Thursday, March 29, 2012

Day 96: It's All Coming Up Rainbows!

Somedays, you just learn more than others. Today was one of those days. So to avoid getting too far ahead of myself, Today's post will be formatted rather differently. Two lessons, with related factoids. So without further ado, the first lesson of the day (in chronological order).

We had a guest lecturer in class today. She used to work in Texas and she had some fantastic anecdotes to share.

Lesson 95: Bats are bad news for libraries.*

Factoid 1: There are 32 different types of bats in Texas, only one is endangered but three are at risk.

Factoid 2: To get bats out of libraries, you have to wait till they leave for the night, shine a huge spotlight in and then seal up the ways they used to get in. However, this only works for most bats, some will stay behind. So good luck with that!

The second lesson came from finally making it to that vintage boutique and trying on that potential wedding dress.

Lesson 96: Standard clothing size was established in the 40s and 50s. But due to vanity sizing, we are no longer truly using "standard sizing" but the more ambiguous "catalog sizing" which has smaller numbers for the same sizes. This means that your size on the tag of vintage clothing will be a much higher number than what you think your size is.

Factoid 1: My waist is no longer 27". It is now 25". This means that I can actually fit into a vintage dress that's approximately a modern size 2! Though the (very obviously original) tag calls it a size 10.

Factoid 2: Owning a Wedding Dress is a surreal experience, particularly when the wedding itself feels so far off.

That's right, I bought my dress! My friend Aimee came with me to the vintage boutique up on Rachel and upon trying the dress on it fit like it was made just for me! It looked perfect and we even managed to find the perfect shoes! I can't wait to wear it!

The boutique, Boutique LĂ©ora, is unfortunately closing in June but Nicole Pelletier, the owner, is an absolute marvel. If you have the opportunity, you should definitely go in and visit. She mentioned that she's hoping to reopen in a new location, and I really hope she'll be able to!

I'm on cloud 9 today!

*my notes actually read "bats will fuck yo shit up" but this just seems a more relevant way of phrasing it.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Day 95: Scab

We had another strike vote, and have approved unlimited strike action that we'll apparently have a vote weekly(?) to renew...

But yeah, yeah, I did it, I'm a terrible person. I've crossed the picket line. Much as I may disagree with the tuition hike, I can't afford to pay for classes and not attend them either. Class was so under-attended today, I think it actually improved the discussion...

Lesson 94: Some aspects of this program feel incredibly redundant, but the best way to deal with it is to sit back and enjoy the company of your classmates.

Or dress like Batgirl.

That made my day infinitely better; spending it dressed as my favourite female librarian.

But I digress... There are really only so many times you can talk about the information seeking models of Belkin, Dervin, Kuhlthau, Taylor, et al. and library anxiety before it just all starts to blur together. Your peers are your best option to avoiding losing it entirely.

Hooray for friends!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Day 94: Of Wedding Dresses and Possibilities

I worked yesterday's full day shift at the library and it was not nearly as quiet as it should have been. We had quite the patron encounter. But after the shift, Kristie and I went to get La Banquise poutine for dinner before dropping her off at the bus station. It was such a great cherry on the icing of a regular cupcake of a weekend! I may have spent a great deal more of the weekend working on my various projects that were due today than I had wanted, but it was still fantastic to hang out with Kristie so much!

To make matters even better, we walked past a vintage boutique with the most absolutely perfect dress in the window! I'm going to go try it on, but I emailed the owner of the store and she says it's a size 2, and it doesn't appear to be made of the most forgiving fabric.

I somehow doubt I'll be able to squeeze my debatably size 6 frame into a solid 2...

Lesson 93:  Don't try to do everything.

I've been pretty good at keeping on top of everything this year. Honestly, much to my own surprise. But after our collection development paper was postponed by a week, all of a sudden, my leisurely visit with Kristie wasn't quite as unencumbered as it had been when we planned it.

Despite that, my groups and I managed to get the assorted projects that were due today done and to celebrate, I really wanted to go to trivia as I normally do on Mondays and unwind.

However, after class and going to see Rick Mercer on campus, I decided I'd have a nap before trivia. Trivia's at 8 and it wasn't even 4 yet, so I had lots of time.

And yet, I slept right through till 11pm. So here we are. I have another practicum placement interview in the morning, but I'm awake. At 11pm.

Really, I should have stayed awake till 8 and just gone to bed instead of trying to do trivia in addition to my awesome weekend of chilling with one of my best friends and a ridiculous amount of projects. But now I've messed up my sleep schedule. I just hope I can make it right...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Day 93: The Strike

Today was the day.

