Saturday, January 29, 2011

[even more] Coming up at Rideau Library...

Talk About Art
Saturday, February 12, 12 p.m. (120 mins.)

Art can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be! Using works by Ottawa artists on display at the Rideau Branch as a starting point, this discussion will focus on different ways to look at and interpret visual art.

Hosted by the Ottawa Art Gallery. Presentation in English with bilingual facilitator / Présentation en anglais avec animateur bilingue.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Library day in the life, Round 6, Day 5


Today I had someone job shadowing me. She is a teacher considering a library degree. I thought a Friday would be a good day for her to shadow, since it is usually pretty busy. See, now that I said that, it was quiet. Sigh. Oh well, I am not complaining. She left at 4 pm, so I had some time to catch up and finish some work before closing at 6 pm.

In the morning, a technician from the city came to replace a defective floppy drive on one of the public PCs. I worked on another draft of my OLA presentation for awhile, and caught up with e-mail and newsfeeds, and other random tasks.

My job shadow and I went to a local playgroup for a French storytime (outreach) at 11 am. The group is a short walk from Rideau Branch, and I must say it was nice to get out. The kids in the group are 2-5, and they were adorable. They enjoyed the stories and songs, and the teachers seemed to get a kick out of the activity, especially when I screwed up "Le bonhomme de neige," which is set to the tune of "Alouette" (Of course, I sang "Alouette" once by accident). They also loved the stick story I brought, something I photocopied from Main Library's collection, entitled "Les chats d'Ottawa." Remind me, I'll tell you about the chats another time. As we were packing up, a little girl in the group called out to me something I thought was "Madame, votre sandale!" (and all of us were like, what?) which was actually "Madame, votre chandail!" - turns out I left my jacket on the chair. Cuteness overload. Also, I totally would have been halfway back to the library before I remembered.

On the walk back to the library, we stopped off at Maison communautaire du bon voisinage de la Basse-Ville to drop off a flyer for our next legal aid workshop. This group is on my e-mail distribution list for monthly program flyers. The staff there were very welcoming, introduced us to everyone, showed the monthly flyer prominently displayed on their bulletin board, and enthusiastically brainstormed with me about outreach and program possibilities. It was really worthwhile to drop in. These types of visits involve using the people skills and the outgoing-ness (sorry, that is so not a word) that aren't traditionally regarded as librarian traits. They are skills I really have to work hard to cultivate (it's scary to walk into a random building where you don't know anyone! Less so when you have a job shadow person with you, thankfully, and don't think that didn't cross my mind strategically...) but they are essential.

Since I was working with some full-time staff I don't usually work with (I swapped my Friday), we all went out to lunch at Culinary Conspiracy together, including my shadow and my boss! It was really fun. We ran into teachers from a local school, who have a PD Day, so it was getting pretty crowded in CC. I love that place.

On they way back to work, I picked up pastries from the bakery for our Coffee with a police officer. They kindly gave us much more than we expected, and I was touched and surprised.

Coffee with police officer went well; about 12-15 people showed up (so less than last time, probably because it was in the program room and not on the main floor like last time). A few seniors, some families, and a smattering of other regulars. The police officer also toured around the exterior of the branch and chatted with us about library security, which was great.

1-6: Info desk duty, with time for other related tasks such as polishing off the monthly report and statistics, endless e-mail, and program prep for next week. I also prepared some speaking notes for a talk I am giving at Ottawa U on Monday. We also discovered a budding philosopher (patron) in our midst has perhaps taken a page out of my book with the shelftalkers, and left a number of philosophical quotes on Post-its around the library. Thoughts included "Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do," "If you have never failed, then you have never tried," "Being defeated is often temporary; giving up makes it more permanent." Today's Info questions / queries included but were not restricted to...
  • Patron requests for various titles and authors....
  • Subject search = dissent in the Arab world
  • Patron complained about barcodes on books covering summaries on the back cover. We make an effort to avoid covering text, but sometimes we have no choice, and the barcodes have to be in a standard place because of ergonomics and the high volume of material we scan and process in a given day. Did you know that in an average month, in material (books, DVDs, etc) OPL "moves" between branches the equivalent of the weight of a baby beluga whale ... and its mother? Ya, try having the barcodes on that material all over the place. Fun.
  • A woman from Coffee event came upstairs to say it was a great event and they should have it at Main. Also, she is retired and has some time to come to programs like this so thank you. I gave her bookmark and highlighted the art program...
  • Leftover coffee ... offered to girl sitting on stairs to staffroom. She was very grateful. Random act of kindness.
  • "Nora Roberts?"
  • "I put a book on hold, but it expired ... Is it still here?"
  • Patron complained the newspaper wasn't stapled.
  • "I'm looking for my holds, but they are not on the shelf..."
  • Chit-chat with local young boy who is a regular during the summer, but less so during the school year.

