Sunday, June 9, 2013

Some things I've been working on recently...

 Ottawa Canal locks, sunset

It's only been a little over two months since I last ruminated on and updated you about work projects, so here we go.

I'm really enjoying my time with OPL's Diversity & Accessibility Services. It's hard to capture how I feel in a few words; people keep asking me how things are going. I have developed a standard line that it's 80% "Amazing! I know what I'm doing! Look, let's implement this!" and 20% "OHMYGOD WHO LEFT ME IN CHARGE? I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING!" That's sort of true, but of course it's not the whole story. Some days are about untangling knots, some are about heads-down time to work on reports, some are just lost in a sea of email, meetings and conversations.

Here's an attempt at a recap:
  • I brokez the Bookmobiles. Just kidding, I swear. But we were 0 for 2 for awhile last week, and it was ever-so-conveniently also during a gap after our outgoing supervisor left and before our Acting supervisor started (thanks, universe!) The team pulled together admirably well with just me for company (I recall one memorable conversation as I crossed Elgin St. to go to an event), and we actually tried something new. We rented a smaller van for holds pickup and Express checkout from the City's Fleet Services, and, while there were some wrinkles to iron out for when we do it again, it was a great success! When we returned to our regular stop with the Bookmobile this past Friday, several of our new patrons who had discovered us through the rental were there. How cool!
  • Yesterday, with a healthy bus with new, rush-order mirrors, we were at the Carnival of Cultures - pic here (check out my new bike, by the way! Her name is Magdalena)
  • Our Homebound team forged new territory, providing information sessions at two retirement homes interested in our monthly mini-library visits, and one e-reader workshop.
  • Our fantastic outreach librarian visited 8 groups to talk about library services for newcomers.
  • Our amazing Accessibility Librarian consulted on accessibility requirements for the Library of the Future website (6 more days! Share your idea!). 
  • We're close (I feel like this project is asymptotic right now, but I swear we are almost there...) to rolling out OPL's involvement in the city-wide volunteer database.
  • We found a new spot to park in the Riverside South community. The location of the much-beloved (and super-high performing) St. Jerome stop moved as the fire lane at St. Jerome School became official and created some safety hazards for us and our customers. We're now at the Rideauview Community Centre, where we have had a warm welcome from staff, made new friends, and kept our old ones! I'll spare you the gory details, but finding a new spot is no small feat when you weigh 14 tonnes.
  • We have two new team members, and will be getting two more soon (not soon enough!): Supervising Librarian, Bookmobile and Volunteer Services / Bibliothécaire superviseur(e), Bibliobus et services des bénévoles, and Librarian, Newcomer Services / Bibliothécaire, Nouveaux arrivants (I'm driving you to The Partnership website only because we're having issues with the link).
  • We're working on synergies with other teams: for instance, our Newcomer services team and the System-wide programming team, 
  • We negotiated our new funding agreement with CIC and are ironing out new terms of reference for our partnership with local agencies serving newcomers to Canada. We're all in a big transition period, with lots of tremendously rich opportunities, but clearing the path is a bit exhausting right now.
  • We had 10 fantastic Celebrating Cultures in Our Community events in April, May and June celebrating diversity at the library with everything from musical and dance performances to henna art and tea tastings!
  • Five OPL employees, including one from my team, participated in the CCI Community Cup Chase, and two of us were on the 2nd place winning team! There are some great photos on their Facebook page.
  • My ever-helpful and thoughtful colleagues assisted me with guest editorial duties for the June 2013 issue of Feliciter (out now!) with the theme of “Changing demographics.” 
  • Three of my team accompanied me to a really moving citizenship ceremony; we each hosted a round-table for new Canadians at the event, which was organised by the Institute for Canadian Citizenship. The citizenship judge was Suzanne Pinel, and she was outstanding. Our pic with her is here.
  • I starred in an internal staff training video. You'll have to bribe me to see it.
  • When holed up in my office, I am working on a few service reviews so we can get a better idea of what happens in our teams, and how we can capitalise on strengths and build in flexibility for the future of library services to diverse clients in the city.
All this, and a half-marathon. Oooh, and my Book Bank-ish project is getting more solid. Expect big news before the end of 2013!

No wonder I'm tired!


  1. Alex, you're unparalleled when it comes to producing fabulousness! Oh yeah, and let's just throw in a half-marathon too. Wow!


  2. What a beautiful photograph...