Too Nice to Work

So today I stepped outside to go to work and I was bowled over by how nice it was, then I began to think a mental health day would be nice, but what would I do, where would I go?  I got in my car and thought the world is at my feet what should I do?  Then I started thinking about what I had to get done today at work, and then my brief flirtation with absenteeism was over, damn I hate being a grownup.

On the plus side I had an interesting conversation with one of the baristas  (sic) at my local Starbucks.  We were talking about how he does not like to study at the library because of all the stacks of books are imposing, distracting.  I mentioned that I too do not understand how people can study there as it is usually too noisy because of whatever.  I blame the open concept library, I have now worked in two such designed libraries, one that has plenty of rooms and spaces for programming and/or quiet study, the other falls short in this.  Both have study rooms, but the walls are thin, so you can hear what is going on inside vice versa.  Both of these branches are beautiful and inviting to all, except the studier.  Programming and regular conversations can be distracting etc.  I think a well balanced library would have quiet spaces and programming spaces, whether the programming/Children’s  areas are separate with glass or sound dampening technology used to diminish the noise of the children enjoying the library. They can be happy and loud while others suffer in silence.  Some people come to the library to get away from the noise and confusion of life, an oasis of sorts, where they can sit enjoy the paper or novel in silence with their coffee etc.  Students come to study and to get away  from the distractions of home like TV, Xboxes, screaming annoying siblings etc.etc.  So now we are failing to provide the service that these people want, they have just as much right to enjoy the library, and they pay taxes as well, but their needs are being ignored or downplayed.  How as an institution that promotes life long learning and the third place, now what?

So while looking through the OLA’ Super conference mailings I saw that The Cellist of Sarajevo, the winner of the evergreen award is the One Book One Conference title.  I have been meaning to read this book for awhile and since I am attending the conference I thought I had better read it.

The Cellist of Sarajevo Book Cover So I picked up the book and started to read it, this is a great book.  I think Steven Galloway, aptly captured the cares, worries and strife of living day to day under siege.  By Concentrating on three characters, each doing their best to survive.  One taking the fight back to the unnamed men in the hills a family man that has to get water for his family, and another man, who is doing his best to survive, but has forgotten how or what it means to live.  This is a great book that has been well reviewed in so many other places that I can do it no more justice.  I look forward to discussing it with other professionals, and book lovers.

What should I be?

So the other day I was talking to a friend about work etc, and he said you don’t sound very happy at your job, have you considered doing anything else?

You that is a very good question, while growing up I never considered being a librarian as a job of choice, hell it wasn’t even on the radar.  I wanted to be a History Teacher, and had worked towards that goal.  IN my final year of high school I decided to not to go to teachers college (back then there were still some) and went to university, instead and went on to do a MA in history after an extended period, most people would have a PhD if they were in school that long.  Before the completion of the degree, my advisor and I had a frank conversation, and we both said no to a PhD that I would have to pay for myself, Bs don’t get money.  Though I have said no it is still there in the back of my mind, but might have to wait till I retire or win the lotto.

That said my decision to library school was pretty spur of the moment, discovered the option after talking to a friend who said they were going, and that sparked the idea for me.  What a great concept, get to read, help others with my knowledge, and continue to learn about things I love, and get paid to do it.  I thought with a MA I was a shoe in for university work.  WRONG  Still waiting to hear from an interview I did 5 years ago at MT A.  Had a few others that went nowhere, not even contract work.  A friend told me about a job in a public system so I applied and here I am 5 years later.  Let me be clear I never want to do public libraries, but I seem to have found my niche.  I look at job postings (one academic posting actually asked for transcripts after 5 years of service why would I need those?) still and know a couple academic librarians, and they seem to have a pretty sweet deal, but I also see the publish or paradigm that they deal with for those in tenure track libraries, and I am at a loss to think what I would do that would be research and writable about.  Though working from home would be freaking sweet.

Anyway the question is still there what else could I do, I enjoy helping people find interesting reads and information, but those interactions are few and far between as the internet and other forces provide similar services.  Really for me it is the politics of the institution, something I thought I would escape from after university, boy was I wrong.  Something else is the that sweeping changes are made without staff consultation, especially about something patrons/customers are passionate about and will cause much upheaval and complaints.  I like my job, but yes sometimes I am less than enthusiastic about it and it comes through sometimes in my tone and conversations, not every0ne can be on 24/7 for the life of their career.  I see some of the new hires here that are that way and I see burnout in their future, but they have to learn on their own.  It took me 2 years before I did, but I am a fast learner sometimes.

