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Curious Cat: Favorite Campus Food

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Happy Thursday, Wildcats! This week, the Curious Cat team wanted to know what campus foods students enjoyed. We asked library patrons, “What is your favorite food to eat on campus?”

“Cova Nachos”
-Kayleigh Wallis ’25 CLAS

 

“Spicy Breaded Chicken Conn Sammy”
-Kelsi Membrino ’25 CLAS

 

“Smoothies”
-Peyton Gibbs ’27 CLAS

 


Rebecca AmrickRebecca Amrick is a first-year graduate student in the English Department and a Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.

 

 

 

Julia Wagner ’26 CLAS is a second-year Economics major and student worker at Falvey Library.

 

 

 


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Panel on Land Acknowledgements: 2/21


Join us on Wednesday, Feb. 21 from 12-1:30 p.m. in Falvey Library’s Speakers’ Corner for a conversation on the impact of Land Acknowledgements at academic institutions and why they are merely a starting point to supporting indigenous communities. We will be joined by panelists Adam DePaul, Chief of Education and Tribal Storykeeper; Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania; as well as Modonna Kongal, Meg Martin, and Autumn Coard from N.I.S.A, the Native Indigenous Students Association. Elisha Chi, a registered descendent of the Inupiaq of the Bering Straits region and Irish/British Catholics, is moderating this panel.

After the panel, Adam DePaul, Chief of Education and Tribal Storykeeper; Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania, will lead  a conversation about approaches to including and teaching Lenape material in the classroom. This event will primarily be driven by questions and thoughts from the audience, so we welcome participation across the university community. Join us from 1:45-3 p.m. in Falvey Library’s Speakers’ Corner.

These ACS-approved events are co-sponsored by Falvey Library/ Falvey’s DEI Committee, the Center for Peace and Justice Education, and the Albert Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest, and N.I.S.A, the Native Indigenous Students Association. A light lunch will be served.


 


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The Visual Representation of Data

By Jutta Seibert

Elmer R. Kottcamp, Weather
Vane, c. 1941, watercolor and
graphite on paper, 43.9 x 31 cm.
Courtesy of the National
Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

Visual representations of data help us understand numbers and their relationships with each other at their best, at their worst they misrepresent and distort what they represent. In our data-driven world visual literacy has become a critical component of information literacy. Thus, it should come as no surprise that this year the Library included a data visualization competition in its Love Data Week lineup.

Humans are remarkable adept at creating and understanding visual representations of data. While experts are divided on whether or not to count paleolithic cave drawings as early examples of data visualization, there is general consensus that maps are visual data communication tools. The information encoded on maps can be highly complex but nevertheless easy to grasp given a basic familiarity with coding conventions for maps. Some of these conventions are so ubiquitous that they are at times considered universal. This may be true today, but visual codes have changed over time. The four cardinal points are an interesting case in point. While we may consider the placement of the North at the top of a map as universal, not all maps follow this convention: Some Medieval European maps show East, where Jerusalem was situated, at the top of the map, Islamic maps often show the South at the top, and last, but not least, modern GIS systems show the travel goal and not one of the cardinal directions at the top.

Modern computing technology has put a wide range of data visualization tools at our fingertips. We are only a few clicks away from transforming data points on a spreadsheet into picture-perfect pie charts, bar graphs, tree maps, and scatter plots. In fact, creating visualizations is generally easier than understanding some of them. There is evidence that many data visualizations produced today are either nonsensical, pedestrian, or outrightly misleading. Numerous websites and publications are dedicated to the misrepresentation and distortion of data through visualizations. Similarly, a range of academic journals are dedicated to the topic of data visualization in various fields ranging from business to science, and the humanities. In a world where enormous amounts of data are continuously collected, both intentionally and unintentionally, data analysis and data communication are considered basic skills in many professions. Today, visual and data literacy are important components of basic information literacy.

Minard, Charles Joseph. “Representation of successive human loss during the Russia campaign of the French Army, 1812-1813.” Courtesy of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.

