Wmtc readers have told me that they like the inner-workings-of-the-library posts, so I’m going to let myself write those whenever an idea comes up. That means the “things I heard at…” category becomes less literal… not unlike the title of this blog.
Did you ever wonder how a library manages to keep its whole collection on the shelves, when new books are coming out all the time? Where do all the books go? How can it all fit?
The answer: it doesn’t. Space is finite, and the number of books in any collection, although also finite, is always expanding. (Read more…)
Since the day I decided to go to graduate school and change my career(s), my mind has reeled with questions about the future. When will I be able to quit my horrible law-firm job? When will I get a professional position at the library? When I get it, will I succeed, and will I enjoy my new work? What place will writing still have in my life? Will my health suffer? Will I have enough energy for these new demands? And on and on. It didn’t feel worried or anxious, but I was incredibly impatient for my new future to (Read more…)
The children’s library where I work services a huge age-range of young people and their caregivers, from birth up to around age 12. I enjoy the full range – helping parents understand the importance of reading to their children, helping kids find fun books to read, finding material for school projects and reports – all of it. But what I love best is connecting avid young readers – of the age group known as “tweens” – with books they enjoy.
Wikipedia defines the tween demographic as ages 10-12, but tweens may be 9-13, or may even be as young as (Read more…)
I’m always amazed how when personal upheaval strikes, whether tragedy or happy Big Life Change – your world shrinks down to a tiny little circle. We moved to Canada the day Hurricane Katrina struck, and days later, we were struggling to take in all we had missed. Since the flood four nights ago, the outside world has barely registered on my radar.
So, what has happened to the Laura and Allan Family since I posted those lovely sewage-filled photos?
The flood was Monday night. The Greater Toronto Area received a month’s worth of rainfall in the span of (Read more…)
Summer is the busiest time of year in the Central Children’s Library. Actually, we are wildly busy any time school is out; the summer is just the most sustained period of busy-ness. Many of my colleagues have been preparing for summer programming since the end of March Break.
All through July and August, in libraries throughout Canada, kids will be participating in Summer Reading Club. The program uses incentives, activities, and fun programs to keep kids reading over the summer, which has been shown to improve their performance in school. It’s fun, and it’s free.
All Canadian libraries receive the (Read more…)
In this post, I described doing reference as “a bit scary,” and Impudent Strumpet asked why.
I started to write an answer, ran out of time, then found myself on my first real shift at the reference desk!
During my training and orientation weeks, I did two half-shifts at the desk during non-busy hours – a second chair, so to speak, when there is normally only one person working. But this week I had my first proper evening shift, during peak hours.
It is also exam week for high schools, so every available space in the entire library is (Read more…)
What a difference it makes when you enjoy going to work. What a difference when you don’t dread your job. Wow!
This is what I’ve done in my new position so far.
- I participated in the finale of Grade 4 Read To Succeed, in which the winning classes – the classes that read the most books in each branch library’s catchment area – attended an event at Mississauga City Hall. There were songs, games, prizes, and readings by two children’s authors. It was a bit weird for me, as I hadn’t been involved in the program, but great fun (Read more…)
Even though I’m following several important news stories – from the revelations about the massive NSA domestic spying campaign to the slow-motion implosion of the Conservative Party of Canada to the show-trial of Bradley Manning - I seem unable to blog about anything but my own life. I remember two other times when this happened: just before and just after we moved to Canada, and when I started grad school. Big Life Change has a way of swamping everything else.
Career changes are huge transitions, but librarianship is even more than a career change for me: it’s an entire change of (Read more…)
Yesterday was my first day as a librarian! And it was great!
I’m only doing orientation and training right now, but I can tell how much I’m going to enjoy this job. I love the environment; I share the same goals and many of the same values. I have concerns, of course – this is not only a career change for me, it’s a complete lifestyle change – but I’m not trying to answer every question in advance. I’m trusting that many issues will work themselves out over time. (Patience, the brighter side of aging.)
I’m back at the (Read more…)
We interrupt this travelogue to bring you an important announcement. I got my first librarian job!!
This is a part-time, temporary position in the children’s department of the Central Library, where I was a page for 14 months. I am thrilled.
But wait, there’s more!
I also interviewed in a competition for eight part-time positions, not librarians, but great experience doing reference and programming. I was one of the top scorers and was offered my choice of four of these positions, including two that are permanent.
So what does this mean? It means I can be a part-time librarian until (Read more…)
The degree will not be official until May, but I’ve just completed my very last school assignment. This means… I. AM. DONE. Done!!!!! My apologies to everyone who already saw this at Facebook, but such momentous news must be posted on wmtc!
I am honestly unable to express my joy and relief at finishing school. I sometimes wonder if I’m making a big fuss over something quite common, something people do every day. Then again, if people do return to school after nearly 30 years and pilot through a complete career change in their early 50s, every day, then good
. . . → Read More: wmtc: i am a master of information
Page no more! I’m not a librarian yet, but I’ve managed to get out of the page level. I’ve landed a part-time position as a circulation clerk, doing circ and customer service at the front desk in a branch about 20 minutes from home.
I’m thrilled. My hourly pay rate just doubled, and it will be a huge relief to my middle-aged back and knees.
Another reason this is very important is it guarantees I will not be a page again. If I get a librarian position that is temporary, such as covering a maternity leave (a not-uncommon way to
. . . → Read More: wmtc: in which my library career moves forward
January 26, 2013 was the first Human Library Day, but the Human Library, also known as the Living Library, has been around for several years.
