Monday, March 22, 2010


I was reading this last week in the paper (why do I never read the Work section? There were three good articles) and it really hit home. Me, worry? Dear readers, you know I never have that problem! I had already started to practice some of the techniques mentioned in the article: locating my senses, emotions and thoughts during the course of the day ("When you're listening to a co-worker, observe your own body language. Are you clenching a pen or reaching for your phone?" Me, clench a pen? Never!). Reading this only reinforces my efforts to continue to take a deep breath and focus on the now. I'm happy that it's spring and I can start running outside again, which helps me focus (and sleep better!) and also releases stress.

This is definitely going to be a week to focus on the now (I just typed "new" instead of "now" twice... Freudian slip?). It's my last week at the St-Laurent Branch - next Monday, I return, temporarily for now but hopefully that will change, to Rideau Branch, in a newly-created Acting position. I am really happy about this: I will be able to return to serving all ages in an urban setting. I have enjoyed my time at St-Laurent: it taught me a lot, and getting to know the staff here has been a gift. I also got to know myself better: I had my first "official" supervisory position, and I learned a great deal about interpersonal relations and being a leader.

On the other hand, I now know for sure that I'm not as happy in a position that serves children and teens exclusively. I enjoyed the focus in some ways (it's simply easier to concentrate on one segment of the population sometimes!) but I did miss adult services, especially adult readers' advisory, my first love. It was hard not to be as involved in that area for a year. I think the opposite would have been true: if I had been working exclusively in adults for a year, I would have missed children's services, but not as much.

So back I go, hopefully bringing back with me not only the six boxes of stuff (how does one accumulate so much?) but a new approach to supervisory work, and a new state of mindfulness.

What I've been reading:
  • Various articles about library services in England: letters to the editor, theories about wireless and weekend services, overall rants about the appalling statistics regarding library visits (verdict: #s are tanking), and much-needed levity (sweet! Washing machines? Can I come over? Mine's broken).
  • The Library Paraprofessional Movement and the Deprofessionalization of Librarianship, by the incomparable Rory Litwin: I am sorry to say that longer, academic articles often fail to hold my attention these days, but this one did, completely. I thought what Litwin pointed out about why librarianship is a semi-profession was interesting, and his overall thesis was well-put: "To the extent that service to clients by institutions ceases to be given by individuals who have a mastery of theory, a motivation focusing on intrinsic rewards, a commitment to the service objectives of the organization, a sense of accountability toward colleagues, and who are monitored by their professional peers, institutions are able to operate with greater economic efficiency, but are less helpful to the people who encounter them [...]. Deprofessionalization [...] represents a net loss of autonomy for front‐line library workers and a weakening of those professional values that are in conflict with managerial prerogatives and business methods, despite the apparently worthwhile increase in status that paraprofessionals currently seem to be achieving."
  • Just finished: Generation A (my first Coupland... and now I know why: I didn't like it! I found it overly clever, with annoyingly trite characters. I'll go with the Telegraph review: "Instead of being an alternative to the “babble” of the overloaded online world, the novel contains its own burdensome blurt of unnecessary information") and Catching Fire (sequel to The Hunger Games; excellent. Can't wait for #3 in August! The fact that a colleague left Fire in my mailbox at St-Laurent on Saturday reminds me how much I'm going to miss her). Just about to start a few Orange-listed books, including Roopa Farooki's latest.

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