VIRL’s Rodney Frick is a top pick

May 13, 2020

When it comes to customer dedication, VIRL’s Rodney Frick is a top pick

With his home library topping the shelves at 2,000 books and 500 graphic novels, there’s little doubt that Library Assistant and self-described bibliophile Rodney Frick has a love for literature.

“I have always collected books and frequented second-hand book stores as a teenager,” says Rodney. “In the mid-1990s, I worked at an independent book store and was there for 11 years. So much of my paycheck went back into that store while I was working there.”

Over the years Rodney has squeezed 14 bookcases into his condo to support his collection, five of which he purchased from the Wellington branch when it moved to the Country Club Centre.

Amongst his shelves is a prized first edition of Eye of the World signed by author Robert Jordon, and a copy of Hans Christian Andersen’s Stories for the Household from 1893.

“I also have some older comic books from the 1950s including the first appearance of Red Kryptonite from the World of Superman,” says Rodney.

And while it’s clear Rodney’s passion lies between the pages of Urban Fantasy and the Science Fiction he reads, he is as equally passionate about helping the customers who frequent our Harbourfront branch.

“I absolutely love being able to find the right books for people,” said Rodney.

Three weeks prior to the branch closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Rodney was able to do just this.

“I was approached by a mother and her daughter looking for a recommendation,” says Rodney. “They had already read the Harry Potter books as well as the Narnia series.”

Rodney immediately suggested the Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce, a book series with a strong female character in a medieval world.

A few weeks later, the customer approached Rodney to verify it was indeed him who had suggested the books.

“She had this neutral expression and honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect,” says Rodney. “Then she gave me a big smile and said that the first book in the series was a real hit and that she was picking up the second book with the third already on order. They were reading through the series together.”

While Rodney surely misses seeing the smiles on customers’ faces while he continues to support the current stay-at-home measures, he remains dedicated to helping others find the books they are looking for.

“The other day I lent 11 novels to a friend who is missing our library,” said Rodney. “She and her mother wanted to read books by a certain author.”

And of course, with all of his time now spent at home as he waits to serve VIRL customers once again, Rodney has been able to finish a few titles himself.

“I can say that in the past 29 days I have read 16 books and seven graphic novels,” says Rodney. “I have a bookcase of books that I haven’t read yet (about 500 titles) and I am going through it and reading some of them. I will always have something to read and I re-read my books every so often. In many ways, it is like revisiting old friends.”