The big Strike... and boy was it big! I had work, so I couldn't go to the rally, but it was terrifyingly huge.

I could hear it from my apartment, which is blocks away from the square it was starting in. And on my way to work, I could see them travelling up Peel as I got closer to it, then as I came up to Drummond and looked south(ish) I could see an equally huge crowd down there, which didn't seem right. When I got up to Sherbrooke and looked down it, the scene was positively shocking... people from building to building from Peel as far as I could see.

Very impressive!

I've heard people saying that as many as 200,000 students were in attendance, though I have yet to see any sort of "official" number... most of the news outlets are simply writing that "thousands" of students were there.

Lesson 92: You know you have a self-depreciation problem (inferiority complex, impostor syndrome, call it what you will) when instead of "Omg! Yay! I did so well!", your first reaction to being hired/accepted to a position is "oh god... Just how terrible were the other applicants?"


I am quite unimpressed with myself for just how many times I've had that reaction. But I suppose it's just fuel for the fire. Yeahhhh.....

On the other hand, I'm really really super excited because my friend from Scouting back home is coming to visit me this weekend! I've been trying to get as much work done on Collection Development before she gets here, but I've got so many things to do (practicum placement interviews, work, training for work) that I'm not nearly as far along as I'd hoped. Besides, you can only do so many APA citations before you feel like your brain is about to start bleeding...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Day 92: Political intrigues abound!

That fake spring I mentioned earlier is now a full on fake summer... It's so hot outside! Absolutely fantastic, but it's bound to end by the weekend... At least according to the weather report. Not looking forward to that... but anyways.

As you may or may not be aware, Quebec students have been in quite the tizzy lately. The provincial government wants to raise tuition by 1,600 odd dollars over the next 5 years, which is a pretty substantial increase when Quebec student tuition is only just over 2,000$. As a result, the schools have held strike votes, and nearly everybody has decided that going on strike is the thing to do, though I'm a little lost on how you can strike when you're the one who's paying. While I admittedly didn't participate in the school's democratic process, I was under the impression that it was a reasonably fair vote that was more or less representative of overall student opinion on the matter.

However, the student representation in the vote process may not have been exactly representative.

Apparently, while the meeting had achieved quorum that was largely because the pro-strike students had really mobilized and came out in force to the meeting whereas most ambivalent and anti-strike students actually had no idea a strike vote was happening.

Lesson 91: Quorum is when an assembly has enough members of the group it is meant to be representing in attendance that the decisions made are considered binding, and to be the overall opinion of the group.

I don't really know much about student or university politics in general, so this entire business has been rather enlightening.

I guess it's another occasion where I'm seeing how I shouldn't take things for granted. Whereas normally, I'd be right and a PGSS meeting would probably wind up being roughly representative of overall student opinion, a meeting where an item on the agenda is extremely important to a particular group of people is bound to wind up quite a bit more polarized than usual.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Day 91: Post-St Patrick's Day Fallout

I am living on very much the wrong street for St Patrick's Day. After the parade yesterday, which left my right shoulder matching our school crest (white and RED; ouch!), my street didn't clear out until well into the evening. Absolutely marvellous weather though, and for now, only getting better (till the weekend anyways).

Lesson 90: The portions at McKibbons are absolutely extravagant. At Trivia tonight, I ordered the fisherman's chowder for the first time ever, but luckily had the foresight to ask what the size difference between "cup" and "bowl" was. The waitress told me that the cup was a regular sized bowl of soup, and the bowl was gigantic. The cup of soup that was brought to me was probably the equivalent of a full can of Campbell's Chunky soup!

Glad I didn't order that bowl!

On a more serious note, turns out my professor didn't appreciate my midterm example of reliability vs validity as much as I'd hoped, though I don't really understand why. But I still came out with a perfectly respectable mark.

Also, things seem to be just falling into my lap as far as next year is concerned. I may have lucked into a fantastic little apartment my friend won't be taking (the reason she won't be taking it? She just got engaged! Congrats, Laura! He's a lucky guy!). The apartment's not quite in the location I wanted, but next to a metro, so I can't complain. Might be nicer to stay out of the McGill bubble anyways; cheaper too.

I couldn't figure out a way to phrase this as a lesson beyond simply saying "course selection is haaaaard", but I'm also doing my course selection for next year. There are so many interesting courses that I'd like to take, and not enough time to do them in!

