Friday, December 23, 2011


Well, that was quite the month.

I've been writing fewer original posts about life in general recently, not from lack of news, but from a surfeit of news, really. I needed to let the dust settle (both in life and inside my head) before I distilled some things in print here (wow. Mixed metaphor. Sorry).

One of my favourite professors from Marianopolis, Dr. McKendy, had several "bits" he used to employ in class as humourous reminders of salient points in our course. One of these was a piece of tongue-in-cheek advice: if you are ever writing an essay piece for a final exam, on a piece of literature you have never read, or you have run out of time, scrawl down "THINGS CHANGE." This will always be applicable to any novel.

I often think of Dr. McKendy, and of THINGS CHANGE (it's always in capitals, ok, and it's always in his voice, too). My entire month of December can be thus described. It was a month in which I found myself contemplating two roads diverging in a wood. It was a month in which I had to give up several dreams, but found another I perhaps needed to fulfill first. It was a month in which I discovered that people I thought were enemies were perhaps at the very least receptive and friendly, and people I thought were friends developed a more complicated, troubled relationship with me. It was a month in which I packed up offices in three libraries, and moved into a cozy one tucked under a staircase, with a bay window. It was a month in which I was able to use extensive knowledge about grief in the workplace. It was a month in which I broke down leaving a thank-you voicemail for a wonderful City of Ottawa employee, with whom I had developed an unexpectedly great rapport with on a City-wide committee this year. It was a month in which I made some mistakes, and was saved only by the generosity and support of my team. It was a month in which I moved beyond projects and external goals, and saw for the first time in my career that maybe I really influenced a team for the better.

It was also a month in which I tabulated the final grades for my Acquisitions class, read voraciously for BOYCA, accepted the role of the Chair of the Local Arrangements Committee for CLA Conference in Ottawa in May 2012, agreed to be on the Ottawa IMPAC committee, trained an employee, coached another, sat on an interview committee, judged some poster sessions, went to Toronto, and fĂȘted the retirement of our City Librarian (one of my own mentors, and a friend).

Maybe I should be clear now.

Late last month, I accepted a new position as the Coordinator of the Carlingwood Branch of the Ottawa Public Library. Carlingwood is one of our larger branches, with some of the highest circulation of material in the entire system (Q3 2011 circ was 145,888, surpassed only by Beaverbrook, Main and Nepean Centrepointe). I'm really pleased to be back in a large branch for the first time since I left Westmount, but I do miss the community feeling in a smaller branch. I already miss doing storytime and find myself lingering in the children's department like a pathetic loser, but I enjoy having more time to focus on supervisory tasks. I am worried about leaving the downtown marginalised populations I have grown to love and admire so much, and with whom I see so much more to be done, even as I know I will discover other groups in my new neighbourhood in great need. I am getting to know the teams I work with, and I continue to be amazed by the great people we have working at the library, full of ideas and ready to go out of their way to support each other and serve our patrons. Everything this month has been a bit like Elizabeth Bird's Fortunately, Unfortunately blog post of last year (brilliant, btw). I am finding myself paralysed when people ask me how things are at Carlingwood: no one really wants the full answer... it would take too long to list all the good things, and all the things I am sad to lose! There is so much going on! THINGS CHANGE!

I'm just getting my bearings, still exhausted from wrapping up a multitude of projects at Bookmobile, training my replacement there, and saying goodbye to three teams: Bookmobile, Homebound, and Rideau Branch (for the first time in five years, no longer my substantive job, my home base amid renovations and repairs and mat leave replacements....). I've hardly even started to make a list of the ideas for Carlingwood swirling in my head. I still have at least three boxes hiding under my desk that I have to unpack.

Here's to turning the page to an exciting new year.


  1. Wow. That's change, all right. Good for you--congrats!

  2. thanks Megan! Take care and best wishes to Yusuke, too!

  3. oh you cryptic! Now I am dying to hear the details of the more private parts of this blog post -- enemies now friends? Friends now weird? Mistakes were made but you were saved?

    However, private is private (even when hinted at in a most maddeningly public way!).

    Congratulations and good luck with new career developments!