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’Cat in the Stacks: The GIFt of Cats

CAT-STAX4I’m William Repetto, a first-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is the “‘Cat in the Stacks” column. I’m your ‘cat. I’ll be posting about college life, about learning and growing here at Villanova, and, of course, about the Falvey Memorial Library’s role.


 

The final weeks of the semester have arrived. In the next 14 days or so classes will end, finals will be taken, and term projects will be completed. This ’Cat in the Stacks is here to tell you though, everything’s going to be alright:

Just follow these simple steps to success.

Work Hard

The end of the semester necessitates hard work for success. You will not escape this basic fact, so buckle down and push yourself a little bit. Don’t push yourself too far, though, and only you will know for yourself what that means.

Get Out/Get Some Exercise

Scientifically speaking, exercise helps brain function. While we know this fact to be true, many of us (including me) remain committed to our sedentary lifestyle. For those of you who are like me, just get outside and go for a walk or try one of those classes where I’m not really sure what’s going on, like with these cats:

Kick Your Feet Up When It’s Over

There’s a phrase in English that goes “that’s a life you can hang your hat on.” It speaks to a full life well lived, one you can proudly hang your hat at the end of. This week is kind of like that. Don’t finish your week and think “Well that’s behind me. Now what’s next?” Take the time to admire your own accomplishments. Kick your feet up and reflect for a while.

These are three very basic steps toward optimal mental health. You will have some ups, and you will have some downs in the coming days. If we keep these steps in mind, however, you and I will both make it through this unscathed.

(Also, revisit these cat GIFs when you can – courtesy of GIPHY – especially that first one, for a some inspiration courtesy of some cute felines, who are very pure, according to Hunter.)


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Article by William Repetto, a graduate assistant on the Communications and Marketing Team at the Falvey Memorial Library. He is currently pursuing an MA in English at Villanova University.

 


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’Cat in the Stacks: Celebrating Earth Week at ’Nova

CAT-STAX4I’m William Repetto, a first-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is the “‘Cat in the Stacks” column. I’m your ‘cat. I’ll be posting about college life, about learning and growing here at Villanova, and, of course, about the Falvey Memorial Library’s role.


Yesterday marked the beginning of a weeklong celebration of Earth Day organized around Villanova’s campus (photo of events below). An increasingly important celebration as we tackle the challenges of the 21st century, Earth Day can be commemorated through a number of activities.

If you’re a leisurely stroller, it sounds as though the Tree Tour might be for you. If you think the answer to environment-related issues lies in academics and research, I’d encourage you to attend Dominic Frongillo’s Thursday keynote. It even sounds like by making posters, attending the March for Service and participating in the Earth Day of Service you could display your activist side.

Take a look at all the activities available for you to celebrate Earth Week!

Take a look at all the activities available for you to celebrate Earth Week!

Regardless of how you decide to mark Earth Day this year, I recommend that you make sure to celebrate all of your various environments here at Villanova. The optimists among the Falvey staff like to believe that you Wildcats spend the majority of your time in three particular environments: the dorm, the classroom and, of course, the library.

The classroom might be a tough environment for a student to navigate, let alone take care of or control. But, speaking of 21st-century issues, perhaps this can best be accomplished by showing mutual understanding and respect to fellow students. The dorm room, depending on one’s roommates might be similarly difficult to control, but we’ve all heard the term fengshui and know that a relaxed outer environment can promote a stress-free psyche.

We all also know that finals week can get ugly. As we get to those final weeks of the semester, including finals week itself, let’s all make sure we take care of the library as well. Now, the Falvey staff is not against finding the occasional undergraduate strewn out across couches taking a quick nap but let’s all commit to keeping the place clean and ready for the next person to zone in on his/her studies.

The March for Science is on Saturday. Unfortunately, I'm a lazy grad student, but hopefully you'll see my landscaping skills from downtown.

The March for Science is on Saturday. Unfortunately, I’m a lazy grad student (who will actually be spending Saturday writing papers), but hopefully you’ll see my landscaping skills from downtown.

Let’s also remember that this week really is about the environment! While college comes with lots of intriguing environments (numerated above) with personalities of their own, Mother Nature demands our full attention this week regardless of political leanings.

I know I am not alone among the Falvey staff in encouraging you to participate in as many of these activities as you can. After all, a college campus represents the best environment for doing so; you will not find many places in the world willing to dedicate so much time to celebrating a single day as you will with ‘Nova and Earth Day this week.