Truly great data visualizations are rare. They tell a story and focus our attention. No specialized data analysis training is needed to understand their message. One of the most widely referenced examples is Charles Joseph Minard’s visualization of the human loss suffered by the French Army during the 1812-13 invasion of Russia and subsequent retreat. Minard’s mash-up of a map and flowchart poignantly shows the stark realities of human loss caused by war. Edward Tufte, a widely respected authority on visualizations and author of multiple works on the topic, calls it “the best statistical graphic ever drawn” on his website.

Explore our recommended reading list below if you are interested in the topic and join us on Friday, February 16 at 10 a.m. for Falvey’s first Data Visualization Competition awards ceremony.

Recommended Readings and Websites

Jutta Seibert is Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 



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I Love FRED

Some Falvey librarians love data, but I love FRED. Since FRED and I don’t have an exclusive relationship, I’d like to introduce you.

My job is to help students and faculty find the data they need. FRED stands for Federal Reserve Economic Data. Its a free online database that evolved to give researchers access to data needed to “understand the Fed’s policy decisions.”(St. Lewis Fed., n.d.) FRED is my helpmate.

Unlike most governmental data sites, FRED is not limited to serving up data gathered and created by it’s parent agency, the Federal Reserve. And you’d be wrong if you assumed that it only covers wonky economic indicators such as GDP, CPI, FDI,  interest rates, unemployment rates or disposable income.

FRED certainly does make data from key federal and international agencies such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis, and the International Monetary Fund and Eurostat available. But it also hosts lesser known data series from the Energy Information Agency, Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. These data sources are of interest across the social sciences and in STEM fields.

Like most librarians I’m on a budget so I appreciate a cheap date. FRED is free and for me. It hosts a pretty amazing range of select, private data sets from the likes of Haver Analytics, Indeed, National Association of Realtors, Moody’s, Realtor.com, Wilshire and Nikkei. There are robust indices and models built by academics too.

I could go on singing the praises of FRED data, but I’d risk being called a lovesick librarian. Still I can’t help mentioning that the FRED user interface is dreamy. Finding data to download, graph or map is done by keyword or browsing categories or sources. Adding data layers to graphs is intuitive and the options for formatting visualizations are many.

Many relationships involve a bit of regret. Last week I took FRED for granted, FRED wasn’t top of mind when a student stopped by my office looking for big data on housing conditions. She could have had just what she was looking for if I had been more attentive to FRED. Hope she sees this now!


St. Lewis Fed. (n.d.) What is FRED? https://fredhelp.stlouisfed.org/fred/about/about-fred/what-is-fred/


Linda Hauck, MLS, MBA, is Business Librarian at Falvey Library.

 

 


 


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Cat in the Stax: Valentine’s Day and Chocolate

As Falvey’s Cat in the Stax, Rebecca writes articles covering a broad range of topics, from academics to hobbies to random events. All the while highlighting how Falvey Library can enhance your Villanova experience!

Happy Valentine’s Day, Wildcats! Love is in the air and taking the form of flowers, stuffed animals, chocolates, and other sweets. Every nice restaurant in Philly will be packed with couples looking for a romantic dinner. It’s a day to celebrate your relationship with your partner and show how much you appreciate them.

Photo from HIS-USA.com

Fun Fact: Did you know that in Japan, it is traditional for women to give men chocolates on Valentine’s Day? And not just to romantic partners, but to all the men in their lives! Husbands and boyfriends receive a special type of chocolate known as honmei-choco, or “true feelings chocolate” while male family members, friends, and colleges are given a giri-choco, an “obligatory chocolate.” One month later, on Mar. 14, also known as White Day, men in Japan return the favor and gift gyaku-choco, “reverse chocolates,” to women they received chocolate from on Valentine’s Day.

 

How did chocolate come to be associated with love, gift-giving, and Valentine’s Day? Well, the connection between chocolate and romance has roots in Mesoamerican history. The Mayans used cocoa-brewed beverages in marriage ceremonies. Later, the Aztec leader Montezuma II allegedly drank cups of chocolate because he believed it to be an aphrodisiac.

