Friday, April 29, 2011

Thoughts on today

I remember when I was perhaps five, and I wanted to be a princess.

I remember the exact moment that I realised that to be a princess was not a career choice, but something you were either born or married in to.

It was a profound disapointment.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Here's rooting for you, Georgie!

The work of accomplished poet and Only Connect friend, George Murray (Bookninja and founder of a "new multi-aesthetic web magazine called"), was recognised today. George's latest, Glimpse, a book of aphorisms, was shortlisted for the EJ Pratt Poetry Prize.

Congratulations! A well-deserved honour!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Award news + other news

There are a slew of awards lists out recently:
In other bookish news:

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Things that drive me crazy

Warning: Cranky old person post!

In no particular order...
  1. People my age (or really any age) who still think jokes about gay people are funny.
  2. People who say, "Sorry, I don't read the news."
  3. The word "societal." It's "social." I know societal is technically a word now, but seriously, why try to sound pretentious?
  4. Anyone who says "Sorry, I'm too young to remember that," or, conversely, people who ask me if I've ever used a typewriter or card catalogue [or fill in the blank with other outmoded technology related to libraries]. Yes, I've used both, and no, you are totally the first person to make a joke about my age. I'm also a reasonably skilled calligraphist who used microfiche in her old bookstore job, owned a rotary dial phone for most of the 90s, and has one parent born in the 1930s. 32 flavours and all that. Now let's all have a good laugh and I won't make any assumptions about your age or experience.
  5. People who tell me they think homeless people are lazy.
  6. Anyone who asks me where I get all my energy, and then answers their own question with, "well, of course, you don't have kids." Would you say that to a male colleague? I didn't think so. Related gripe: Anyone who says they don't have time to read. I guess you make time for what's important to you.
  7. People who are afraid to say the word "dead," especially those who seem even too afraid to say "passed on," and so simply say "passed." It's not gas, it's death.
  8. People who say "No one ever tells me what's going on around here!" Um, hi, personal responsibility?
  9. People who take over the whole sidewalk and make you risk your life walking in traffic (that one was for the husband).
  10. Those who cannot resist checking their phone while sharing a meal with you.
Please, add your favourites in the comments! It's crankypants day for Only Connect!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What goes well with your cereal? Why, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, of course

Dahl stories to be featured on UK cereal boxes - delicious!

The excerpts are only a few hundred words long, but Puffin has chosen "the most immediately exciting bit, something that plunges you straight into the story," and they hope that the boxes are "potentially reaching millions of households that just don't read any literature outside of school." Says Penguin's Francesca Dow, "there could be an enormous number of children discovering Roald Dahl for the first time, bleary eyed over the breakfast table."

Monday, April 11, 2011

*Cough* *Cough*

Libraries are the new community centres.

No, wait, bookstores are the new community centres?


Maybe it's the tiny little radical in me, but how can a bookstore (that is even no longer a bookstore) be a community centre when it is always, inherently, a retail establishment, focused primarily on buying and selling, and not on actively building community relationships?

Legal aid in UK bookstores

"QualitySolicitors has agreed a deal with WHSmith to offer legal services via hundreds of the newsagent's national branches. The move, which has been hailed as a ground-breaking initiative for the retail legal market, will see QualitySolicitors place 'legal access points' in 150 WHSmith stores from this summer ahead of a wider rollout targeted at 500 locations. [...] Staff will be able to use iPad applications to book appointments, provide conveyancing quotes, sell will packages and give advisory sessions for a fixed fee." More.

Clearly I started a trend.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Things I have learned recently

  1. Most Bookmobile patrons come from within a 1k radius from the stop.
  2. Incinerating toilets: 50% way cool, 50% ick.
  3. Two people can say contradictory things and they can both, on some level, be true.
  4. Sometimes, strangely, taking 3 buses is faster than taking 2.
  5. The novelty of having your own work voicemail wears off quickly.
  6. Everyone wants to work somewhere where they feel valued; there are myriad careless ways in which supervisors and managers can make staff feel devalued.
  7. Homebound Services at OPL serves close to 700 individual patrons, all the way to the outer limits of the City, with a staff of less than 10.
  8. Almost everybody in a big organisation feels a little bit alienated from senior management.
  9. Creating small "wins" builds goodwill in a new department, and this pays off exponentially.
  10. Thinking too hard makes you hungry.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

On the Bookmobile

I went out yesterday on the Bookmobile! We stopped at Robert Bateman School and Hunt Club Centre. It was a lot of fun, and interesting, and I took notes.

