Friday, July 31, 2009

Library day in the life ... (St-Laurent style) - day 4

Arrived early today, around 9 (my shift today is 10-6). Made coffee. Cleaned out coffee machine properly (ewwww).

Morning: Sent some items for re-labeling, worked on a reading list of books at our branch that are pop-ups or have toy components (lift-the-flap, die-cut, etc. - you may know these, as I do, as "Toy and movable books - Juvenile fiction"), filled out a materials delivery request to take away some empty shelving and old desks/workstations (we don't need the shelving since we backshifted Adult non-fic to make more room for teen, and the desks are old ones I just replaced with a newer, one-unit model I scored from another branch), called for a massage on Monday (my wrist is killing me, among other body parts), moved the board book collection off the windowsill (things should not be on window sills. Windows are for looking out, not shelving!) and onto metal shelves after backshifting another area a bit, withdrew 147 old magazines (some went back to 2004; our rule is we keep current year +1), prepped tasks for Saturday staff, read e-mail and news feeds (chortled about this), filled out and signed 45 certificates for the SRC closing party (we have 228 kids registered in the program, but only 45 coming to the closing party so far), made a list of stuff for the new teen zone that I need to discuss with manager, and worked on a draft of a document I'm co-authoring with some colleagues proposing a fine amnesty day for teens.

12:15-12:45 - Lunch! Wheeee!

Afternoon: Checked in and displayed new books, checked what I should be doing to prep our SRC closing party, sent out e-mail to staff re. farewell party for colleague, reference Qs (including one for a list of pop-up books at the branch, the exact list I am working on!, and a young girl who is obsessed with Max et Lili - out of 27, she had only not read 3!) evaluated children's magazines for 2010 orders, and still working on amnesty proposal doc...!


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Library day in the life ... (St-Laurent style) - day 3

I was off this morning, so I slept in a bit (8:15), then ate, drank my first coffee, read (plodding through An exploding case of mangoes... Not sure if I like it or not), then went for a short (40 min) run across the canal locks, behind Parliament by the water, across the bridge into Quebec, along the water there, and then back across the Alexandra Bridge.

Had a snack and cooled down with a fan in the home office while reading e-mail and newsfeeds.

Arrived at work for 12:30 pm, and took over the Children's Info Desk. Read (paper) mail, tidied the department (took 1/2 hour - big mess in picture book area. I loooove day camps. Yes, I do!), read various notes left for me, and tried to avoid scratching my Holter monitor scar. Then I signed some timesheets for the circulation supervisor (who was happy about her new desk that arrived yesterday for the workroom, but sore from all the moving around in there she had done...).

I started working on a new poster to go in an easel near the entry to our department, for library program information. I totally should have delegated it (we have a staff member with great artistic talents!) but I wanted to start it myself to ensure it had the OPL logo on it and some way to change material on it without damaging the poster board. SL uses a lot of hand-made signs... some of which are quite lovely, artistically. They just make me a bit nervous because library promotional materials should be standardised - in fact, there are rumblings of future standardisation on the horizon. I think this is great, but, unfortunately, right now, everything that gets out there to our users from branches looks totally different, and a recent attempt to offer (not force upon) branches a shared template was, um, anticlimactic to say the least. They were pretty uninspiring, design-wise. ANYWAY, I designed my little poster, with at least the logo and OPL's standard font on it (so I can sleep at night), shamelessly cut out some book-ish images from the 7000 posters we have lying around, and stuck a plastic folder on the front so we can slip in weekly information. Whew!

Only a few patrons this afternoon - 2 boys horsing around all afternoon (I talked to them once about running around), and a young girl who is disabled (she comes in every day. She has recently taken to calling me Claudia Schiffer. It's pretty cute).

Oooh, checked news feeds and noticed that Cormorant writes that Claire's book was reviewed in Ottawa's Xpress mag. Yay!