Library day in the life, Round 6, Day 4

Ah, overwhelming Thursday. See, the way I do Library Day in the Life is I make notes all day, and then try to compile them into coherent blog posts over breaks/lunch/dinner/after work. Today just went to Hell in a handbasket, so it's 8:49, and I'm still at work, and I don't want to do this when I get home, because when I get home I have to edit a PPT, so you are getting a slapdash post today.

9 am over coffee: Read outstanding Pullman article
9:55: Got to work 2.5 hours early because I had arranged a meeting with an Algonquin rep. in charge of the program I am developing a course for. I am excited, but also panicky that I have to get the ball rolling big-time on this during Feb.
10:40: Re-organised program room for Coffee with police officer tomorrow - made notes re. display, signage on door and staircase, etc. Realised I should let it go, since I haven't started work yet. My plan was, since I was here but not on shift yet, I would sit in my basement office and work on next Monday's lecture for Acquisitions. Ha! I should know myself well enough to know it is almost impossible for me to be at work and not "fiddle" with work tasks!
10:45: Open Outlook, see something icky about upcoming LANCR event planning. Begin small panic. Get sucked into work e-mail .... good things: City Librarian Barbara Clubb's CBC interview and the resulting editorial in the Ottawa Citizen!
Then upstairs to get coffee machine for tomorrow and returned to basement lair office. Pass toddler in 700s with mum saying "No, please don't walk on the books!" as child teeters on pile of decorating books. Hee hee.
Colleague returns from outreach, de-briefs with me.
11:33: started work on Acquisitions. Closed e-mail.
11:50: Distracted by "Lessons For Grown-Ups From Story Time." Your Ottawa Region (thanks to Kstari Wolfman for the link)
12:20: Got through lecture prep, just have to tweak weekly exercise. Went upstairs to eat muffin and salad.

12:30-1:30: On Info desk
  • Books about dyslexia... Patron managed to use the F word and call me "honey" so we had a little chat about whether or not he should perhaps come back when he is able to have a conversation in a respectful manner. He backed down, and we continued the search.
  • "I got a call about a book ready to pick up...."
  • "Can I reserve that new book by Doug Saunders?"
  • Colleague has several questions about searching and readers' advisory
  • "It is working?" (gestures to photocopier; turns out it is off!)
  • Jacob Two-Two - I want to read the series to my children. Which is the first? (discussion with this mum, who is a storytime regular, about how my dad sent these Richler books over for my cousins as children - their intro to Canlit...)
  • Puis-je avoir un résumé du livre Le pouvoir thérapeutique de nos vies antérieures par Bibiane Bouchard?
  • Réservations: Piliers de la terre; Coeur d'Istanbul
  • Can I reserve the Gatineau ski pass?
1:30-3:40: Off-desk.... Don't ask. It's a blur of tasks. Sorry.

3:40-4: Covering break at the Info desk:
  • "Is my request here yet?"
  • "Do you have to use dimes for the photocopier?"
  • "Do you have Invincible vol 2?"
  • "I printed 3 pages but ripped up two because I didn't need them. I paid for one ... ok?" Sigh. Showed him how to print 1-1, and other printer preferences options, for future reference.
  • "I got a call that my request was here...." Explained to him how to check items on holds shelf (first 4 letters of family name; last 4 digits of card #) and that he could just come in and grab them (and check them out!) next time.
  • Public printer has a gremlin. It is extracted and sent to the Humane society.....
4: Attempted to make an escape. Was foiled by my own OCD desire to fax timesheets immediately. Decided to sort items that came in for me on hold while waiting for fax. Got into a conversation with colleague. Found problem with one of the books on hold for me (incorrect copy) so asked other colleague to replace copy-specific request. While doing that, got involved in 2nd conversation with (the first) colleague. Forgot what I was doing (right - waiting for the fax machine). Filed away completed fax in filing cabinet. Put up sign thanking bakery for donating snacks for tomorrow's program. Discussed confidential matter with manager (he asked, are you on dinner? and I said yes, but ask away! It only took a minute...). Quickly skimmed choices for booktalk next week.... + sent personal e-mail.

4:30: Dinner!

5: Cuteness alert on the way through the annex: mother and daughter sharing laptop (free wifi!) and a chair :) Now I am on the Info desk again:
  • books by Aboulela, Leila?
  • A biography of Cleopatra by someone named Margaret
  • rowdy girls but I am not going to talk to them because they are in and out quickly
  • "Do you have the city recreation guide?"
  • "Avez-vous le Guide Officiel de L'automobiliste?"
  • Turns out city rec. person actually wants directions to Centre Routhier. Easy enough!
  • Insane amount of pick up in the annex, which I noticed on the way to 629s.
  • Very quiet voice: "Do you have the book We All Fall Down by Eric Walters?" Poor girl needs it for a class presentation tomorrow....
  • "Is there a washroom here?"
  • [ordered some of my own requests]
  • Had to ask someone who has been on the Express PC for too long to leave....
  • Gentleman is yelling at the computer... I go over and ask him to lower his voice just a little bit.
6 pm: Job shadow student arrives. We get 3 questions between 6-8 pm - argh! See above - I swear it was busy!!!!!