Although Valentine’s Day is linked to various Christian martyrs named Valentine, its connection to romantic love first appears in Geoffrey Chaucer’s 1382 poem “Parlement of Foules” where he writes, “every bird cometh to choose his mate” on “Seynt Valentynes day.”

Photo by Budgeron Bach on Pexels.com

Fast forward to the 19th century. Valentine’s Day is a popular holiday in Europe and North America, but chocolate has not yet entered the picture. Chocolate was still considered a luxury item, and people consumed it by drinking it. Then, in 1861, British chocolate manufacturer Richard Cadbury invented eating chocolates as a more palatable way of consuming chocolate. He packaged these chocolates in heart-shaped boxes adorned with Cupids and roses. The boxes were a huge hit and became a symbol of love and gift-giving.

Now we travel to America to chocolate and candy maker Milton Hershey. In 1907, Hershey created his famous tear-drop chocolate “kisses,” which were named as such because of the kissing noise the chocolate made when it was produced. The association between chocolate and love became even stronger less than 20 years later in 1923 when chocolatier Russell Stover began to sell Valentine’s Day chocolates in heart-shaped boxes. One of his biggest sellers was the “Secret Heart Lace,” a chocolate box covered in satin and black lace.

For all you chocolate lovers out there, Falvey has plenty of books and articles about this tasty treat, from stories focused on chocolate to articles discussing its production and history to chocolate cookbooks. Check out some of these texts if you’re interested:


Rebecca Amrick

Rebecca Amrick is a first year graduate student in the English Department and a Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.


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Spring 2024 Digital Seeds Speaker Series

Spring 2024 Digital Seeds Speaker Series presented by Falvey Library at Villanova University

Leveraging Large Language Models to Unveil Seventeenth-Century Books of Secrets

Please join us on Thursday, April 11, from 12-1 p.m. for a virtual talk by Sarah Lang, Digital Humanities researcher from the Center for Information Modeling, University of Graz in Austria, titled, “Leveraging Large Language Models to Unveil Seventeenth-Century Books of Secrets.”

This talk presents experiments with the semantic enrichment and computational analysis of seventeenth-century books of secrets, a genre that intricately intertwines recipe literature with practical how-to guides. These texts, sometimes characterized by their multi-column print layout, abundant use of alchemical symbols, and historical units of measurement, pose significant challenges for digital transcription and analysis. The current study aims to address these challenges by utilizing Large Language Models (LLMs) to enhance the accuracy and efficacy of a Transkribus transcription model, which, despite its sophistication, struggles with the specialized nature of these historical prints.

The experiment explores the potential of LLMs, including CustomGPTs and ChatGPT, in various subtasks such as layout detection, recipe segmentation, and transcription of alchemical symbols. Initial trials using ChatGPT for transcription have shown encouraging outcomes, suggesting a viable path for generating training data to refine Transkribus models fast. Transkibus, while suboptimal in certain OCR tasks that other software nowadays fares better in, excels in handling historical special characters, a critical aspect for this genre.

The project involves developing an integrated workflow that leverages diverse LLMs for a comprehensive process encompassing layout detection, character transcription, and semantic tagging. Once semantic tagging is done, recipes and ingredients can be extracted and analyzed.  A central feature of this workflow will be a human-in-the-loop approach for ensuring the accuracy and fidelity of the semantic enrichments to the original texts. This promises not only to enhance our understanding of seventeenth-century artisanal knowledge but also to contribute significantly to the field of digital humanities by demonstrating the potential of LLMs in historical text analysis and semantic enrichment using an understudied genre.

REGISTER HERE.

