things i heard at the library: an occasional series: #18

As I've mentioned, my current library is located in a community centre. Here's an example of why that's so great.

A customer came to the desk, an older man, speaking heavily accented English, clutching a piece of paper.

It was difficult to figure out what he wanted. He kept repeating, "They said the library would help me. I have to apply online. They said the library would help."

The paper turned out to be a Record of Employment. From my own experience, I know this is the first step in applying for Employment Insurance. Asking questions, I learned that he had worked as a machinist for 35 years and had been laid off. It sounded like the good people at Service Canada told him he could apply for Employment Insurance online. "I told them, I am not online, and they said, go to the library, they will help you." It's possible that Service Canada was just trying to get rid of him.

I asked him, "Have you been to Malton Neighbourhood Services, down the hall?" He had not. "Come with me, I'll take you down there."

We walked together to Malton Neighbourhood Services. I told the person at the desk, "I'm with the library. This gentleman needs some help applying for EI. He has his ROE." She told him to take a seat, we shook hands, and I returned to the library.

Laid off after 35 years, that must be so difficult. Maybe we made it a tiny bit easier.

Malton Neighbourhood Services had their budget cut to the bone this year. Yet another reason to not vote Conservative.


Amy said...

Laura, your community is so lucky that you decided to become a librarian. Did you know before you started that your new profession would give you so many opportunities to help people beyond providing guidance in finding books and other resources? The more I hear about the things you do, the more I appreciate what librarians do and understand why this was such an appropriate career choice for you.

And happy new year! :)

laura k said...

Aw Amy, thank you so much. I did know that libraries had become community hubs. I would use our library (the Central library where I worked until recently) and I'd see signs for English conversation circles, resume and job search help, computer instruction, storytimes, etc.

Shanah tovah!