Thursday, May 17, 2012

A rant about libraries

OK, I am a currently in library school training to be a librarian. I feel strongly about libraries and what they stand for. Free and open access to information is something that we should all stand behind. I have been a patron of a library ever since I can remember. Libraries are places of comfort and familiarity. No matter what city you are in you can count on the public library to be there for you.

This summer I am living in Regina, Saskatchewan. I am working a co-op in a health library. I have been here for about two weeks and the other night I went to the public library to sign up for a library card. Signing up for a library card in a new town that you live in is almost a rite of passage. I don't truly feel like I belong to a community until I have done this. I went to the library armed with a copy of my job contract because I knew I would be asked for proof that I am a citizen of Regina (even if it is just for a little while). I was disappointed to learn that this wasn't good enough. The staff member helping me didn't even seem to think that my lease would be good enough either. Instead, she suggested that I could have the library mail me a letter and then I could bring that in to prove that I live there.

Let me pause for a moment to explain that I understand how library funding works. I recognize the importance of patrons being a residence of the region (or surrounding region) that the library serves because it is their tax dollars that help to fund the library.

However, I felt that I had provided sufficient information to prove that I am indeed living here for the period of my job contract. While I will take the extra steps to provide more information about my housing, most people would not. I feel like I am a bit of an oddity when it comes to enthusiasm about library use. I believe that it is fair to say that most people use the library because it is a convenient alternative to purchasing information materials. I'm not saying that this is the only thing the library offers. It is a community space, a centre of enriching programming for all ages and and educational institution among others. If the library was inconvenient people would not use it. As librarians, one of our biggest issues is how to increase our patronage and ensure that patrons continually use our services. Without patrons, the library itself is meaningless. It is policies like this one that discourages people from using the library. Instead of setting up roadblocks we should be creating bridges for our patrons to help them use the library.

So, am I going to go back to the library with even more proof that I am real person who is really living here? Yes, of course I am. But would you?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Book review: 50 Shades of Grey

I need to preface this blog post by stating that this is NOT A YA NOVEL.

I picked up E.L. James' 50 Shades of Grey because I had heard a lot of buzz about it. I was not entirely sure what it was about but I knew that it was created from a piece of fan fiction written about the main characters from Twilight. I am a sucker for all things that are the new pop culture fades. I don't know why but I just can't resist getting caught up in it all. I also have a huge problem giving up on a book part way through. I figure that if I start it, I need to finish it or I am a huge failure as a reader. I know this is ridiculous and I waste a lot of time reading terrible books.

As for 50 Shades of Grey, if the character of Bella took female power down a notch Anastasia Steele drops it down another 10. Ana meets a high powered, young and attractive business man when she interviews him for her roommate's newspaper. She is immediately drawn to him and it appears that he is just as infatuated with her. After he aggressively pursues her she decides to enter into a rather indecent relationship with him. That's the PG rated version. The book itself is NC-17.

None of the characters are likeable. They are all terrible exaggerations of people I would never want to meet. I am all for a good looking main male character that totally disarms the female character but this was not enjoyable at all. It really shocks me how popular this book has become because it is so poorly written with a story that leads no where. I also cannot believe that this book is getting make into a movie - I can't see how it could possibly be done but apparently Ian Somerhalder is dying for the role.

Anyway, I have recently moved to Regina for the next 15 weeks so that is why I haven't written this sooner. I will post many more reviews in the coming weeks!

Happy reading :)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #1

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
This is my very first Waiting on Wednesday post! This week I am featuring a book that I read about on the Savvy Reader.

Title: Debutantes
Author: Cora Harrison
Release Date: August 2, 2012

It's 1923 and London is a whirl of jazz, dancing and parties. Violet, Daisy, Poppy and Rose Derrington are desperate to be part of it, but stuck in an enormous crumbling house in the country, with no money and no fashionable dresses, the excitement seems a lifetime away. Luckily the girls each have a plan for escaping their humdrum country life: Rose wants to be a novelist, Poppy a jazz musician and Daisy a famous film director. Violet, however, has only one ambition: to become the perfect Debutante, so that she can go to London and catch the eye of Prince George, the most eligible bachelor in the country. But a house as big and old as Beech Grove Manor hides many secrets, and Daisy is about to uncover one so huge it could ruin all their plans - ruin everything - forever.

This book looks so decadent! I love the cover art. I am really interested in early 20th century history and have recently become obsessed with the show Downton Abbey. This book is right up my alley and I cannot wait until it comes out!