Speaker Bio:

Sarah Lang has a Doctorate in Philosophy with a major in Digital Humanities and is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Department “Centre for Information Modelling” at the University of Graz in Austria. After completing undergraduate and graduate degrees in History and Classics (Latin & Greek) in Graz (including an Erasmus stay in Montpellier), she transitioned into the field of Digital Humanities, and has been working on projects in this field since 2016. Lang’s PhD research, at the intersection of Digital Humanities and the early modern history of science, introduces computational methods into the history of alchemy. Her research focuses on decoding cryptographical stylistic devices specific to alchemy (Decknamen) by drawing on the case study of chymist Michael Maier’s (1568-1622) Neo-Latin corpus. Lang’s research was funded by the University of Graz bursary during her PhD (2018-2021) and won the Bader Prize for the History of Science (Austrian Academy of Sciences, 2021) for her PhD thesis.

 

Mapping the Margins: Gay Travel Guides & the Promise of Digital History

Please join us on Thursday, April 18, from 4-5 p.m. for a virtual talk by Drs. Amanda (Mandy) Regan and Eric Gonzaba titled, “Mapping the Margins: Gay Travel Guides & the Promise of Digital History.”

Professors Amanda Regan and Eric Gonzaba will discuss their NEH- funded project entitled Mapping the Gay Guides. The project utilizes the Damron Address Books, a longtime gay travel guide that began in the mid 1960s. First published in an era when most states banned same-sex intimacy both in public and private spaces, these travel guides helped gays find community spaces that catered to people like themselves. Much like the Green Books of the 1950s and 1960s, which African Americans used to find friendly businesses that would cater to black citizens in the era of Jim Crow apartheid, Damron’s guidebooks aided a generation of queer people in identifying sites of community, pleasure, and politics.  Mapping the Gay Guides maps over 100,000 historical listings across all 50 states to understand changes in LGBTQ+ space and culture over half a century. Regan and Gonzaba will explain the importance the gay print culture beginning in the 1960s and the possibilities of understanding queer histories in a different light utilizing this kind of historical data.

REGISTER HERE.

Speakers’ Bios:

Amanda (Mandy) Regan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History and Geography at Clemson University. She is a historian of the late-19th and 20th centuries and specializes in women and gender as well as digital history. She received her PhD in 2019 from George Mason University where she was a Digital History Fellow at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (RRCHNM). From 2019-2021 she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Southern Methodist University’s Center for Presidential History. At Clemson, she teaches in the department’s new Digital History Ph.D. program. Currently she is working on two projects. First, she is the co-director of Mapping the Gay Guides an NEH funded digital history project that draws on Bob Damron’s Address Books – a prolific set of travel guides for gay Americans in the last three decades of the 20th century. Second, she is revising a book manuscript entitled Shaping Up: Physical Fitness Initiatives for Women, 1880-1965 which is under contract with the University of Virginia Press.

Eric Gonzaba is an Assistant Professor in the Department of American Studies at California State University, Fullerton. He is a historian of race and sexuality in the United States, particularly focused on nightlife and LGBT cultures. He is the creator of Wearing Gay History, a digital archive and museum that explores global LGBTQ history through t-shirts. From 2021 until 2024, he served as co-chair of the Committee on LGBT History, the oldest LGBTQ historians’ association in the United States, and is the co-chair of the upcoming 2024 Queer History Conference. Gonzaba’s work has previously been supported by grants and fellowships from the University of Pennsylvania, Cornell, the Point Foundation, and the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Gonzaba received his PhD in 2019 from George Mason University, having defended his dissertation just a few days after Mandy.

These ACS-approved events, sponsored by Falvey Library, are free and open to all.


About the Digital Seeds Speakers Series:

The Digital Seeds Speaker Series is a Library funded program that supports the invitation of guest speakers in the digital scholarship community to speak at Falvey Library about their research and/or give a workshop on a topic of their choice. The goal of the speaker series is to provide an opportunity for Villanova faculty, staff, and students to learn more about digital scholarship and research at the intersection of social science, humanities computing, and data science. The lectures are often held in the spring and are open to the public and all Villanova faculty, staff, and students to attend. The series is a great way to make connections, build community, and facilitate conversation.

Learn about past speakers here.

