Meet the Librarian/Bookstagrammer: @QSReads

Well it’s Friday again, and our new reality isn’t going anywhere soon. Time is truly an illusion… so much so, in fact, that I didn’t realize that I hadn’t contacted more people to do Meet the Bookstagrammer posts until yesterday! I’ve been meaning to do a Meet the Bookstagrammer of me for awhile, and I guess there’s no time like the present!

Without further ado, here is a conversation with me…about me!

What inspired you to start a bookstagram, then a blog?

So I’m always really enthusiastic about starting new things (finishing not so much) so when my IRL friend Anna (@thebooksinmylapp) started her bookstagram account, I felt compelled to do the same. Of course I regularly talk books at work (librarian here), but I’ve really enjoyed connecting to people over books outside work too!

The blog felt like the next logical step- it has allowed me to publish book lists, reviews, and more in-depth book-ish thoughts…though I haven’t been keeping up with it like I’ve hoped (fingers crossed I can do more with it in the weeks and months to come)!

I imagine my life as being accompanied by a pretty cool movie soundtrack so I gotta ask: if your life was a movie and had a soundtrack, what would your entrance song be?

This can change from day-to-day, but a consistent choice of mine is “Infinity Guitars” by Sleigh Bells. It has the right “oompfh” an entrance needs in my opinion.

What does your ideal day look like (think Miss Congeniality ;))?

I love love LOVE gray rainy days, so my perfect day would be a drizzly gray 60-70 degree day. I’d read on my couch with the windows open all day ❤ Also dogs. Lots of dog snuggles.

What is your first book-related memory, and/or your favorite books as a kid?

I have crap memory of my childhood tbqh, but I remember the sheer competition AR reading and points brought out in kids. There was one classmate who hid the book in the library with the most points so people couldn’t get it :’) I’m a very competitive person, so that sticks out vividly and maybe inspired the beginning of my love of reading.

What inspired you to become a librarian, or what did your journey to librarianship look like?

So as bad as it sounds, being a librarian was always my back-up plan. When I was in high school, we had to do a rite of passage project talking about our future and what we wanted to do. I said I wanted to be a historian, but I said I’d also enjoy being a librarian as a back-up (I was helping at my high school library and really enjoying it). When I got to the end of my Bachelor’s degree program (in History and Anthropology), I knew if I continued doing History work I would grow to hate it…so I switched gears! I applied to library science Master’s programs, got in, and ended up graduating and never looked back! It ended up being a blessing in disguise, because I’ve found a lot of personal enjoyment from helping people!

What’s your favorite (or least favorite) librarian stereotype that you’ve heard?

I think the cat librarian stereotype is hilarious, since I’m really not a big fan of cats! Also the shushing/quiet librarian- most library peeps I know are some of the loudest and passionate humans! Also FYI people, we don’t ever get to read on the job.

I will say one stereotype usually holds true- librarians (especially me) love cardigans.

What’s your favorite library you’ve ever seen/visited, or favorite book-ish shop?

There’s always a joke that librarians always visit libraries on vacation…and for me that is absolutely true! When I go on vacations, I always try to stop by the local public library! I went to the Trinity College Library in Dublin and it is awe-inspiring, and I have a special affinity for the Indianapolis Public Library Main Branch because I lived in Indy for 4 years and it’s a BEAUTIFUL building. But seriously, I love all libraries.

In terms of bookish-shops, I absolutely love Out of Print clothes! Their shirts last so long and the designs are cute as heck- sadly there has been a dress code change at my library so I can’t wear graphic tees anymore, or I’d buy more! I also absolutely love Love’s Sweet Arrow, a local romance-only bookstore. It’s run by a mother and daughter, and only one of a couple romance-only bookstores in the country.

Finally, book-ish Etsy shops! I rep Every Second Bookmark and Quinton Creations, and they both make fun and beautiful bookmarks, stickers, and prints! I also love love LOVE Lyndsey Draws Co. (aka @lyndseydrawsitagain)’s stuff- it’s cute, and she did an amazing job on my blog logo! Finally, my favorite booksleeves come from Happy Go Lovely Sleeves! They have a really handy pocket, they’re thick, and they come in so many fun prints!

While I know you probably have countless funny or weird library stories, I’m sure you also have some heartwarming ones too! Have you had any moments that have warmed your heart and made it all seem worth it?

None come specifically to mind, but it seriously warms my heart when I’m able to connect people with books, particularly those who are reluctant readers, new readers, or maybe those who have had negative library interactions in the past. In fact, just before my library closed due to COVID-19, I helped a myriad of people new to the library find things to enjoy during quarantine and seeing the grateful smiles on their faces really justifies any bad days or moments I might have in this job.

What’s that one (or a few) book(s) you always recommend to patrons, friends, and/or family, and why?

I always recommend Libba Bray books, especially The Diviners series, because there aren’t many writers like her- also her books tend to touch a lot of different genres so they can appeal to a wide array of people.

I also recommend the Kim & Kim series by Magdalene Visaggio, Eva Cabrera, and Claudia Aguirre often because it’s an inclusive series including two best friend bounty hunters through space!! Truly I feel it doesn’t get enough love.

Finally, if you’ve followed me for any measure of time, you know I don’t shut up about Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert. Seriously, it’s the best romance I’ve read in awhile PLUS it features own-voices disability rep, and sadly that’s just something we don’t see enough of in romance!

What do you want bookstagrammers/the general public to know about libraries and librarianship?

Libraries are here to help you- there are so many things we offer besides books- programs, WiFi hotspots, cooking supplies, etc etc! If you don’t use your local public library, you really are missing out. You already help fund it due to your property taxes, so you might as well use the one thing you can see tangible benefits from!

