Did I mention I took a (hard-earned) break last week? In case I didn't let me just say it was the *best idea I have ever had.* First of all, I always come back from conferences exhausted. As I was discussing with Lina, there is something about those buildings conferences are in (and it's not just conference centres; no building is immune. Even when we had the ABQLA conference at the University Club, it was lovely but still left me drained) that sucks the brain right out of you by the end of the event. Maybe it's the ventilation; maybe it's the general lack of natural light (OK, so the Palais was a notable exception, and MTCC isn't bad); maybe it's the lack of decent food and coffee within a 5K radius. I could go on.
In any case, I always come home drained. Then, of course, like many of you, I'm sure, I slink back into work, lugging endless pages of notes, photos, books, pamphlets, brochures, and sometimes stuffed monkeys, to face a duel with the literal and metaphorical inbox (or in tray. *The best times* are when you have both, as I do). Endless stacks of books and notes from staff, as well as a groaning inbox: you have exceeded your mailbox limit.... The world stops for no one, least of all unimportant little me (I don't mean to suggest that all this stacked up work inflates my sense of self-importance, because, trust me, it stopped doing that when I was a new grad. Now it just makes me want to weep softly and run).
This time, brilliant young woman that I am, I looked at my schedule ahead of time (this in itself is, sadly, revolutionary. All too often when people ask me what I'm doing next week/month, I reply, "Not there yet!" As though not turning the pages in my agenda will make it go away). I said to myself, now, look here. You've been spending much of May just simply trying to breathe. You will be done in from CLA (volunteering, pub crawling, presenting, socialising!) and then you have that OPLA RA Committee meeting in Toronto the following Friday. Take three measly days off.
So I did. I blogged my notes from the conference, which should make that conference report for work easier, I rested, I made notes for the OPLA meeting (but on the balcony, while eating and drinking and sunning myself), I went for nice walks, and I just relaxed. The end.
Now, on to what happened in Toronto. Fun stuff, like hanging out at the Library Bar with The Husband, the OPLA RA meeting (those lovely ladies - and one gentleman - remind me why I am in this profession, re-charge my energy, and send me away with numerous book recommendations - this time, the latter included many suggestions for my homeschoolers' book club, The Believers by Zoe Heller, and The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa, as well as a tip to check this out, and also to visit S. Walter Stewart Branch... see below!). More fun stuff: snippets of shopping (shopping makes me very cranky in general, but some opportunities are not to be missed), and, of course, if it's Alex in Toronto, it must be TPL time! How long do you think it will take me to visit all 99 branches?
We came across the Davenport Branch serendipitously (interior at right), on our way to something else. N.B.: This is the total length of the branch! One service point, needless to say! Behind me as I was taking this picture are shelves with holds (reserved items), a small children's reading area, and bathrooms. At the front is the magazine/study area, looking out on the street. Quite an interesting little sliver of a branch. Excellent use of space, but can you imagine being the one staff member? I assume they have a person on who can answer basic reference, but it's likely a lot of circ. And lonely. Sniff. When I got back to the car, The Husband was like, done already?
Next up is Wychwood Branch (adult area pictured at left). I have had this branch on my list (yes, there is a list. The geekiness knows no bounds) for almost a year. It's my friend Laura's home branch from her childhood and youth, and a Carnegie, to boot. I had previously visited one of the other triplets, Beaches Branch. I took the picture at left of Wychwood from the tiny study space on the third floor, which is more like a loft, really. To the extreme right of this picture, and one floor down from where I am, is a second-floor extension, seamlessly melded into the branch, with the old exterior windows framed on the connecting wall, and where my friend Laura always looked for a place at a window to sit as a child! Altogether charming. Great roof.
Last but not least, S. Walter Stewart Branch (interior at right): Sigh. Oh, the lead to this story is going to be forever linked in my head to this branch, which is unfortunate, as the branch is lovely. I got a kick out of the navigational signs around the perimeter of the ceiling. The branch has a very open and airy feeling, with the stacks out like spokes from the central hub. Full disclosure: some nutbar cut us off in her giant SUV while we were driving to S. Walter Stewart, gave us the finger, AND racially slurred us, so I was not in a sunny mood when we arrived. Hence only one interior photo. I was like, library, great, fan-freaking-tastic, pretty, get me outta here. I didn't even notice the KidsStop, which made me utterly disconsolate when I got home. Next time! There will have to be an S. Walter, part 2 entry.
Now, like it or not, I am tackling that inbox. I hereby resolve to kick its butt.