The idea is to assemble a diverse group of people to be “books”, then invite an audience to “borrow” the books by engaging them in conversation about themselves. The “book” person talks to the “reader” about her or his life, giving people an opportunity to interact with a greater range of human diversity than they might normally encounter. Human books might be called, for example, activist, musician, lesbian, Muslim, doctor, cancer survivor, wheelchair-user,
. . . → Read More: wmtc: three library issues, part 3: the human library
Increasing numbers of public libraries are moving towards a self-checkout system, based on radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology. This is not the slow and often painful process you encounter in Ikea or Home Depot, where customers are forced to supply free labour by doing the work of cashiers, while corporations pocket the savings. (I’ve been planning to write about that for a while; future post.)
RFID in libraries is a simple process: you can view an example here. Customers can check out a big stack of items by placing the entire stack on the sensor and inserting their library card
. . . → Read More: wmtc: three library issues, part 2: rfid self-checkout
An enormous number of library-related stories cross my path, either through school or this blog. A few have stayed on my mind and seem worth fleshing out.
A San Antonio, Texas public library will become the first in the US (and possibly in the world) to go completely bookless – that is, its collection will have no paper books, only digital books.
Much has been written about the pros and cons of digital books, and without recapping all that here, I think it’s important to realize that there are both positives and negatives. The digital book, like all technology, is
. . . → Read More: wmtc: three library issues, part 1: the all-digital library
At the branch library where I’m currently working as a page, the magazine section is along a back wall forming an L shape – the long part full of magazines, the short part with teen magazines and comic books. This isn’t the graphic novel section; it’s Archie, Amazing Spider-Man, and such. Around another corner from that short wall is a cozy reading area arranged among the youth novels.
The other day, as I was beginning to file a big pile of magazines, I came upon a girl, maybe tweens or early teens, wearing a hijab (not unusual), standing in the
. . . → Read More: wmtc: things i heard at the library: an occasional series: # 8
I must preface this post with a statement. If you aren’t a regular wmtc reader, if you’ve stumbled on this post without knowing anything about my views: I am a fierce proponent of free speech, and I am passionately committed to intellectual freedom.
Once, discussing my opposition to capital punishment, someone asked me, “Even for George Bush?” And I thought, you don’t know me very well, do you? I’d give my eye teeth to see a POTUS – former or sitting – stand trial for war crimes. I’d dance in the streets as he were sentenced to life behind
. . . → Read More: wmtc: things i heard at the library: an occasional series: # 6
Today I begin my last term of grad school. There are thirteen weeks to a term, so as of today I am counting down weeks to the finish line.
My courses may be interesting this term: graphic novels and comic books in the library, which I’m excited about, and issues in children’s and youth services, which is at least relevant to my career.
The term itself will be difficult, because both classes are at night, plus I will be working at least one night a week, possibly two. Working at night is fine, and standard for the public library, but
. . . → Read More: wmtc: my magic number is 13
Of all the aspects of librarianship that I know about, the piece I’m most excited about is readers’ advisory.
Readers’ advisory is the library term for answering that important question… “What to read next?” Questions like, “Do you have any more books like this one?”, “I’m tired of reading mysteries, I need something different,” and “I loved this book, I want another just like it,” are all about readers’ advisory.
I was surprised to learn that adult readers ask library staff for book recommendations all the time. In my own reading, I am guided by almost exclusively by
. . . → Read More: wmtc: trials of a student librarian: readers’ advisory, the library thing i love best
This is my first unhappy “things i heard at the library” post. Today I saw a child being abused.
It happened so fast, it was over and the parent gone before I had could clearly register what had happened. I was sitting on the edge of our lighthouse, the play space in the centre of our children’s library, collecting books left inside.
A child was crying. He couldn’t have been more than three years old. His mother was yelling at him in a language I don’t understand.
She grabbed his arm roughly, jerking him backwards. His head hit the lighthouse,
. . . → Read More: wmtc: things i heard at the library: an occasional series: # 6
Another semester is behind me! I’ve now completed seven of eight terms, 14 of 16 courses. The expression “can’t wait” doesn’t begin to describe how eager I am to finish my degree next spring.Quitting my oppressive law-firm job continues to pay dividend… . . . → Read More: wmtc: i’m back and i’m done
I was planning on spending the final few weeks of my summer reading, and blogging the remainder of my notes from Marxism 2012. That all changed when the Rivera family was ordered to leave Canada by September 20.
While Kim and lawyer Alyssa Manning pursue all avenues to challenge this injustice in court, the War Resisters Support Campaign is trying to make visible the widespread support for Kim, and for allowing all US war resisters to remain in Canada. If you’re in Canada, check this page for local actions you can participate in – or call a friend and organize
. . . → Read More: wmtc: where i’ve been
“Where can I find book number 285?”
The boy’s face was so earnest and so excited.
“What book are you looking for?” I asked.
“Book number 285.”
“Is that the title of the book?”
“No, it’s the book’s number. The title is ‘Quick and Easy Cooking’”.
“You want a book about cooking?”
“Ok, I’ll show you where those are.”
I walked him over to the kids’ cooking section. “These are all the cooking books for kids. You can look through these books, or if you want a specific book, we can ask
. . . → Read More: wmtc: things i heard at the library: an occasional series: # 5