Digital Scholarship at Falvey Library:

Falvey Library’s Digital Scholarship Program supports faculty, students, and staff interested in applying digital methods and tools to their research and teaching. Digital scholarship encompasses a broad range of technologies and research areas, including but not limited to digital mapping (GIS), text and data mining, data visualization, virtual reality, 3D modeling, and digital publishing. We host lectures on digital scholarship topics, partner on digital research projects, and provide a collaborative space for consultations and training.

Learn more about Digital Scholarship here.


 


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Our Kind of Data

Learn more about Love Data Week at ICPSR. #LoveData24 

Falvey loves data, all kinds of data, and we want to celebrate Love Data Week by talking about the different ways data is used on campus. At Villanova University we have many disciplines across campus, and each of them use data in their own way. Now how each discipline uses data might not always be as obvious, such as in the social sciences and humanities, compared to the STEM fields, and that is why we want to illustrate some of the ways data has been used across the disciplines that aren’t quite as obvious. In the world of librarianship, data plays a role in many of our decisions. In thinking about how we decide whether a program was successful or whether we are going to renew a resource for another year we rely on data to inform our decisions. Each year we evaluate the resource subscriptions we are going to keep, and we do this by examining the usage data collected. 

Sarah Wingo, Librarian for English Literature, Theatre, and Romance Languages and Literature, offered the following demonstration of how data can be used to explore literature. 

“Often when we think of data we think of massive data sets too big for a human to ever hope to analyze, but using data to better understand literary texts is not new to scholars of English literature nor does it always have to be at such an enormous scale. One of the more famous examples of using data to better understand a literary text has to do with Shakespeare’s First Folio. In 1920 Thomas Satchell noticed a distinct difference in spellings of 35 words in the first half of McBeth to the second half. Other scholars such as Edwin Eliott Willoughby in 1932, and Alice Walker in 1954 would further contribute to this idea by expanding the investigation to the rest of the First Folio and positing that there were multiple compositors who worked on type setting the First Folio. These early researchers were attempting to use meticulous textual analysis to do what we often use computers to do today, which is gather textual data to provide us with new information about a text, in this case how many different compositors may have worked on the typesetting for the first folio. Helping scholars to not only better understand how printing houses worked in the 1620s, but also helping scholars to better understand the text we are left with.”

For more on this ongoing debate over the First Folio: https://www.gabrielegan.com/publications/Egan2012d.htm

Further Reading:

Eve, Martin Paul. The Digital Humanities and Literary Studies. First edition. Oxford University Press, 2022. https://library.villanova.edu/Find/Record/2835904?sid=146389460

Underwood, Ted. Distant Horizons: Digital Evidence and Literary Change. The University of Chicago Press, 2019. https://library.villanova.edu/Find/Record/1954455?sid=146390124

Sarah’s example of how researchers have been able to analyze the spelling of texts to explore authorship of classic pieces, is just one way that researchers create and use data. In the field of Communication and Literature, research data can be created by counting the frequency of certain terms, or even by examining the tone used in a work. Research on tone can look at the proportion of positive or negative words used in a piece. An interesting topic of study that has crossed disciplines, is the examination of the media’s portrayal of mental health. This is a topic that has been explored by Sociologists, Psychologists, and the Communication field. Each of these disciplines have explored how news articles have dealt with mental health, though the questions they have looked to answer might vary due to their focus. The research question often shapes the type of data being created and used, with one focus of this topic having been to answer whether there has been a change in perception of mental health in the news over time. Compiling a collection of hundreds and even thousands of news articles, a text analysis is able to show the overall tone of articles depicting mental health and whether there has been a shift in tone between the years. Interested in your own text analysis? Check out Gale’s Digital Scholar Lab in our Databases A to Z list, where you can explore the Gale collection and conduct text analyses.   