It looks like my biggest choice still to be made is Descriptive Bibliography (aka How to run a Rare Books collection) versus Cataloguing and Classification (Organization of Information, part two). My considerations are as follows:
  • Descriptive Bibliography has the potential to be rather redundant given that I'm hoping to take History of Books and Printing, and Archival Principles and Practice as well.
  • As much as I enjoy cataloguing, I don't know if I want to take another course about it that isn't going to focus on RDA, which as you may remember is meant to replace the current cataloguing rules right after my graduation (if they remain on track, big if).
Another course I'm not fully sold on is Database Design. Its focus is on Microsoft Access, and the course description states that it will also cover SQL which is what particularly interests me. However, I have been told that in practice, its coverage of SQL specifically is practically non-existent. And if I skip Database Design, I could take Language and Information instead, which is essentially about working in bilingual/multilingual systems which I imagine would be particularly handy if I want to stay in Montreal after graduation (which I would like to).

And of course, Knowledge Management comes hugely recommended, but I don't know that it's actually a course I'd like to take or that I would find particularly useful. Plus, I don't know what I'd be willing to give up in order to take it.

Other courses I'm hoping to take that I haven't yet mentioned:
  • Metadata and Access
  • Web System Design
  • Library and Archival History
  • Public Libraries
Choices, choices...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Day 90: Painfully Poorly Written Case-Studies

If you ever find yourself in a position where you are writing case studies for students to use, please for the love of whatever you hold dear, DO NOT give a ridiculous word-for-word account of every conversation of stilted dialogue that your two imaginary characters have ever had....

...And then top it off with ham-fisted attempts at purple prose. That prose is now purple only because you bludgeoned it into submission.

Highlights (paraphrased):
"She watched the janitor below and envied his uncomplicated life."
"[rambling paragraph of unrealistic internal monologue filled with overly specific references to obscure management techniques and theories] she meditated as she watched the sun dip below the horizon."

-_- Are you kidding me right now?

However, even the most hated things can hold a lesson! At one point in her over-theoretical ruminations, this particular character wonders if the employee giving her trouble has psychiatric issues, and wonders if she should recommend him to a psychiatrist, or if maybe bibliotherapy would help.

"Bibliotherapy? That sounds cool, is that actually a thing?" I mused thoughtfully. I could kind of guess at what it suggested, but I wanted to be sure. "To Wikipedia!" my internal monologue cried out as I grasped my iPad...

See what I did there? ...I think that case study melted my brain...

Lesson 89: The Ancient Greeks inscribed signs above their libraries, "stating them to be healing places for the soul"[1].

How poetic! I think I'd like to make a sign like that for my future, and inevitable, home library. Maybe I'll learn to cross-stitch just to make a sampler that says that...

Bibliotherapy: definitely what I thought it was, and definitely cool. And definitely added to my topics to read about list.

In other news, yesterday's post has been delayed because I'm waiting till I can add a couple pictures, as I largely discuss my Toronto adventure. So it'll be worth the wait; a lovely illustrated post.

[1]Sullivan, A. K., & Strang, H. R. (2003). Bibliotherapy in the classroom. Childhood Education, 79(2), 74-80. Retrieved from

Monday, March 12, 2012

Day 88: And breathe that sigh of relief...

After a lovely trip to the Canadian Conservation Institute in Ottawa with the ACA and CLA student chapters, I stayed on in Ottawa for a lovely weekend with my friend Sarah. She had to work a lot, but that just meant that I had an excuse to go eat at the pub she works at! Excellent place. If you're ever in Ottawa and want an excellent breakfast (or meal, period) you really should stop by The Lieutenant's Pump on Elgin.

And yes, you can quote me on that. I stake my vast and valuable reputation as a blogger on it. [/sarcastic self-aggrandizing] Seriously though, they're fantastic.

I mean, a burger with brie, mushrooms and bacon on it? Count me in!

Anyways, I digress.

Point is, I was back at school today. Though tomorrow I'm running off for a whirlwind trip to Toronto, during which I will ideally meet George R.R. Martin and get a book signed (for those who don't know, he is writing the series A Song of Ice and Fire, which has become the TV show Game of Thrones). But still...

Lesson 87: Professors are more aware of students' workloads then they are generally given credit for.

Or at least, I'll give my professor the benefit of the doubt and assume that's why she's given us the best gift she could have: a one week extension for all students on our collection development paper.

This week was going to be absolutely insane with the number of SIS events happening, my day in Toronto, completing a post-presentation write-up by Wednesday, the quiz in management, preparing my group presentation for next Monday, writing my evaluation of a research article for next Monday, spending and documenting 8000$ of imaginary money for our collection development paper due Monday as well, work, and the number of events I've been invited to for this weekend what with St Patrick's Day being so huge here in Montreal.

