Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What I did on my summer vacation.

 Creative Commons BY  Ceru Andrei
I never had to write a “What did you do on your summer vacation” essay as a student. Maybe it was because I didn't do all that much back then. Baseball, playing with friends, exploring forests and beaches at camp or a cottage, playing in the sprinkler and the occasional video game were the staples of my childhood summers. As a teenager and university student, my summers were filled with jobs: some in retail, some in manufacturing, and some in libraries. I am happy to say that this summer was more like my childhood than teen and adult summers! I was able to take almost two months off, and enjoyed every moment of it!

One thing that I did not do was worry about work or professional development. I would have liked to say I was on the ALA's boat with Annoyed... but I was more often at a beach, cottage, or stay-cationing.

Not keeping up with my RSS feed (and this blog) was a mistake that I will not make again! I have almost 70 library and IT blogs on my RSS feed, as well as a few web-comics. After a month and a half of not looking at my feed, there were over six hundred unread articles! I would have gone insane trying to read and retain all of the information in those blog entries, but my “Read it later” add-on for Firefox was used a fair amount. After two weeks, I feel I am caught up in what is happening in library land, though not prepared to offer comments on it.

That said, I have not been totally cut off from what has been happening in library land. Due to my involvement on Facebook, and listening to CBC Radio, I am well aware of what Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is doing with branches of the Toronto Public Library – namely, closing them in an attempt to save money. (I say attempt to save money because, let's face it, governments rarely have records of keeping money in their coffers when they can spend it – especially when the money doesn't actually exist. Yes, I followed the deficit issues in the USA too.) Of course, Ford and his brother Doug were democratic about what they wanted to do. They asked “the public” what they wanted. They even had a Facebook page dedicated to it! Unfortunately, “communists” were not allowed to post on that Facebook page. Who's a communist? Well, according to Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti – a member of Ford's executive - anyone who “wants anything for free” happens to be a communist! Libraries give things away for free. Therefore the people who support libraries are communists. I guess that would include most municipal and provincial governments that provide funding and support for libraries.

In an aside, Margarate Atwood – a prolific and iconic Canadian author – spoke out against Ford's plan to close libraries, but she is an unknown entity in the minds of the Fords. That's right. One of Canada's literary giants criticizes the Toronto government, and the Fords don't even know who she is!

I guess we should have seen it coming. Canada's flag is, after all, red. Sure, studies have shown that library use has increased over the past few years all over North America, and their returns are worth the cost. But apparently, for Ford, but the bottom line is the bottom line.

With Ford and Harper being buddy buddy, I am rather nervous about what will happen with the upcoming provincial elections.

I was much better at the game aspect of being a RPG Librarian. In fact, I think I may have gone a bit overboard! I wrapped up a Shadowrun game (though, it will be played again in winter, if not sooner), played a teaser for an upcoming Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG, took part in a friend's long-awaited Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition RPG, took part in another friends long-awaited Big Eyes Small Mouth RPG (loosely based off of the anime .Hack//SIGN); and took part in three FATE system RPGs. And, of course, meeting with my friends from high school to play a game about pirates on the high seas, or playing a game of Magic the Gathering.

This does not include some of the other games that I have ideas for: a super-heroes game, a “play the bad guy” game, a game set in OZ where Dorothy never left Kansas and a play by post game involving ghosts.

Of course, my summer wasn't filled with fun and games. (Well, okay, it was, but I did things that are fun aside from gaming.) Several weddings occurred. I bought a new musical instrument and am learning how to play it. I helped with home improvements, including painting and re-flooring. I'm working on techniques to be a better story teller. And, of course, I read books for my own entertainment, books that my patrons would like, as well as listened to audio books.

Looking back on the number of things I did over my summer vacation, I am glad to get back to work.

I need a rest!