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Reading entertains and informs

By Don Fennell

Published 11:45 PDT, Mon August 10, 2020

The benefits of reading are well documented—improving brain power, building vocabulary, and increasing empathy among them. But it can also be a tonic for relaxing, an escape from reality, or, in a figurative sense at least, stepping into another’s shoes.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, residents have maintained a strong engagement with literary works. Since the summer reading program at Richmond Public Library launched June 24, members have checked out more than 18,000 books.

“The most popular so far include Camino Winds, a novel for adults; Sonic the Hedgehog for kids; and The Book Thief for teens,” says library spokesperson Stephanie Vokey, who invites readers to visit to find their next great summer read.

Readers can also visit the main Brighouse branch (7700 Minoru Gate) weekdays for a quick look at popular collections; pick up holds at other neighbourhood branches; or grab a quick picks bag of books chosen by library staff.

Speaking of library staff, they’re also using this time to check titles off their to-read list.

“I’ve found the pandemic has given me an excuse to try out new books and series that I’ve been wanting to try for a while,” says Andrea, a digital services librarian.

“I’m hoping to get through most of Shirley Jackson’s work in preparation for her biopic, and I just finished The Haunting of Hill House which was fantastic. I’ve also picked up some fantasy novels and am currently working through House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin Craig.”

A daily reader, children’s librarian Johanna has been influenced by the growing attitude towards racial injustices.

“Recently, I finished We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation by Jeff Chang. I look forward to reading more on anti-racism and sharing the resources with my community,” she says.

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