wmtc: things i heard at the library: an occasional series: #23

Girl: Do you have this book, something like, “keeping a secret about you”? Me: Let’s take a look in the catalogue. [Stalling for time while scrolling through titles in my mind.] Hmm, do you mean Keeping You a Secret? Girl: Yes! I took a bus all the way from the South Common branch to here ...

wmtc: disrupt and transform: 2017 cupe ontario library workers conference

The 2017 CUPE Ontario Library Workers Conference was a very special event for the Mississauga Library Workers Union. Over the course of two days, our 2016 strike and the great gains we made for our members were celebrated from the podium again and again. In the same way, the tremendous perseverance and solidarity shown by ...

wmtc: ontario librarians: should the ola support staffless libraries?

This week, the Toronto Public Library announced plans to open libraries with no staff. Not just no librarians — we’ve seen that in many places — but no staff whatsoever. This was bad enough, but we were further horrified to see that the Ontario Library Association, a membership-based organization that is supposed to further the interests ...

wmtc: librarians: celebrate human rights at your library #Write4Rights

December 10 is International Human Rights Day. The date commemorates the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, the first global human rights document. Every year on December 10, Amnesty International Canada holds Write For Rights. All over the country, Canadians use our own human rights to support people who don’t have ...

wmtc: on a language adventure with mango languages

We are going to Egypt! We’re super excited about it. It’s someplace we’ve always wanted to go. In fact, it’s the only country that Allan has always wanted to see. (We went to my number one spot — Peru — in 2006.) Just after New Year’s, we celebrate our anniversary, and we always go away ...

wmtc: labour day readers’ advisory: books and movies that celebrate labour

I spoke to a customer yesterday who was visiting from Denmark. He described himself as a trade-unionist, and he came to the library, looking for me, to learn about our strike! He also said he had read a book he loved, and was looking for more like it. He described the book: “by a Canadian ...

wmtc: things i heard at the library: an occasional series: #22

“Can you help me find some mystery books?” “Yes, I’d be happy to. What kind of mysteries are you looking for?” “The kind where someone is killed, and then they figure out who did it.” Okay… In the mystery fiction section, I tried this. “There are different kinds of mysteries. Some are more gritty and ...

wmtc: things i heard at the library: an occasional series: #22

“Can you help me find some mystery books?” “Yes, I’d be happy to. What kind of mysteries are you looking for?” “The kind where someone is killed, and then they figure out who did it.” Okay… In the mystery fiction section, I tried this. “There are different kinds of mysteries. Some are more gritty and ...

wmtc: mississauga library workers vote overwhelmingly to strike

Yesterday, the members of CUPE Local 1989, Mississauga Library Workers Union, voted overwhelmingly to strike. Amid massive turnout in three separate meetings, 96% of the members in attendance said they are willing to take strike action in order to win a fair contract for all members. The July 4th strike deadline coincides with the start ...

wmtc: things i heard at the library: an occasional series: #21

Visibly anxious and upset customer: Can you please help me? Something is wrong with this computer! I go over to take a look. The public computer is still starting up, and Internet Explorer (sadly, the default browser) is slowly opening. Me (pointing to the Chrome icon on the taskbar): Let’s try this browser instead. You’ll ...

wmtc: awful library books and why we remove them from our shelves

A while back, I blogged about weeding, every library’s not-so-dirty little not-so-secret. Daniel Gross, writing in The New Yorker, looks at weeding, too – from a library-users’ revolt in Berkeley, California to the hilarious Awful Library Books blog: Weeding the Worst Library Books. It’s a sweet story about a necessary evil that is really a ...

wmtc: library workers are precarious workers

Local 4948, Toronto Public Library Workers Union, a/k/a the most kickass library workers’ union in North America, produced two videos about the state of library work today. Here’s the short, humourous version. And here’s the longer documentary version; it’s about 19 minutes long. If you care about libraries, about the lives of working people, and ...