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Article by William Repetto, a graduate assistant on the Communications and Marketing Team at the Falvey Memorial Library. He is currently pursuing an MA in English at Villanova University.


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The Curious ‘Cat: “How sweet it is…or is it? [Part II]”

Curious 'Cat - imageIf you’ve been following the Curious ‘Cat’s recent adventures, then you know the ‘Cat really loves yellow Peeps. Yesterday, at 10:00 a.m. in Falvey Memorial Library, the ‘Cat was gifted with another box of Peeps. But not just any ordinary Peeps; the flavor of said Peeps [white in color with flecks of blue and purple sugar] were vaguely titled “Mystery.” Seeking clarification, the Curious ‘Cat asked Villanovans, “What flavor are the mystery Peeps?”

Regina Duffy, Library Events & Program Coordinator- “Maple.”


Susan Ottignon, Research Support Librarian- “Maple syrup with an unidentifiable aftertaste.”

Margaret DuffyDirector Finance/Administration- “Pancakes.” 

Sarah Wingo, Liaison Librarian English & Theatre- “Maple.”


Mike Sgier, Access Services Specialist- “Maple.”


Chris Hallberg, Library Technology Developer- “French toast.”


Alice Bampton, Communications & Marketing Program Manager- “Slightly vanilla.”


Sravanthi Adusumilli, Technology Development Graduate Assistant- “Vanilla.”


Jesse Flavin, Access Services Specialist/Interlibrary Loan- “Walnut.”


Hunter Houtzer, Communication Graduate Assistant- “Mixed berry.”


William Repetto, English Graduate Assistant- “Blueberry.”

Rob LeBlanc, First Year Experience/Humanities Librarian- “Cappuccino.”


Melanie Wood, Academic Integration Technical Specialist- “Birthday cake.”


Robin Bowles, Research Support Librarian- “Birthday cake.”


Dave Uspal, Senior Web Specialist- “Yellow cake.”

Kallie Stahl, Communications & Marketing Specialist- “Chicken n’ waffles.”

Julia Middleton– “M&M’s.”


Joanne Quinn, Director of Communications & Marketing- “Envelope.”


For those of you sitting on the edge of your seat, the mystery flavor [one of three distinct flavorings] was revealed on Good Morning America. The Peeps in question were aptly identified as maple syrup. Mystery solved!


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Library hours for Wednesday, April 12

Falvey Memorial Library will be operating on an altered schedule during Holy Week due to the University’s Easter Break. On Wednesday, April 12, the Library will be open from 8am-10pm. Holy Grounds Café and the Dugan Polk Family Reading Room will remain open with Wildcard access.


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‘Cat in the Stacks: Library Week or Patron Week?

 

CAT-STAX4I’m William Repetto, a first-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is the “‘Cat in the Stacks” column. I’m your ‘cat. I’ll be posting about college life, about learning and growing here at Villanova, and, of course, about the Falvey Memorial Library’s role.


I wrote last week about writer’s block as a metaphor for those aspects of life that prevent us from authoring each day to its fullest creative potential. I encouraged you to “read,” by finding others who inspire you – whether that person is an author, a vlogger, anyone really.

As we celebrate National Library Week, yesterday being National Library Workers Day, I’d like to take a step back and talk about how this “writer’s block” metaphor works from our side of the circulation desk.

Personal disclosure: yesterday was my birthday, and Hunter Houtzer, PATW author, sent me apropos birthday wishes.

Personal disclosure: yesterday was my birthday, and Hunter Houtzer, PATW author, sent me apropos birthday wishes.

Everyday at the Falvey, we librarians and library staff are given the chance to shape students’ work. Whether it’s the undergraduate writing a term paper, or the graduate student preparing to defend a thesis, we’re given the opportunity to help shape the education of others.

In other words, we’re the guest authors in their academic life. (Or, sometimes even, guest authors in students’ careers!) Beyond the research, we try to enhance students’ life stories through events and promotions.

In our case, writer’s block can come in many forms; shortened weeks because of holiday breaks and snow days can sometimes limit us, even though the databases are accessible remotely and the Dugan Polk Family Reading Room is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

We'll miss you over Easter break but wish you the safest of travels!

We’ll miss you over Easter break but wish you the safest of travels!

When the semester’s busy schedule gets in our way, though, we find our inspiration in you, the students. The amount of effort, organization and productivity that you put into each and every week of the semester keeps the Falvey staff motivated and raring to help week in and week out.

