Yelp twits

Did you know that twits on Yelp are now “reviewing” TPL branches? I didn’t. And in all fairness, the overwhelming theme is appreciation and outright love. Except:

  • Jones is too Chinese.

  • Gladstone is too loud. (It is!) So is High Park. (Is it?)

  • College/Shaw, while over-chilled in summer, is friendlier than Beaches and Palmerston. I thought I was the only one who visited such far-flung branches. I actually think CS is packed to the walls (self-checkout significantly worsened space management there) and is fundamentally unpleasant.

  • To my surprise, there weren’t any complaints about fistfighting or switchblade-wielding homeless at City Hall.

  • Queen/Saulter is a tad underwhelming inside. (Because they barely have two pennies to rub together and everything of remote interest goes out on hold or gets snatched up before it even hits the desk.)

  • Lillian H. Smith is “dirty.” (It is.)

  • Barbara Frum: “Yiddish collections can be found here… which are not really common in other libraries I[’ve] been to.”

  • The reason for being of Swansea is effectively questioned by the Millennials who use Yelp, which is enough to confirm the reason for being of Swansea.

What else got reviewed? Urban Affairs. Seated in a folding chair at a union meeting somewhere, Adam Chaleff-Freudenthaler shudders and chokes back a tear.


Library Wonks

I ran this by Linda Hazzan, who thought I must be joking, but I’m not: TPL needs a Library Wonks blog where MLSs and the like can discuss the inner workings of the system. It’s not as though there isn’t an audience for topics of that sort. (My original question concerned how TPL decides which branches get which items. It’s apparently done by humans and produces self-fulfilling prophecies and stereotypes for smaller branches. Let’s explore that in detail!)

Then, inevitably, the library would need an associated Twit: @TPLLibraryWonks.

Tell me this isn’t a good idea.

Two posts TPL will actually pay attention to

Because they didn’t come from me.

Benign Catherine Raine’s 99-Branch Club has been documented in the TPL’s April online newsletter, which of course is a PDF, hence is not really “online.” I was never expecting coverage in TPL’s own publications (it never occurred to me), but now I know I’m not going to get it. I have learned the hard way that the library does not actually want any coverage it doesn’t write itself.

The 99-Branch Club

In a Same Planet, Different Worlds scenario, I only just discovered Catherine Raine, an American émigrée to Canada who has assigned herself the task of visiting all 99 Toronto Public Library branches. She’s up to 74 or 75 already over a two-year period.

Catherine describes her project thus:

My admiration for the TPL system started seven years ago when my husband Stewart and I immigrated to Canada. During my very first week in Toronto, I applied for a library card at Deer Park. By 2006, I had visited quite a few different branches before I decided it would be interesting to visit all of them. When I mentioned this idea to Stewart, he encouraged me to blog about it. Hesitant at first, I became more and more enthusiastic about describing the various branches. My first two posts in the fall of 2007 provided quite brief notes, but by January 2008 I was starting to write much fuller descriptions.

Now I’m in the process of fleshing out the earlier entries and making plans to visit the remaining 26 branches still unknown to me.

Catherine is unwittingly following in the footsteps of transit fans, some of whom take it upon themselves to visit all 69 subway stations on the same day. The phrases “every-station club” and “69-station club” (blog) have come to be used for these people.

Hence Catherine Raine is the founder of the 99-Branch Club. Somebody’s gotta do it.