and supposedly pinch everyone they come across. But, leprechauns also cannot see the color green, so we wear green on St. Patrick’s Day to avoid being pinched! Green is also one of the prominent colors in the Irish flag.

As part of your celebrations, I encourage you to take a deeper look into one of Falvey’s digital exhibits, Rambles, Sketches, Tours: Travellers & Tourism in Ireland. This exhibit highlights Irish travel narratives and related materials, primarily from the Joseph McGarrity Collection, in Falvey Memorial Library’s Special Collections.


Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department.


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Cat in the Stax: Leveraging Your Working Break

In lieu of our traditional Spring Break, this semester Villanova is giving us two working breaks, with our first one being this Wednesday and Thursday. Below I’ve shared three tips about how to make the most of your working break and ensure it’s both a productive and relaxing two days.

#1 Evaluate Your Priorities This time is supposed to be a mental reset, so it is important to make sure you are prioritizing your mental health on these two days. As we get into the semester, I’m finding more and more that my priorities for the day are focused around the assignments I have due in the following days or the readings I have for class that night. But this week, I’m restructuring my priorities and putting relaxing activities, such as going for a walk or reading a book for fun, at the top of my list.

#2 Actually WORK It can be tempting to see this working break as two days off, especially if you are lucky enough to have a professor who is not holding classes, but remember this is an opportunity to catch up on or stay on top of your work! As you’ll see through my other tips, your work can look a little different this week, but you don’t want to end this week feeling more behind and overwhelmed than you did on Monday. Make yourself clear goals then crush those goals!

#3 Build Connections with Professors & Librarians This week, I’m focusing on building relationships with more of my professors. Many professors are holding extra office hours this week to talk to students about projects, papers, or exams. Leverage that extra time and drop-in to form a relationship. Subject librarians are an additional resource that you can connect with this week! Whether it’s just to say hi and see if they have any thoughts on your research topic for this semester or to ask for help finding that last elusive source you need for a paper, Falvey’s subject librarians are ready and available to help. Find a lists of all subject librarians here.

#4 Focus on Relaxation & Productivity On my “days off” when I still want to make sure I’m being productive and getting work done, I find little ways to make the day feel more relaxing. Maybe usually you’re up at 8 AM every morning to start working. This week, instead, let your day start at 10 AM or 11 AM and still end at the same time. Or, instead of working at your desk, do some work from bed or the couch. Those little tweaks to your routine may make it feel more like a break while still letting you stay on top of your work.

This is the first of two of Villanova’s working breaks this semester. Use this one as a trial run to see what works best for you. If you have any other tips to share or your plans to make the most of today and tomorrow, share in the comments!


Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department.


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Cat in the Stax: Connecting Virtually

College is all about meeting and connecting with new people from all over the country that normally you wouldn’t get an opportunity to interact with if you stayed in your small town. Unfortunately, the last year has made it really difficult to form and maintain those relationships. Below are some ways to stay safe, mask up, but still connect with friends, new and old.

Virtual Study Sessions
This was one idea my undergraduate roommate had as a way for us to spend time together despite the fact we were both super busy in grad school and hundreds of miles apart. We pick a time that works well for both of us, find our own, safe study space, then hop in a Zoom room to study at the same time. Our fields couldn’t be more different, but the important part is being able to spend time together, like we used to when we had study sessions back at Delaware. 

Attending NEW Events
Walking into a room full of people you don’t know to hear a speaker on a topic you’re unfamiliar with can be super intimidating. However, with Zoom events, you can feel free to leave your camera off and no one will even know you’re there! And who knows? Maybe you’ll find a new topic you enjoy learning more about or see the name of someone you have a class with also at the event and make a new connection!

To view a list of upcoming events hosted by Falvey click here. To check out the latest Villanova Theatre production, Songs for a New World, click here

Fresh Air
Going for walks, masked up, around Villanova’s beautiful campus is another way to connect with new and old friends while still staying safe. Swing by the library to pick-up some books, grab some food, loop around campus, and then go your separate ways back to your building or house. Being outdoors is a safer way to connect and is a great way to take a break from studying (if you don’t believe me, read any of my stress reliever blogs from last semester). 

What new ways have you been able to connect with people this past year that you’ve never thought of before?

 


Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department.


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Cat in the Stax: Resolutions Reimagined

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that sometimes things happen and absolutely nothing goes according to plan. This lesson is something that we need to internalize and remember going into 2021 and beyond. Take a minute, stop reading, and think about all of the New Year’s resolutions you made last year that you completely forgot about when March hit. For my first Cat in the Stax of the year, I want to change the way that we think about “New Year’s resolutions,” especially with many of your resolutions potentially pertaining to the new semester that’s right around the corner.

According to Google, a resolution is, “a firm decision to do or not to do something.” In my opinion, humans just aren’t good at that, we’re wishy-washy and that’s totally okay. So let’s stop setting ourselves up for failure. If I make my New Year’s resolution to workout 5 times per week, the first time that I don’t do that, I’ve technically failed. Instead, let’s think of this new year as a time to reassess our goals.

By changing our mindset and making goals instead of declaring resolutions, we offer ourselves more grace and can celebrate the progress made. In 2020, I set my reading goal on Goodreads to 25 books, as of December 13 I had read 9. Instead of thinking of that as, “Wow, I failed!” I can focus on the fact that had I not set that goal, maybe I would have only read 3 or 4 and missed out on reading fantastic books.