While the ALA has set aside this week for celebrating libraries, I would like to take the chance to celebrate our patrons. Thank you so much for inspiring us every day, Wildcats! Have a safe and wonderful Easter break, and we look forward to tackling the end of the semester grind together.


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Article by William Repetto, a graduate assistant on the Communications and Marketing Team at the Falvey Memorial Library. He is currently pursuing an MA in English at Villanova University.

 


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The Curious ‘Cat: “How sweet it is!”

Curious 'Cat - imageThis week, the Curious ‘Cat asks Villanova students, “What is your favorite seasonal treat?”

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Theodra Bane– “There’s a place in my home-town that makes their own chocolate, it’s called Esther Price and every Easter they do a chocolate covered egg with a crème ganache inside.”


Sean Jordan– “I like the Reese’s eggs.”


Julianne Buff– “Jelly Belly jelly beans.”


Thomas Cryer– “I like the sugar cookies with the bunny in the middle. The Pillsbury ones.”


Sydney Riley– “Probably the Reese’s Easter eggs.”


Brian King– “I like jelly beans…the Jolly Rancher jelly beans.”


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‘Cat in the Stacks: Working through Writer’s Block

 

CAT-STAX4I’m William Repetto, a first-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is the “‘Cat in the Stacks” column. I’m your ‘cat. I’ll be posting about college life, about learning and growing here at Villanova, and, of course, about the Falvey Memorial Library’s role.


 

I sit down to write this blog every week and often complain to my co-worker, and PATW author, Hunter (graphic representation below) about the difficulty of coming up with something original. My options are basically limitless: I can incorporate current events, new research, or what’s going on at the Falvey – and there are always exciting new events and promotions going on here.

Hunter celebrating being my co-worker.

Hunter celebrating being my co-worker.

This week, though, during those dog days of the semester, I prefer not to bore you with the over repetitive nature of current events. With your current workload, I’d rather not give you more challenging material to read, and, with everything you have going on, I won’t overload your social calendar with more excellent library events.

I’d like to write today, instead, about a shared emotion between us – writer’s block. I could, of course, take the easy way out and say, “This is a post about writer’s block because I simply have nothing to say this week!” Out of respect, however, I wouldn’t do that to you. Instead, I’d like to frame writer’s block as a metaphor for the feeling we all get around this time of the semester that arises from routine and repetition.

Writer’s block, in my opinion, extends beyond the page. In writing, we rely on the creative part of our brain to generate something new, exciting and engaging. When we write for a weekly column, or blog like this one, that creative part of the brain can get into a rut as you begin to produce similar things each week.

My own self-conceptualization of my writing process.

My own self-conceptualization of my writing process.

Writer’s block extends to the writing of one’s life story too, both as a professional and as a student. Every morning we’re offered the opportunity to write a new story – the creative non-fiction of April 5, 2017, for example. Sometimes though, we get caught up in the myriad responsibilities of day-to-day existence and forget to activate that creative part of the writing process.

On these days, in these instances, we’re feeling a type of writer’s block. We want to write that memorable story or intriguing narrative but have been lulled into a rut by the repetitive nature of our routines and schedules. The advice I’d like to give to remedy this situation is metaphorical and also the type of advice I’d like someone to give me from time to time.

The remedy for writer’s block – both types – is quite simple: read. While reading the books and other resources available at the library might help the actual writing process, e.g. what I’m doing right now, reading serves as a good metaphor for taking the moment to be inspired by those around you.

Even Will D. Cat finds time to read.

Even Will D. Cat finds time to read.

While we also offer opportunities for getting inspired here at the Falvey, such as Jennifer Haigh’s upcoming talk on April 20, finding inspiration can take place over all sorts of media. Whether it’s finding the blogger who inspires you to try new things, or the friend group that keeps you in constant admiration of each other’s accomplishments, these can all be meaningful readings that help you write an excellent life story both in general and through these long semester weeks.


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Article by William Repetto, a graduate assistant on the Communications and Marketing Team at the Falvey Memorial Library. He is currently pursuing an MA in English at Villanova University.

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With a Winning ‘Catitude, You Could Win a Private Study Suite for Finals Week!

Falvey librarians and staff are here to help you succeed: approach the end of the semester with a winning ‘Catitude! Win a private study suite for finals week and Jay Wright’s new book, Attitude: Develop a Winning Mindset On and Off the Court. It’s easy, just follow these simple steps:

1. See!
Watch for our cardboard Will D. Cat appearing in places all over the library now through May 1. Location updates will be shared daily on Falvey’s social media sites.

