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.

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