wmtc: vancouver, day four

Our last day in Vancouver was a full one. It included a library, great art, a meet-up with an activist-friend… and noodles! I didn’t want another breakfast at the hotel, so we poked around a bit online and found something nearby. This place didn’t open til 10:00 (I guess hipsters don’t wake up early) but ...

wmtc: dispatches from ola 2016, part 2: libraries and prisons

I’ve had a longstanding interest in prison libraries, and was happy to meet another librarian-friend who shares this. But I was very pleasantly surprised at the large turnout for the talk Prisons and Libraries: A Relationship Worth Incubating at the 2016 OLA Super Conference. A panel of three librarians who serve incarcerated people in different capacities gave ...

wmtc: dispatches from ola 2016, part 1: choosing to walk a path

I attended OLA* for only one day this year, partly because I’m already missing so much work for bargaining and other union business, and partly because one day is often enough. There’s a huge lineup of presentations, poster sessions, book signings, vendors, keynote speakers, tours, receptions, etc. – lots of etc. – but the presentations ...

wmtc: in which i continue to hate christmas even though i can’t be bothered right now

Right now I’m so busy, between work and union, that I barely have time to hate Christmas. As I’ve found in recent years, a combination of circumstances – getting out of the office worker environment, streaming-only TV and movies (ad-free!), discovering the authentic meaning many of my colleagues find in the holiday – has taken ...

wmtc: things i heard at the library: digital divide edition (#20)

In library school we talked a lot about the digital divide, the ever-increasing gap between those who have access to information and communication technology, and those who do not. Public libraries are one of the very few institutions that exist to bridge that gap, however imperfectly. What does the digital divide look like on the ...

wmtc: blue jays vs. royals, library style

Library smackdown? Toronto Public Library vs. Kansas City Library, via Twitter.

wmtc: things i heard at the library: an occasional series: #19

A mother and her young son enter the library, returning a big stack of books for beginning readers. A conversation is already in progress. Imagine this in a voice – no, a whine – of pure sadness. “But why do I have to return it?” “Because it’s not yours. It belongs to the library.” “But ...

wmtc: votepopup: voter education at the library

On the long list of anti-democratic policies the majority Harper Government has enacted, the Orwellian-named Fair Elections Act ranks near the top. More properly called a voter suppression law, the Act effectively disenfranchise tens of thousands of Canadians. The Council of Canadians has taken the issue to court, including an ongoing Charter Challenge, but those ...

wmtc: things i heard at the library: an occasional series: #18

As I’ve mentioned, my current branch is located in a community centre. Here’s an example of why that’s so great. A customer came to the desk, an older man, speaking heavily accented English, clutching a piece of paper. It was difficult to figure out what he wanted. He kept repeating, “They said the library would ...

wmtc: things i heard at the library: an occasional series: #17

A customer comes to the reference desk to ask about Zinio. I tell him that Zinio allows him to get full access to hundreds of magazines, all at zero cost, through his library account. His eyes light up. “This is all free?” “Yes, it’s completely free. Do you use a computer at home?” He does. ...

wmtc: to ottawa for the 2015 cupe library conference

At this very moment I am on the train from Toronto to Ottawa, en route to the CUPE Library Workers Conference. This will be my first time attending this annual event. I don’t know what to expect, but I’m super excited! Last week I was off work for a few days for my annual Spring ...

wmtc: i survive another march break and live to tell the tale

I’m still providing library services to teens, and I’m still loving my job. March Break is one of our big-ticket items. I’m expected to plan and provide a week-long lineup of free programs for teens. I strive for a variety of programming – some tech-y, some crafty, some movement, some just for socializing and fun. ...

wmtc: follow up: a brighter picture on ebooks and libraries, in some cases

Last summer, I blogged about the very bad arrangement between publishers and public libraries regarding ebooks, and suggested that library users could help their libraries by not borrowing ebooks. I’ve discovered some additional information that works in favour of libraries. This also answers the question asked in comments here. The $85-for-26-downloads pricing structure applies to ...