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Toronto Public Library employee praised for helping elderly woman connect with family
Published Sunday, May 24, 2020 5:38PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, May 25, 2020 6:04AM EDT
A Toronto Public Library (TPL) employee is being praised for going the extra mile to help a patron virtually connect with her family during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Young Lark Jin, the library service manager for the York Woods District, assisted a woman in her 90s who was struggling to access the public library's wireless network last week. His action did not go unnoticed. Toronto Mayor John Tory commended Jin during a news conference on Friday.
"It's just one of the thousands of good stories happening across our city every day as city workers, including library workers go above and beyond to get the job done, whatever job that may be to help our residents," Tory said.
Speaking to CP24 on Sunday, Jin said he was first alerted about the issue after getting a message from the officer of Ward 1 Councillor Michael Ford.
He said Ford's office sent an email, asking if someone could help an elderly customer who was having a hard time connecting to the Internet.
"She was using her iPad to connect with her family members because I believe she didn't have an internet connection at home. She was coming to the local library to get an Internet connection," Jin said.
The woman had been going to the Rexdale and Albion branches, trying to access the wireless network outside as TPL closed its branches due to COVID-19.
After receiving the message, Jin said he contacted multiple library departments, including IT, to see if the Wi-Fi at those branches were working. When Jin got the confirmation that the wireless network was in service, he informed the woman.
However, Jin said the woman called him back to let him know that she went back to the library and still couldn't access the Internet.
"At that time, I realized that she might have some issues with connecting her device to our Wi-Fi. So, I went to Albion and Rexdale and checked our Wi-Fi signals. They were strong, and I was able to connect."
So, Jin offered to meet the woman at the library to help her resolve the problem.
He said they met at the library parking lot while maintaining physical distancing.
"We rolled our windows down, and she passed her iPad to me, and I cleaned it with a hand sanitizer and then I tried to help her."
"In the end, she was able to connect to the Wi-Fi at the Rexdale branch so she will be able to connect with her family members," Jin said.
Meanwhile, several TPL branches will be opening their drop boxes starting Monday to accept the return of library materials. Drop boxes at all remaining branches will reopen on June 1.
"We wanted to make sure that staff members and the customers who are coming to the branches can safely use this service," said Jin. "Health and safety are paramount in this case."
TPL estimates that there are more than one million items currently out on loan.
Early in June, library patrons can also pick up their materials that were placed on hold through a curbside pick-up service.
The library said the suspension of fines will continue until regular service resumes.