In the interests of brevity, here are snippets from the rest of the day:
  • Assigned some shifts in Aug, Sept, Nov and Dec so my colleague and I can *hopefully* approve vacation for some of our staff...

  • Worked on next week's SRC program - making spy kits! Includes identity badges, spy telescopes, fingerprinting, and more!

  • Printed out the August schedule x2 (one for Info desk, one for home - fridge!)

  • More weeding in Eng pic books

  • Helped a patron use the scanner to scan and e-mail wedding photos from 1980s

  • Do you have any Arabic books? Where are the books-on-cd? Did my Dragon Ball Z stuff come in yet? Do you have any Pokemon books? Those are the questions I remember, anyway.... I probably blocked a few out.

  • Correspondence with colleague re. rush laminating job (of that weekly program poster I finished!)

  • Gah. Inbox is outta control. Please do not pass GO, and instead, sit down and file....

  • Made up a proper to-do list for tomorrow and beyond

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Library day in the life ... (St-Laurent style) - day 2

I'm confusing myself!

9:25 am - Arrived late, because I had to return my Holter monitor to the hospital. Ripping those little tentacles off (+ surgical tape) hurt like hell! Announced my presence to staff and chatted with the circulation supervisor (she introduced me to a new volunteer, admired my icky Holter bruises, we discussed getting rid of those spinners, and she complimented my new signage in the children's dept... YAY!).

9:30-10 am - Pulled more English pic books for weeding, filled displays in children's, left tasks for staff.

10-11 am - Prepared board game SRC program for this afternoon, read e-mail and news feeds, sent a few illicit texts re. weekend plans, gave a teacher buying withdrawn pic books a 30% discount, debated with staff about poor air circulation (finally, we called the building maintenance people to check it out...)

11 am - noon - Collection development work. I select children's English non-fiction for the DDC areas 001-398 and 921-999. Wednesdays is my collection development day; this summer, it's a bit messed up because our SRC activities are on Wednesdays, so I am also making up the lost time on Wednesdays on other days. I also do CD work every 2nd Tuesday evening (are you confused yet?) Anyway, last night was CD night, and I finished going through the July School Library Journal, so today I am focusing on a new area that I have recently accepted as part of my CD portfolio: the children's professional literature collection. This circulating collection consists of material that is useful to ECEs, children's programmers, and librarians - loooong story, but basically there used to be a prof lit room at Main. That got axed awhile ago, but prof lit collections are still around in branches and have been sort of orphaned. I'm working on an analysis of what we have, why we have it, what we should keep, what we should add, and where it should go. So, basically, a total re-vamp of the collection. My first move, today, is to run a list in Horizon of what we currently own, where it is, and when it last circulated. Turns out we have nonfic, periodicals, and picture books hiding in there!!! A total of 578 items, and 101 haven't been checked out since 2004. Hmmmm.

12:25-12:40 - personal phone call (shout out to Yvonne!) re. weekend plans. Mwa ha ha! Rez event!

12:40-12:45 - Lunch. Salad. Pathetic, eh?

12:45-1:45 - Replacing colleague who is on lunch + setting up for SRC activity + orientation for volunteers helping out with SRC activity. Mad, crazy busy. I also answered the following queries:
  • Picture books about Native Canadians for a teacher (handed her Leo Yerxa titles and Jenneli's Dance, among others: "Thanks so much! These are great!"

  • Harry Potter x2 (one Q in English, one Q en français)

  • Beacon Street Girls

  • Pirates of the Caribbean DVD

  • Can I sign up for SRC?

  • Why do you keep track of every book I read over the summer? (answer: because we keep stats and tally up how many books every kid in Ottawa reads over the summer!!! *Child's eyes go wide like two saucers...* AND the government wants to know (OK, LAC, but still The Man!)

  • Where do the teen games get shelved? (staff Q!)

  • Can I have a new poster for SRC? - mine ripped (TD, I love you, but those posters are craptastic!)

