Community Literacy in Winter

Do you see that? Do you see that!?

Blowing snow. Winds gusting up to 40 clicks. Minus 26 windchill.

Oh, sure. There's great visibility at 24 k. But whatcha gonna see when your eyeballs all ice up?

And now I'm supposed to be getting out of bed to go drag the bookwagon around.

I swear, Saint John can be one raw salt town come winter.

I swear.

Look at this. Even Sam de Cham is pointin and yellin - tellin them folks get themselves back inside afore they freeze.

okay. gotta go to work.

Update. :)

So we went. One good part of working with someone else is that there's somebody else to keep you moving when you'd rather just stay in bed and watch Youtube clips of the South Seas.

We went, and the sun came out, and the snow stopped. But it was still crazy cold, tell you what, so we took the car, not the wagon.

The car doesn't work as well. There's less street borrowing, less visibility, less chance a family will see us loitering outside. We're left with knocking - the doorbells almost never work - on doors shut double-tight against the cold.

Still, it's on the coldest days that we're of most use to families: a break in a rowdy morning, an alternative to Saturday cartoons, a picture book of dragons or heavy machinery or sea shells to whisk a family or child away.

And there's the rub. The days nobody wants to go out, are the days community literacy workers need get outside so they can bring resources and support right to the doorstep.

That's probably a principle for all literacy work: the things we need to do to ensure access, to get around barriers, include things we find difficult, unpleasant, frustrating, challenging... exhausting.

Things a sensible person might rather not do.

Conversely, when institutions, boards and staff begin adapting their work to meet their own wants and needs, they run the risk of shutting doors on our nation's most isolated, most vulnerable, most trapped.

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