Notes are my new best friend these days; I am answering a lot of questions with "Yes. I was thinking the same thing. It's on my list!" which makes me feel like a moron, but it's just a big fat transition period right now. I kind of hate the feeling that everything is creeping up around me while I take this time to get my bearings, but I am trying not to freak out over it.

So, in the meantime, here's a pic from the ride, and today's recommended read from your wonderful Bookmobile patrons is:

A Wizard in love by Mireille Levert: "Hector, a retired wizard, lives happily and quietly with his cat, Poison, in a dilapidated house at the edge of the forest, until a noisy new neighbor moves into the abandoned house across the road, and things are never the same again."

Monday, April 4, 2011

First week; still standing!

That's right, I did indeed survive my first 5 days at the new job. It was exhausting!

It's so wonderful that I overlapped with the person I am replacing before his retirement, but there was a lot of information to absorb and, between training, my course at the college, and several other things that came up at the last minute, we really only had 3.5 days together before he left. I am feeling like I have a great foundation to continue to learn about the services I will be supervising (for instance, did you know that Homebound services at OPL serves close to 700 people?), but I am still feeling a bit overwhelmed. At right, the brain dump (well, that's only about half of it).

It's great to try something new, and to change departments entirely while remaining in the same organisation. As much as I love my job at Rideau, it's good to learn about another aspect of OPL, work with different teams, and try new skills. That being said, I am reminded how much I identify with my job (I'm sure you couldn't tell at all, right?), and how difficult change can be for me to absorb. This is probably the biggest change I have made since arriving in Ottawa four and a half years ago, and while I'm really pleased about it, I also have some low-grade panic, an upset stomach, and insomnia! I tend to throw myself into my work pretty intensely, so switching gears is abrupt, and leaves me a little adrift at first. I'm navigating my way through that right now.

In other news, I was interviewed for an article for Open File Ottawa a few weeks ago, and it was published last week. I am a bit disappointed that they didn't mention some of our other programs at Rideau Branch (legal aid, for instance), but pleased with the article overall: "Homeless thrive at public libraries." In a way, the timing of the article's publication was especially fortuitous, as the local paper published this opinion about the smell at Main Library, and our City Librarian, Barbara Clubb's, thoughtful response. Some people may not realise, as Barb said, that we do have a policy for dealing with smells in the library, when they come from one individual - and whether it be a case of strong perfume, body odour, or something else entirely. We've also tried a few unique things at Rideau Branch to deal with some generalised odour problems; many people can probably tell that there are certain areas of Main Library, and Rideau, that have air circulation problems, which, in the wintertime when people are wearing wet clothes, make for exceptionally poor air quality. My general response to all this, though, is that in a public place, no one has 100% control over the environment; the impact of some variables can be mitigated, but the library is a place where everyone is welcome as long as they observe general guidelines about cleanliness, dress, and behaviour.

I could go on all day, but I have class in about 20 minutes so I really should ... Oh wait, I can see alllll my 40 students lined up outside the room from here. Guess we're not getting in yet!

Ok, anyway, my week also involved running 6k (a little longer every time!), visiting a cabane à sucre (!), some wonderful training at the lovely renovated (this panel is my favourite thing) Sunnyside branch (sometimes the best part of training is spending time with colleagues I rarely see), drinking with several of said colleagues, finishing A red herring without mustard (delicious) and getting halfway through Annabel by Kathleen Winter (she has such a magnificent narrative voice. I dreamt in her voice last night).

Must go. Time to discuss serials claims! Um, hooray?