Sharing is Caring…

Of course, with two small kids, I’m constantly talking about sharing in my household, and trying to uphold the value of “sharing is caring”. I am interested in how we can carry out this value in our community life, in small and simple ways. By sharing, we are buying and consuming less, and pulling ourselves a little bit away from this individualistic, capitalist society. I have always loved the concept of bartering, but I think true sharing isn’t bartering. Bartering is making a deal – “If I give you this, then you give me that” which to me doesn’t completely embrace the essence of the gift of sharing. To me, the sharing economy includes the sharing of things as well as the sharing of space, time and talent (volunteering). Libraries are all about sharing, and traditional lending libraries have been focused on books and other academic materials. However, lending libraries can be don’t need to be just about book sharing! The other lending libraries that I know about are: Toy Libraries (which I remember my family visiting the Toy Library many times in Orillia, when we were on a tight budget!), Tool Libraries (a new one has just opened in Toronto –, and even the Kitchen Library (also in Toronto –!
We definitely do informal sharing of things in our neighborhood. We don’t own a lawnmower and borrow our neighbors on a regular basis. We own a Radio Flyer red wagon that our neighbors are welcome to take off our porch and borrow at any time. Our neighbors have all the tools we would ever need and we borrow all the time.
We participated in some sharing activity of our own this summer. My partner and I wanted to go to Montreal to visit family but we needed a place to stay for our family of four. Using Facebook, we put out a call, actually first asking if anyone wanted to do a ‘house swap’ (pretty much a barter arrangement – they can stay at our place in Toronto and we’ll stay at their place in Montreal). We found someone who is a friend of a friend (who I don’t know but my partner knows as an acquaintance from childhood), who said “I don’t want to do a house swap but we’re going to Europe for a month and would be happy for you to stay at our place.” We said “Thank you, thank you…” and planned our trip to Montreal. In the meantime, Alex (my partner) went to a wedding in Chicago and met someone (a friend of a friend of a friend) who was planning to get married in the summer and was looking for a small outdoor space to use. She doesn’t have much money so was asking Alex about spaces. Alex said – “Hey, you can use our backyard while we’re away in Montreal if you want?” And sure enough, she did. We felt so happy that we could somehow ‘pay it forward’ in terms of reciprocating generosity and sharing space. Sure enough, all worked out wonderfully. We went to Montreal and found chocolates on our pillow (so sweet!) and had an awesome (free) trip in Montreal. In the meantime, there was a wedding happening in our backyard (with our awesome neighbors pitching in to help with prep and calm down the bride!). We saw the photos on Facebook, sent our congrats through the internet and imagined the love in the air.
Sharing is truly about caring. I am going to try to look for new ways to share, and challenge myself to actively share more often in my daily community life.


Candy Chang again – Philosophers Library …

Another post about Candy Chang, because I have become very interested in her work. I love this project of hers, to turn this old abandoned gas station into a ‘philosopher’s library’ and she’s using a crowdsourcing strategy to select books and have them personalized. Of course, I couldn’t resist! I love books and I love reading, so it was very difficult for me to pick the one book that has inspired me. I finally did pick one, which you can see if book #259 – Maybe its a little bit cliché in terms of it being a ‘self-help’ book, but I have read it over and over again, and whenever I feel restless and stressed, as soon as I start reading it, I find myself and feel grounded. It has been a book beside my bed, now for 10 years or so, and I go to it time and time again.

So I only picked The Power of Now for this project, but here are a few other books that have inspired me greatly:

-Fugitive Pieces – Anne Michaels – I love this book and have read it three or four times. I’m not a huge fiction reader, but I love the metaphor and writing and the description of Toronto.
-Night – Elie Wiesel – amazing story of resilience during the Holocaust
-Born to Run – Christopher MacDougall – I just read this past year but I felt so inspired that I know I need to read it again. I’m not really a Runner in the capital R sense of the word, but I still LOVED this book

I love libraries, and I am most definitely a super-user of our most fantastic library in Toronto – the Toronto Public Library. Most people don’t know that our local library has the highest circulation rate per capita and is the largest neighborhood-based library system in the WORLD. I am proud to be contributing to this statistic. I love the library for many reasons – not just the books, but also the community space, the accessibility as a space where people can go for free and be comfortable together. But most importantly, I do love the books – the holds system is amazing where so many books can come through the system and into your hands within a few days to a week. Another library project that inspires me and is so local/neighborhood based is the Little Library movement – these have been popping up in Toronto and several in my neighborhood –

On that note, I am on holidays and have brought many fun books to read – I must say goodbye and get started reading!