All posts by Adam

About Adam

Adam is a Digital Creation Specialist - Children who never has enough shelf space for his board game collection, wall space for his photographs, or stomach space for his baking. Once he’s got a book in his clutches (preferably a fantasy, or humorous non-fiction one) absolutely nothing else is getting done that day. Working in a library is a blessing and a curse to his free time.  |  Meet the team

Cat Person/Dog Person, Pet Person?

Here’s something I never thought I’d say/type: I miss our cat. I’ve always been a dog person, though I never had one of my own, and I thought that when I finally had room for a pet in my life, it would be a dog. Enter my now-wife and her cat Loki, and I can see the appeal of the temperamental little murder machines. It probably helps that Loki’s personality is more dog-like, and he would sooner run from a mouse than kill it, but he’s grown on me, and having to leave him with a friend while we move/renovate has made me realize how true this is. While it can be irritating being trapped on the couch because Loki won’t get off my lap, maybe he’s just looking out for me and telling me to slow down a bit. So, while thinking of my own pet, I decided to highlight some items in our collections that focus on pets and their bonds with us1.

The cover of The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford

Thinking of Loki being far from home triggered a memory from my childhood, a memory of a golden retriever, bull terrier, and Himalayan cat trekking through the wilderness to find their owners. I’m aging myself here, as the movie came out in 1993, but I thought I’d search our catalogue for it anyway, and lo and behold, Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey is in our collection. I remember watching this one as a kid, then, as kids do, immediately re-watching it. After rewinding the VHS, of course. I have no nostalgia for that. Give me a DVD and the ability to instantly skip to any part of the film over having to wait for physical media to wind through spools any day. So, for those unfamiliar with the movie, it follows the three animals on their journey through the Sierra Nevada mountain range to find the family that they think abandoned them during a move… I’m glad Loki doesn’t have this kind of homing instinct. At least, I don’t think he does. He somehow knew the parking garage of the condo despite only ever being in it in his astronaut bag, though his does not look like a Pokeball. I’ll have to ensure he doesn’t try to bolt for “home” when we have him in the new house. Okay, no more side-tracks.

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So what are Publishers Pushing? Or: A Public Library Association Conference Adventure.

My alternative title might make this post sound more grandiose than it is, but if you’ve already fallen for the clickbait, you may as well read the rest of the post, right? I’m a nerd, I make no attempt to hide or apologize for this fact. And it should be evident that one of my flavours of nerddom is library nerd. So imagine my elation when my application for Vaughan Public Library to send me to the Public Library Association Conference was approved. VPL coordinated with libraries across southern Ontario to send a busload of librarians across the border and down to Columbus, Ohio, for three days of library programming and learning. It was a blast, and I’ve come back with ideas I can use for my programs and things that I need to talk to people higher up to implement. Sorry, there are no spoilers about any of that, but since VPL is constantly innovating, you shouldn’t be at all surprised when new things happen; just astonished by what they are.

The cover of Llama Destroys the World by Jonathan Stutzman, Illustrated by Heather Fox. Read this book. I don't care if it's a picture book. Read it! It's amazing and hilarious and laughter is good for you.

So, why am I even mentioning this if I won’t divulge what I learned? Because alongside the informative lessons was a giant vendor hall packed with all kinds of neat stuff. Including therapy dogs! I very much want some of it for my own branch, but precisely what I’m hoping for is another thing I’m keeping hush-hush1. Aside from the doggos and cool STEAM stuff, though, there were a whole lot of publishers there giving out books. Sometimes advance copies, sometimes signed copies, sometimes just regular copies, but the point is: I brought back a whole bunch of books. Piles of books. More books than any librarian should ever collect2. But it’s soooooo hard to say no to a free book! And, to be fair, I mostly tried to be a good uncle and took books for my..? I had to look this one up: Niblings. So, I don’t have to worry about storing them, and get to thrust that issue on my siblings while still being the cool uncle.

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Start Your (Game) Engines!

The cover of Elements of Game Design by Robert Zubek

It’s March, and VPL’s first GameJam is well underway. Tommy already made a post explaining what it’s all about. Still, I thought I’d do a bit of advertising for it here and encourage people who maybe aren’t ready to make a game from scratch to get in on some game creation. Fair warning: these won’t be accepted as GameJam entries, so this post is entirely for fun from that perspective. This is likely a moot point, though, as I’m guessing my audience is likely too old to be entering the game jam anyway, but shout-outs to any grade 2-8 students reading my posts. I’ll be focusing on a suite of games that allow players to make games within them in addition to playing user-created levels.

The box art of Super Mario Maker

I’ll start with something that’s been popping up in my newsfeed lately: the original Super Mario Maker for the WiiU. If you want to borrow this one and play other people’s levels, jump on it quickly. WiiU servers are getting shut down in April, taking all of the user-created levels with them. You’ll still be able to build and play through your own levels, but that’s about it. Borrow it soon, though, and you can help Team 0% ensure that every level ever uploaded gets beaten by someone other than the original creator before that inevitable shutdown. At the time of writing this (March 18th, 2024), there’s only a single level left: Trimming the Herbs. This clear video is from the creator, who had to beat it to upload it to the servers, so don’t go thinking someone’s pulled it off just yet. Though… if even seasoned Mario veterans are having trouble with this one, then maybe getting that final clear is a little out of reach for most people.

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