Get Smart about library-ing

by DGO Web Administrator

Need an escape from what is sure to be a “brave new world”? How about stepping away from the screen, and having a look at a book! Let Corinna Manion, librarian at the Durango Public Library, tell you about her reading goals and resolutions.

What are your personal reading goals this year?Quality over quantity! The past few years I have set high goals for myself – 100 books, 75 books, 52 books. I found I was selecting books to read based on how short or easy to read they looked. This year I set my goal much lower – 30 books – with the hopes that I will read some of those denser books that have been on my to-read list for a long time. Another of my reading goals this year is to read some tried-and-true titles rather than focusing on new books. When you work as a librarian, you have to stay tuned into new trends and titles. There’s so many interesting books being released, it can feel overwhelming. I’m excited to go back and read some books that aren’t quite as new that people I trust have recommended to me over the years.

What resolutions, goals, and strategies do you recommend to people looking to read a bit more?Everything is strengthened by habit. If you read or listen to an audiobook for 30 minutes a day you’ll find you have an awesome foundation for being a more regular reader. I go for a 30 minute walk every morning and listen to an audiobook. I read for at least 20 minutes every night. It all adds up. For parents who are trying to encourage their kids to become independent readers, model that behavior! It really helps. Also, I’m a Goodreads junky. I love seeing what my friends are reading and getting ideas for what to read next.

Why look at a page instead of a screen?I think it’s a myth that the internet and our smartphones connect us. Sure, they do in a literal sense, but I find myself feeling more connected to the world around me and fellow human beings when I’m unplugged and reading more books. I find that reading fiction creates more empathy in me and reading nonfiction helps me feel more grounded and connected to our shared histories and experiences.

How did you become a reader?I’ve gravitated toward the written word for as long as I can remember. From “Babar” to “The Wizard of Oz” to “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry,” books helped me make sense of the world when I was growing up and helped me cultivate a sense of wonder and curiosity that I hope never leaves me. When I was a teenager, the library was my second home. We didn’t have a lot of money growing up and I couldn’t believe that everything there was free!

How did you become a librarian?I’ve always been driven to serve others and to try to help level the playing field by making sure everyone, regardless of their station in life, has access to books and knowledge. Libraries helped me immensely growing up and I like to think I’m preserving that for generations to come. Beyond this lofty goal, there were lots of years of higher education involved. Fun fact: To be a librarian you need a master’s degree!

Are there any recent or about to be released novels that you’re particularly excited about?Even though I said one of my reading goals this year was to not focus on the new stuff so much, I kind of can’t help it! I’m looking forward to new books by George Saunders, Dan Chaon, Jesmyn Ward, Haruki Murakami, Lidia Yuknavitch, and Cormac McCarthy. 2017 should be a great year for literary fiction. I also read a lot of young adult books and graphic novels. I recently really enjoyed Nicola Yoon’s “The Sun is Also a Star,” which tells a heartbreaking, yet uplifting, story of two teens in love navigating the immigration system in our country. I’m looking forward to a new one by Veronica Roth (of “Divergent” fame) in 2017 and I’ve also been meaning to pick up Ta-Nehisi Coates’ reboot of Marvel’s “Black Panther.”

What’s an overlooked genre or style that deserves more of the casual reader’s attention?There are some amazing graphic novels out there that can easily get overlooked by people who think they wouldn’t enjoy them or just aren’t used to the format. Durango Public Library has an ever-growing collection. I would highly encourage folks to check it out. If you’re looking for suggestions for this or anything else we have a personalized reading list service where you can get recommendations tailored to your taste.

What’s the most memorable thing that’s happened at the library during your tenure there?Making smoothies with teens during a program last summer was equal parts hilarious and disgusting. We made ourselves a “smoothie challenge” and drew ingredients from a hat and mixed them all together. The results were … questionable. I still run into teens who talk about that program.

If you could recommend one novel to the casual reader, what would it be and why?It’s not a novel, but “Dragons Love Tacos,” by Adam Rubin. Dragons, tacos, and uproarious fun for all ages. What more can you ask for?

Cyle Talley made a reference to a piece of seminal fiction in his byline. If you can name it, he’ll give you a high five. If there’s something you’d like to GET SMART about, email him at: [email protected]


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