Friday, March 22, 2013

#11 Kensington Branch

1428 Cedar Cottage Mews

I quite like this branch, I used to live nearby when it first opened, and they had a huge graphic novel selection (at least at first). However even if you hate libraries and books there's still a really good reason to visit this library: the incredibly weird statues.

There's a whole courtyard of these things! The whole piece is called Peaceable Kingdom, and the bronze statues are the work of artist Tom Dean.

Now, I'm not sure if it says more about how I think, or an utter failure in the message the artist was trying to convey with these pieces, but I certainly didn't think that this exhibit was about how "serene beasts coexist in a precarious sensual paradise" (source).

I definitely didn't see these creatures as "serene"! In fact, the whole exhibit made me think of death, sickness, and conflict.

"But it could collapse in a moment into sex and violence as a demon beaver leads berserker rats into paradise, and a giant vulture waits patiently for someone to die in paradise." (source), that sounds a lot more like what I saw (well, maybe not the demon beaver...). 

Apparently Dean was inspired by some passage from the bible, and The Merchant of Venice. I honestly have no idea. Here's an article with more information about the whole thing.

"a demon beaver leads berserker rats"

I apparently missed out on some of the statues, so if you want to see the sloth or condor/eagle/bird you'll have to go yourself!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

a few good places to read a book (in vancouver)

- in a lounge chair at Our Town Cafe
- Pacific Central Station, pretending you're waiting for a train to take you away
- leaning on a log at English Bay, in the sunshine
- on the grass at Trout Lake (maybe a friendly puppy will visit you)
- Habitat Island; you can look up every once in a while to watch the aqua ferry take tourists to and fro
- in the window corner of the fireplace area at Mount Pleasant Branch

runner up: in a one-er seat on the right side of the bus (you know, the kind where nobody's sitting beside you to potentially sneak glances at what you're reading. I'm not ashamed of my reading material or anything like that; I just feel weird reading when a stranger is sitting beside me, not reading)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

#5 Collingwood Branch

Collingwood Branch
2985 Kingsway

This is the library closest to where I live, yet I never actually go to it. I'm sure there's nothing wrong with it, it's just that it's far enough away from my house that I won't stop in there on my way somewhere. I've gotten some graphic novels out from here, but I'm not even sure what they were. Pretty much all I can remember is that it's blue and kind of small.

So instead I'll give you some links to other library related things!

The VPL Branch Project: A couple of years ago a high school student in Vancouver had the exact same idea as me and visited every branch of the VPL. (I guess it shows how unhip I am that I made my version a blog instead of a tumblr. Oh well.) She had more to say about the Collingwood Branch than I did, though didn't rate it that highly. Oh, and she brought a sock monkey along with her to every branch, so her photos are probably more interesting than mine.

Two Fisted Librarians: Not content with this blog, my other blogs, and all that schoolwork I should be doing (why I haven't updated this site as much as I should have), I've started another project! This one is a pulp fiction anthology zine featuring stories about mad science, weird fantasy, occult horror, spicy mysteries, noirish romances, thrilling adventures, and whatever else (as long as it's library themed!). There's more info on the blog if you're interested, but the deadline for submissions is  April 30th, 2013, so get writing!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

#4 Champlain Heights Branch

Champlain Heights Branch
7110 Kerr St.

While I may not have been sure exactly where the last branch was located, I at least had some idea. When I dragged my friend to this branch she had absolutely no clue where she was at all. I'm sure it didn't help that she just moved to Vancouver recently (to start the same library school program as me), and that this library is located in a place where even few Vancouverites would ever visit.

But sometimes there's something more important than location when choosing what library to visit. And so it was on this particular day when a shopping trip at Value Village had gone on for longer than had been expected, and while the next step was dinner it was suggested (by me) that a movie would be a good thing to watch while eating.

(Unfortunately, I only own one DVD: a collection of the 1950s Flash Gordon TV show. Despite my love of Flash Gordon, that show is pretty terrible. I've only actually watched one episode (though had the whole thing playing on a projection screen when I ran a campaign of Cosmic Patrol). The whole thing was filmed in Berlin, and the director said "No matter what galaxy we explored, everyone spoke with a German accent." Totally rad.

If you really want to watch old Flash Gordon stuff you're probably better off checking out the film serials. Some of them are in the public domain and you can find them online really easily. Plus: Buster Crabbe! What a dreamboat!)

Thankfully I'd earlier checked which (if any) libraries in the area were open that evening, and knew that this one was! So we hopped on a bus to...somewhere. I may have checked the VPL site, but I definitely hadn't checked which buses go where, and I wasn't even entirely sure where we were going. I am a master strategist. But before long I recognized where we were, and we got off the bus and hurried to the library.

This library is super hidden in the back of a strip mall, and I'm sure it didn't help my friend's confidence in my direction finding abilities when I led her down an alley shortcut on our way (though the alley was surprisingly well-lit and non-sketchy). We arrived with fifteen whole minutes to spare, and quickly set about trying to find a DVD.

We went with Tokyo Godfathers by died-too-soon director Satoshi Kon. It is a film that I would show to people who do not think that animated films can tell stories that aren't for children. The story is about three homeless people in Tokyo who find a (live) baby in the garbage on Christmas eve and attempt to return it to its parents. It's really good! The story doesn't feature any robots or laser guns, yet I still really enjoyed it. The movie is funny and emotional and you end up thinking about the lives homeless people live. It's also beautifully animated.

I get the feeling that if this had been a live action film it would be far better known, as its themes, stories, and characters are ones that are often depicted in more popular films. I think it's too bad this hasn't been seen by more people, and I hope that at some point it manages to capture the wider audience it deserves.

Though maybe that would be easier if libraries didn't shelve it in the teen section...

Saturday, March 2, 2013

#21 Terry Salman Branch

Terry Salman Branch
4575 Clancy Loranger Way

This is the second library I've visited that didn't exist last time I lived in Vancouver, it replaced one that used to be on Main Street. The first time I visited it I had no idea where it was! I got off a bus somewhere in the dark, walked around until I found it, picked up a book, then went back and got on another bus.

The second time I went with my friend, and we approached by foot and I figured out where I'd actually been. I also saw some of the many other features that are available in the Hillcrest Community Centre.

There's a swimming pool, an ice skating rink, and a bunch of other things, including a cafe place to get ice cream (the reason my friend and I went to the library in the first place). It's my friend's favourite library because it's near her house. Apparently she goes and bugs her favourite librarian about library school stuff all the time.