But now, I don't have to have completed the spending of the imaginary cash for another week.

And I feel like I can breathe again...

So lets see... if I can just get this write-up done now,
study for that quiz and finish readings tomorrow
evaluate a research article Thursday,
then I can maybe go to Gerts Friday,
do more collection development Sat+Sun
hand stuff in + present Mon and work on research proposal
train for the new job Wednesday, complete Collection Development
play soccer, work an 8hr shift, hang with Kristie
complete two essays and a research paper

Enjoy Easter? Go to Music Moot?
Seriously though, are you actually reading this?
It gets tiny like this so you can't actually read it.
This is an aesthetic representation of me losing my mind
Slowly becoming more and more helpless
As library school eats my brain like some zombie
Seriously, stop reading...

....Help me....

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Day 87: Winter is coming?

It happens every year, but I really do love it.

It's fake springtime!

I know that Montreal is in this weird convergence of three different climatic zones (northeastern forest, great lakes and St Lawrence lowlands and something else if memory serves), so I wasn't sure if they'd have this effect I've become so used to in Guelph and Toronto, but here it is! So here's a lesson for people not from similar climatic regions (generally speaking, humid continental, if my understanding is correct).

Lesson 86: Every year, for a week or two in March, the weather will become unseasonably warm and comfy. Sometimes even as warm as summer. There's usually some rain too, but everything just screams spring for this brief period.

But don't be fooled!

Soon, we'll be back to our regularly scheduled winter!

Enjoy this while you can... I wish I could be outside basking rather than withering away inside.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Day 86: Best Dressed

Today's lesson is an old one that cannot be overstated.

Lesson 84: Presentations will take so much longer than you think they will.

We had a group presentation today, and despite our best efforts, the mere presentation part went so long we only had 10 minutes for discussion.

I really hope it doesn't affect our grade too much, I mean other than our unfortunately meager discussion, our presentation presented some good, solid analysis of social media and its use in library settings. And ultimately we only ran a minute over the 40 minute time limit.

If you're interested in the content of our presentation, I can share it. But ultimately...

Lesson 85: The Toronto Public Library is an excellent example of cohesive online presence, productive social media use and clean online branding.

They've really done a very good job of maximizing the usefulness of these tools and ensuring that they are responsible for the library's online identity, and not hoards of trolls misappropriating their identity.

Snaps for the TPL!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Day 85: The Heart-Wrenching Destruction of Books

This morning was the midterm for Research Principles and Analysis. As it was "Open-Everything" (like "Open-Book" but all course material was allowed) it wasn't too daunting, though that does tend to herald more convoluted and difficult questions.

I had bought myself some Tim Hortons on the way to write the test, and as a result I had a nice "medium" half coffee/half hot chocolate to drink through the midterm. As it's Lent, Tim Hortons has their "Roll Up The Rim To Win" contest on, so the cup I was drinking from could offer me many things from free food and drink, to a new car.

Always paranoid about having neglected some simple thing and as a result failing the entire endeavor, I told myself that if I had failed utterly on the midterm, I should at least win the camping equipment from my Roll Up the Rim. You know, to make up for it.

I won a donut.

I take this as a good sign for my level of success. I already know that I answered one multiple choice question wrong, but so far, that seems to be my only big mistake.

And any midterm in which you can write an entire response about Pastafarianism, Pirates and Global Warming is a good one in my books.

As for today's lesson...

Lesson 83: In 2004, the Duchess Anna Amalia Library in Germany was destroyed by a devastating fire (caused by faulty wiring) shortly before the entire collection had been scheduled to be moved. This fire destroyed around 12,500 volumes which are completely irreplaceable.

It's nice to think that in an age of mass-digitization this kind of massive information loss can't happen. But cases like this make it all to real. The photos of the library before and after the fire were particularly heart-breaking; the entire place was completely gutted and lost the entire top floor.

The destruction of the original Library of Alexandria made me cry when I first learned about it, and upsets me just to think about.

I don't deal well with the destruction of knowledge and information...

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Day 84: The snow is back and you gonna be in trouble...

It's snowing again! And it's been snowing all day! My legs hurt a lot because it's harder to walk up the hill at any speed with a few inches of snow underfoot, but it's just so darned pretty!

Lesson 81: I am the only one in my program who still likes snow.

Seriously though, I have some belated news to share! And will do so in lesson form:

Lesson 82: You're a lousy judge of your own success.

Remember that job interview that I felt like I failed at the French on? Turns out, I did fine! Fine enough that they've hired me!

So this summer, and next school year, I'll be working at the Patient Resource Centre at the Neurological Hospital.