A Comment on the Library’s Value

A person left a great comment on a neighborhood board expressing her feelings for the library where I used to work.

This is outrageous! Have any of you reading this spent any significant time in the Northfield Library??? Well I have and so have my husband and four children. The mostly female staff was outstanding – especially Kristen Carlson. If you know the library – then you know that it is very small – so everything can be heard. This is what I heard from the amazing folks who worked there – How can I help you? What came after that was amazing. As babies and children with their mothers, the elderly, adults with special needs & mental health issues and folks inbetween like me – came in for help, a chat or just plain human contact. Every need was answered and those ladies bent over backwards to listen, to care, to be present and to dispense books, magazines, CD’s, help with computers/copiers and everything you can imagine. There were times I left with a tear in my eye because they developed such kind and caring relationships with lonely and vulnerable residents who just needed a place to be. One particular day – the last day they closed before Christmas – I watched as many young children came in bringing little cards and gifts for the librarians – and they all left with a little gift in return. What is a small town library for if not a place to get a little something to read and some kindness. Wow this is a complete breakdown of the goals of our small town. We don’t need any corporate takeovers – leave us one vestige of humanity.

Open House Chicago: The Wing

DSCN2877.JPG

Workspace

The Wing is a collaborative workspace for women in the hot newly spruced up Fulton Market area of Chicago. It was my first stop on my Open House Chicago journey.

Chicago’s The Wing offers memberships for $185 per month, which entitles members to use the creative, comfortable workspace, reserve meeting rooms, attend workshops and presentations that help women move their businesses forward.

DSCN2878.JPG

Library area with books geared to women

The tour guide said the thermostat is set for temperatures women favor and the furniture is scaled to average women’s height.

DSCN2875

Main workspace

DSCN2876

Café

Late Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell that it feels weird to be in my final days of working at this library district. I’ve had some great days with my coworkers and the patrons. Yet the abusive management is still in place and still hurting people.

I had two positive career experiences. I had two job interviews that I felt good about. One was with a regional library association that is looking for someone to manage a Census outreach program. With my library and Census experience, I do think I’m a strong candidate. The only problem is the job is not near any mass transit and it cost $9 in tolls to make the 75 – 90 minute commute. I wonder if given an offer, I could negotiate some work from home days. My census manager told me he’s thrown my name into the ring for recruiting work. The pay would be good; recruiters can work from home with occasional meetings downtown and you can set your own hours. Finally, I had an interview to teach English in the Middle East. I applied as a lark, but was very impressed by the director and her program at a brand new college. What’s more at first the contract is just 6 months long. I think I could put up with anything for 6 months. Or am I being naive?

I am still uplifted from watching Charlie Chaplin’s The Circus. I’m delighted that I discovered this newly released DVD. There’s just something about old movies that cheers me even when they’re full of melancholy. These films are touching whereas many contemporary films are a one, two punch. I don’t need that much stimulation.

I’m currently reading Charles Finch’s Beautiful Blue Death and am enjoying his Sherlock-like hero Charles Lennox.

Note: I realize this is late. I started it on Monday as I usually do, but got interrupted and never completed this post.

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that my wrist is now in brace. The doctor says the bones are healing well but it sure hurt when the splint came off in any time I take off my brace. It’s strange how weak my hand is. Surgery may still be an option but I really hope it isn’t.

Another librarian got fired, which makes 19 since December 2018, which is horrible for a staff of 43.

As for my salary talks, my manager would not consider a different title or salary for a full-time position which draws heavily upon my many years as an educator. The fact that job pays $9000 less then the Branch Coordinator job I applied for which they gave to someone whose just got the high school diploma is galling. Unless there’s a miracle revelation I’m going to quit. The workplace is toxic and stressful.

I gave up on the Korean award-winning film Burning. It was just too pessimistic and soulless. I greatly there were plenty of beautiful or sophisticated shots, but for me characters make all the difference.

I’m still having fun with my census work and we’re head of the game with 75% of the county finished as of last Wednesday.

This morning was my Great Books Book Club can we discussed Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. I always enjoy the monthly talks with these group members. Before leaving the library I went upstairs to see the inside forest bath. One of the women at the book club reminded me about this installation. Basically, it was a little closet full of house plants of different sizes. I was curious about Forest bathing. What is that? Evidently it started in Japan and it’s the way to meditate or relax by taking a nature. If It’s often done in an actual forest where people very slowly move through nature absorbing all its calming, healing properties. I just looked over the little room and will have to return to take my first real “bath.”

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I fractured my wrist on Thursday. I was at my brother’s house and he has two dogs and one more he was taking care of. At one point, I took a step backwards not knowing there was a dog behind me so I fell over the dog. I put my hand out to break my fall. Immediately my hand puffed up. My brother got me some ice and took me home. I figured it was just sprained because it felt like a sprained ankle. I couldn’t move my fingers so it seems I hadn’t broken anything.