8:56: Leaving. I swear. But coming in early to prep tomorrow before 2nd job shadow (unrelated) arrives, since I need to give her my full attention. It's my own fault for telling her to start at 9:30. I should have scheduled her later, but I wanted her to get some time to settle in before we go to outreach at 11, and I definitely wanted her to come on outreach ... an adventure!

Stay tuned if you dare. One more day!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Library day in the life, Round 6, Day 3

Wheeee! Halfway through the week.

So last night I looked up who else - that I actually personally know - is doing Library Day in the Life this round. Here is my shout-out to friends, colleagues, etc. I'm in such good company!
Wednesday, Wednesday... Today is our first legal aid clinic, and I am nervous. During the 20-minute walk to work (it has warmed up, but not enough to stop wearing gloves under mittens) I think about the clinics, and the programs for the rest of the week. I have to find some time to prep my class for next Monday, also... Then there's the weekend - what to eat, what to do...

Arrive at work 8:45 am. Phone is ringing, but I can't get it in time. The first thing I do is take down the 77th birthday stuff before I forget. Before we open, I try to knock off the tasks I am avoiding, or those which require me to be physically away from the Info desk. This includes analysing and withdrawing some damaged material, dismantling and re-filling displays, and making notes about upcoming programs and preparations required (why does February's schedule already look like something threw up on it?). I also synched my Outlook schedule with the (shared, paper) Info desk schedule up until the end of March. Things will still change, but this way it's mostly up to date. Finally, I called a local bakery to arrange for a donation of day-old pastries for Coffee with a police officer on Friday. Asking the bakery was a suggestion made by a community partner - and I thought it was great. We're lucky to have such good neighbours...

Oh, and I read the news and laughed at this: What books will do with all their free time when libraries close. I also printed it out and stuck it on our withdrawals shelf - hee hee.

10:05-10:45: Storytime for a local Kindergarten class. I love this class; their teacher is brilliant and the kids, many of whom come from low-income families or are new Canadians, are a great group. I always make sure I take a little extra time with them, because they are a chatty group who really benefit from dialogic reading; they are also well-trained enough (that sounds demeaning, but I use the phrase in the kindest sense; also, literally, their wonderful teacher *has* trained them how to behave on class visits and during storytimes. You can tell they are read to in class, even if not at home in many cases) to listen and answer questions. I also gave them plenty of opportunities to shake their sillies out, which kept the chaos to a minimum. This morning, I read three of my favourite winter books: Red sled, Penguins, and No. I know this group well enough to know they would have plenty to talk about in these stories, even if they are very simple, and I knew they would already have learned about hibernation, so No would be fun for them. Interestingly (disturbingly?), one child observed there was no mother in Red sled - "Where's the Mom?" he asked. I suggested a few scenarios (she's at work, she's out getting groceries - more marshmallows for the hot chocolate!) and then asked them what they thought. It was an interesting discussion. One child (joker in the class) suggested she was dead in the snow, and I was so taken aback it took me a second to figure out how to address it. I decided to be reassuring, but now I wonder if maybe I should have dug a little deeper there (acknowledging that the mum could be dead, asking if anyone knows someone who has died - something along those lines). Partly, I was thinking the teacher might address this later in the day (as I have said probably too many times now, she's quite good), and partly I was simply thinking I didn't want to get too side-tracked (that's so petty! Sorry! But I was conscious of the time, and the empty Info desk...). Hmm. See? Doing Library Day in the Life makes us all more reflective, and gives others examples of the strange and interesting things we deal with every day. Anyone else have insight into this situation? Comment away.

After storytime, I re-filled the winter-themed display in the children's dept. with books I have finished with for winter programming, and I ensured the stories I used this morning are catalogued in my LibraryThing account for future winter picture book needs.

11-11:05: Review plans for outreach storytime on Friday to a local French preschool. Here is the gameplan, in case you are interested in seeing what an entirely organised contes en francais looks like (I'm not always this organised, but esp. in French I sometimes like to have a script).

11 - 12:30: Info desk duty! Seen, heard and responded to:
  • "I can't seem to get to this website..." (needed to press "enter")
  • "I'm trying to reach the Friends of Library and Archives Canada, and I called LAC, but the recording gave me 8 options, none of which applied." Found this, called it for the patron to check it was a human on the other end. It was! (and a friendly human, too!)
  • "I want to know more about this movie... it's called Broadcast news? I want some critical opinions and stuff." (database search...)
  • Chit-chat with manager re. job shadow opportunity for a student here (this will be my 3rd shadow - one coming on Friday, too - more on that later), and various admin issues at Rideau and (mostly) Rockcliffe Park.
  • Flagged down the page to ask their opinion about the new pick up signs.
  • Stressed about a potential Freedom to read week event for LANCR that is having some growing pains...
  • E-mail....
  • Added "The Firestone Story" to the events database.
  • Why do I have the Hiroshima peace song in my head? Flashback to SSCC 1990. Actually, I get this in my head a lot. I guess it's catchy?
  • Walked a patron through the process of accessing back issues of the Globe and Mail using the databases, over the phone.
  • Garfield en français?
  • Various requests placed for patron who has just walked over from Chapters (that happens a lot).
  • Job shadow student replies to our e-mail already - "how about tomorrow?" Eeek!
  • Finished adding the Firestone event.
12:30ish - 1:30ish: Lunch!