  • What are those I spy questions over there for? (we have an "I spy" window display and handouts with "can you find...." questions)

  • Series: Sisters Grimm

  • Can I sign up for SRC? + can my brother? + oh, and my sister, too?

  • Can I reserve The Vile Village and The Ersatz Elevator?

  • I read 5 books! Can you mark down for SRC?

  • Can I use the phone? x 5 million

  • Dude who wants to volunteer for the library

  • Can I renew my books, please? It's not working when I do it online....

All while surreptitiously eating carrots (eating 3/4 of that salad isn't doing it!)

2 - 4 pm - Spy and detective-themed board games! Verdict: I spy 3D is my favourite for today! Not my favourite is the father who routinely leaves his two daughters alone in the library for the program, despite repeated warnings from me. Next time, I'm documenting.

As I was re-deploying my long-suffering teen volunteers (they helped with the games, then cleaned up, then did some artsy crafty stuff for next week's SRC activity, then stamped some of those withdrawals, then cleaned some old dusty reference books I rescued from the workroom!) I ran into an old friend, who actually came in for more books about Frank Lloyd Wright, because her book club is reading Loving Frank (read it. It's fabulous). Then my former boss called to discuss magazine orders for my former branch, and we ended up talking about The Heart Specialist, which he's reading.

And now it's 4:50 and I still have tooons to do. I may just have to make a really good to-do list and call it a day. Oh, and scramble to find tasks for tonight's staff. Goody - the volunteers didn't finish all the withdrawals. Staff can do that. I have to go across town now to buy a bus ticket for Saturday. Sigh.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Vintage kids' books I loved: Tootle, by Johan Sarrazin

Scribbler, of Vintage Kids' Books My Kid Loves, celebrated her 2nd blog anniversary recently, and invited her readers to comment on her anniversary post about their favourite vintage children's books. As she pointed out, "Every word we write on here spills into the collective Google memory, and provides one more stepping stone to help people find the long lost treasures they've been looking for."

I commented about one of my favourites, but you know once I start thinking, I don't stop halfway. I was inspired by her post to post here about what is probably my all-time favourite vintage kids' book, currently out of print. You may recall I mentioned it on my CBC "thing." It's Tootle, by Johan Sarrazin, illustrated by Aislin (yes, that Aislin - Montreal cartoonist Terry Mosher. Incidentally, a propos of nothing, his daughter, the real Aislinn, was a patron somewhere I worked. She was pretty nice, but a bit stand-offish...). So, Tootle: A shy dog agonises in advance (gee, remind you of anyone? Welcome to the inside of my head) of his mistress's house party. He likes his life just fine as it is, thank you very much. He eats things, hangs out, and chases cats (lovely shot above, at left, of Tootle on a walk, about to spring after a cat - this page made me homesick even when I still lived in Montreal).

Eventually, Tootle rallies (at right) and makes it through the party by observing legs under the table and befriending a young girl.

I have very vivid memories of my mum (hi!) reading this to me as a child. I was enthralled by the illustrations, by the idea that the dog wasn't very happy (there's a lovely image on one page of Tootle watching the rain fall outside his living room picture window), by his envy of humans' two legs, by his perspective of the party (not unlike any child's).

I once read this in an interview, which probably was not ideal since I can't quite get to the end without my voice wavering EVER.

Library day in the life ... (St-Laurent style)

Ok, I know, I know. I cheated. I tagged that old post for the wiki, when I should be in the spirit of things and actually posting about my current week. And some of you haven't heard much about my new job, so I guess I should really shape up. Here's a valiant effort to actually remember what I did today and yesterday. Stay tuned for more, if I can spare a sliver of time.

Yesterday = Monday!