Later my sister-in-law came over with the splint my nephew had used. By Saturday my hand was still pretty swollen and black and blue so I went to a nearby bone and joint specialist that has an immediate care unit. Out I came with my arm in a splint. Needless to say it’s tough to get dressed, open a jar, or do most household tasks. I am testing out the dictation mode for my word processor and getting in the swing of that.

An added complication is that the library underpaid me for eight months. They discover the error and deposited all the money I was due into my account last week. Because it’s hard to get a full-time library job in these parts, I’ve been working part-time and qualify for Medicaid. However the big deposit disqualify me from that form of aid. So I had to pay out-of-pocket. An extra ouch. I am hoping that the library will take at least partial responsibility but that’s doubtful. If it weren’t for their error, getting the healthcare would be no problem.

Also at work the library got into the local news with two stories on the front page concerning the high turnover rate and the directors’ performance. Our turnover rate exceeds that of McDonald’s.

Just this year out of 43 employees 16 have left. I had lunch with some of my colleagues and what they told me about the harassment they’d witnessed in endured was frightful. The problems are worse than what has been stated in the two articles below. More on that another time. The library board take some action and responsibility.

Annex - Hayworth, Rita (Cover Girl)_NRFPT_02

If we were having coffee, I just tell you I thoroughly enjoyed Gene Kelly and Rita Hayworth in Cover Girl. In contrast, I’ve given up on Jean-Luc Godard’s Pierrot le Fou, a crazy nonlinear French abstract New Wave puzzling Bonnie and Clyde.

 

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you about the water color program I went to at the library on Tuesday. We followed the teacher step by step to create a small water color painting of two spring blossoming trees. We learned about a couple techniques of water colors and painted to Mozart. The teacher was super well organized and down to earth. Sometimes her classes are free style but this wasn’t but that was fine with me. She planned and paced the course so well and everyone left with a decent spring painting with matted with the color paper of their choice.

On Tuesday I went to a brunch to honor volunteers at my local library. The event was catered and there was something for everyone. I got to meet other volunteers whom I rarely see and met a few library staff members for the first time. Lots of good conversation and at the end we were given a small box of fine chocolates and a $20 gift certificate for a local restaurant.

On Friday I went to a conference for library staff. It was a fairly small affair with an array of small presentations. I saw some on Readers’ Advisory, i.e. how to interview patrons and figure out what sort of books they’d enjoy and some on makerspaces. The makerspace presentations were actually best for libraries that don’t have makerspaces. The information was very basic. One highlight was a session on motivation by the director of the LaCrosse Public Library. She knows how to give a speech as she was upbeat and had great body language. She structured her speech well and had ideas you could immediately put into practice if you were a manager at a library.

Yesterday I attended my nephew’s confirmation. His church is rather small, but the level of community engagement was high. I liked that people knew each other and were truly connected. There were 5 young people confirmed and one was also baptized. They prepared for years and the pastor and youth pastor seemed to know each person well.

How was your week?

 

Which Way Challenge

dscn7046-e1553905106725.jpg

NY Public Library

The Which Way Challenge, that Cee began, has been picked up by the Sonofthebeach69 blogger.  The beauty of it is that it’s free form. You can include images of doors, gates, roads, streets, exits, signs, paths, waterways, you name it.

DSCN5261

Tianjin

DSCN4691

London

See more Which Way photos by clicking here.

New Job

I started a new job at a small library near me. They’ve recently renovated and have a snazzy automated system for returning and checking out books. When you use the self-check out, you can put 8 books (or CDs or DVDs, what have you) on the check out machine and they’re all detected. I met a lot of my new colleagues and they’re quite cheery and helpful. One went to junior high and high school with my nephew and another is well acquainted with my sister-in-law, who’s third place is the library.

Sepia Saturday

bike fat

When I saw the prompt for this week (above), I immediately thought of Laurel and Hardy. Surely, there must be some fun photos of them with bikes. Here’s what I found.

duck_soup__icon3_

To see them in action, I’m sharing this clip with them evading someone who’s on to whatever trouble they’ve created. The duo commandeer a donkey costume and hop on a bicycle. Now that’s old time comedy.

f7c2bc04e87b3389337b18124621424c--stan-laurel-laurel-and-hardy

Sepia Saturday

library sepia

I’m thrilled that libraries is the theme for Sepia Saturday this week. I’ll probably post again tomorrow, but here is a start.

24301549243_0cd2cfa90b_z

State Library or New South Wales, 1955, Flickr

One reason libraries are terrific is how they introduce children to reading.

24301550833_d661f18452_z

Of 2WU music Library. Source: Library of New South Wales, 1944, Flickr

Such organization!

melvil_dewey Melvil Dewey (left) the originator of the Dewey decimal system had his share of critics int the world of libraries. Not only was he known for designing a famous system to organize libraries, he was known to be a serial harasser. Shame, Mr. Dui, shame.

(Dewey was a proponent of phonetical spelling and preferred his name was spelled “Dui.”