Monday, December 4, 2017

Our Ink, Our Stories for KPL

In September I started my dream job at the Kitchener Public Library, as a Library Assistant (helping people sign up for library cards, check in and check out books, DVDs, CDs, audiobooks, helping people use the internet, the printer, access classes and resources) at the main branch of the library, which is like a beautiful art gallery as well as being a breathtaking work of architecture, as well as a place that houses a lot of very happy personal memories of reading, learning, art and community, but also at the four community library branches (Forest Heights, Country Hills, Pioneer Park and Grand River) which each have their own distinct personality and populations they serve.

In addition to loving the work, I also love the organization and what they stand for. I also work with and for some of the nicest, coolest, smartest people in the area. I honestly enjoy going to work every day and actually believe in what we do. It's so unusual! Unlike some libraries, the KPL is super progressive and forward thinking in it's vision, and in the last year enrolment has increased by 20%! The library is so much more than a place to get any book, movie, or piece of music for free, but it's kind of the true manifestation of democracy - a non-capitalist town hall - where anyone is welcome regardless of where they are at in life, where people can come when they come as refugees to Canada, when they get out of jail after twenty years, when they don't know how to use the internet, when they have five kids and are about to have a nervous breakdown, when they can't read, when they have a disability, when they want to make art or use technology or make music but can't afford the supplies, and they are all welcomed as our customers. Or you can come use the library if you have everything you could want and need in life, and you'll get more than you could ever imagine out of it. You can borrow musical instruments, toys, try virtual reality, make a 3D print, make a podcast, make a video on our green screen.

As if the job couldn't get any better, one of the people I work with - Meg Harder, is an amazing artist and person, and asked me to help her with a really cool project that the CEO Mary Chevreau asked her to take on, and I've been loving to contribute to it. The project is Our Ink, Our Stories, and it is a blog telling stories of the residents of Waterloo Region through their tattoos (or other uses of ink/paint on their bodies).

There have been a lot of awesome stories from Meg, also from former Editor of The Community Edition Meagan Norse, as well as self-submissions from residents with tattoos & stories to tell, but I've just loved doing interviews, taking photos, and writing up stories about people I know very well, or don't know at all. Click the links below to check out the stories I've done so far.

Andrea Hawkins
Vicki Lees
Ryan King

Anya Steffler

Also check out the story about my tattoo, done by Megan Nourse, and stay tuned for pieces on Glodeane Brown, Ryan Dingman and Wendy Romero.  I'm also hoping to try to make a podcast out of one of my interviews coming up!

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