28 October 2014

Review: Consumed

Consumed by David Cronenberg

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This debut novel from Cronenberg will likely appeal to fans of his films, and to readers looking for something strange but smartly written. Tech, fetishism, medical obsession, body horror, cannibalism, sex and philosophy all feature prominently. There was a fairly jarring change from third to first person in the last third of the novel or so. You get the sense that the themes explored in the book have been bouncing around Cronenberg's head for some time, and once it all comes out the book just kind of ends. This is one of those books where even though I didn't really enjoy the characters very much, I was compelled to keep reading just to see where the story was going. 3.5/5

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27 October 2014

Review: Tell

Tell by Frances Itani

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A quiet and gentle story about something that is neither quiet or gentle. Itani deftly weaves a story about two couples, each dealing with their own personal tragedies and the secrets which burden them. This novel will appeal especially to people who find themselves in genealogy libraries and pouring over old community newspapers and who will enjoy the detailed descriptions of post-WWI life in Ontario. 4/5

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25 October 2014

Review: The Martian

The Martian
The Martian by Andy Weir

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great book for space geeks - Weir writes tech in a very accessible and enthusiastic way. R.C. Bray reads the audiobook and is a master of accents. My only quibbles are some stylistic aspects of the novel - jarring changes in tense from first to third to distant third person, and that Bray's voice had sometimes a little too much gravity for the jokerish Mark Watney. 4/5

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13 October 2014

APLL: Planning Pre-work

The three things I would like to take away from the APLL Planning Course are:

1. How to evaluate your current planning as time goes on and the environment changes.
2. How to integrate your plan into the daily culture of your library - staff buy-in etc.
3. How to evaluate and demonstrate the effectiveness of your plan through qualitative and quantitative means.

Haliburton County Public Library's mission and vision statements can be found within our strategic plan: http://www.haliburtonlibrary.ca/stratplan2013.pdf

09 October 2014

Module 4: Missions and Visions

For me the value of the public library ties directly to freedom of expression which is protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Inextricably bound with freedom of expression are the rights to seek, find, and spread ideas. This not only involves information sources (books, internet access, etc.) but it also involves interacting with others in a common space. Freedom of expression being a fundamental right in our culture, we need to strive to make access to our public libraries barrier free. Words that struck me as I read through a variety of public library mission and vision statements included words that directly relate to freedom of expression as a fundamental value of public libraries: Connection, community, knowledge, collaboration.

As a point of interest, this video (one of my favourites) kept jumping to mind as I read through the different pieces for this module.

06 October 2014


What a crazy couple of weeks this has been!

When I wrote my last APLL post it was 2 days before I was to move house,  and I wrote it on my bed surrounded by boxes (you can see I got a little punchy at the end). I'm writing this surrounded by boxes too, but in a new house!

The lead up to moving was very hectic. I took my holidays starting on the closing date of our home purchase, which was October 1st, knowing I would be back to work today to help lead our annual Staff Day. So prior to October 1st I had to do all the things I normally needed to do, then do all the things I normally would need to do, then make sure that all my staff day stuff was in place and ready to go this morning. I actually dreaded this morning a little bit - I have filled, lugged, and emptied more boxes than I could count, cleaned corners, assembled furniture, and organized rooms that up until now I have had no say in. Last night as I went to sleep I could only keep asking myself how the heck I was going to switch gears and stand in front of a room full of Branch Supervisors and Branch Assistants and talk about library stuff.

I met my CEO at the office this morning before going to the staff day venue and said "I have no idea how I'm going to pull off today." She just said "You'll be fine!" Sometimes all you need to hear is that someone else has more faith in your organizational skills than you do - we are our own worst critics.

Anyway, it was a very good day. Staff Day is an annual event that's part training, part staff appreciation. We go over refresher type stuff, have draws and prizes, lunch, guest speakers, service awards, and a bit of easy yoga was thrown in for good measure. This is my second staff day I have attended, and the first I have helped organize and lead. In a system where our farthest branches are a good hour-and-a-half apart, it's really important that we get to see each other at least once a year! 

Now, having switched gears from moving to libraries, I'm catching up on APLL and relieved that I am not as far behind as I thought I might be. Staff Day (and seeing that my Planning package arrived via SOLS courier) made me think about our APLL Intensive coming up and how I am looking forward to meeting all of you and having that face-to-face.