Monday, November 30, 2009

Switzerland Bans the building of Minarets

An interesting and shocking vote in Switzerland today. The Swiss people, in a referendum, have voted to ban the building of minarets in the country. The vote-forced on the Swiss by the Swiss People's Party (SVP)-a right-wing party-after collecting 100000 signatures in 18 months-comes as a shock to both the Swiss government and the country's 400000 muslims. This paves the way for a constitutional amendment.
The odd thing about this is that there are only 4 mosques in Switzerland that actually have minarets. They are a well-known feature of mosques around the world. The SVP believes that minarets represent a growing power of Islam in Switzerland and promote a sense of fear of rising Islamic fundamentalism. See the news report on Al-Jazeera in English here.
The scary thing is that now, another right wing party in Holland wants the same ban on minarets. Is this going to be a wider movement? Let's hope not. Where will it end if it does? A muslim country could therefore ban the building of churches, saying there is a threat of growing christianity in the country. Highly unlikely, but you never know.
Would this sort of thing happen in Canada? I doubt it. The Charter protects freedom of religion, and any ban on building minarets would probably be struck down as going against the multicultural fabric of the country.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Golf Swing Defined

Who knew that a golf swing such as the "Happy Gilmore" shot ever existed. Here is a recent posting on Slaw that deals with what a "Happy Gilmore" shot is, and what a regular golf shot should be like. Go down to the entry entitled "Fore" by Mark Lewis. Hopefully, this will get your golf juices flowing in time for next spring.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Greeting people with a smile!!

It truly is amazing how greeting patrons at the reference desk with a smile can not only ease their fears of coming to the reference desk, but also shows how important customer service really is. A good example is this posting I read this morning from AALL's Reference list serv. One librarian wrote:

That morning, as I awaited my meeting, I watched the students as they entered the building to start their day. For security purposes, students had to wear badges and walk past a reception area. The weather was gray and windy, the hour early, it was Friday the 13th, and the stage was set for student moods to match. However, that wasn't the case, and the reason was the person sitting at that reception area. She smiled, greeted the students with genuine enthusiasm, and moods visibly lifted in the scant seconds that transaction took. It was inspiring to see, and, in a time when it's increasingly important to show the value of personnel, I can't imagine an electronic alternative to that human element.

A smile can make all the difference. An electronic service provider couldn't do that!

Food for thought for your Friday!!