Still what else is out there for me?  What else could/would I do.  I really don’t think I could teach, knowing what I know and see about teachers, though I think the students would be happy to have someone that actually has a clue as to how things really work in the information world.  NO DATABASES ARE NOT THE INTERNET!!!!!!!  This is aimed at all teachers of all ages, you should know better, because you teach doesn’t mean you cannot learn.

There is always the publishing industry, but holy crap why would someone go into something that is so incredibly dependent on customers and refuses to keep up with the times.  LONG LIVE THE PAPER BOOK!!! VIVA LE BOOK or is la anyway.   I love to read, I love books, but there is required such a passion and sacrifice that I am not sure I have.

Then there is book sales, but with Chapters etc, not sure I could find a place where I could sell books and make a go of it, unless it is a part of something else.  This has been a dream, but with no money and student loans it is still some way off.

Then there is the final option I have thought about for some time writing, but and I have had a few ideas in my time, but I am not sure this is the way for me.  I think one of the reason I have started this blog is to force myself to write a bit more.

Anyway, if any of you have any other suggestions please let me know.

Toys and Other Things

So I work in a public library, as I am sure the couple of people who follow, or stumble upon this post may have or not realized that I do, know.  Hmmmm, very convoluted sentence, no wonder I have  no followers, oh well.  Any way on to the rant.

Right I work in the public library sector, and the primary “goal” of public libraries is lifer long learning.  So the system I work for is into this, and their goal is to get them while they are young and they will keep coming back for the rest of their lives.  Now let me state yes I agree early literacy is indeed very important.  I myself suffered horribly as a child because I was a latch-key kid with two working parents doing shift work, so no one read to me.  Due to this I was held back a year in primary due to poor reading skills.  Now look at me.  Our local public library was a one room affair in the community centre with a nice library  lady, but we very very rarely visited it, but on the bright side we did have a book mobile visit our school on a regular basis.  My parents had to send me to tutoring but I got by and now I read 4-5 books a week, sometimes simultaneously. Anyway I digress.  So in order to lure children into the library we have toys lots of freaking toys for them to play with, some are very educational for developing motor skills etc some are not.  It has come to a point that there is no longer any space for said toys, but they keep coming and coming, and getting bigger and bigger, and oh so much more expensive.

So here I am, I am in the middle of finals etc, and there is not enough seating in the freaking place for our lifelong learners to sit in to continue their learning.  I have requested more tables etc to help with this but alas nothing has come of it, but what arrives today, but yet another freaking expensive toy.  WTF

When I first started working in the system as an adult librarian, in a new branch, there were some deficiencies I wanted addressed like a bit more seating shelving that kind of thing, and all my pleading went out the window and I thought it was due to there being no more money left int eh branch budget.  Then I have a meeting with my manager, a former children’s librarian, and she is telling me how at the end of the first year there was around 10,000 dollars left to be spent in the capital budget and her first thought was to say to the children’s librarian lets go buy more toys.  My anger was contained barely, but it goes to show how the prevailing thought process of buying toys to the detriment of other departments really fucking pisses me off.  I mean holy fucking shit yes we have created a generation of life long library users that keep coming back to play with toys, but there is nothing for them as they get passed the age of 5, oh wait lets buy games for them so they can steal them.  Oh wait now your an an adult, sorry we have nothing for you, and no place for you to sit, unless you want to go and play with the the kids toys.

Where is the love?  You think by buying them popular books they will overlook the fact that are being ignored?  No seating, no quiet areas to read papers, magazines etc and relax, kids/teens yelling talking, kids throwing tantrums cause they have to leave the toys and go some place else.  No, there really is no place for adults in libraries.  Come in, get your James Patterson book and leave. We have no seating, the university students took it all, cause they do not want to commute to their school library, sorry our internet access is slow cause these students and others are downloading so much crap it slows down the broadband, but look on the bright side they are not checking out the books. My suggestion is that adults young and old alike start asking their local libraries what are you doing for me as a life long learner, what are you providing me, what courses, classes, events focus on me.  Use the comments forms and fill the suggestion boxes.  Just don’t attack the staff after all they just work there, and do the best with what they got.