1:30ish - 2:45: I worked in my basement office on the January monthly report and statistics for programs at the library this month. So far, 187 people have attended programs in January 2011 (and we're not done yet!). That's a slow month for us, frankly.

2:30: My boss says two people have already showed up for the legal aid clinic - hooray!!!!!

2:45-3:00: Covered my colleague's break at Info. To be honest, I didn't even sit down during the 15 minutes. First, someone wanted a list of all our Wii games (we compromised on a print-out of the first few pages of results, since we have over 200). During the time I was working on that, the patron was chatting about various things and I ended up giving her a list of programs at Rideau Branch, which she was quite interested in. "Oh, I can come here!" she exclaimed, "instead of being lonely at home!" While I was talking to her, I could see our partner for the legal aid clinics had arrived (man in suit carrying briefcase = dead giveaway at 3 pm in the library!) but he escaped again before I could catch him. I guessed (correctly) he went downstairs and discovered the program room door locked. He came back up, I introduced myself, and we went downstairs. I quickly introduced myself to the 10 people (!!!!) who were waiting outside the door, or who trailed us downstairs, and explained the building basics (washroom, etc). Then I came back upstairs and had a totally frustrating conversation with a patron about the Internet computers. Let's just not re-live that, OK?

3 - 4 pm: More office work. Made a list of who I need to stalk by phone tomorrow for that Freedom to read week event, made a sign thanking the bakery for the snacks for Friday's event, answered some more e-mail, including a request for a class visit at Rockcliffe Park Branch (which I am temporarily also supervising), e-mailed various possible community partners re. more adult programming ideas, delegated some of the "grunt work" for another Children's collection replacement list, and quickly reviewed notes and questions for a meeting tomorrow morning regarding an online General education course I might be teaching this summer at Algonquin (since that's not work, let's call that my "break" that I didn't take, K? Sometimes a girl is just too tired to climb two sets of stairs to the staffroom...).

4-5 pm: On-desk again! Taught a patron how to make a computer reservation, received congratulations on a successful legal aid clinic (!), discussed ESL reference question with colleague, put finishing touches on the monthly report, assigned some shifts at Rideau and Rockcliffe Park Branch, "have any books come in for me yet?," "where are my holds? [...] Do I still have to check them out?," wrapped-up/debriefed with legal aid clinic partner, changed the posters to next week's legal aid clinic topic, locked the program room up, busted someone on a cell, pulled some fiction for a Black History Month display (and re-used sign I made last year for St Laurent Library!), and done!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Coming up at Rideau Library...

I finally organised those legal aid clinics, and they are starting tomorrow! I am slightly nervous about attendance.... Here's a run-down of what's happening, and printable posters for each clinic are here.

Wednesday, Jan. 26th @ 3 pm: Tenants’ rights
This session will provide an overview of the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords. With Community Legal Services.

mercredi, 2 fév. à 15h: Droit des locataires
Cet atelier fera le survol des droits et des recours des locataires en Ontario et traitera en particulier des évictions, des réparations et des hausses de loyer. Avec la clinique juridique francophone de l'Est d'Ottawa.

Wednesday, Feb. 16th @ 3 pm: Workers’ rights
Please join the University of Ottawa Community Legal Clinic for an information session on your rights in the workplace. The presentation will look at Ontario’s Employment Standards Act and discuss some of the rights to which people are entitled as workers in Ontario. The areas addressed in this presentation include hours of work, rest periods, overtime, wages,
public holidays and termination.

Wednesday, March 23rd @ 3 pm: Income maintenance for the elderly
This session will provide an overview of income maintenance programs for seniors. With Community Legal Services.

mercredi, 6 avril à 15h: Successions & testaments
Quelle est l’importance d’avoir un testament? Qu’arrive t-il lorsqu’une personne décède sans en
avoir? Peut-on faire un testament soi-même sans l’aide d’un avocat? Avec la clinique juridique
francophone de l'Est d'Ottawa

Wednesday, May 18th @ 3 pm: Human rights
This presentation will look at the law in Ontario on discrimination and discuss some of the rights to which people are entitled in settings such as employment, renting a house or apartment, or when receiving other types of services. With the University of Ottawa Community Legal Clinic.

Library day in the life, Round 6, Day 2

Happy Virginia Woolf's birthday (seen via) and also Robert Burns Day!

On this day in 1934, Rideau Branch had its formal opening ceremony, which included the singing of a Scottish song (since it was Burns Day).