Further Reading: 

Chen, M., and S. Lawrie. “Newspaper Depictions of Mental and Physical Health.” BJPsych Bulletin, vol. 41, no. 6, , p. 308, https://doi.org/10.1192/pb.bp.116.054775. https://library.villanova.edu/Find/EdsRecord/edselc,edselc.2-52.0-85036633598 

R, Whitley, and Wang J. “Good News? A Longitudinal Analysis of Newspaper Portrayals of Mental Illness in Canada 2005 to 2015.” Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. Revue Canadienne De Psychiatrie, vol. 62, no. 4, 2017, pp. 278-285, https://doi.org/10.1177/0706743716675856. https://library.villanova.edu/Find/EdsRecord/cmedm,27777273 

Please join us in celebrating another year of data appreciation, where you can learn about some of the wonderful resources available to Villanova affiliates through Falvey Library and how students on campus are working with data. Check out our Love Data Week 2024 events page and register for one, or all, of our events! 

For more information about different data resources Falvey offers check out the Falvey library blog. There will be different data related posts throughout the week! Follow and spread the word about Love Data Week 2024: @lovedataweek on X and Instagram #lovedata24 

Make sure to join us again next year for Love Data Week 2025, which will run from Feb. 10-14.


Headshot of Nicole Daly, Social Science Librarian.Nicole Daly is Communication Librarian at Falvey Memorial Library. 


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Peek at the Week: February 12

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

In Nothing Personal, James Baldwin wrote, “The longer I live, the more deeply I learn that love—whether we call it friendship or family or romance—is the work of mirroring and magnifying each other’s light.”

Happy Monday, Wildcats! Love isn’t simply a warm feeling. Love, whether it’s romantic or platonic, is something you work at every day. It’s not an passive state of being, but an action.

Whether it’s your partner, your sibling, or your best friend, if you love them, mirror and magnify their light. Be happy for their successes and cherish their joy. Remind them that they are special. And remember that you deserve the same.


THIS WEEK AT FALVEY

Monday, February 12

Overdose Reversal Training | 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | Andy Talley Athletic Center, Room 191 | Free & Open to Students, Faculty, & Staff

Introduction to Data Visualization | 12-1 p.m. | Virtual | Free & Open to the Public | Register Here

Mindfulness Monday | 1-1:30 p.m. | Multifaith Prayer Room, St. Rita’s Hall | Virtual Option | ACS-Approved | Free & Open to Villanova Students, Faculty, & Staff

Center for Speaking and Presentation/The Learners’ Studio | 4-9 p.m. | Room 301 | Free

Tuesday, February 13

Intro to Python | 10-11 a.m. | Virtual | Free & Open to the Public | Register Here

Excel for the Humanities | 12-1 p.m. | Virtual | Free & Open to the Public | Register Here

Center for Speaking and Presentation/The Learners’ Studio | 4-9 p.m. | Room 301 | Free

Wednesday, February 14

Scraping Data from the Web (into R) | 12-1 p.m. | Room 205 | Virtual Option | Free & Open to the Public | Register Here

Introduction to Citation Metrics and Research Impact | 4-5 p.m. | Virtual | Free & Open to the Public | Register Here

Center for Speaking and Presentation/The Learners’ Studio | 4-9 p.m. | Room 301 | Free

Thursday, February 15

Text Analysis: Gale’s Digital Scholar Lab and Copyright | 12-1 p.m. | Virtual | Free & Open to the Public | Register Here

Center for Speaking and Presentation/The Learners’ Studio | 12-9 p.m. | Room 301 | Free

2024 Literary Fest Event: V. V. Ganeshananthan | 7 p.m. | Speakers’ Corner | ACS-Approved | Free & Open to the Public

Friday, February 16

Falvey Data Visualization Competition Awards Ceremony | 10-11 a.m. | Speakers’ Corner | Free & Open to the Public

Sunday, February 18

Center for Speaking and Presentation/The Learners’ Studio | 3-9 p.m. | Room 301 | Free


HOLIDAYS THIS WEEK

Valentine’s Day is coming up this Wednesday, Feb. 14, but here are some other holidays you could be celebrating this week:

Today, Feb. 12, marks the beginning of Love Data Week, a week dedicated to all things data. If you want to learn more about Love Data Week, check out our Love Data Week page under “Data Services”. If you want to participate in our Love Data events, check out our jam-packed events line-up this week.

