By Denise Bacon

Nicole Lehman joined the team of the Port Union Library as Branch Head on August 1 this year. She has been with Toronto Public Library since 1994 and has worked at several of the TPL’s 100 branches across the city, including Yorkwoods, Centennial, Cedarbrae, Highland Creek and most recently at Cliffcrest. She loved learning about new communities and experienced the marvelous diversity of the city through her experiences.

Nicole feels very lucky to be at Port Union. “The staff are kind and want to share what they know,” she said. This team spirit has made Nicole’s move to Port Union very easy. She was effusive about each of the staff members and how well they work together. Each person is valued and contributes to the overall success of this busy library.

Nicole encourages staff members to follow their own special interests within their work at the library. For example, Shakib Mohsin, a movie buff, selects the movies for “Monday Night at the Movies” and he’s responsible for advertising this event. Yeajin Park, another staff member, “brings in happiness whenever she comes into work!” said Nicole.

“The library staff, library users, community members and city staff make up a sharing, thoughtful and kind community,” she said. Sharing the building with Port Union Community Centre is a big bonus for Nicole. “It’s so much fun to hear the singing on Thursdays.”

Community members often drop in to say hello on their way to various activities within the Centre. Students from Mowat often come to the library over their lunch break “and they’re really good at cleaning up after themselves!” said Nicole.

The Library’s Neighbourhood Tech Kits (NTK) are used not just by library users, but by city staff who run programs for youth. The library will be working closely with CCRA for Earth Day and Winterfest and Nicole is looking forward to participating in these big upcoming community events and planning for future ones.

Port Union Library is a hub of activity well beyond lending books and other materials. The regular library report in this paper outlines the library highlights for each month. There are programs throughout the week for babies to grownups, including Baby Time, Family Time, afternoon and evening Book Clubs, Monday Night at the Movies and an Arts workshop. All these programs and activities are possible only because of the wonderful staff at Port Union.

Nicole is an avid reader, so working for Toronto Public Library is a dream job. She usually has three books on the go – one that she listens to in the car, one she reads on her break at work and one at home. “Listening to an audio version of a book gives a completely different sense of a novel,” said Nicole, “as the voices and intonations bring life to the story. Some stories are presented as radio plays, complete with sound effects like banging doors. These audio books can be riveting, and time passes quickly when driving while listening!”

The best part about being at Port Union Library for Nicole is working with a wonderful team and being part of the warm community. She looks forward to coming to work every day and to getting to know more and more community members.