Hush-hush

I went to the library rally last week. I have never been to a union rally before. I suppose this makes me an outlier among library supporters, but what doesn’t.

(The last time I had anything to do with the union was the first day of the strike. So I guess I attended that rally, too. It was in the ostensible picket line at City Hall that I had an excruciating conversation with that former Boardmember and his editrix missus, who think I am some kind of fascist despite agreeing on essentially every single issue. With an attitude like that, they could be TPL management.)

Anyway. Mo was no more dysfluent than I expected, but errantly claimed the survival of the library is at stake. It manifestly is not. The library will survive. What’s at stake, on paper at present, is whether or not the library gets a 1.2%, 1.3%, or 1.5% budget increase or a 0.6% decrease.

I have trouble following the library budget. I read a lot of economics papers and I admit embarrassment at being confused by something as simple as a departmental budget. But I am. So when we were told that the first year’s operating costs for Fort York and Scarborough Civic Centre are being buried in another line-item in the city budget and not in the library budget, I was shocked that this kind of jiggery-pokery is going on but not shocked that I needed somebody else to inform me of it.

The union is organizing at a much grander scale than before, which in all likelihood will at least achieve the goal of increasing the budget by some small amount. But at the City Hall rally: Continue reading

Gay Objectivist goes to library gay ‘speed dating’ (also: gay)

The Star covered the soi-disant LGBTQ (or was it GLBTQ?) Literary Speed Dating event that took place at Gladstone on July 4 – Independence Day in the United States, the country Ayn Rand defended to the death.

People seated across from one another at tables in activity room

Not quite nose against glass, but close

By incredible coïncidence it became necessary that evening for me to drop by for a spell in the contemplation tank. Anyway, the Star gives (again) soi-disant[s]creenwriter Jason Holborn, 36” enough rope. He

brought a stack of books and DVDs just in case he got bored talking about one. (Besides, that way he could tailor his chatter if Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead struck a disagreeable political chord.)

“I don’t drink alcohol, I don’t go to clubs – it’s honestly so hard to meet people,” Holborn said. “This is the Nº 1 coolest event I’ve seen. It’s an awesome idea.”

So I sent this guy a message asking, in not quite these words, “Are you an Objectivist and did you really bring Ayn Rand to an artfag dating event?” (I actually used the phrase “a roomful of artistique gays,” but “artfag” really isn’t pejorative. Ask one yourself.) Holborn’s rationally-self-interested response?

I don’t think I’m on Objectivist per se; I did bring Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead to the event. But also Hustle & Flow and some French young-adult books.

Basically, an Objectivist will get as far in gay Toronto as a Log Cabin Republican would in Chelsea. And to think I was worried about those Muslims at the table across the hall.

Superfun teetotaler party idea!

The library – God bless ’em! – has ordered the disastrously reviewed Atlas Shrugged feature film. (“Part 1.”)

Let’s have a fun teetotaler video party at Jason’s house! Who’s in? I’ll bring exactly enough snacks to satisfy myself and I’m sure everyone else can easily do the same. We can debate the video’s ideologically incorrect packaging and cruise through Etsy looking for homemade dollar-sign jewelry.

[CRICKETS]

On my maiden voyage addressing the board, I didn’t expect absolutely nothing to happen. I certainly didn’t expect the board to be baffled into stupefaction by its own procedures, which board secretary (“Administrative Coordinator, City Librarian’s Office”) Nancy Marshall insisted I follow.

I expected to be ignored, an active choice. I didn’t expect nothing to happen.

Further: I am in the top percentile of civilians who follow the minutiæ of the library. Yet I had Janet Davis tell me, in that quiet tone she adopts that cannot help but sound condescending, that the circulation budget was restored in Raymond Cho’s successful motion at Council. It was? I have no explanation as to how I did not know this fact. If it is.

I expected TTC levels of feigned interest. (And TTC-like deployment of procedure to nullify my contribution.) But I didn’t expect nothing.

