Monday, July 09, 2018

Working at the Library

A Brief History Lesson

I’ve been working at SPL (Saskatoon Public Library) for a little more than 10 years, now. First as a Page for 3 months, then at Cliff Wright for 6 months and then 9 1/2 years in the Children’s Department at FMCL. There have been ups and downs as I took on too many responsibilities as Chief Shop Steward and then Vice President of our union (CUPE local 2669), but the work of the library has been overwhelmingly positive. If you know me even a little, it is obvious just how well suited I have been to working as a storyteller and entertainer of children.


Currently the library is undergoing a rather large shift from a traditional model of libraries that has existed for a very long time to the much newer concept of Community Lead. You can read all about the details on the change info page of SPL’s website. It is a very complicated process and if you don’t care enough to dive into the nitty gritty, the essence of community lead can be summed up with this paragraph taken from our website:

“Libraries operating under traditional service models serve some segments of the population better than others, namely those who are confidently able to engage in society well. For others who struggle with literacy, poverty, discrimination and social isolation, there are barriers to accessing library services. Through community consultation, these barriers can be identified and then removed.”
For me, the current result of this big change in the library system is that I had to apply for a new job within the library as my old one will no longer exist as of July 16th, 2018. Some of you are aware of this from talking to me or from seeing social media posts about it (when I was still on Facebook).


To end any suspense, I have a new job—and yes, it was the one I wanted. The new job has two huge changes for me. The first is that I will no longer be based at FMCL (the downtown library). Instead I will split my time between J. S. Wood and Cliff Wright libraries. It is disappointing to leave all my friends downtown, but I have always dreamed that I could help change the way programming is done throughout the system and I think this will by my chance. The second change is that I will be able to focus all of my time on programming (previously, it was about 1/3 of how I spent my time).

There continues to be a lot of uncertainty in my days as the upcoming schedules are adjusted and new people are hired (we still need to fill 3-4 programming positions). It will certainly be a busy summer. Especially when you consider that Wendy will be starting her new job at the U of S in August and Anwyn will be leaving for Ryerson University at the end of August. Phew!

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

City Walk 2018

Here we are again. The universe is bigger than ever and that includes Saskatoon—both because of the expansion of space-time and due to the more pedestrian fact of population growth. We must make some plans.

The Plan:

Saturday, July 14th, 4:15 am at David and Bri’s house (if you don’t know, ask someone). 4:30 am departure. It is my plan to walk counter clockwise. This means no wet river crossing*. Leaving from a new location means that I don’t quite know where the lunch should happen, but I suspect somewhere out past the Shaw Center in the early afternoon.

*Stay tuned for late breaking news about direction and/or river activity.

I expect you fall into one of the categories below:

Accidental Tourist: Google brought me here by mistake... <cough>

Observer: You think the Hopefuls are idiots, but you love us anyway. In other circumstances you would consider being on the Support Team but it won’t work this year. You will observe from a safe distance in case our crazy is contagious.

Fellowship: You love the idea of this adventure. It appeals to you on some level, but you  can’t commit to the whole day for reason X, Y, or Z. You will stay in touch with the Hopefuls or Support Team and come for a portion of the walk, or just to celebrate and visit at the midday meal. Your fresh energy and enthusiasm help propel the Hopefuls to victory.

Support Team: Whatever we need, that you are. Do you like applying bandages to blisters, driving take out coffee to the edge of town at strange hours, or making delicious food to share with others. Consider a job in this category. You should coordinate with Leora who is heading up the Support Team this year.

Hopefuls: You fools. You crazy fools. For some reason you want to walk until you drop, or until you reach the final destination. You... Have... Got... This! You will require some/all of the following equipment...


Clothing: Dress for the weather of the day, but consider light layers. The way is long and it will be best if you are as comfortable as you can be.

Water: We will be hours between civilized stops. Pack 1 litre of water, minimum.

Food: You can make due with energy bars, but I get sick of the same thing all day. Consider a variety of dry, calorie dense foods that are easy to eat while moving (or during our hourly 3-5 minute breaks) and don’t take up much space. There will be a provided mid-day meal.

Worn or carried in pack:
Keep it small and light. Carry only what you will need for the next several hours. We have  access to limited “on call” deliveries en route if we require changes of gear or additional supplies (such as coffee or a complete change of clothes).
Long-sleeve shirt
Short-sleeve shirt
Socks x2
Hiking boots/shoes
Water bottle (with liquid)

Other Backpack Options:
Money (for coffee breaks, etc...)
Cell phone (for photos, mapping, music, tapping out...)
Mosquito repellant
After bite
lip balm
Vaseline (for your feet (unless you are David))

Bin/Duffle Bag/Etc...
This will be stored in Leora’s support vehicle and should hold all of your extra equipment/food/clothes that you don’t want to carry for 18 hours, but will possibly need during the day.
Comfy shoes (for some of the easier parts of the walk)
Extra/Alternate food
Socks x ?? (My waterfall feet will use 6 pair throughout the day)
Wind/rain shell


Why are you doing this? Think about it. Sit with yourself in the quiet dark of your room and wonder why? The reason you are doing this may inform what you want to accomplish. Do you want to walk 10 km? 21 km? 42 km (full marathon distance)?

Personally, I like to struggle. Some call it “hard fun.” The reward for hard fun may come in the moment, but often it is only “fun” on reflection. When you are comfortable in front of a fire, with a kettle just beginning to sing and you think about how crazy you were to try at all... but there is a smile on your face.

I like to know my limits. Failure is one of the best ways that we come to know what our physical limits really are. If you don’t fail, you never really know.

Anyone who walks out the door at 4:30 am can claim victory over their own doubts, at least.

Saturday, April 07, 2018

Virginia Trip pt. 1 - Charlottesville

A pre-reading note: I’m having trouble getting the images for my handwritten journal to render properly on my mobile phone. You will do yourself a favour if you view it on a tablet or desktop. If you use a phone, you may get pixelated images when you try to zoom the images. You should be able to tap/click/whatever on them to get the full resolution. Sorry.

Second note: I’m becoming increasingly disappointed with Blogger’s level of support for folks who want to design blogs on a mobile platform (hint: there is NO SUPPORT). This blog may be moving in the next several months.

In happier news...
The official photo-set for our Virginia Vacation is on Google Photos (which works great on mobile). Be aware, there will be spoilers, since this blog lags behind the actual vacation ;)