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Kim Rapati, a casual library clerk at NWT Centennial Library, filmed interviews – on her cellphone – with Hay River residents in science careers to promote Science Literacy Week.
Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

NWT Centennial Library had a unique way of celebrating the recent Science Literacy Week.

Kim Rapati, a casual library clerk, came up with the idea of interviewing people in science careers in Hay River, and asking them for recommendations of science books that people could read.

“This year is a little different because we really don’t want to plan a big group event or anything,” she said. “So we were brainstorming on how we could still promote science literacy, but also do something a little different.”

Rapati believes one of the best ways to learn about science is from people in various fields of science and who are passionate about their jobs.

“So I thought maybe what we could do was ask people in Hay River in science careers what their favourite books are related to their career, or a book that they think other people would enjoy who would like to learn more about their topic,” she said.

Rapati filmed seven interviews on her cellphone, and posted shortened versions of the interviews on the library’s Facebook page for each day of Science Literacy Week from Sept. 21 to Sept. 27.

“A lot of them have really interesting stories,” she said. “Some of the interviews got really long and we just wanted to know what their favourite book was. But it’s just fascinating talking to people about these things.”

The videos posted for Science Literacy Week focused on book recommendations.

“They’re all around three minutes long,” said Rapati. “So they’re quite quick.”

However, she also plans to post the full-length interviews.

The first interview was with Bruce Green, a retired science teacher who continues to be involved in his own personal science projects, such as promoting fossils found in the Hay River area.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Green said of Rapati’s project to promote science literature. “I’m always interested in what people are reading.”

Green recommended a number of books, including a biography of a scientist named Alfred Russel Wallace, who Green said has never really gotten his fair share of credit for the development of the theory of evolution.

His other recommendations included The Mushroom Hunter by Gary Lincoff and any of the books by natural history writer Gerald Durrell.

Rapati also obtained book recommendations from geologist Daniel Slade, university researcher Julia Gyapay, traditional knowledge holder Gordon Norberg, biologists Mike Low and George Low, and Kathleen Groenewegen, who works in forest management with the GNWT.

“There’s quite a wide range of books that are suggested,” said Rapati.

Christine Gyapay, the head librarian at NWT Centennial Library, said the book recommendations have proven to be very popular on Facebook.

“I think it’s a fabulous way of celebrating Science Literacy Week and finding our local scientists and sharing them,” said Gyapay.

Rapati noted that, when she started the project, she thought there weren’t that many careers in science in Hay River.

“But it turns out that there are actually quite a lot,” she said, noting she may do the same interview project for next year’s Science Literacy Week.

“There are so many other sciences and science careers in Hay River,” she said. “I hope to do this again and interview people who are in more of the social sciences and the medical science field.”

Rapati said this year’s interviews focused on the natural sciences.

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Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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