In honour of Woolf, I present an unedited, stream-of-consciousness day...
  • Mmmmm, coffee and newsfeeds.....
  • Drat I forgot to choose all my books for storytime this morning.
  • OLA presentation - added images, edited speaking notes, sent some e-mails to colleagues asking for specific help with stats or images.
  • And we're open! First question: "Do you have this chicklit book translated in French?"
  • Canada411 search for patron.
  • "What is the newest book by Peter Victor?"
  • Storytime! Winter theme this week. I was going to take a picture of the hilarious way the felt snowman was assembled by the kids but one of the parents tidied it by the time I got back downstairs with the camera.
  • Back to working on OLA presentation while on Info desk...
  • Request for Led Zeppelin CD.
  • "How can I find an article from the 1993 Fredericton Gleaner?" - showed patron how to fill out online ILL form
  • I nipped downstairs to clean up storytime and fetch two balloons to put up with a sign celebrating our birthday (also a laminated copy of French and English newspaper articles about the opening of the library, both from January 1934). It's been years since I blew up a balloon.....
  • A patron stopped by to ask for two more copies of our poster about the legal aid clinic tomorrow. He has kindly been posting them around the neighbourhood for me!
  • Next, I used my Vanna White skills to do a kind of charades version of how to pick up a request from the holds shelf for a patron who speaks very little English.
  • Sent e-mails with shifts available at Rideau Branch Info desk...
  • Floppy drive on one of our public PCs isn't working.... Logged with the service desk....
  • Dude on cellphone talking loudly = busted.
  • Girl who played with fire DVD request... "Aren't those books great?" I mmm'd non-commitally....
  • My colleague welcomed a Grade 5-6 Francophone class from a local school for a visit and booktalk at 12:40; I continued to hold down the Info desk, working on my OLA presentation all the while...
  • Taught a patron how to suspend holds while on vacation.
  • "Do you have any big tables to use for group work?" Um, no. Suggested they are welcome to use children's tables. Space at Rideau = at a premium.
  • Admitted defeat in trying to decipher intricacies of cataloguing of multilingual material at OPL and e-mailed Collection management for help...
  • Aaaand you can't use your phone in here....! x3. It's an epidemic.
  • 1:30 pm - lunch. Salad with dried cranberries and walnuts; lunchtime book for CLA BOYCA prize (about Lebensborn - interesting)
  • Set-up local Kindergarten class's storytime for tomorrow AM (one less thing to do tomorrow!)
  • 3 pm: Back up at Info...
  • Time to replace defective headphones on one of the public PCs.... Snip, snap, zip tie.
  • "I know I'm #8 on hold for a book but how long will it take? How many copies do you have?"
  • Checked out my own holds for programs, including ducks, stories that are songs, and spring (soon, my pretties!)
  • Back downstairs again to my desk for some "quiet time:" completed a reference letter for one of my former students, responded to e-mails, wrote reviews for BOYCA books, proofed the latest draft of the OLA presentation. I did the last task with stocking feet on my desk (very inappropriate while wearing a skirt, but no one was around). I have this mental picture of my dad reviewing sermons in his office at All Saints, Verdun, with feet on desk - I try to channel that feeling when I can.
  • 3:59ish - Back on Info so my colleague can eat her dinner.
  • "I'm looking for this book and it says it's here but I can't find it...."
  • Put up signs re. pick up... We're trying this pilot (mentioned yesterday) because so much material is ending up on the floor and radiators: we are putting up 3 signs (one on each radiator) in the annex asking people not to put books on the radiator, and 3 in children's (random shelves) asking people to put books on the tables. People don't really read signs, but we hope that in light of recent more-chaos-than-usual, it might help a bit for a finite period. While doing this, I cannot restrain myself from doing the pick-up at the same time. NEVER-ENDING.
  • Teenager: "Can I do my volunteer hours here?"
  • "Is my book ready yet? I can't remember the title, but I placed a request awhile ago."
  • Someone's parked in our driveway, blocking anyone from getting in or out. I go out with keys and a Post-it to write down the plates and make a general announcement; the family is right there, getting in the car, so I explain we have a parking lot with close to a dozen spaces but they can't park there!
  • Shelf check in the basement for Costa Rica travel books - found 4!
  • Filled the knitting display (nod to my librarian knitting friends: Thing 1 and Thing 2!)
  • 5 pm. Home! Picked up pizza at Bottega on the way, and cut through 2 buildings to stay warm(-ish). The temperature is finally rising, but it's still plenty damp.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Library day in the life, Round 6, Day 1

Welcome to Round 6! I don't know if I'll keep this up all week, but here you go.... Welcome to any newcomers. You may stalk more formally here. Also, previous "Library Day In The Life" posts are here.