If you want to celebrate the love you have for your closest friends, Galentine’s Day is tomorrow, Feb. 13. While NBC sitcom Parks and Rec popularized the idea of Galentine’s Day as a day for women to celebrate their cherished female friendships, it’s not just for women. It’s an opportunity to celebrate platonic love and friendship.

Photo by Josh Felise on Unsplash

Wednesday might be Valentine’s Day, but it’s also Library Lovers’ Day, a day for library appreciation. We might be a bit biased, but libraries are a vital pillars of our communities, whether here at Villanova or in your local community. They provide immense (and free) resources, from community safe spaces and quiet study areas to research guidance and educational programming. Not to mention the countless collections and databases that allow academia to flourish. If you want to celebrate both holidays, check out some of the romance books in our new Popular Reading Collection.

If you’re not sick of sweets by the end of the week, this Friday, Feb. 16, begins Girl Scout Cookie Weekend. If you want to enjoy a treat while also supporting a non-profit and local girls, buy some Girl Scout cookies this weekend.


Annie Stockmal is a second-year graduate student in the Communication Department and Graduate Assistant in Falvey Library.


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Foto Friday: New Popular Reading Pilot Program Launched

Students, faculty, and Falvey staff celebrated the launch of a new Popular Reading Pilot Program in Speakers’ Corner with over 400 new fiction and non-fiction titles now available for patrons to borrow. Offerings include new releases, literary fiction, romance, fantasy, mysteries, cookbooks, essay collections, and much more! With this new collection the Library is pleased to be able to expand its offerings to serve the whole Villanovan, beyond academics to support personal wellness, growth, and various areas of interest.


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Weekend Recs: Romance Fiction

Happy Friday, Wildcats! Falvey Library is delivering you another semester of Weekend Recs, a blog dedicated to filling you in on what to read, listen to, and watch over the weekend. Annie, a graduate assistant from the Communication department, scours the internet, peruses the news, and digs through book stacks to find new, relevant, and thought-provoking content that will challenge you and prepare you for the upcoming week. 

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, making it prime time for all things love and romance. Although I believe this is also a time to celebrate platonic and self love, romance typically takes the spotlight. In the spirit of the holiday, here are some romance recs to get you feeling festive.

If you have 5 minutes…and want your faith in humanity restored, read the latest “Tiny Love Stories” from New York Times.

If you have 15 minutes…and want some ideas for Galentine’s Day (or to learn more about Galentine’s), read this article. Galentine’s Day, observed Feb. 13, is all about platonic love and celebrating your friends (and despite the name, it’s not just for female friendships).

Bonus: if you have a Peacock subscription, you can watch the Parks and Recreation episode that popularized this holiday.

If you have 1 hour and 42 minutes…and love the classics, watch Casablanca, available to stream online through Falvey.

Bonus: if you want to watch a newer classic, watch Clueless, available to stream online through Falvey.

If you have 7 hours…and want to support Black romance authors during Black History Month, read You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi, available in our new Popular Reading Collection. While this romance novel (obviously) involves somewhat steamy romance, it also focuses on healing from the trauma of loss.

If you have 9 hours…and haven’t already jumped on the bandwagon, read Red, White & Royal Blue, also available in our new Popular Reading Collection.

Bonus: Yes, obviously if you’ve read the book, you should watch the film adaption of Red, White & Royal Blue, starring Nicholas Galitzine and Taylor Zakhar Perez. But if you want to watch another queer romance rife with similar angst (just the right amount), watch The Wedding Banquet, available in our DVD Collection.

If you need a date night idea for Valentine’s Day (or the rest of the week), check out Villanova Theatre’s latest production Crazy for You, a romantic musical set in the 1930s directed by Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD. Tickets are available here


Annie Stockmal is a second-year graduate student in the Communication Department and Graduate Assistant in Falvey Library.


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Last Modified: February 9, 2024

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