Meeting our Neighbors at Northgate Branch Library

Tuskina

Northgate patron Tsukina Blessing pulled out her MP3 player when we met at her branch library and shared her enthusiasm about Overdrive books. “I can’t read on the bus because it makes me ill but on my MP3 player I can listen to audio recordings I get in the library’s Overdrive catalog. I have a concert of Herbert Howells, a workshop, even BBC radio programs sometimes show up there. Recently I read an article in Natural History by Frans de Waal, on human correlates of ape behavior, and I was able to find a book by him on Overdrive. That’s the way I read on the bus. I’ve also brought pieces of these audios to meetings we attend. These days if you send out an artricle or other information before a meeting people may or may not read it but if you ask a small group to listen to a seven minute audio snippet then everyone has the same shared information.”

Her family relies on the library for access to books, DVDs, CDs,  computers, and as a space that’s pleasant to hang out in while other people in the family are looking. They often meet friends there and chat.  Her husband is an artist and uses the library for artistic research. She also turns to the library for work research and described the wonderful support she receives from library staff, “I’ve been able to call up downtown (library)  and say, ‘I see you have this magazine or scholarly book’ (some of the scholarly books are so old they don’t put them out in collections) and they will either scan what I need and email it or photocopy and fax it. In addition, we’re setting language standards for our office.  It’s been quite a while, and language changes so quickly these days, so I use the Old English Dictionary at the library’s database online all the time. I use Safari online books for computer programming and application use reference.”

Tsukina also expressed appreciation for the non commercial aspect of our libraries, “Libraries are a place to meet and hang out that aren’t about the consumer ethic – this is an extremely valuable way of centering community. You don’t have to pay for things here.  In the  outside world I have this sense of needing things like carrots for the rabbit, dinner,  the nuts and bolts of living. All these transactions are commercial. The library is the one place where I don’t have to do this.  For instance, the other day my son saw Indiana Jones. We saw a real live movie and it cost ten dollars…per person. Here I can order the Indiana Jones handbook and Indiana Jones 1,2, and 3 and I don’t have to pay anything. He gets many interests and I love the sense that we can keep coming back here for information. If we had to buy it all we wouldn’t do it.”

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