I came in early, around 8:15. I really, really like coming in early. It means an empty library, which I think is one of the most wonderful things in the entire world, frankly. Does that make me anti-social? A smidge. Anyway, plus, you get a lot done before the public bursts through the gates. BTW, we practically have gates at St-Laurent (forthwith = SL) - we have these floor to 30-foot ceiling wooden doors (alas, modern, not all swank and medieval) that slide open on a track. Ask Megan about the time they got stuck when closing - NOT fun.

Whooo, side-tracked. Can you tell this is stream-of-consciousness? Anyway. I got in early, just before the torrential downpour. First order of every early day (as opposed to twice a week when I work nights, so start late) is to MAKE COFFEE. I bring one in my Java U thermos from home, but that second cup is usually a good idea. After that, yesterday, I started pulling French picture books for withdrawal. I spent about an hour in the stacks (again, benefit of coming early = sitting on the floor in the picture books for an hour, and actually having time to go through and evaluate the collection uninterrupted - and un-stepped-upon!)

I'm on an inventory/organising binge this month. It's partially because I am new to the branch (coming from here) and am going through stuff to find out where everything is. Along the way, however, one inevitably stumbles upon ... colouring sheets from 1992, monthly reports from 1998, ripped posters, etc. We're also in the process of re-designing the staff workroom, so I'm trying to inventory what our department (Children's and Teens' Services - we call it CATS) has in there, what we need to keep, what we can move/get rid of, and how the space should be designed. So I've been chipping away at that, and also moving around some collections in CATS, and weeding (because what's the point, as in the workroom of moving stuff you may not want to keep, anyway?)

So Monday the bell tolled for French picture books, but fear not - other collections will also quake under my gaze soon. I found it took me awhile to feel OK about weeding regularly - in part, because I came from a one-branch library where I agonised about weeding (quite rightly) because if we got rid of it, it was Gone. Now, we have the luxury of 32 other branches, so it's less of an issue, especially when an item hasn't circulated in years. I'm not going to go into the intricacies of the merits of thoughtful weeding (if you care, read this, page 14). Basically, my former colleague did a major children's nonfic weed before she (sniff) departed, and since I've arrived I've done a few other collections (including teens, which is getting a major re-vamp this summer in anticipation of our Wii gaming kiosk), so now my goal this summer is to weed French and English picture books, finish organising the workroom, and maybe do some backshifting to make room for collections that currently can't breathe. Oh, and get rid of the spinners for children's paperbacks. Those things are the spawn of Satan.

So, 1 hour of weeding yesterday, in preparation for my colleague to process in the afternoon. Then I spent 5-10 mins preparing for a storytime for a class that did NOT show up. They didn't show up last time they booked a storytime, either, which is why this time I spent 5 mins preparing. Lesson learned. To be dealt with.....

I also worked on my Babytime for the afternoon (we read this - it's a bilingual babytime so I alternate Fr/Eng books each week and did these rhymes and songs). Crap - just uploading that file made me get Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in my head AGAIN.

Blah. I forget where the rest of my morning went. At some point, I checked my RSS feeds and, evidently, my e-mail! Oh yeah, I moved some of the stuff on the front of the children's Information desk (ya, we call Reference Information). We've been displaying the cardboard flashlights the kids have made for Summer Reading Club (SRC) all over the desk, partly 'cause it looks wicked cool and colourful, aaaand partly 'cause the desk is starting to show its age (10-12 years?) and has some injuries (book trucks can be brutal). Last week when I was going through our old posters (part of clean-up, but also, a local teacher asked if she could have a few for display in her classroom) I found 3 that were very SRC-themed: two Where's Waldo, and one from a great pop-up book we have in our program collection, called Trucks go pop.

(OMG I just had a moment of listening to myself and I realised this new gig at SL is turning me into a total children's librarian. Mixed feelings about this. Love it, but would rather be RA queen).

