Music Monday – “I grew up like my daddy did/My grandpa cleared this land/When I was five I walked the fence/While grandpa held my hand”

I don’t think I’ve ever posted this song for Music Monday but it’s one of my favourites of all-time.

Rain on the Scarecrow” – John Mellencamp

Although I knew fairly early that I was never going to be a farmer (my standard line on the subject is that, growing up, I was more into books and computers then barley and combines), I really appreciate that I spent my formative years as part of a family farm that stretches back to 1883 when my great-great-great grandfather settled the land.

I’ve been thinking about those rural roots for a lot of reasons lately, not least because when I look at the content put out by the NDP Leadership candidates and the Sask Party Leadership candidates, it’s like there are two completely different races being run in two completely different places (and I guess, in many ways, there are. NDP’s base is urban and Sask Party’s base is rural and they only overlap in a few select areas – carbon pricing being one of the most notable.)

Another related thought is that RPL had its annual “Staff Development Day” today and I was asked to moderate a panel discussion on “Fake News” with a local education prof who specializes in social media/technology, a journalism prof and a journalist who was formerly with the Leader Post and currently with CBC.

(It’s probably too small to see but I put “Fred” on my name tag instead of my real name as a nod to the session I was hosting.  Probably should’ve put “Donald” though!) 😉 

The panel was very well-received from feedback I got afterwards but I also felt like an hour didn’t do it justice – we could’ve easily spent a whole day on “Fake News” and different aspects of it – its history, the current role of social media, the political aspect, fake identities, trolls, filter bubbles, where the line between skepticism and conspiracy theory is, whether the library is complicit in spreading “fake news” when we buy books that aren’t factual, etc. etc. etc. (all of which are things that got touched on during our panel but very briefly for the most part.)

In thinking about my rural roots and where they intersect with my current filter bubbles, I know that one way I’m trying in my own small way to “burst that bubble” is by making a conscious effort to reach out to and at least pay attention to (or even engage with) people on social media that I might not have previously including many of those rural people I grew up with. I’ve started following lots more conservatives on Twitter and friending people on Facebook who are as likely to expose me to pictures of a deer being field dressed as someone eating avocado toast.

It’s a small step but it’s a start and, to bring it back to my opening thought, I also appreciate that growing up in a rural area has given me both the connections and hopefully at least a basic level of comfort to do that in the first place.

At Least There Was One Unexpected Sports Victory Today ;-) #skpoli @ryanmeili @premierbradwall

In my quest to bring you all the hardest hitting political news, I have to note the somewhat shocking development that Ryan Meili beat noted Sports Cage call-in regular, “Brad from Swift Current” in sending out a timely tweet about the Roughriders’ tough loss today.

It took “Brad from Swift Current” TWELVE full minutes before he chimed in but it remains to be seen if this uncalled for delay will be as scandalous as the GTH or the Regina Bypass project for his government. 😉


Saturday Snap – Tobogganing

Enjoyed a day off last Monday by taking the kids tobogganing…

Friday Fun Link – Best Social Media Management & Analysis Tools

I don’t do a huge amount of this on my own blog/FB/Twitter/etc. but still useful to know what tools are out there for managing all aspects of your online presence – tracking mentions, controlling content, your social media reach and so on.

Throwback Thursday – #tbt – Getting Ready For The Holiday Concert (December 2012)

“Jason Hammond” In The News

I admit it – I have a “Google Alert” set-up for my own name.

I’ve never seen anything come up about myself in any news reports.  But every few days I get a notification about somebody somewhere in the world named “Jason Hammond” doing one interesting thing or another.

Here’s a couple other recent ones…

“I feel like an idiot. I vastly misunderstood how a library card works for years.”

This is a pretty funny /r/books thread on Reddit from a guy who knew that library cards were free but thought that there was still a charge for the actual lending of books! 🙂

It sounds funny but there are lots of examples where libraries don’t always do as good of a job as we should of communicating what we do and how the services we offer work.

One particular example I run into regularly in my own library system is that we don’t have overdue fines on children’s materials.  But we do charge if a children’s item is out for an excessively long time even beyond the regular loan period.

So there is often confusion for people who think that they will never get any charges for taking out children’s materials when this isn’t actually the case.

