Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Costa Rica 2010

Wow, it's been a long time since I posted here. Hopefully you've been following me over at my other blog, Erin Explores YA. It's a little more active than this one.

As you may (or may not know) in April, I travelled to Costa Rica to build a school library for a rural village with the UWO chapter of Librarians Without Borders. I recently gave a talk about the trip to my colleagues at the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at the University Ontario, and another talk for CASLIS-Ottawa. Here are the slides from those presentations (click to download):

I've also posted a number of photos in a public Picasa album.

It was an amazing experience. I plan on writing a bit more about my experience here and there online and in print. Stay tuned!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Erin's Summer Reading List

Cross-posted from my YA blog.

What are you reading this summer?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Library Sent me to Jail

The Library sent me to jail this week.

Yes. Seriously.

Yesterday, I visited the Calgary Remand Centre. What is a Remand Centre, you ask? (I had to!) A Remand Centre is a pre-trial detention centre. It houses people who are waiting for court decisions on their charges or placement in correctional centres.

The library visits female inmates at the Remand Centre once a month. My boss thought it would be a good experience for me, so she arranged to have me tag along.

The building itself was one of the most depressing places I've ever been -- truly institutional. But the inmates themselves were much different that I'd expected. My boss told me I should "be prepared to be uncomfortable." But all of the women who attended were pleasant, friendly, and generally appreciative of our visit. My colleague, the librarian, explained that for many female inmates, jail isn't as a bad as where they've come from. They're safe, they have a warm place to sleep, they're being fed nutritious meals, and they're not being abused or attacked. Also, in their eyes, "library time" equals "free time" and extra time out of their cells. No wonder they're smiling.

We decided to read aloud a few children's books as many of the women have kids. I never imagined I'd be reading aloud The Pigeon Wants A Puppy in prison, but there I was. Next, we asked for volunteers to read aloud a few of the other picture books we'd brought with us. Literacy is typically low for women who are incarcerated. The librarian mentioned that she likes to have them read aloud because it helps them to build their confidence. Not only are the picture books easy to read, but it also encourages them to read aloud to their own children when they are released.

Overall, it was a very eye-opening experience. It helped me understand better where these women are coming from, and to look at them with less judgmental eyes. Also, it reemphasized for me why I am so passionate about public libraries. I saw firsthand, that the public library can and does make a difference in these women's lives.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Gone West....What else?

Wow, I haven't blogged here in like ... six months.

Well, here's what's happened since my last post:

  • Made it through my second term of library school with minimal drama.
  • Applied for the co-op program and was invited to interview for three positions.
  • Was hired for my first choice — the Calgary Public Library.
  • Went on a road trip with some library school buddies to Washington, D.C. Visited the Zoo, the Smithsonian museums of American History and Natural History, the Holocaust museum, and the Library of Congress — of course!
  • Moved to Calgary for the summer! My Mom found me this great sublet on Kijiji and proceeded to impersonate me through e-mail in order to secure it. Seriously. (I love my Mom).
  • Started a very scary job at the Calgary Public Library. Okay, it's not that scary, but I do feel like I'm in a bit over my head, especially since I am working in an area that's WAY out of my comfort zone. More on this later.
  • Went to visit my lovely friend (and fellow librarian) Jill in Canmore. She took me hiking for what I'm pretty sure was the first time in my life. Managed not to injure myself, though my lungs were not pleased with me, and neither were my legs the next day. Must work on cardiovascular endurance!
So, that's what I've been up to, in a nutshell. I'm going try try to keep this blog current while I'm out west so that you folks back home can read about my Calgary adventures.

Bye for now!


Friday, January 2, 2009

Back to the Books!

A new year has begun and I'm back to school in London. I'm super excited about my YA and Children's lit courses this term. We're required to blog for the YA course. I will likely set up a separate blog for that and link to it from here once it's set up. The prof wants us to use WordPress, so this will give me a chance to try it out. Suggestions on what to call the blog are welcome!

I'll be heading to the OLA Super Conference in Toronto at the end of the month. I'm looking forward to it immensely. I hope to meet my professional mentor there in person (we've been corresponding over e-mail for a few months now) and also catch up with my old publishing colleagues who will be exhibiting. And of course, there are a ton of sessions I'd like to attend. I'm not sure what my volunteer schedule looks like just yet. I'm really hoping I'll be able to get to at least a few sessions while I'm there.

I'm still trying to figure out travel and accommodation arrangements for the trip to Toronto. I could stay with my folks in Mississauga, of course, but that's not terribly convenient or ideal. If any of you lovely friends of mine who live close to downtown Toronto would be willing to put myself and a friend up for a night or two that would be super awesome!

If you've got a free moment, check out the super cute games on Mo Willem's Pigeons Presents website. My favorites are the Elephant and Piggie Dance Game and Hot Dog Dress-Up.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Where does the time go?

Clearly, I am not very good at this blogging business. It's been long over a month since my last post. I missed the month of November entirely. But not to worry... Nothing particularly interesting has happened. My academic pursuits have been keeping so busy I've had much time for extra-curricular adventures. Besides, I'm sure I would only have bored you with rants about the Dewey Decimal System and treatises on the finer points of the reference interview.

But now the holiday season is upon us and I am free from school work and studying for a glorious month. I've decided to hang back in London for a week to get some errands done I've been neglecting all term. Some friends and I have also planned a week of "super awesome fun" before we head home for the holidays. So far our itinerary includes Christmas shopping, ice skating at the park downtown, trivia night at the grad club, an outing to see the movie Twilight, and an afternoon of crafty creation (mostly like to be scrapbooking and jewelry making). Then on Friday, I'll hop on the train home to my parents' house, armed with four or five good books to read over the holidays. I have a long overdue date with John Grogan's Marley and Me.

Christimastime is always ...er... interesting... when it comes to my family. I'm sure I'll have some stories to share over the next few weeks, and -- even better -- time to blog about them!