I also planned out tasks for my colleague to do in the afternoon: call volunteers to help out with Wednesday's board game program, call a patron I've been trying to reach about her complicated reference question since last week (don't want to leave a message, as my answer involves asking her follow-up Qs, English is not her first language, and it's about a sensitive health matter), etc. Ho hum. What else did I do? Oh, I chose the title for our September home-based learners' book club (I wanted to read The adoration of Jenna Fox, but we don't have enough copies, so we're reading The comet's curse by Dom Testa. I met with the coordinator at our branch to discuss various scheduling dilemmas (including Christmas holidays! Already! Wheeee!).

I think that's it. Today started with an electrocardiogram (yummy), involved more weeding and workroom organisation (gotta break it down into chunks!), discussions over shifting collections and about lost picture books that fall behind the stacks with a page (shelver), scanning images from livre-jeux such as this and this, and now, wasting my break writing this blog entry.

Thus spake the busy, busy children's librarian.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Whaddya know?

There's a whole wiki for this "day in the life of" thing. Guess I should add myself.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Runners in Ottawa are nice

As I rounded Dow's Lake (shown at right in dryer times) on kilometre 8 (approx.) out of 18, in the pelting rain, as one shoe began a telltale squelching sound (you know the other shoe is not far behind then...), and while wiping rain out of my eyes for the 1, 240, 573rd time, a very quiet runner passes me and asks, "So, are we dedicated or crazy?"

I have to say that I like that runners here (as opposed to in Montreal, and yes, this is the ONLY time you will hear me say anything that puts Ottawa ahead) are friendly. They wave, they say hi, they make corny jokes. Once, a group even offered to run with K and I because their friends were too fast.

The answer, by the way, is we're crazy. It's been pouring non-stop here since, um, forever? It's currently 19 degrees C and it alternated misting, pouring, pelting and blowing during my 18K run to the Hartwell Lockstation and back. Bunnies were not on display, and even the ducks seemed fed up - most of them were fast asleep in the canal, their beaks tucked behind their wings. By the time I rounded Dow's Lake and passed the Bronson St. Bridge, I, on the other hand, was utterly soaked down to my socks (eeeewww) and the trek back was cold, damp and somewhat uncomfortable (thank goodness for endorphins... and numbness...). But it was my Friday off and damned if the rain was going to stop me from enjoying it!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

More from ALA

An RA program reading list. Yay. I like lists.

Post-Survival, Peggy?

Atwood, Anne Michaels (I'm still feeling guilty for returning The Winter Vault after reading about 10 pages!), Monica Ali and others talk about the idea of a "national literature" in The Atlantic's Fiction 2009 special issue (why is that page displaying in such an ugly way with Firefox? Hmmm. I usually count on The Atlantic to be aesthetically pleasing, among other things... But I digress!). Atwood talks about the impossibility of placing books into a single category - indeed! And that's one of the reasons (nerd alert) I shelve by publication date!

Beginner's Greek movie

Variety tells me that one of my favourite novels from 2008, Beginner's Greek by James Collins (love triangle involving improbable meetings on planes, farcical accidental death, Austen-esque intrigue and scathing portraits of modern 'phonies') will be a movie soon. Hooray!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Nosy Parkers, unite!

I generally don't care for this type of article (why, oh why, are aspiring writers always interested in other writer's writing spaces? Or their editing habits? It boggles the mind...) but it's Claire! Therefore, I link!

Also, sorry about the % post. As I was opening a new post, my barcode scanner hiccupped. Apparently, it wanted to say hello itself. I'll try to keep a lid on it in the future.

(Other people's) Library day in the life ... part 2

From Norwood, MA!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Summer reading for kids

I have mostly been reading adult fiction this summer (a mix of literary and popular fiction - I'm letting myself read some crap. It is summer, after all!) but I thought I would post some recommended reads from my Juv 2009 reading. I actually read a few particularly good titles in the last week, which spurred me to post.

