How long have you worked at the library? Since October 2001
How many items do you have checked out now? 18
How many items are on your hold list? 14
What book can you read again and again? I typically wait 5+ years before I re-read any book. Every now and then, I feel the need to escape to the Harry Potter universe. It’s been more than ten years since I read Catcher in the Rye. I want to read that again, because I know I’ll react to the book and to Holden Caulfield differently than I did as a teenager.
If you were a literary character, who would you be and why? Atticus Finch. You can’t question his character. You can’t shake his morals. And he was the deadest shot in Maycomb county.
What aspects of the library do you think are underutilized? Some of our online resources like Mango (a language learning program) are underused. For anyone that doesn’t want to pay for Rosetta Stone, Mango is a great alternative, and it’s free for our patrons. I also think we have a great foreign film selection. Any film buffs might be surprised to see what we have.
What is you favorite book format? I like them all. I go on 2-hour drives regularly, so audiobooks are a must. I have the Kindle app on my phone, and my phone is always on my person. If I’m sitting in a waiting room, or standing in a long line somewhere, I can pull my phone out and read a few pages. It’s great for travel as well. I can have dozens of books on an e-reader or on my phone. I used to pack my carry-on luggage full of books. Now, my hard copies of books rarely leave home.
If you use multiple formats, what percentage do you use each? 40% e-book, 30% audiobook, 30% print book.
What is your favorite aspect of working at the library? Libraries have always facilitated education and self-improvement, and that is definitely still the case, but these days public libraries are oases of popular culture. Public libraries have new movies, new music, cool new books, etc. It’s fun to see all this stuff come through the library, and it’s even more fun to talk to patrons about books, movies, and music. I love hearing someone share his or her enthusiasm for something they just watched or read.
What is your guilty reading (or listening) pleasure? For the record, I feel no shame for liking the things I like. But here are two books on my to-read list: Air Force Gator and AirForce Gator 2: Scales of Justice. Also, when I want some easy, light reading, I usually go after juvenile or teen books. Some grown men might feel guilty about reading those books, but I’m very immature for my age.
What books do you feel guilty for not having read? Everything in the Western canon. I studied English in undergrad, so people assume I’ve read everything by Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf, et al., but this is definitely not the case. Not for me. I feel much more guilt about the things I haven’t read than the things I have. I’m guessing most people feel that way, right?
Have your reading habits changed since working in the library? If so, how? Working in a library, I feel more compelled to read new bestsellers or popular book club selections. In this job, you feel the need to be a part of the reading zeitgeist. If everyone is reading Gone Girl, you have to read it right now to be a part of the conversation, or the water cooler discussions. If I read Gone Girl five years from now, the conversation has moved on to something else. In 2003-2004, EVERYONE was talking about Kite Runner. You can still read Kite Runner and enjoy it, but it’s more fun to share with everyone else who has just finished it.
What is your perfect reading environment? I imagine most people describe a very comfortable environment for this question. If I get a nice cozy chair and a heavy blanket, I’m falling straight to sleep—coffee or no coffee. I’ve taken books over to Stagger Inn, and I’ve done some good reading there. When I have to actively tune out a cacophony of chatter, I can focus better on the book than I can in absolute silence. I’m not sure why that is.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what single genre of books would you want with you? If I was stuck on a desert island, I think I’d like to read about things that remind me of home. I’ve always liked reading small-town slice-of-life books and books about dysfunctional families. A lot of literary fiction fits the bill. I’ll take that stuff.
What was your favorite children’s book when you were a child? What is your favorite children’s book now? I found this book called Dog for a Day by DickGackenbach at the Richneck Elementary school library. This was probably 1st grade, maybe 2nd. I was crazy about that book. Flipping through children’s books these days, I’m blown away by the artwork. There’s a newer book called How To Train a Train by Jason CarterEaton. That’s probably one that I’ll get my nephews for Christmas.
Before you worked here, what was your worst library transgression? Overdue books. Late fees. Nothing too juicy.