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Letter from Japan

This E-mail came from John Becker, a Milaca branch patron who has moved to Japan. He tells us about the library in Japan.

I GOT MY LIBRARY CARD!!!! 4 years ago the library here was small, but I didn’t know that from last year they have a new library. It is nice, I have my choice of 18 computers if I get here at opening time, and a view of the green mountains.But no nice red-haired librarian. Or Betty. Instead, there are about a dozen young women in a kind of uniform vest over nice shirt and slacks. They hustle around with such energy, arms pumping and pony tails bobbing up and down, finding material, answering questions, laughing at my bad jokes, bringing the hot towel to relieve weary shoulders. BUT, instead of the few books in English, now they have thousands, including recent Vince Flynn. I was surprised. Regretably, and when I get more known here I will mention this to them, the periodical selection is poor. Although there are about 30 Japanese papers, in
English, the newspapers are the JAPAN TIMES (quite good, except for Americans continuing to snipe at each other in the letters section) and USA TODAY. Non-technical magazines in English are limited to News and World Report, Sports Ill., Elle, Cosmo, Glamour, Good Housekeeping. But the DVD/CD selection is excellent.

Some differences: Checkout is for 2 weeks only for up to 15 books and only 2 CDs or DVDs at a time. But there is no late fee! I asked why and they said “Why should you not be responsible? If you are human, why would you want to shame yourself with thoughtless irresponsibility? And why would we shame ourselves by not trusting you, Bekka-san?”

Also computer time is a choice of 30 min or 1 hour. And they mean it. When they swipe your card, time begins and when it reaches 1 minute countdown, I know that in one minute the screen will blank, and I’d better not be in the middle of something or poof, it’s gone.

The library is a nice place to spend a day. There are 4 restaurants and a coffeeshop in the building. And the toilets have those $1500 toilet seats that wash and dry and eliminate the need for toilet paper. Someday I must ask them how this is all funded.

John (Bekka Jion) has written a book, The Touch of Our Sleeves and we are acquiring a copy of it.

Sharon Strack, Branch Librarian, Milaca

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