Barring calamity, though, I am going to outlive the hacks, pikers, ringers, and lobbyists – and the Mr. Magoo manqué – now seat-filling the board. Of course they’re going to stonewall me to the extent possible. (And, because it’s a public institution, I’ll be able to prove it.) Here’s a shocker, though: I’ve decided to kill them with kindness.

When the Toronto Transit Commission were being dicks, I decided there were enough transit fans out there to arrange a tour of the unique design of subway stations. Thus was born the TTC Type & Tile Tour, held across consecutive Sundays to quite a bit of acclaim. In fact, the other week a chick walked up to me in the subway and asked me to put on another tour.

I will. But this time, we’ll tour the library.

Pre-announcing the
Sue-Ann Levy Memorial Library Crawl

Are you a leftard? A right-wing asshole? Does it vary by the day? Are you neither? Well, come one, come all to a whirlwind tour of signature Toronto Public Library branches.

We’ll wait till the snow melts a little, and you’ll need a handful of tokens or a TTC pass, but expect krazy mixed-up shit like:

  • A tour of the first eight feet of depth of the Hariri Pontarini–designed Pape/Danforth branch

  • Tripling, in one fell swoop, the occupancy of the superdelightful Todmorden Room

  • A tragic tale of RFID Gone Wrong at the oldest branch in the city, Yorkville

  • A quiet interlude in the contemplation tank at Gladstone, assuming it hasn’t been deemed a safety hazard again, which it obviously isn’t

  • Flat-out fandom at the sight of renovation done right at Runnymede

First attendee to set off an alarm walking into a branch gets a vintage library copycard loaded with five Canadian dollars.

If all goes well, we can do the same thing a month later in another corner of the city. Say, hasn’t Northern Elms been in the news lately? I daresay it could use a dozen people showing up at once. Or we could just do the Bookmobile. I promise you that would be the highlight of your week.

Don’t worry, TPL!

You’ll have plenty of notice to fill the affected branches with security guards and worried “femwriters” transfixed with deer-in-headlights expressions. But you can’t keep us out. If you’re smart, you’ll come along. Why wouldn’t you? You’re invited. Everybody is.

Are you Sue-Ann Levy?

You can come too! We can trade hamentaschen recipes and dish! dish! dish! about what’s wrong with Pride.

Journalling

So. Keep Toronto Reading month. All well and good. Then there was the fractured tale of those 99 blank journals. Were they scattered at 98 locations across the city and also at exactly one library branch? Because if so, I found it:

Share the Love notebook and ballpoint pen

Where at? Gerrard-Ashdale.

But this didn’t make any sense. Surely the nice upper-middle-class petit(e)s fonctionnaires of the Toronto Public Library would not really “fan out” across the city, leaving a blank journal and a ballpoint pen inside, say, Jilly’s, the Empire Club, the Price Chopper on Dupont, the TV lounge at Spa Excess, the ghetto Dufferin 29 bus, one of the ladies’ changing rooms at Holts, any of several Italian and Portuguese “gentlement’s clubs” on Dundas, the TV Shows on DVD racks at HMV, the sole remaining Fran’s, a Tamil grocer on Parliament, Sporting Life, and any of those places they’d never heard of before because they are located north of Sporting Life? Plus somewhere I guess maybe in Scarborough just for diversity’s sake?

Cross-referencing various news reports and press releases, I learned that the books all started out at library branches. What a charming upper-middle-class idea, just right for charming upper-middle-class people, who in this city are well known for their forthrightness, initiative, outgoingness, and willingness to spontaneously share their thoughts in a book they found somewhere that had already been handled by God knows who.

Now imagine what would have happened if, say, on every 44th seat at a few dozen high schools one found a notebook bearing nothing on its cover but an URL. Which of these would enjoy a higher response rate?

I personally won’t so much as initial a cashback receipt at Loblaws with a ballpoint pen, so I guess I’m not in the target market.