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The Bernabes have spent recent months getting acquainted with the likes of Geronimo Stilton, Charizard and Tom and Jerry thanks to the Yellowknife public library.

When Oyuka Bernabe tells her kids they have a time slot booked at the library, she said they cheer. 

The Bernabes were avid library-goers before the pandemic, but since restrictions took hold in March, Bernabe said her family is especially grateful to the facility and its staff. 

Sebastian Bernabe, 6, and his sister Elizabeth, 4, made a thank-you sign to show their appreciation to library staff.
photo courtesy of Oyuka Bernabe

She said the staff are always “friendly and helpful,” greeting them with “warm smiles” and offering thoughtful suggestions for her children, Sebastian, 6, Elizabeth, 4, and Samuel, 2.

In the seven decades its been open, the Yellowknife library has amassed more than 70,000 books, DVDs, CDs and online resources. If ever they don’t have an item, however, Bernabe said staff have generously ordered it from elsewhere. 

To show the staff how much their family and the community appreciate them, the Bernabes delivered treats and a thank-you sign to the library last week. Bernabe said she and her family cannot thank the small team enough for their hard work and she’s sure other Yellowknife families feel the same way.

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Library manager John Mutford said the staff are “touched” and “in awe” of the gesture. 

He was especially impressed that the Bernabes know the staff well enough to have been able to name each one on their thank-you card – written on bristol board that’s now on display at the front of the facility. 

As of July, the library has been accessible by appointment only, where Yellowknifers can reserve their book or movie in advance and come by at their agreed-upon time to pick it up. Since November, Yellowknifers have been permitted to browse library shelves in scheduled one-hour time-slots as long as they wear a mask.

Mutford said the staff miss their regularly scheduled activities but are appreciative to the community for their patience. 

While gearing up for the holidays, Bernabe said her family has taken out books to learn French and sign language. 

“Once a child learns to use the library, the doors to learning are always open,” she said. “Everything you need for success and a better future has already been written, and guess what? All you have to do is go to the library.”

Natalie Pressman

Reporting courts and cops and general news, Natalie started with NNSL Media in 2020. Before moving to Yellowknife, Natalie worked as a community radio trainer in Iskatewizaagegan #39 Independent First...

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