Get to Know Your Candidates: Mike Russnak, Ward 12

We sent out a brief, fun survey about libraries to all of the nominees running in the 2017 Edmonton civic election to help you get to better know your candidates.

These are the answers that Mike Russnak from Ward 12 sent back to us.

Election day is Monday, October 16. Get to know your candidates, learn how you can support EPL,  and don’t forget to vote!

1. What is your favourite library memory or experience?

My favourite library experience comes from back when I was in elementary school. My local library was in the basement of Southgate Mall.

I used to go with my Mom nearly every week to pick out some books. Usually they had to do with cars in some way, as they have been an interest of mine since a very young age.

While there, I'd also peruse the periodicals looking for the newest issue of Boys' Life or Popular Mechanics, sit in the big chairs and flip through the articles.

What really sticks with me, and brings me back to my experience with the library as a youngster, is the smell of books. Whenever I get a book, I take a sniff and smile; I'm 10 years old again!

2. What is your favourite book, movie or song right now?

A book that I very much enjoy and have re-read a number of times is Exploding the Phone by Phil Lapsley. The book follows the exploits of phone phreaks; the hackers of the 1960's and 1970's.

The story is compelling in its telling of the history of technology, the importance of The Bell System, and the way an "unbreakable" system was cracked open and made to do things even the telephone engineers thought impossible.

The book also covers the near-arrest of a very young Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak for using a "blue box" to make free phone calls.

3. What magazines, newspapers, blogs, Twitter accounts and/or podcasts do you follow?

4. Which fictional character do you most relate to and why?

I tend to lean towards nonfiction when choosing which books to read.

5. What is one book you think everyone should read and why?

1984 by George Orwell

6. What book is on your nightstand (or on your eReader or tablet) right now?

Phil Collins' Not Dead Yet: The Memoir

7. Election Day (October 16) is also Boss' Day. Who was your very first boss and what was your job? What was one important lesson you learned from them?

I worked as a sales associate in a discount store garden centre. I worked for a variety of managers, but there was a common theme to all of their teachings: we finish the jobs we start and we take pride in the work we do.

The most important lesson though, was the importance of customer service. Customers are not an annoyance or distraction from our work; they are the reason we have a job.

I have carried and shared these lessons through my sales and management career.

8. What role do you see EPL playing in a thriving and vibrant Edmonton?

The library will always serve the vital function of offering a non-threatening space where all Edmontonians belong. A space where they can meet, share ideas, learn, express themselves and receive support.

The library can make people feel connected; a part of something larger than themselves. We are fortunate to have a public service which gives back to the community in so many ways.