Will D. Cat

2. Snap!
Take a selfie with Will D. Cat.

KALLE WILL

3. Send!
Share your #falveycatitude selfie on one of our social media accounts:
Facebook @ FalveyLibrary
Twitter @FalveyLibrary
Instagram @villanovalibrary

Photo courtesy of Little Hotelier.

Winner will be announced on May 2nd and will be granted access to a private study room in Falvey from May 5th through May 11th (6:00 p.m. – 3:00 a.m.) Room will be stocked with tasty treats for the winner and five of his/her friends.

Utilize Falvey’s helpful resources and conquer finals with the Wright ‘Catitude!

Sue and Will

Will D. Cat discusses his assignment with Sue Ottignon, Research and Web Services Librarian.

Will

Will D. Cat finds the purrfect book in Falvey’s stacks.


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The Curious ‘Cat: “Golden books!”

Curious 'Cat - imageCelebrating Little Golden Books 75th anniversary, the Curious ‘Cat asks Villanova students, “What was your favorite book growing up?”

Brooks Guzmán– “To Kill a Mockingbird.”


Hyun Kyoung Cho– “Definitely the Junie B. Jones books.”


Matthew Arnold– “Heat by Mike Lupica.”


 Michelle Ahn– “The Harry Potter books.”


Marco Phelan– “The Magic Tree House collection.”


Irini Economos– “My favorite one was probably Percy Jackson.”


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“Little Women” at Villanova Speaks Louder Now Than Ever

The Performance

On Wednesday, Mar. 29, “Little Women” opened at the Villanova Theatre. As the theatre opened, a talkative crowd entered the mostly full house. People reminisced about reading L.M. Alcott’s “Little Women” novel in high school or seeing an “adorably young Christian Bale” in the early ’90s filmic adaptation of the story.

A tiered stage greeted the audience, which, as it so turned out, played an important role in the story’s frame narratives. In addition, and as you can see in the photo below, a single window pane design lit the center stage, reminding the audience that this play offers a glimpse into only one of the many families that struggled through the Civil War and into the imagination of only one of many strong, creative young women of the time.

A preview of the stage.

A preview of the stage.

For those of you unfamiliar with the story, “Little Women” recounts the personal struggle of Jo March (Laura Barron) to get her stories published during the immediate post-Civil War years. The majority of the musical’s action, however, occurs during the Civil War, while Jo and her three sisters (Kara Krichman, Allyce Morrissey, and Jaclyn Siegel) struggled to keep together as a family in the midst of turbulent times.

The show opens with Jo singing to Professor Fritz Bhaer (Dan Cullen) about her “blood and guts” novel in the thrilling and somewhat comedic number “An Operatic Tragedy.” As Barron and Cullen brought the emotions of the lyrics to life, the audience was treated to a staging of the novel as the daring Braxton and Rodrigo duel it out on stage. After finding out that her novel has been rejected from another publisher, Jo asks how she can be “Better”?

You’ll find some irony in this question after watching the entirety of the performance, because the only way that Barron could be better is if she brings her talents to the big stage or the big screen sometime soon. From “An Operatic Tragedy,” we travel back to the years leading up to Jo’s big move to New York City, when she lived home with her family in Concord, Massachusetts.

The lovely cover design of the playbill and my ticket!

The lovely cover design of the playbill and my ticket!

In Concord you’ll be pleased to meet the “iron-willed” Mr. Laurence, portrayed by Kevin Esmond, the other March sisters – Meg (Krichman), Beth (Morrissey), and Amy (Siegel) – and their “Marmee” (Lexi Schreiber), and the delightfully awkward young Mr. Laurence (Chris Monaco), but you can call him Laurie. As it so turns outs, these townsfolk are Jo’s own supporting cast, her “Little Women,” for whom she speaks the loudest.

A romance develops as well as the young Laurie proclaims “Take a Chance on Me,” in a piece marvelously brought to life by Esmond who stepped so naturally into a character willing to speak his mind. But will the romance be requited? And why has the hard-faced, older Mr. Laurence began spending time with the much younger Beth March? While their duet, with its catchy rhythm and pleasing vocals, will have you tapping your feet and wanting to sing along, you’ll certainly begin wondering how they can be “Off to Massachusetts” if they’re already there.

