Name: Amanda Mae Monson
Age: Old/young enough that I wanted to marry Michael J. Fox when I was 3.
Occupational Title: Adult Services Coordinator
City of residence: Cartersville
Family: Parents and a sister in Chicago, and a brother at college in Utah
Education: Graduated from Henry W. Grady High School in Atlanta, majored in history at the University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!), and attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for a masters in library and information science.
When did you join the library staff and what led you to this line work?
A: I joined the Bartow County Library System staff in late February of this year, and was so glad to find my way back to Georgia! When I got out of college, I worked for Borders Books in Chicago, selling books, movies, and music, and occasionally meeting celebrities. It was a great job, but one day a co-worker mentioned that she was going to library school, and the idea stuck with me. Yeah, why not be a librarian! That could be fun! I was so grateful that I could take all the best parts of being a bookseller and build upon them to be a librarian.
Describe what being the Adult Services Coordinator entails and what is your favorite part of the job?
A: Adult Services Coordinator is quite a fun job! I’m in charge of some of the materials purchasing for the library, so I’m up to speed on hot new titles about to be released. (Stop by the library and ask me what I’m reading!) I get to organize programs for the library, meeting people in the community and making connections. And best of all, I get the chance to help the guests of the library find the information they’re looking for, whether that be a good book to read, help downloading ebooks, changing the password on their email, or answering random trivia questions that patrons come up with!
What do you think is the most important service the library provides and why?
A: This community is so lucky to have such a marvelous staff to assist them when they come to the library. Walking into a library can be very intimidating to some people, and having a friendly, knowledgeable staff to guide these patrons is so important. All the great and wonderful things in a library can’t be that way unless there’s an excellent staff to find and showcase them for you. I have some fantastic co-workers who are very good at what they do.
If budget concerns were not a factor, what is the one thing you would like to see at the library?
A: Musical instruments to check out, and practice space. I’ve been so impressed by the vibrant arts community here in Cartersville, and I’d love for the library to be able to facilitate even more of that. I play a few instruments myself, most of them self-taught, (hand me anything with strings and I’ll figure it out), and would love to use my position as a librarian to help people discover new ways of having fun through music.
What is your greatest professional or personal achievement?
A: Though I’ve been in the profession for a few years now, there isn’t one event that stands out. Really it’s the smaller victories that add up that make me proud to be a librarian. I always have a good day when I can walk someone through downloading ebooks on their ereader, and they leave with a smile on their face and new books to read. I feel like I’ve done some good when I can have a conversation with a patron about a paper they’re writing, and can give them suggestions of new avenues to research. And I especially feel accomplished when a patron comes in with one of those, “It’s got a blue cover, but I don’t remember the title,” questions and I can figure out what the book is!
What is the best book you’ve ever read and why?
A: That’s a very difficult question for a librarian to answer! I can’t really say that I have one book that stands out as the best, but at different times of my life I’ve read books that were the best for me then. When I was nine, it was Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl for her courage and insightfulness. When I was in middle school, it was Jane Eyre and Leon Uris’ Exodus, for their stories of passion and triumph. When I was 16, it was Gone With the Wind for the love story and the history. When I was in college it was anything by F. Scott Fitzgerald because he’s marvelous. I can’t just pick one! I could talk your ear off for hours pulling titles off my bookcases and telling you about how much they mean to me.
If an autobiography were written of your life, what would the title be?
A: Ha! Well, based on what my friends tell me, it would probably be Hipster Librarian, and even that is mostly to do with my choice of eyeglasses!
Do you have a bucket list and if so, what is the one thing you most look forward to accomplishing?
A: History buff that I am, I’ve been trying to visit as many Civil War sites during this 150th anniversary as I can. I started at Fort Sumter at the start of the commemoration, and I hope I can find my way to Appomattox next year for the close of it. Confederates in the Attic by Tony Horwitz and Land of Lincoln by Andrew Ferguson have been my inspirations!