Our featured Reviewer for April 2017 is Kim J.
Kim has worked for Lincoln City Libraries for many years now, first in the northeast part of town, but mostly in the Reference and Public Service departments at the downtown library. Kim was one of our first reviewers when we launched Staff Recommendations in April 2004, and her reviews show up regularly on our Staff Recommendations displays and on the BookGuide web pages. Reading and books have long been an important part of her life, as she indicates in her answers to our following profile questions:
Would you care to share any personal info with our readers — such as where you grew up, what you read as a child, etc.?
I grew up in the town of Waverly, Nebraska, so I have lived in Lancaster County my entire life. One of my earliest memories is of a visit to Bennett Martin Public Library with my mother in the early 1960s. I thought the adult fiction area was scary but I really liked the Children’s Reading Room. This was back in the 1960s when the library was much smaller than it is today. My family used to visit the Bethany Branch Library as well. I can remember being excited about getting my own library card and checking out books. I had that little paper card up through college. By the time I was in college, I was visiting the library to use the Polley Music Library and to check out films from the old film department.
How long have you been an active reader, and were there any particular books or authors or other people that “made you a reader”? Has there been any book or author that “changed your life” or strongly influenced you?
I have always been a reader since before I started school. My favorite genres when I was young were science fiction and fantasy novels. I read all the Star Trek books I could get my hands on as well as Anne McCaffrey, Ursula LeGuin, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and many others. When I started Junior High, I started reading the works of Alexandre Dumas, Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare. Those three authors are still among my favorite writers and have had a great influence in my life. When I started college, I added Jane Austen to my list of favorite authors and have read all of her works repeatedly ever since. I am also a big fan of the works of Victor Hugo and C.S. Forester and I love to talk with customers about the wonderful books these men wrote.
How important are books and reading to you, currently?
Sharing my love of literature is what I enjoy most in my career, so books and reading are very important to me!
How do you select what books to read next? What formats do you prefer (book, ebook, audiobook, etc.)?
I mainly read books that are in print format, but I also enjoy reading books on my Nook, especially the works of Jane Austen. I also enjoy listening to books once in a while, especially if the reader has an English accent. One of the books I listened to most recently was Martin the Warrior as read by the author, Brian Jacques. I had the opportunity to meet him back in 2002 and found him absolutely fascinating to listen to since he was a master of English dialects. I enjoyed his Redwall Web site very much while he was alive and making posts.
I have been suggesting titles on BookGuide since its beginning. I like making suggestions on the BookGuide site mainly because it gives me the opportunity to showcase books that otherwise would go unknown simply because I prefer older classics and genres that differ from most of my co-workers’ favorites. An example of this would be the works of naturalist Helen Hoover (Long Shadowed Forest and Gift of the Deer). Helen Hoover was a scientist from Chicago who gave up city life to live in the Boundary Waters area of Minnesota near the Canadian border. If you are interested in nature, flora or fauna, I highly recommend her books.
What is your history with the Lincoln City Libraries – how long have you been a customer, and how long have you worked for LCL? Which locations?
I started working for the library in 1985 as I was finishing my undergraduate degree at UNL. One of the advantages of working in a library setting is that you are exposed to all kinds of literature that you wouldn’t read otherwise. I taught English and music in the Lincoln Public Schools for a while, but ended up back at the library after finishing my Master’s Degree in Education. One of the things that I missed most while away from the library was working with people who are passionate about books and love to share their love of literature with others. I was hired to work in the Northeast Libraries but moved downtown to Bennett Martin Public Library’s Reference Department just a few months later. The Reference Department was the perfect job for me because I love to do research and I enjoy helping people. I have been in the department for over twenty years now.
Are there any interesting book- or reading-related stories or bits of trivia in your past that you’d like to share with our readers?
I have met several children’s literature authors and enjoyed talking with Brian Jacques, Helen Lester and Rosemary Wells. If I could meet any author, dead or alive, I would like to meet Laura Ingalls Wilder. I have visited all of her homes (or sites) over the years, and read many books about her and her writing. I think that she made a huge impact on the field of children’s literature with her books, and still read them as an adult.
Do you have a favorite literary-related website you like to visit or that you’d like to recommend?
For Redwall fans: www.redwallabbey.com.
As much as I enjoy Hoover’s works, I have to say that if you have never read anything by Jane Austen, I would suggest her books, especially Sense and Sensibility or Pride and Prejudice. There is a reason these books are considered to be classics of English literature! The film adaptations of her works are good, but nothing compares to the books themselves. “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good book must be in want of … another!” (With apologies to Jane Austen.)
Posted to the BookGuide pages in April 2017