From: Robi / Dec 21, 2020
As I was thinking on what to focus on my second post, this time in English, I realized once again how fast the time had flown by since we immigrated to Canada in 2017. A quick calculation shows that we have already passed over the 3 years mark (and counting) in Toronto, nevertheless we are still learning. I guess to keep the learning mode is always a good merit, however I remember many instances when I was (positively or negatively) surprised to discover something when we were “newcomers”. I wish I noted down these details back then, since I have started to take many of those for granted now; internalizing the Canadian practices.
One area I would like mention today is the super-efficient library system that we have been offered as a “public” service. I tend to highlight the “public” part of this service because it is free of charge, but still without any compromise on quality.
Public libraries are managed by city governments. As we live in Vaughan, Ontario, which is 40 minutes driving distance to Downtown Toronto, what I will provide a glimpse of is Vaughan Public Libraries (VPL) (www.vaughanpl.info)
Anyone living or working in Vaughan can be a member of its libraries. You may have access via an application on your smartphone and look for a (physical or audio) book, (blue ray/ DVD/ streaming) movie, video game (PS4, Xbox, Nintendo Wee, etc.), magazine/newspaper. When one decides on what product to borrow, he can just raise a hold request and wait to be informed when your item it ready for a pick-up. Interesting enough, the options are also not limited with products in English and French, but also in various other foreign languages, depending on the demand from the community. Our local library has a large collection of products in Russian, Hebrew, Chinese, but Turkish.
We have been an active member of Vaughan Public Libraries since 2017, as we borrowed many items, not only to read, play, watch but also even just to skim through to see if a product worth buying. However, this efficient system has been a particular life saver, especially during the current Covid-19 related restrictions. We have been spending looooogggg hours at home, so when we thought about a movie, which was not on Netflix, VPL was there for us to support. Or when a Jewish holiday was close and we wanted Orli to read a story about it, our local library was there like an ocean to choose out of many options. Similarly, Albi has also benefited a lot by borrowing a video game to spend some time with or a book to check out. Public libraries also operate like a community center as well, thanks to various (currently virtual) activities. Mirey hopped in a French speaking event lately to practice her language competencies.
As I mentioned at the beginning, this user-friendly, very convenient, and free-of-charge library system is one of the examples, which Canada made me to baffle when I first heard about it; but I guess one gets used to good things very easily, therefore I am inclined to contemplate now, “How on Earth we did not have a similar mechanism back in Istanbul?”
I am sure you remember what Ibrahim Tatlises is quoted to once said, “Wouldn’t I attend if Oxford were in Urfa?”