It can be hard to know when to stop something. When is enough research enough?
Usually, we say it's enough when you keep reading and finding the same things over and over again. When nothing new comes up, that is usually a sign to stop your research or change tactics. What that looks like changes depending on what you are researching.
This is my not so subtle way of saying that knowing when to stop applies to other things as well. I've been debating sunsetting this series for awhile. While there are endless librarian tricks to share, I think there are better ways to do that. I've decided to end the Tuesday Tips series. I'm not sure if that means taking a break and revamping it, or ending it for good.
If you ever need research support, I am still happy to provide my expertise.
The week between Christmas and New Years is a dead zone. As a parent, it's a dead zone with no childcare. I'm fortunate that my university gives us that week off. I don't need to use leave or find childcare coverage. I do, however, need to find ways to entertain a three-year-old for several days which is easier said than done.
One of the moms in our daycare class put together a loose schedule of playdates. Essentially, she said "I'm going to be at this place with my kid at this time. Join us if you want." Since our kiddo loves her friends, we went to a few of the meet ups.
Two of the playdates were at branches of the DC public library system. While our kiddos played, we moms chatted. I noticed that a lot of people were taking advantage of the library to entertain their children. And, by people, I mean moms and grandmas. They were reading books to the kids, helping them with toys, or walking them through the space. Every child was accompanied by a mom or a grandma. There was not a father or a grandfather or any other male caretaker in sight.
This was not at all a surprise. The vast majority of childcare is provided by women. When schools and daycares are closed, the gap in coverage is usually covered by a mom using leave, female relative, or other female caretaker. They are left with the burden (and expense) of how to fill the time with the children.
The massive imbalance of caretaking by gender is not something I am going to diatribe on. Well - not today. While, in the moment, I was grumpy about the visual reminder of the societal burdens of caretaking placed on women, I was also heartened. The library was here to help.
Filling a full day with kid-friendly activities is hard. Filling a week is even harder. The library made the burden a little less by providing not only a safe space, but also age appropriate things to do. There are story times and activity packs, play spaces and rooms to explore which are designed specifically for children. Librarians are on hand to help with book recommendations or direct activities. And it's free. The library closed the care gap by making it just a little easier for moms and other caretakers to get through a long day. And, it does so without adding any financial burden.
I've always love libraries. It's why I became a librarian. But I've never before seen them as an oasis of support until I became a parent. They make my life easier and the keep my kiddo happy. I couldn't ask for anything more.
I've been slow to add books to my TBR list lately. Nothing has jumped out, but these two coffee table-esque titles did.
We're having a milder winter, but my body doesn't seem to know that.
Most days, while working, I am freezing. I'll be wearing long pants, a cozy sweater or top, and full coverage shoes or slippers. I still fill chilly. So, I toss on a lap blanket. Still cold. On goes the space heater or up goes the heat. Still cold. So, I throw a coat or extra sweater on top of everything. Only then am I mildly warm.
If there is a sun beam available, I will do everything in my power to station myself in it. I'm a cat who moves with the day. It's a good thing I've got office chairs on wheels.
In the evenings, I wear my warmest PJs and practically burrow into a pile of blankets on the couch. I toss my hoodie over my head and hunker down to try to reduce the amount of exposed skin. It's not until right before bed that I feel warm enough to peel off a layer.
My body seems unable to produce and trap body heat. I've been known to cuddle my husband with the sole purpose of stealing his. (He is not a fan of my extremities in the winter because they are ice blocks. Oftentimes, I get swatted away.)
I'm counting down the days until warmer temperatures arrive. Tell me I'm not the only one who seems to be cold blooded.
Our kiddo's daycare is closed today. Right now, I am forever grateful that she loves watching Daniel Tiger. This is a rare day with no screen time limits because it means I can actually get some work done. She's happy, I'm productive. That's what matters.
Here's what was good this week:
Yesterday, I found out that my proposal to speak at the 2023 CALM conference was accepted. I did a little jig in my cube. The conference is not until June so I have some time to prepare. I'm debating if it's worthwhile to harness some of my excitement to outline my session this week. I probably won't get to it, but I'm at least thinking about it.
Here's what I am working on.
Warning - I'm going to rant about Twitter.
Now, I mostly like Twitter. Even through the Musk takeover, it's generally been a good tool for me. I've always highly curated my feed thus avoiding the worst of the muck. For me, Twitter is an information awareness tool. I can stay up-to-date on topics and people that matter to me. Since I'm particular about what I see, all of the other shenanigans have mostly passed me by.
This week, Twitter changed the platform's feed layout. I hate it. There are now two feeds - one that is all about the algorithm and another that is for "Following" but seems to miss half the stuff the people I follow share and comment on. To get the full picture, I have to toggle between the two feeds. That puts my content at the mercy of algorithm. I HATE IT!
All I want is to see the content created and shared by the people I choose to follow in reverse chronological order. Is that so hard?
Listen, Twitter, I will give you promoted ads. I'm fine with that. But stop burying what I want to see under a pile of shit I didn't ask for. I know you're trying design things to keep me scrolling, but all you are doing is overwhelming my brain and making me want to run away.
This issue is the same across other social media - namely Instagram and Facebook. However, on those feeds, I still can narrow down to who I choose to see. That now seems impossible on Twitter.
I'm about to go through my annual purge and clean up of my online accounts and, for the first time, I'm seriously considering jumping ship on an entire platform.
When something becomes so focused on the algorithm that you lose all control, it's time to leave.
We've got some cucumber slices in the fridge that need to be eaten. I'm very much looking forward to breaking out some dip and enjoying them as an afternoon snack in a few minutes.
Here's what else made me happy this week:
I started reading this book last night. If it weren't for the fact that I had to get up this morning, I think I would have finished this in one sitting. The narrative is gripping and the structure between view points flows so seamlessly it's hard to break away. I feel like there is only one way this book can end. I hope I'm emotionally prepared for it.
I polished off The Towering Sky by Katharine McGee. It was a rather predictable way to wrap up the series. One character's story ended up feeling like it didn't need to be in there at all. She played a role in one scene that, frankly, was not all that pivotal.
I also powered my way through two other books. Well Matched by Jen DeLuca and How to Raise a Reader by Pamela Paul and Maria Russo. Well Matched is the third entry in a romance series based around a renaissance faire. They are always delightful reads with rompy stories and characters. How to Raise a Reader is exactly what it sounds like; a book devoted to tips and titles that will help you turn your kid into a booklover.
*Books shared here are affiliate links for Bookshop.org
Earlier this week, the reference librarian team talked with a professor about her class which is focusing on archives. It was a winding conversation that ended with us volunteering to teach a few workshops. (Yeah! I'm doing two. One on preservation and another on personal archiving.) It also reinvigorated my love of why libraries/archives/museums are important and have to continue to speak out about things. We are not neutral! We never were. We need to acknowledge our shortcomings to make things better for the future.
Here's what I'm working on: