James McConnell Memorial Library top shelf with tourist
American David Wiseley visits libraries while on vacation
A Michigan man who has visited almost 1,000 libraries is heaping praise on Cape Breton and says the staff at the James McConnell Memorial Library in Sydney are some of the friendliest people he's ever met.
Every vacation that David Wiseley — of Waters, Mich. — has taken for the last 20 years has involved going out of his way to visit libraries.
He's gone to libraries throughout Canada, the United States and even England. At every library he visits, Wiseley collects a new library card. When his wife is with him, she collects a tote bag from each library.
"One of the things we both enjoy is spending time in nice libraries, so when we'd travel about the states, we'd collect library cards," he said.
Some libraries are reluctant to hand over their library cards, which is something Wiseley encountered when speaking with a librarian in Vancouver.
"She finally said, 'The only way I can give you a card is if you've lost yours. There's a $3 charge,'" he recalled.
"I said to her, 'I've been trying to explain to you for 20 minutes I lost my card.' And I pushed $3 across the desk and she gave me a card."
Wiseley said he received the opposite treatment when he left his cruise to check out the McConnell Library in Sydney.
"It was just a very, very warm, probably one of the warmest receptions I've had almost at any library. This was one of the most enthusiastic libraries I've been in," he said.
"The lady I spoke with was open arms. She was just very, very excited and almost exuberant to show me all that they had."
Lisa Mulak is the librarian who helped him.
"His energy and his enthusiasm, you don't see that. I don't think I've ever seen that in my career as being a librarian, so it was really nice to meet him," she said.
Wiseley says the library in Sydney was the highlight of his cruise trip.