Jaclyn Siegel, with her extremely nuanced and impressive subtle acting skills, will keep you wondering what’s next for the at-once mischievous, loving, and sophisticated Amy March, the youngest of the siblings. After taking in her superb performance, you’ll be shocked to pick up your playbill and learn that Siegel’s not, in fact, a theatre student at all; she’s a student in the Psychology program, earning her M.S. before heading off to London, Ontario in the fall for her Ph.D. in Social Psychology.

Leave a comment in 19th-century script afterward!

Leave a comment in 19th-century script afterward!

The solemn second act will bring you elation and triumph before bringing you back to earth with the full cast number “The Weekly Volcano Press.” You’ll enjoy the curious yet lovable Professor Bhaer, and find that actor Dan Cullen excellently brings out the professor’s German stoicism. You’ll cry when you hear “Some Thing Are Meant to Be” and you’ll dream of loved ones when you stand under a “Small Umbrella in the Rain,” but, all things considered, you’ll want to thank those “Little Women” in your life who have helped you get where you are; you’ll want to write a daring novel of your own; and you’ll certainly want to come back again and again for Villanova’s latest theatre hit.

The show runs through April 8, and you can purchase tickets here.

The Cast

Some of the actresses and actors were nice enough to sit a chat with me after the performance – including Laura Barron (Jo), Chris Monaco (Laurie), and Michael Franz (Chorus). I was lucky enough to hear about their production process, their relationships with their characters, and their personal plans after “Little Women” and after Villanova.

This particular production of “Little Women” took under 40 days to bring from empty theatre to impressive opening night. Barron said, “It seems so fast; it’s not so much different from some professional timelines, which are even faster than that. But for a show of this size – music and staging and special effects and fighting – it’s amazing that it came together this quickly.”

In the course of those few weeks, however, Barron’s relationship with Jo the character had time to develop and change. Barron reflected, “She’s a character who goes through the whole show. She goes throughout the whole thing; it’s very intimidating.”

Despite this intimidation, though, Barron credits her fellow cast members with helping her through the process and confidently said, “I really was at peace with knowing that I might not be able to embody the exact Jo that someone else has seen in their world, but I would bring my own spirit and heart and joy and love of her spunk and her fight to the role.”

Barron (left) as Jo, and Galen Blanzaco as Aunt March (right).

Barron (left) as Jo, and Galen Blanzaco as Aunt March (right). Courtesy of VU Theatre Dept.

Monaco reflected on a similar development over the production process. He said, “My first experience with Laurie was sitting down with the script and listening to the soundtrack.” While he started out just getting introduced to the character, Monaco also mentioned, “I’ve played a few roles like Laurie before; I think I found out in the past two weeks or so that Laurie also has to grow up in the show. Something just sort of fell right into place for me.”

Speaking, I think, for both himself and the audience, Monaco concluded, “It was really lovely getting to know him.”

Allyce Morrissey as Beth March (left) and Kevin Esmond (right) as Mr. Laurence.

Allyce Morrissey as Beth March (left) and Kevin Esmond (right) as Mr. Laurence.

While both Barron and Monaco plan to continue directing, teaching and acting (including in their final production of the school year, “The Gambler”) themselves after Villanova, Franz reminded me that some theatre majors stay in academics.

“Next for me,” he said, “is completing my thesis, graduating on time, and hoping to enter a Ph.D. program in the fall.” If you’re wondering where one can go to get a Ph.D. in theatre, so was I. Franz mentioned, “Florida State University has a really good program for theatre and performance studies… and it seems like a really good program; they do a lot of mentoring and offer a teaching fellowship, which would be wonderful because I do want to teach some day.”

Dig Deeper

The academic side of theatre reaches beyond the classroom as well. All of the actors mentioned the role of libraries in their process. “Libraries give us so many resources for a historical piece like this,” Barron reflected, “to be able to find out more about the world that these women grew up in. You cannot do theatre without being well-read and knowing a lot of things you would find through libraries and reading.”

Monaco reflected on the importance of libraries to his own personal process and said, “There’s no place that I find more relaxing and peaceful than being surrounded by actual, hard copies of books.” Franz, too, said, “The library for me is a perfect place of solitude.”

Accordingly, Falvey English and Theatre Librarian Sarah Wingo curated some resources from the Falvey for you to explore to inform your viewing of “Little Women:”

 


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Last Modified: March 30, 2017