Throwback Thursday – #tbt – Happy 43rd Anniversary Mom and Dad!

What Do Garden Fresh Carrots Have To Do With Working In A Public Library?

As part of the interview process for a Public Service Manager position at RPL, candidates are asked to do a presentation on “The Future of Public Libraries” to some of the librarians already working in the organization.

I was able to attend one such presentation today and since we had a few minutes after the Q&A session, the candidate decided to turn the tables on us and asked “What is it like working at RPL?”

I was sitting in a spot where I would’ve been the first to respond but since I’d also been the first to talk during round table introductions at the start of the interview I deferred and asked the other side of the room to go first.

I listened to my colleagues give their answers and was struck by how many gave some variation of “It’s a great organization but we also have our challenges.”

“That’s not telling the candidate anything about working here at all.” I thought.  “That answer would apply to any library, check that, any workplace in the country these days.”

As each person answered, my own answer kept changing – should I talk about how I *love* working in a library that I’ve visited as a patron since I was 14 years old?  Should I re-phrase the somewhat generic answers we were hearing to something stronger along the lines of “We have some really awesome things going on and some things that completely suck balls?”  Should I ask our current Deputy Director who was sitting in the room to leave so I could give a more candid answer?

Then an idea popped into my head – story is often the best mode we have for communication so I decided to share a simple anecdote about a recent interaction at my branch as an illustration of what working at RPL is like for me.

This is how I answered (rewritten to be much more eloquent than I expect I sounded while speaking off-the-cuff)…

What’s it like to work at Regina Public Library?  Well, this answer will seem a bit strange but your question made me think of something that happened recently at my branch.  My parents were in about a week ago and brought me a bag of carrots freshly picked and washed from their garden.  I was leaving my branch at the end of the day and one of my young regulars saw me.  “Why do you have a bag of carrots?”  he asked and I replied that my parents brought them for me.  Did he want one?  He took one and I try not to make too many assumptions about my patrons but seeing his reaction after he started eating it, I couldn’t help but wonder if that might be the first “real” carrot he’d had in a long time and quite possibly for the first time in his life?  Since I’d made the offer to him, I decided to take the bag around to a number of my other young regulars spread out on the various computers around the library.  They all were pretty excited to get the carrots, many asking if they could have two or even three and apparently asking for more carrots after I left!  Now obviously providing any kind of snacks to patrons, outside of a few cookies for a book club or whatever, isn’t something we tend to think of as a typical library service – although maybe we should?  But my point is that there are many ways, big and small, that we can impact the lives of the patrons who come into our libraries, brighten their day, provide a welcoming environment.  This is a very small example.  But it captures what what it’s like to work at Regina Public Library for me.

The Next Five Years of Superhero Movies

This infographic excites me greatly…

Music Monday – “Take me to church/I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies/I’ll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife “

Saw this guy on Saturday Night Live last week and he blew me away.

At first, a song called “Take Me To Church” with a refrain of “Amen, amen” throughout might seem like a typical religious song.

But listen to the lyrics a little closer (or just read the excerpt from the chorus I used as the subject line of this post) and it’s clear that’s not the case.

Powerful video as well…

Take Me To Church” – Hozier

One Year To The Next Federal Election: 25 Reasons You *Shouldn’t* Vote For Harper #canpoli #cndpoli #skpoli

In politics, it’s really easy to slip into hyperbole, no matter which side of the political spectrum you’re on – “George W. Bush was the WORST President of all-time!”, “Obama has RUINED the United States forever!”

The next federal Canadian election is (tentatively) scheduled for October 19, 2014, exactly one year from today.

And when you’re talking about Stephen Harper, the reality is that for around 70% of the population, that day can’t come soon enough.  It’s also not hyperbole to say that there’s no other Prime Minister in Canadian history who’s caused more damage to Canada’s democracy, our environment, our traditional social values and our international reputation.

Here’s just one list of 25 of his absolute worst offences you really should read, *especially* if you think Harper’s an okay guy.    (Go ahead – it’s a quick read.)

I’m sure I’ll be posting about politics with increasing frequency as the next election approaches but for now, I hope you’ll just consider that list as you begin to think about who you’ll be voting for one year from today.

Saturday Snap – New Hallway Art

Shea re-painted our back landing and downstairs hallway recently.

That gave us an excuse to move a cool piece of art a friend gave us for our wedding to a more prominent location right at the bottom of the stairs.

Looks good!

Friday Fun Link – Do Not Touch

This site is pretty cool – a band created a crowdsourced music video comprised of people who visited their site following the instructions on screen.  Try it yourself!

Pirate Joes: A Unique Take on Cross-Border Shopping

A friend in Vancouver posted this story on Facebook mentioning that the story of a local man who’s going across the border, buying hundreds of thousands of dollars from Trader Joe’s (which doesn’t have stores in Canada) then re-selling the goods at his “Pirate Joe’s Store” is apparently a big deal out there.

I’m obviously very interested in copyright but this story provides an interesting take on the related issues around trademark, corporate “rights” to enforce their regional territory, the doctrine of first sale (eg. once you buy a product, its yours to do with as you please) and so on.

“Do You Believe In God?” – Neil deGrasse Tyson

Good stuff…

“Instead of begging, he provides book reviews.”

This young man sits on the side of Empire Road in South Africa and instead of begging he provides book reviews. He collects all these books, reads each of them, and provides reviews for people passing by. If you like the review, he will try to sell you the book. This is how he makes a living.

(via /r/Africa)