The azalea bush on my neighbour’s lawn is in full bloom, which is one of my favourite parts of spring. It’s planted near the sidewalk under the dappled sun of their giant maple tree, which makes for ideal growing conditions. I love their bright purplish-pink flowers — just showy enough to be impressive, but still with a delicate texture that keeps them humble. Azaleas are known for their quick blooming season (sometimes only a week or two!), so I’m enjoying the show while I can. I’m especially happy that I can see it from my home office window.
My datebook reminds me that I am now a third of the way through my sabbatical. The time is flying faster than I hoped but I have few complaints: it’s been a remarkable and joyous season, and I still feel very grateful for the chance to regroup and move in some new and fun directions. Below are a few highlights of the last few months.
- I was successful in securing a small grant from the Research and Awards Committee of York University Libraries for my original research project, tentatively titled Exploring the affective dimensions of transitioning from subject to functional roles in academic libraries. My project explores the experiences of academic librarians who have transitioned from subject specialist roles to functional roles as part of an organizational restructuring. I’m excited to begin this work and am now awaiting approval by the York Research Ethics board. It’s nice to have this project finally taking shape.
- We spent March Break in Pittsburgh! I was headed there to attend ACRL and decided to bring the whole family. Pittsburgh was unexpectedly wonderful: a fun, walkable city with a neat arts scene, great food and wonderful views of the bridges all around. We had a great time even though the Penguins got trounced by the Montreal Canadians, much to my son’s dismay.
- I finished up my last course for my Certificate of Theology at Trinity College, Toronto School of the Theology. I’m taking a short break for the summer, but have applied tor a Master of Pastoral Studies at Knox College, beginning in September 2023. My part-time theological studies have been incredibly rewarding and I’m pleased about the possibility of continuing with a special focus on counselling and spiritual care.
- I’m going to Israel! I’ve been co-leading the planning in my parish for a pilgrimage in April 2024. We are currently working with Craig Travel on the final itinerary, and I am thrilled that the Rev. Canon David Neelands has agreed to be our Tour Leader. David has been a priest in the Diocese of Toronto for over four decades, serving in over 17 parishes. He is also the former Dean of Divinity at Trinity College and a very well known scholar and thinker who has made many trips to the Holy Land. He’s also just a lovely and generous guy, so it’s going to be a to be a fabulous trip.
- The #100 Branches project continues! My visits slowed down in March due to a combination of travel, crappy weather and deadlines with my research project, but I’m still keeping at it. I’ll do a more complete round up soon, but here are is a much-delayed recap of a few February visits.
Forest Hill Branch
Date: 06 Feb 2023
Arrival Time: 4:10 pm
Checked out: The Family vegetarian cookbook : 225 recipes everyone will love. (Reader, take note: everyone did not love.)
This is a fun branch — a good location with a bright and open design. I love the funky shelves with little illuminated ladder displays on the end of each row. It was quieter than I expected for a branch with a middle school next door, but the handful of teenagers at one table were talking loud enough to create a buzz. One of them appeared to be talking to his bookie, which all felt a bit disturbing as the mom of an almost 16 year old. I sat in a good spot overlooking Eglinton Avenue for awhile before wandering around a bit more. Oddly, there were no displays or Best Bet shelves; I guess Forest Hill patrons know what they want!
Barbara From Library
Date: 06 Feb 2023
Arrival Time: 5:26 pm
Checked out: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison.
It was neat to arrive walking west at sunset — the branch was an imposing shadow against the burnt setting sun. The branch is nestled between a few churches and a Hebrew school at the back of a busy plaza. It’s a multi level branch with a few quite wonderful collections: the Jewish Mosaic collection (from the Armour Heights branch) is impressive, as well as the very large audio and large print collections. It was very quiet in every corner of the branch. The second floor is showing its age: the floral carpet is a certainly a choice and there’s a fair bit of dusty rose going on. Still, there’s a nice assortment of newish seating and tables and a computer centre, enclosed by glass. There’s also a Youth Hub on the 3rd floor which seemed to be popular judging by the foot traffic.
Date: 08 Feb 2023
Arrival Time: 3:30 pm
Checked out: Think Again by Adam Grant.
I was looking forward to this one as I haven’t been here since its renovation. I walked into find a Christmas book display near the front counter, which I found odd but slightly comforting given the festive Christmas geese that still grace my front window. The branch was moderately busy with an impressively wide range of ages milling about. The children’s area was quite full, with handfuls of school kids and a few grandparents trying desperately to corral toddlers. This branch had the ignoble honour of being the one where I encountered the most obnoxious patron to date. I watched as a woman spent nearly 25 minutes loudly summoning the front desk clerk back and forth to help her (unsuccessfully) interpret her flashing computer screen. I think I even saw her snap her fingers a few times. Not a good look, Leaside.