And of course, in a much more general sense, there are so many people in society who think of libraries as warehouses of dusty books and many other stereotypes rather than the dynamic community hubs they’ve become.

Music Monday – “I wish I had carved my bad poetry/Into your back while you were asleep/A little something to remind you of me/A little something for her to hold on to”

I’m fascinated by coincidences and have had a few recently…

  • Went to a housewarming party this weekend and a guy mentions the completely random fact that they ended up sitting next to a previous owner of their Regina home in a bar in Saskatoon, never having met him before!
  • The same housewarming party was hosted by a newly married couple – I was good friends with the groom in undergrad 20+ years ago (still remember trading him a Prince CD I didn’t like for a Blue Rodeo CD he didn’t like!) and his bride is someone I went to library school with in Ontario!
  • I heard about the song below in the listing of Prairie Dog’s “Best of 2017” winners.  That write-up happened to mention the video was shot in my hometown (including the gym that hosted my own grad ceremony!) but that’s not the main coincidence – guess what song was playing on our local community radio station when I woke up this morning?

“Bad Poetry” – Megan Nash

Minister of Education Bronwyn Eyre Under Fire (aka “Don Morgan, I Miss You!”) #skpoli

When an Education Minister cuts funding so significantly that it puts the entire, century-in-the-making public library system at risk of shutting down completely, it’s not surprising that I’m not going to be a fan.

Luckily, thousands of other people across the province felt the same way, then-Education Minister, Don Morgan, admitted his mistake and public library funding was restored about a month after being cut in last spring’s Provincial Budget.

Well, I never thought I’d say it but I really miss Education Minister Don Morgan right about now!

Because no matter how I felt about his decision on library funding, he always seemed like an intelligent, reasonable person and he gave the impression that many of his views on libraries weren’t necessarily coming from a place of malice but instead, (an unfortunately not uncommon) misunderstanding about the role of the modern public library in the 21st Century.

In September, Don Morgan was replaced by Bronwyn Eyre as Education Minister, an interesting choice for person with ultimate responsibility for how we educate our province’s children to say the least…

This whole situation is giving me deja vu to Minister’s Morgan’s library cuts as a quickly growing Facebook group sprang up, bloggers were posting concerns about her understanding of the topic, and journalists were pointing out that her comments were based on mistaken assumptions.

Minister Morgan was invited to visit libraries to learn more about what they do and it’s been pointed out that Minister Eyre’s concerns would probably be better clarified in a one-on-one parent-teacher interview than in a speech on the floor of the Legislature, especially since other student’s accounts of the lesson don’t reflect what Minister Eyre claims her son heard.

There’s even a parallel that the SaskParty (or at least Minister Eyre) appears to be trying to fundamentally change something they implemented in the first place, just as they did by cutting library funding after initially funding our province-wide system.

Minister Eyre is facing a lot of heat for her most recent comments about Treaty Education, and, in the midst of a campaign by the Sask Teachers Federation to encourage their members to become more involved by buying memberships in either the Sask Party or the Sask NDP who are having concurrent Leadership races, you wonder if she’s seen as a bit of an anchor for the five Sask Party contestants who are trying to walk the fine line between supporting a colleague (and, more importantly, the Premier who appointed her?) but distancing themselves from her ill-informed comments?

There are also potential implications in the Sask NDP leadership race.

Ryan Meili made the very astute point that her comments actually are the best evidence of the need for Treaty Education and decisively called for her resignation during a morning debate at the Saskatoon Teachers Association conference last Friday.

Trent Wotherspoon then followed Meili’s lead by also calling for Minister Eyre’s resignation later that same day.  Wotherspoon also echoed Meili’s earlier point that leaving Eyre in place reflects poorly on the Premier.

How this will all shake out remains to be seen.

But it is more evidence of the Sask Party going off the rails in so many ways – scandals and deception and even a creeping “Trumping” of our government and politicians.

With a resurgent NDP currently picking a new Leader who could become Premier in 2020 and the Sask Party leadership race underway with the winner immediately becoming Premier, the stakes couldn’t be higher.

With her comments, I’m not sure Minister Eyre realises that. But I suspect those running to be Leader of the Sask Party do.

Saturday Snap – Good Knight

Sasha was playing in the “tickle trunk” we keep of various costumes and other dress-up clothes…