Goals partially completed at the end of each year can be seen as progress markers. I now know that I read 9 books in 2020, and I wish that I had made reading more of a priority. In 2021, maybe my next goal is to read 15 books. It’s not that lofty 2020 goal of 25, but I took the progress I had made and can now work to beat that.

To encourage you all in crushing your goals for 2021, here are some of my goals for the Spring 2021 semester:

  • Get to know two Falvey librarians better
  • Engage Cat in the Stax reader’s by replying to every comment
  • Read 5 books off of the Falvey shelves
  • Take my own photos for 50% of my Cat in the Stax 

What goals do you have for 2021 and how can Falvey help you crush them?


Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department. Current mood: Figuring out how to crush my goals (& 2021)!


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Cat in the Stax: Book Gift Guide

I always love getting presents for all the important people in my life, but sometimes it can be hard to figure out exactly what to get for each person. You want the gift to be meaningful, but also easy to get and not something that’s going to break the bank. My go-to for gifts is always books. I can find a perfect book, whether long or short, for about practically any interest! Plus, it gives me an excuse to visit my local bookstore.

Below is my Holiday Book Gift Guide for all of the important people in your life.

Books for Cooks If you have any cooks in your life, they probably don’t need a step-by-step cook book, but they could always use some inspiration! Below are two books that could provide good inspiration for the foodies in your life:

 

Books for Sports-Lovers Maybe the sports-lovers are interested in the biography of their favorite coach or player or just the history of their favorite sport. Here are a couple of books for all those Wildcat basketball fans out there:

 

Books for Outdoorsy People With the cold weather ever-approaching, all outdoor lovers and preparing for another winter of going stir-crazy. Here are two book gift ideas that can help them explore outside while staying in or plan their next adventure:


Books for People ALWAYS Buying Decor
You know? Those people that are always going to Target or Hobby Lobby to buy new decor? The ones that rearrange their house every couple months? Below are two books for those people in your life:

 

Coffee Table Books A couple years ago for Christmas, I got “coffee table books” for all of my future in-laws. These are essentially books that you rarely sit down and read through, but they sit on a coffee table or an end table in the living room for people to casually flip through. These are great gifts because they really can speak to any interest. Honestly, a lot of the ideas listed above can fall under the category of “coffee table books.” Usually, around the Holidays, Barnes and Noble has a whole table or section online dedicated to these kinds of books…go there to get inspired!

If you’re like me and trying to shop small this Christmas, but don’t have a local bookstore in the area that you love, check out Bookshop. They are an online bookstore that supports local, independent book stores through your sales going to an earnings pool that’s then distributed to bookstores nation-wide!

Share with us below any Holiday book shopping tips you have and happy shopping!

 


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‘Cat in the Stax: Behind the Lines of The Other Wes Moore

In wrapping up November’s Read with the (other) Jenna book club pick, today I wanted to look a little more at the life of Wes Moore. Specifically looking at his involvement with us in the Villanova community and his involvement daily with communities nationwide.

Wes Moore at Villanova University

Alumni may remember reading The Other Wes Moore: One Name Two Fates when it was Villanova’s One Book selection in 2014, the 10th anniversary of the program at Villanova. Wes Moore came to visit Villanova’s campus on Sept. 25 of that year and kicked off his visit with a dinner featuring foods inspired by the memoir, followed by a headshot of author Wes Moorepresentation to the entire Villanova community. Moore’s presentation also coincided with the opening of the University’s annual St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration. 

In 2014, the book was selected because it talked about important and relevant topics including education, poverty, and the importance of determination and mentors in a young person’s life. Today, I selected this book to read as the November book club read for all of the same reasons. The themes discussed in The Other Wes Moore: One Name Two Fates are timeless. 

To see a full list of all past One Book selections click here

Wes Moore in the News Today
The timelessness and impact of Moore’s story can also be seen in the news even now. Below, I briefly touch on three of the news stories this past month that include Wes Moore.

Wes Moore — With a Little Help From His Friends — Sees a Historic Moment

In the days leading up to the election, Wes Moore sat down as part of a five-person panel to discuss the upcoming election and its implications. When asked why he votes, Moore answered that he votes for those who cannot vote. The themes of fighting to give equal opportunity and create a more supportive future for all are brought out in his book are echoed in many of his presentations to this day.

Robin Hood’s ‘Heroes of New York’ special celebrates resiliency and generosity amid pandemic

Wes Moore serves as Chief Executive Officer for Robin Hood, New York’s largest poverty-fighting organization. Yesterday, Dec. 1, they partnered with iHeart Radio to air “Heroes of New York,” showcasing efforts of New Yorkers to bring light back to their city in the midst of the pandemic. In Moore’s life, he has not only overcome poverty himself, but now works to help others in New York to do the same.

CCM to hold forum on racial equity with national speakers in December

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities is holding a forum to discuss racial equity on Dec. 3 and Wes Moore is set to be a speaker. Issues surrounding race and diversity are not just a trend, but something that should be an ongoing discussion. Moore has emerged as a key voice to be listening to and learning from as we continue navigating these discussions and advocating for change.

Who are your mentors that inspire you to fight for more every day and what can you do today to inspire someone else?

And remember, be on the lookout in late January for the Read with the (other) Jenna Spring line-up of books!


Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department. Current mood: Creating my book list for 2021.


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Last Modified: December 2, 2020