100 Branches.

On January 1st, 2023, I began a one year sabbatical. It comes at a very good time. I just completed a four and a half year term as the Director of the Content Development & Analysis Department at York University Libraries. It was a rewarding role in many respects, but the combination of a large scale library restructuring in 2018 and a global pandemic made for a more intense management experience than I expected. It left me pretty tired and if I’m honest, a bit unsure of where to go next. I am very grateful for the chance to catch up with research projects that I had to defer or outright abandon during the Director gig, but I’m even more grateful for the time and space to think more deeply about things that interest me. It’s particularly nice to not be checking email all the time.

I have a number of projects and plans for this year, and my hope is to use this neglected space to document my progress on some of them. One fun thing I hope to do this year is to visit all 100 branches of the Toronto Public Library. This idea has been kicking around in my head for years,. and this year feels like a good time to try it.

I’ve set up a few criteria to make things interesting: I must spend at least 30 minutes and check out a single title in each branch and, wherever possible, use public transit to get there. It’s an ambitious goal, but with careful planning, I think it’s doable. It’s a way to add some structure to my weeks and get to know my city again on foot, but I think it will also be great fun. My very first job was as a student page at TPL (the York Woods branch) and given all the good things that came out that, it feels like the right project. A professional pilgrimage of sorts. At the very least, it will be something to write about.