So somewhat related I read  in the  Globe and Mail there is a wonderful article that calls me Fusty by the way I am not over the age of 40.  Read it here:

I like the article, and yes I am a bit over reacting, but I do hope that people remember that yes we still offer other services, like books, studying, and life long learning, coffee shops and bars are just window dressing and the flavour of the month, there will always be core services like life long learning.  People coming in the doors to eat, study, and use the wireless, doesn’t really matter much except hey are bodies coming through the doors.  Wow they are taking out games and DVDs.  Look at our circulation stats go up fantastic.   Free stuff is always great until they have to pay for it.

FOr a book review this week, I have started reading The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway.  The book won OLA’s EverGreen Award, and is the Superconference One Book One Conference title.  I have been mean to read the book for some time now, and this gave me a great excuse to read it, instead of Dan Brown.  So far I am being swept away by the grim descriptions of lives changed by the ravages of war and how people survive.  I am only a half way through, but so far theis is a great book and one I would suggest people to read.

The Cellist of Sarajevo

Great Things

So yesterday’s post was a departure away from my usual library/books/ whatever postings, but it does count towards my disillusionment.

So today I was doing my usual trolling through papers and twitter posts when I came across this bit of great news Natalie Portman will be producing and starring in  Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, The movie, how sweet is that, she is so totally cool.  This little bit of news has really given me a shot of happiness.  There is something in the movie world I want to really see, course it will probably take some time.

So there are now supposed to be 4 Quirk Classics, and I have only read one of them, I am soooo behind.

So another great thing for me is tomorrow, I am going to hear publishers hawk their wears to librarians, and what do they use for bribes free galleys.  This is like Christmas and birthdays all rolled into one.  Think book expo but only 12-22 people in the room fighting over books.  A co worker and I were discussing this and he related to me a story of when a rep left boxes  and didn’t take the books out due to illness.  What ensued was like sharks in a feeding frenzy, cardboard was seen flying through the air.  Every time I see the older female professionals throw down like this I have to laugh.  I think another comparison is a shoe sale at Macey’s (I think there was a Seinfeld episode showing Elaine throwing down).  I have yet to see blood, but someday…someday.

Racism on XBOX Live

This post is in no way library related, but it is life related

So as I mentioned in a previous post I enjoy playing Modern Warfare 2 , and I play online with a bunch of people I have met in past few months and enjoy chatting and playing with and killing the forces of good and/or evil depending on which side I am put on.  This is my major escapism outside of books and movies, and hey there is actually a lot of social interaction going on.

Now this social interaction with others is usually in the form of trash talk before and after matches, but there have been other discussions about weather sports movies etc.  Though trash talk is the real modus opperendi, and I have noticed this trash talk littered with the usual momma jokes and taunts has developed some pretty serious racist/anti-Semitic/homophobic repartee which has really made me cringe when I hear it especially when I hear out of the mouths of prepubescent males.

These “men of the future” are throwing around the N word and others with greater and greater regularity, and with reckless abandon to try and get a rise out of other players, and I do not mean n ending with a “ga” either.  These boys are not from the south, seem to have no monetary issues, cause they are playing on an expensive system an expensive game on a monthly subscription, which obviously someone is paying for. To those parents who let their kids play the game shame on you for ignoring the mature label on the cover, and you have no one to blame, but yourselves if you kid becomes a monster etc etc etc.  Based on the accents of the kids, many seem to be from the northern states and Canada, I have found those with a bit of a drawl etc seem to be the polite trash talkers.  But being a white guy from Canada who am I to judge accents based on those I hear in movies.

The problem is they seem to be picking it up from older players I mean teens who seem to relish this type of name calling that is all but anonymous due to the gamer tag they put in.  There seems to be little or no repercussions for this. Myself and some of the people I play with have called them on it and they just laugh and then go all out.  I have put in a few electronic complaints and I am curious to see what Microsoft will do about them if they will follow up with me.  My brother contemplated getting an XBOX 360 for my nephew, but I told him to go with the Playstation just because of this issue.

As for myself, I do see some rays of hope out there, especially two you gentlemen from Texas, who called a few others on calling them rednecks or hillbillies.  They replied with tact and courtesy, they also went on to kick some serious ass in the game and thanked everyone for playing and wished us a goodnight when they logged off.

As I see it I am not the morality police, and it is not my job to teach these kids ethics and morals,  it is up to the parents etc to do it.  They cannot blame the media as I know, TV and movies have done their part in ending racism and all the other bad isms out there.  But to I will do my bit and call them on their usage of hate language, I may even chip in some money so my friend a very large African American man can go and visit some of these teens and adults who are setting the bad example and have a chat with them.

