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Japanese Books Boost Harrison Library Readership

HARRISON, N.Y. - It was a Westchester library’s first Japanese section and after 33 years and 3,000 volumes contributed, several other county libraries followed Harrison’s lead.

Kiyoko Brown came to Harrison from Japan and was one of the instrumental factors in bringing Japanese books to the local library .

"It's sort of like an oasis," Brown said. "Everyone we know is happy about it."

Brown helped organize a book drive and fundraiser that virtually covered the entire cost of a new Japanese section in one day. She raised more than $200 at her first event at the local "It's Great to Live in Harrison" festival and the new section was born.

And it has expanded every year. The section now thrives with help from 21 volunteers at the library.

After more than 30 years of growth, the Japanese section of the Harrison library is now an entire row of books and videos that is a frequent hot spot for local Japanese residents.

"We are very proud to have it be a part of our library," Harrison Library Director Galina Chernykh said. "It has become a very popular section."

The influx of Japanese residents also allowed for the creation of a Japanese book club. Kazuko Komatsu of Briarcliff started the independent club, which meets weekly. The number of club members varies from five to 10 members from Westchester.

"We appreciate having Japanese books to choose from," Brown said.

All the Japanese items are linked to the Sirsi catalogue . The evolution of the Japanese collection will continue under the new leadership at the library.

"It will be more helpful for the Japanese readers if our catalogue can display Japanese items in Japanese script, not in western alphabets and we are working with WLS cataloging department on this issue," Chernykh said. "Also, we plan to use bilingual library signs, application forms, brochures and publicity to promote use and awareness of library collections and services."

What do you think the Japanese section of the Harrison Public Library adds to the facility as a learning center? Tell us what you think on Facebook and Twitter .

E-mail town reporter Phil Corso at .

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