Each month we invite patrons to Meet the Staff. This month we introduce Robert our Youth Services Assistant. We first met Robert as a tutor for the SIUE America Reads program. He impressed everyone so much that he was asked to join the staff last summer.

Robert is always friendly and eager to help young people discover a love for learning and reading. Robert is majoring in Economics and Finance with a minor in Spanish at SIUE. We are grateful he is one of the team.

My favorite TV show is Avatar: The Last Airbender.  The show masterfully handles things from inner/outer conflict, friendship and responsibilities in a way that was enjoyable for a 10-year-old me. I have seen the series more than a dozen times and have yet to grow tired of it. (I have also always known that if we were unknowingly living in the world of Avatar that I would without a doubt be chosen to be the next Avatar)

Although I have never put in the consistent practice needed to become skilled at any instrument, I have tried my hand at many over the years with my first being a harmonica given to me by my great-grandmother. Nevertheless, music has always played an important role in my life.

Despite not being a very good swimmer, I have always felt a connection with sea animals.  Trips to the Shedd Aquarium are some my most fond memories as a child.  The thought of living underwater is a fascinating one. 

I enjoy spending time with friends, however I can appreciate moments of solitude.  I believe my spirit animal would be a whale.  Many people refer to whales as the “musicians of the sea” and refer to their calls as “songs.”

If Robert’s interest in whales has sparked yours, you may enjoy:

Whales by Daniel A. Greenberg – Describes the physical characteristics, habitat, behavior, diet, life cycle, and conservation status of whales. What are whales? — Whale life — Whales in danger. Includes bibliographical references and an index.

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Deep Thinkers: Inside the Minds of Whales, Dolphins, and Porpoises edited by Janet Mann et al – Humans aside, dolphins, whales, and porpoises are often considered to be the smartest creatures on Earth. Science and nature buffs are drawn to stories of their use of tools, their self-recognition, their beautiful and complex songs, and their intricate societies. But how do we know what we know, and what does it mean? In Deep Thinkers, renowned cetacean biologist Janet Mann gathers a gam of the world’s leading whale and dolphin researchers—including Luke Rendell, Hal Whitehead, and many more—to illuminate these vital questions, exploring the astounding capacities of cetacean brains.

Thousand Mile Song: Whale Music in a Sea of Sound by David Rothenberg – Book and CD – Uses the enigma of whale sounds to examine the question of whether we can ever truly understand nonhuman minds. Contents include – We didn’t know, we didn’t know : whale songs hit the charts — Gonna grow fins : humans take up with whale music — Those orcas love a groove : making music with killer whales — To hear the dolphin call his name : how smart are they? — Beluga do not believe in tears : Russian whale music — The longest liquid song : humpback music and its changes — Moby click : sperm whales got rhythm — Thousand mile song : moanin’ in the deep sound channel — Never satisfied

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