Welcome back from the woods

So yes the title is a bit self-serving in welcoming myself back from the world of dialup, but for those others that may have also been in the middle of nowhere over the holidays it applies to you as well.

I was hoping for some great revelations when I returned to the world, but yet nothing really  happened that needs to be discussed here, cause really nothing has involved libraries or books or….. Crap Ereaders.

Yes this year with the release of Sony’s new e reader and the Kindle becoming available in Canada there seems to be a few children and grandchildren that thought it would be a great idea to buy one of these for their aging parents/grand parents this year for Christmas.  Now we are talking about the generation that cannot even set the time on their VCRs and microwaves.  So these thoughtful people said here is a gift and if you have any problems go to the library, they can help.  I hate all of you that said this, but your parents are so nice how can refuse to aide them with their technological problems.

So here we are, with no idea what these things are cause I am all about the book format, screw modernity, paper is where it is at, like Doritos we can always grow more trees. Hell there are whole portions of universities with forestry programs to do just that. (though I disagree with the destruction of the beautiful old growth forests, kill a pine tree they deserve it with their needles)  Anyway, yes libraries have ebook collections hidden in our magical online databases with weird names like overdrive and netlibrary, but hey they are proprietary in nature, so yes you need to login at home download software and transfer them to your device, or, sorry you cannot check it out right now because like a physical book only 1 person at a time can read it and you only have 3 weeks to do so when you get it.  Doh, damn I guess the Kindle may be better in someways oh well, guess I will keep my paper for now, but I do have a hankering for some kind of toy purchase.

Force 10 from Navarone book Jacket So while on vacation I mentioned in my previous post that I Force 1o from Navarone Movie coverwould be reading a lot, and boy did I, along with watching a lot of satellite TV.  One of teh more interesting books I read was Alistair MacLean’s Force 10 from Navarone. This is the sequel of Guns of Navarone a book I did not read, but have have seen the both movies of the same names many many times.  I loved the movies and would rank them up there as some of my all time favorite war movies.  Now that I have read the book, I can understand the great writing that made for great viewing.  Like all movies that have been made into books there is quite a departure from the book, of which I can really understand, as the books are more successful in conveying the espionage side of the story and the movies more teh action side, but both have elements of each.  I was quite surprised though at how soon these departures happened in the book (I say book because I saw the movies first).  Both are very entertaining, for different reasons, there are more characters to become attached to in the book, and MacLean makes a great effort to show how the mission is more important than the people carrying it out and the sacrifices made to do so.  The book has a lot more plot twists than the movie, but the final out come is the same, which I will not reveal here.  One of the bishames of all this is that, I have once again discovered an author I like who is dead, so there is no wait and see what new things he produces.  The challenge will now be to find all the titles he has written.  Read/watch Alistair MacLean’s work they are great books and movies that have enjoyed popularity for years and deserve to remain in on the shelves of all readers.

Holiday Reading

Hi All,

SO I am off on vacation to the world of dialup and doubt I will be posting again until the new year.  o because of this my vacation will be limited to what I can read, oh and watching the TV, something I don’t do when at home because I do not have cable and this and other visits is my time to get caught up.

So I have been trying to decide what to take with me to read, this is usually a big decision as I do not want to lug around a lot of big books, nor do I not want to take things with me I cannot leave behind.  Luckily for me my branch has been doing some serious weeding so there are a lot of disposable paperbacks I can take with me.

That said here are two books that I will be reading over the holidays that will be happy to lug around to and from my destination.  The first is Kelley Armstrong’s FrostBitten.

This is the 10th book in the Women of the Otherworld Series.  This is a great series with strong female characters that fight against evil.  They are all supernatural beings ranging from a female werewolf to half demon reporters.  I have enjoyed all of the previous books so I am definitely looking forward to this one.

The second book that will be sure to be added to my reading is Sense and Sensibilities and Sea Monsters by Jane Austen, and  Ben H. Winters

I have every confidence that Quirk Books will produce another winner.  These Jane Austin classics repackaged with added content, for men like me, who has never read an Austin book (have seen the movies), nor would ever read one, has created a new fan.

As you can see I am not a fan of the Christmas themed books, those are there for one and all to peruse.

Enjoy the Holiday Sesaon,