This was one of those mornings when I really had to peel myself off the bedsheets. Oh, wait, that's almost every Monday morning. I love my job, truly, I do. It's just January in Canada and -36 degrees celcius with windchill and I have school today....Really? I have to get up now? Fine. Kissed husband goodbye and whined, "But I don't want to school today!" like a petulant child. Forthwith, the rest of the day, in bullet points.
  • Went outside and choked on my first breath of outdoor air. MINUS 36! SERIOUSLY. Not cool.
  • Taught my Acquisitions class at Algonquin College. Today's class was about verification sources for orders; checking not only vendor, bookstore and publisher websites, but also using Amicus, Amicus New Book Service, CISTI, Depository Services catalogue, etc. We went over last week's readings as a discussion, we talked about last week's discussion topic (censorship! I had them read this, this, this and this), then I lectured for about 45 minutes and we did an in-class exercise after that.
  • Checked work e-mail while students were working on the in-class assignments. Hooray - today I am senior person in our cluster (Rideau-Rockcliffe Park-Vanier-Cumberland)!
  • OMG it's noon. Must run!
  • Crap. Forgot my granola bar. Purchased crappy egg sandwich from school cafeteria and ate it on the bus on the way to work. I never eat white bread... sinful!
  • 1 pm - got to work late. Sat down at Info desk (that's what we call Reference); sent colleague on lunch. Immediately felt tired.
  • Discussed indoor temperature with branch staff - because our front doors are opening all the time, it gets cold in the library pretty quickly. We do have double doors, but because of the placement of our security gates we can't close the internal doors. I joked that we need some City of Ottawa legwarmers. I would so wear them...
  • Opened Outlook; 7 reminders popped up. Considered running in the other direction.
  • Sorted e-mail... Responded to H&S question, approved overtime, and various other admin tasks.
  • 243 items in Google Reader. Crap. Interesting newsy nuggets for the day: "How far can you get ... digitally?" and "Supply and demand and book awards" (and this for laughs). Bonus post I actually read yesterday and *starred* because I am going to use it in my Acquisitions class here.
  • Explained computer booking system to patron.
  • Worked on our Picture book replacement list - this comes once a year to every branch. Based on the size of our branch, we can select a certain number of titles to replace "classic" picture books. Usually, I pull what we already have to examine condition and decide accordingly what old material circulates well but needs replacing, and what new material we might want to consider. x2 this time around, since I am doing Rockcliffe Park Branch's replacement list also while I am temporarily supervising the branch.
  • Conversation with staff about patron involved in incident in the library last week.
  • Reference question: books and articles from the database for a project about dealing with Oppositional Defiant Disorder in the classroom.
  • Filled in incident report for something minor that happened on Saturday, but which nevertheless should be documented
  • Question: Where's the babytime? Luckily, I know St Laurent Branch has their babytime 1:30 on Mondays... Sorry, you are in the wrong branch! But we have storytime Tuesdays at 10:30!
  • Patron inquired about a book on hold that they have been waiting a long time for (more than a week). Detective Alex investigates.... This ended up being really weird. Short version: various copies checked in, so I called one branch with a copy and they tried to transfer it but since another copy was in transit for the patron since last week (which I didn't notice at first...) it wouldn't work. Finally, with the help of colleagues, it was sorted out. I think. I made a note of the patron's name so I can check in a few days.
  • Several reference questions based on reviews from a print magazine in Polish...
  • Books about reading body language.
  • The sun hit my eyeball at 2:13 pm. Gah. We need blinds.
  • Books about Germany: specifically, the Baedeker, Insight, and Fodors' travel guides. Oh, and some big photography books (why, sir, do you mean subject heading "Pictorial works?"). And some DVDs. Please.
  • Read the CLA's open letter to LAC regarding Iranium screening
  • Replaced vandalised headphones on public PC
  • Printed bestseller lists. Did you know they are also here?
  • 2:45 pm - went downstairs for off-desk time. Meant to work on OLA presentation; ended up spending majority of 1/2 hour sorting requests, building display for legal aid workshop this week, and other things I already forget.
  • Approved timesheets for Rideau, Rockcliffe Park and Vanier. It's tough being Queen of the World senior person in the cluster.
  • "Please don't Skype in the library!" en français
  • Made bilingue sign for legal aid display
  • Books about Poland - what we have at Rideau is all WW2-related. Politely suggested a children's nonfic from National Geographic. (That's twice today for Poland! Are you paying attention, Iwona?)
  • Surprised a child running around in the children's section (she gasped) She was following our alphabet carpet squares...
  • 4 pm - dinner!!
  • During dinner: convo about putting up signage regarding putting books on the tables rather than leaving books on the floor or the radiator.
  • 5 pm - back on Info. Made those signs re. pick up. Translation ... what are radiators en français? Oh yeah, radiateurs. Duh.
  • Returned several e-mails - everyone seems to be in the mood to talk teen services today, perhaps as a result of inspiration from this event!
  • French non-fiction book NOS; search on one of seven trucks to put away in basement - found!
  • Ooooh request for a SM@RT card! en français
  • Question about reserving a computer en français
  • Question about reserving a computer - again; different person, obvs.
  • Printer issues - re-filling, jamming, people pushing buttons on the printer that they shouldn't, thereby pausing the printer, people choosing coloured paper as an option when we don't have colour paper... etc.
  • "I need to call my answering machine - can I use your phone?" en français
  • Requests: Mao's last dancer (DVD) - we don't have - suggested to Collection development - ordered the book instead; Small wars by Sadie Jones; L'immeuble yacoubian par ʻAlāʼ Aswānī.
  • FINALLY working on my OLA presentation! Hey, it's only 6:45. GAH.
  • Histoires d'Anansi...
  • postal code look up...
  • OMG could the world wide internets take longer to load pages tonight? I have a presentation to finish!
  • Sometimes I wonder if my "I'm working on a presentation" face is showing.. Ha! Just when I formulated that thought, someone asked me where the Danielle Steel novels are.
  • Sitting-in-the-same-chair resting-the-eyes break: looked at photos of beautiful Res-ling baby Leyla.
  • A short interlude in which it takes me several shameful minutes to log into Delicious (I'm tired!)
  • Colleague tries to convince me to take an actual break - thank you!
  • More OLA work....
  • We had a minor incident involving someone who appeared to be in distress; we administered some help and called for more help. The cold is pretty vicious for anyone who spends a lot of time on the street these days...
  • Crap it's 8:25.
  • 8:30 go home......