  • Julia Gillian (and the Art of Knowing) by Alison McGhee: one of my favourite reads of the year so far. Julia and her Saint Bernard, Bigfoot, wander the neighbourhood during her 10th summer (within a 9-block radius!) while her parents, both teachers, scramble to complete graduate degrees. Left to her own devices, Julia tries to win a stuffed meerkat from a claw machine at the local hardware store, hangs out with her neighbour, Enzo, a twenty-year old girl who's reading her way through Shakespeare in an indoor hammock for the summer, gives advice to a young girl scared to start kindergarten, makes (and hides behind) papier-maché masks, tries to discourage Bigfoot's romance with a yappy terrier around the corner, and avoids reading a book she suspects will have a sad ending. A lovely read for thoughtful 8-10 year olds.

  • Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech: Read on the couch in one sitting. After bawling over Love that dog, I thought, OK, I can get through this one without crying, right? Wrong. A small black kitten enters the scene, and Jack finds he can't quite hate that cat. As in Love that dog, the poetry refers back to the work of poets Jack is learning about, including Edgar Allan Poe, T. S. Eliot, William Carlos Williams, Valerie Worth, and Walter Dean and Chris Myers.

  • Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney: Oh, how I love the Llama books. This one doesn't disappoint! Think: first day of school separation anxiety. Takes me back!

  • Snake and Lizard by Joy Cowley: Why is it always harder to find outstanding middle-grade fiction? This title nicely fits in there - a series of short stories about a budding friendship between a snake and a lizard. I actually laughed out loud at a few passages (pretty rare - I tend to have a poker face when reading....) which is high praise - a lot of the humour comes from the sense of pride both animals have, and from their unique (non-human) perspectives. Simple tales of 2-4 pages, with illustrations.

  • The Dragonfly Pool by Eva Ibbotson: A simply luminous historical novel for older children, set during World War 2, in Devon and the fictional European kingdom of Bergania. Twelve-year old Tally begins attending a free-thinking boarding school, travels to Bergania to perform a folk dance, and befriends the young, lonely prince of Bergania, whose father, the king, is under pressure from the Nazis...

  • At Her Majesty's Request: An African Princess in Victorian England by Walter Dean Myers: A very thoughtful account of the life of Sarah Bonetta Forbes, an orphaned Nigerian princess, rescued by British Commander Frederick Forbes. Forbes takes Sarah to England, where she is presented to the Queen (Victoria), who takes a special interest in her upbringing. A bittersweet tale of connections across great divides, and of the tragic limitations (on women, on Africans, on immigrants...) of the time.

  • Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things (Alvin Ho) by Lenore Look: A cute middle-reader choice for boys. A little too smart for my taste (some of the jokes seem more aimed at adults, although there is a great one about what Alvin thinks psychotherapist means - it involves the word psycho, of course). Nonetheless, a charming tale of a shy young boy whose best friend is (gasp!) a girl.

  • Cheaters (really great teen fic): The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson (medical ethics... and a dark family secret... A possible choice for my library's teen book club this coming fall, if I can convince them) and Becoming Billie Holiday by Carole Weatherford (Sad, but lovely, illustrated novel in verse form).

Friday, July 17, 2009


So, I haven't been in a chatty mood recently. On the one hand, I've been pretty busy at work, with our Summer Reading Club activities and my new Babytime duties! On the other hand, I've just been tired, and not in a very social mood. This summer seems to be rapidly running away from me - it's already July, I haven't been on a beach or even on a long run down to Dow's Lake, and frankly, the weather has been Nothing to Write Home About anyway.

Enough grumbling, though. Here's some random stuff I have been reading or doing:
  • Oogling Nick Laird's pug

  • Reading various interviews with A. S. Byatt

  • Taking SRC poster illustrator Werner Zimmerman out to lunch. He's a pretty interesting guy. Best part about his visit was watching him interact with the kids - and one of the parents - who were aspiring artists. One little girl became quite enamoured of him, and asked me later where she could buy art supplies (Werner showed them his, including a truly gross/fascinating self-cleaning gummy eraser.)

