Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Earthquake update

I'm sure you are all wondering how we survived over at Rideau today!

(For those of you not in Ottawa, or even Canada, we had an earthquake today. 5.0 magnitude... More messy near the epicentre in Quebec, but Ottawa saw some broken windows and flying bricks).

Unlike those wimps in the downtown office towers, we didn't evacuate. We were sort of about to, but then things calmed down.

I had a class visit this afternoon at 1 pm; it's a local Grade 2-3 class with a magnificent teacher who runs a tight ship and is a pleasure to collaborate with. I had just finished my booktalk and the kids were picking their books in the program room, from what I had discussed, and we were about to go upstairs to choose more and have a quick tour. Rumble, rumble. For a split second, I thought, well, that's a REALLY big truck (we have giant trucks through downtown all the time, because our city is backwards that way....). Then I thought, holy crap, that's an earthquake. My colleague (training! remember?) went immediately to the doorway (safest place!) and I was halfway out the door to get the kids to evacuate when the teacher made them sit down again. The most vigorous shaking was over by then, so I let them all stay inside. The kids were initially starting to freak, but when the teacher said, "We just experienced a very small earthquake," a bunch called out "Cool!" and it was smooth sailing from then on. They also found it pretty cool that my last earthquake was when I was their age.

Meanwhile, upstairs, apparently all our regulars on the Internet (oh, you know the types...) hightailed it out of the library at the first rumble. I think this is hilarious - two years ago, we had a nasty fire alarm incident (guys doing construction tripped it, but we weren't sure initially) and could I get those dudes to get off their butts? NO! I had to practically peel some of them off their chairs. Some wanted to debate about it with me. I was like, FIRE! OUT! NOW! and then they all lurked on the front steps with that Internet-junkie look on their faces and I was like, If this was a real fire, you'd be dead. GET ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STREET!. So, for future reference, simulate an earthquake if you want to dislodge your loyal Internet devotees. Good to know.

We have 30 feet high ceilings, and apparently the wooden beams shook. When I heard that, I did an internal walk-through, and found one shelf of books that had fallen. We got in touch with the city ("Do you see any cracks" Me: "Narrow it down...."), and I had someone else do an exterior walk-around (thanks!!!!) We noted down and photographed cracks, but eventually established those were cosmetic and pre-dated the quake. Whew. Poor Rideau Library has been through enough already!

So I ended up not really finishing my prep for my adult special needs group visit tomorrow, since I was busy writing incident reports (of a natural disaster nature, not for the drunk and disorderly...) and getting my new CPPSA to photograph the areas we were worried about. Oh well, I have a good excuse.

Meanwhile, Greenboro Branch is closed while a structural engineer inspects, and two other branches (Hazeldean and Osgoode) are closed due to power / water outages.

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