5 February 2011: "carnival of resistance" to library closures in the UK

A "coordinated protest" over library closures in the UK will take place on February 5th, with over forty library "read-ins" (involving balloons and ... famous authors!) scheduled in some of the over 450 libraries slated to close.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Treading water

Life has been a bit funny recently; not "ha ha" funny, but more "odd" funny. Not crappy, just funny. I thought I would steal a literary conceit from Ms. Bird and Mr. Charlip, and tell you a bit about things here.

Fortunately, my second term of teaching ILLs went pretty well. The students did OK, and I felt OK about the course. I don't love teaching it as much as Acquisitions (this semester), but I am getting more comfortable. And, you know, not all of my students hated me.

Unfortunately, several certainly don't think much of me, and wrote some pretty personally hurtful things on their student evaluations.

Fortunately, careful discussions with my mum and other colleagues at the College helped put some of the information in perspective.

Unfortunately, I first read the evals on Christmas Eve.

Fortunately, I went home for Christmas and my mother was *not* working, meaning she could sit in the pew with my husband and I, and it didn't even snow too badly so the driving was great.

Unfortunately, our family cat has to be put down on Boxing Day, leaving this Yarrow family branch cat-less for the first time since 1984.

Fortunately, it was rather quiet over the holidays at work, and I didn't mind working because it meant I could get through some of the oft-postponed tasks on my to-do list.

Unfortunately, it was hard not to be slightly resentful and cranky to be at work (when everyone else was at home) upon learning that several local media outlets incorrectly reported that the public libraries in Ottawa were closed during the week between Christmas and New Year's. Sigh. What was the point?

Fortunately, I got to sleep and watch movies through New Year's, which is way more fun than being out on the town (something I haven't done since 2001).

Unfortunately, coming back to Ottawa so quickly meant I missed Rez Christmas.

Fortunately, I got to go back to Montreal for extra family time last weekend.

Unfortunately, it was for a funeral of a close family friend, and someone who died far too young.

Fortunately, I am carrying on with my plans for more outreach and programs for the adult library community this winter and spring. A local group of HIV-positive patrons are visiting soon, for one thing.

Unfortunately, a colleague told me she had met someone in our community who told her "oh, yeah, Rideau Library doesn't seem to want to come and do outreach here," which is not really the impression I was hoping to get out... I think this must be a case of "broken telephone," and I know it's easily fixed, but it's January and it doesn't seem to take much to make me self-critical. How can I be doing all this work, and trying so hard, and still groups either already have or have somehow gotten the wrong impression about the library?

So I'm just pulling up my socks (um, tights?) and hanging in there right now, treading water and hoping for spring.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

100% circulation rate

I was staying away from blogging too much about the UK library crisis, for fear of sounding angry and vengeful (just look at this map... angry now?) but this story today caught my eye as a moment of levity - and a quiet revolution of sorts:

Library emptied in bid to fight closure
"A town has emptied its library in a bid to fight plans to close it down. People in Stony Stratford, near Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, have spent the week withdrawing their maximum allowance of books in protest against council plans to close it as part of budget cuts."

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Friday, January 7, 2011

Felt Friday: Penguins

I abide by the actual calendar for storytime themes, and I rarely crack into winter-themed storytimes until after December 21st. It's Canada, for heaven's sake; I have to draw the line somewhere.