  • Spying on ALA in Chicago. My friend took a wicked pic of this little bad boy (can I have one for home?) I am ambivalent about the RUSA President’s program "From the Book and Beyond: Interdisciplinary Readers’ Advisory," which I was disappointed to miss at first. Now it just seems kind of not fascinating, based on various reports. Don't get me wrong - I do think Steve is cool, but the other stuff was pretty boring and stuff I had already heard about. I do think it's great to shine a spotlight on whole collection RA, and to have an RA event, and maybe I needed to just be there to experience the excitement (this gave me a nice visual of one poster session about face-out marketing - spectacular! But again, not exactly revolutionary. The Amazing Joan Swamber got me hooked on face-out display, colour-coded even, back in, um, 2004?), but I wasn't too blown away. Finally, my ALA spying has resulted in a crush on Neil Gaiman (yes, it took me awhile to catch up. I don't just give my heart away, you know!)

  • Thoroughly digesting Cutting for Stone, a seriously wonderful novel about twin brothers, Marion and Shiva, born in Ethiopia just before the revolution to a nun who had emigrated to Africa from South India. There is a lot in here about "created" families and the legacy of blood relatives, the history of medicine, fistulas (they seem to be following me now - case in point), sibling relationships, politics, religion, you know, all the good stuff. Definitely one of my favourite reads of the year. I also quite enjoyed The Believers.

  • Jumping for joy at the news that my friend Chris seems to be on the fast-track to super-stardom. He's going to have to create a new level after ParCon 5, to encompass the ratio of parents to children to movie stars.

  • Speaking of super-stardom, Serena Ryder deserves some, too. I saw her at Bluesfest this past week, and she totally rocked. Also, I was semi-impressed with Ottawa for approximately 5 seconds, for showing up (my standards are low), singing along, and displaying a variety of age groups at a concert.

Eh bien, c'est tout!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tomorrow's cobblers

Since this is my (professional) bible, I guess I should post about it.

It's been on the wall in 2 different libraries where I have worked, and has infused my work for the past 6 years.

I say these things all the time:

  • "Most of your most passionate users will never meet you face to face. Most of your most alienated users will never meet you face to face."

  • "You are not a format. You are a service."

  • "If we continue fetishizing the format and ignoring the user, we will be tomorrow’s cobblers."

Case in point (Co-authored).

Friday, July 3, 2009

Me, this morning: Where did all the stuffed animals at work go?


The best part is how Franklin is wearing Paddington's coat.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Canada Day

Begin with A Nutritious Lunch:

(sangria and wings)

Beware the warning signs:

Hide from downpour (those dudes are totally random):

Oogle some soldiers:

Survey the crowds from lofty safety:

Remember (some of) what it means to be Canadian:

Mary Macgregor's (my grandfather's mother) ship's passage card from Scotland to Canada.

Julia Melhado (my grandmother's mother) with my great-aunt Julia (I was very close to my great-aunt; in fact, she was a great influence on my status as a reader...). Julia Melhado traveled to Canada in her late teens from London, England as part of the British Women's Emigration Association.

What is Azar Nafisi reading?

The voyeurist in me wants to know, and The Daily Beast complies. I'm happy to see she's reading Samantha Power's book (Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira de Mello and the Fight to Save the World) - I heard Samantha speak last year in Ottawa, and it was amazing. Sergio's story is also incredible and deserves attention. I'm also a big fan of Lahiri, although her first book of short stories plunged me into a bit of a mini-depression (they were all about lost connections, misunderstandings, gulfs between cultures...).

Thanks to Pilar from my library's book club, who got me hooked on the Beast recently.

National Library Service in Barbados

I just think it's great that the National Library Service in Barbados nominated Michael Thomas's Man Gone Down for the IMPAC. Man, that prize is all about democracy, and it amazes me every time. Seen via.