So this month I will do an entire storytime about penguins! ... because, um, they're adorable, and I have 5 felt penguins (above) and 1 stuffed penguin (plus, as you can see, 1 truly ugly iceberg), and there are some excellent penguin-y books out there, including:
  • Penguins by Liz Pichon (girl loses camera in zoo; penguins take various hilarious photographs of themselves with camera)
  • My penguin Osbert by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel (boy receives penguin for Christmas; many herring later, he realises it's not all it's cracked up to be; penguin and boy return to Antarctic). Penguin by Polly Dunbar is another funny version of a similar tale, with a mute penguin.
  • (and for variety) Turtle's Penguin Day by Valeri Gorbachev.
  • Lost and found by Oliver Jeffers: I wrote briefly about Jeffers early in the life of this blog. Lost and Found remains my favourite winter book: not only is Jeffers a genius at balancing text and image, but he is a master of the understated. 2010's The heart and the bottle made me weep profusely while standing in Nicholas Hoare (oh, don't worry - it's not the first time). Basically, the story here is simple: boy meets penguin, boy attempts to return penguin to his rightful home; boy learns about value of friendship.
    This book was also made into a short film.

    Here, just watch the trailer already:

Some other penguin storytime material to keep you occupied:

Five perky penguins (rhyme)
Five perky penguins stood on the shore,
One went for a swim and then there were four.

Four perky penguins looked out to sea,
One went swimming and then there were three.

Three perky penguins said, "What can we do?"
One jumped in the water and then there were two.

Two perky penguins sat in the sun,
One swam off and then there was one.

One perky penguin said, "This is no fun!"
He dived into the water (SPLASH!) and then there were none.

In French, penguins are technically manchots, but they are also often known as pingouins. Here is a French song from my colleague Sonia:

Les Pingouins (air : "Sous le pont d’Avignon")
Sous le pont d’Avignon,
On dandine, on dandine
Sous le point d’Avignon,
On dandine tous en rond.

-Les poissons font comme ça (bouche en poisson) et puis encore comme ça
-Les phoques font comme ça (frappe les mains) et puis encore comme ça
-Les pingouins font comme ça (dandine) et puis encore comme ça

*Bonus contest*: Be the first to find the five penguins hidden in the below photo; comment below with the location of each (click on photo to blow it up) to win a hand-crafted felt penguin of your own!

New shelf-talkers

Pictures of the newest shelftalkers we made at Rideau Branch are up here. We have done English and French fiction, non-fiction, and some English teen so far, and we are working on more...

My M.O. with these new ones was not only to write about titles I personally loved, but to use them as an opportunity to talk to patrons about what I know they love to read: hence the urban fiction and chick lit titles, and the emphasis on les sagas familiales en français.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Monthly report: December 2010

I like December, because it's generally quieter, and especially over the holidays, it's a good catch-up period. Plus, mostly patrons are in good moods when they come in; whether it's their holiday season or not, most wish us a Merry Christmas.

While I was off being moulded like clay at NELI, my colleague was hosting a Lightfest storytelling event with Reb Arie. The event was a multifaith children’s storytelling circle celebrating Chanuka; Reb Arie explained, with much enthusiasm, the story of Hanukah to a group of local schoolchildren. The children also sang songs and played games with dreidels, and were ecstatic when Reb Arie told them that they could keep the dreidels!

A library school student shadowed me for an entire shift, during which time I taught her about reference, readers' advisory, programs and outreach. I crossed my fingers, and luckily nothing really scary/weird happened while she was here. We definitely notice changes in behaviour patterns and traffic in the branch during the cold weather; so far, I know most of our regulars on a first-name basis, and try to stay as positive as I can and greet everyone with a smile and eye contact. Respect goes a long way.

On my holiday to-do list was: updating the branch PowerPoint show to reflect Winter/Spring 2011 program information, weeding the Express collection, and writing new shelftalkers.

As usual, the Rideau staff pulled together in thick and thin, dealing with grey bins and shelving. We lost an employee we had "borrowed" from another location, but we're keeping on top of things for now. We also pitched in and helped at another nearby branch that has a staffing shortage on four different days (the holidays are tough for scheduling!).

Monday, January 3, 2011

Bah. Humbug.

Whew. Thank goodness the holidays are over.

Sorry, guys. I just find them ... somewhat bleak, with a few moments of real cheer. That's not a popular opinion, I know, so I keep it to myself.

In the spirit of this "Summary of appropriate responses," I offer you the following: My holiday was ok. I got some rest, read a lot of books (2010 favourites to add at the 11th hour: The beauty of humanity movement and By nightfall) and, well, we had to put my cat down, so that kind of sucked. She lived with my mum now, but has been with us since the mid 1990s when I was in high school.

In addition to being a bah humbug-y Christmas person, I also don't really get enthusiastic about new year's resolutions, but I can get behind these Reader's Resolutions from Seattle Public Library!

Things are getting busy again at work, but over the holidays I was grateful to be around, since I also caught up on some projects, including new shelftalkers. I promise that pictures of those, and other new treats, are forthcoming.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Quotation of the day #10

I will finish up the quotations with one that was said at NELI, but which was actually originally spoken by someone else:

“If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”
-Martin Luther King, Jr.