Besides reading and being in libraries (;)) what do you love doing in your free time?

I’m incredibly basic in that I really love watching TV shows and movies. I see all the Best Picture Oscar nominees every year, and I’m always on the lookout for a new show (though I’m perpetually re-watching The Office). I also enjoy doing Sudoku and grid logic puzzles, like a true grandma.

You’re a resident of Romancelandia! What are your favorite (or least favorite) tropes, and what do you hope to see more of in the industry?

If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know I’m true trash for enemies to lovers. It’s my bread and butter trope and if your book is sold like that to me, there’s a 99% chance I’m going to pick it up. I also enjoy office romances, and second chance romances and brother’s best friend romances are fun too!

I don’t really like kids, so I don’t really read romances with kids in them…idk I’m weird like that. I wish I could see more asexual romances, as I’m asexual and just because I’m not into sex doesn’t mean I don’t love romance! I’d also love to see more disability and mental health rep, as well as more diversity. Romance is dominated by white women and honestly, the genre suffers for it.

I know that you also love YA! What are some of your favorite YA books or trends of the past few years?

I’m really loving the rise of LGBTQ+ diverse lit in YA Lit! The first books I read with asexual rep were YA, the first books I saw with polyamorous and nonbinary rep were YA, and it’s only growing. Often YA tends to be on the forefront of experimentation with genre, representation, and more, which is something I particularly love about (especially considering that it’s written for teens, one of the most overlooked yet most influential age groups).

I could make a big long list of my favorite books over the past few years, but honestly that point above encapsulates the majority of the stories I’ve loved.

You’re also an avid graphic novel reader? What do you want people to know about graphic novels, and who are some of your favorite creators?

So I’m *relatively* new to the graphic novel realm- I’ve only started really reading them in the past two years or so, since I’ve been working at my current library. I was never really exposed to them as a kid and was always told that they weren’t “real reading”, so I’ve been trying to un-learn that. Reading graphic novels incorporates different types of literacy and engages empathy and understanding, as well as engages even the most reluctant readers; truly, they’re real reading and they’re fantastic.

I really enjoy slice-of-life comics like Giant Days, and I love minimalist color palettes like those found in Bloom by Kevin Panetta & Savanna Ganucheau and Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me by Mariko Tamaki & Rosemary Valero-O’Connell! I also find that I love science fiction graphic novels, and I find a greater array of LGBTQIAP+ rep in graphic novels than fiction (at least that I’ve seen and read).

My favorite creators right now are Hannah Templer, Tillie Walden, Mariko Tamaki, Sam Humphries, Christopher Sebela, Saladin Ahmed, Eva Cabrera, Claudia Aguirre, Jen Wang, and Magdalene Visaggio.

Okay, back to bookstagram! I don’t know about you, but I’ve found some pretty great books through my fellow bookstagrammers! What are your favorite books that you’ve found through bookstagram?

When I first saw Red, White & Royal Blue on Netgalley, I immediately dismissed it because I didn’t absolutely love the cover. However, after I ended up seeing it all over my feed, I read it in one sitting and absolutely adored it! Also Kate over at @kate_reads_couldn’t say enough good things about Good Talk by Mira Jacob and it ended up being a splendid and needed read! There are lots of books, and authors (especially indie ones), I’ve checked out because of people on bookstagram!

Do you have any bookstagram pet peeves and if so, what are they?

I hate hate HATE when people post multiple pictures of the same book. Seriously, I don’t need to see it more than once or twice? I know it’s irrational but it really really REALLY bugs me.

Also, and this extends past bookstagram in the real world, I loathe people shaming over what genres people decide to read. Romance is valid. Graphic novels are valid. YA and MG are valid. Everything is valid and if they bring people joy and entertainment, why shame them over it? Like it doesn’t do anything but bring in and spread negativity which in the world in, we don’t need more of.

While obviously there’s some negatives of bookstagram, it’s also an amazing community of people. What is/are your favorite thing(s) about bookstagram?

I love the people I’ve been able to get to know. From Megan (@queenbee_reads) and to other fabulous librarians like Ari (@bookslibrariesalsocats) and Hallie (@bookloaner), It’s been wonderful connecting to people across the world with similar goals and interests! This truly is a lovely little niche community on the internet, and for the most part it’s a happy lil place!

Do you have any advice for those looking to become a librarian or work in libraries? What about bookstagram or book blog newbies?

If you’re looking to become a librarian, work experience is CRUCIAL! We are in an oversaturated market so just getting a Master’s degree sometimes isn’t enough. Look for volunteer opportunities and internships in libraries you think you will like working in and it will benefit two-fold; you’ll get experience, and you’ll also have a better understanding of what work in that field is like AND if you would enjoy it. I never thought I’d be a public librarian but I did an internship at a local public library and fell in love! Also networking is really important- make the most of state conferences and associations, as well as library Twitter, to meet and connect with other professionals! A lot of the opportunities I have had been because of people I connected with along the way!

In terms of bookstagram or book blog newbies, comparison is the true theft of joy. I find myself sometimes thinking about how many more followers other people have than I do, and how many likes I’ve gotten vs. others…and honestly, that stuff doesn’t matter. I joined bookstagram to connect with others over books so focus on those connections and what you enjoy doing and talking about, not the numbers. Be yourself and people will come!

I know this is probably an impossible question BUT I’m still going to ask you: (to you), what makes a great book/read?

For me, it’s all about character development. I’m a fairly empathetic person so if I cannot relate to a character or the growth they endure through the story, it’s just not it for me. I also love a book that makes me look at the world in a different way, and one that stays with me past finishing the last page.

And finally, what are you currently reading?!

So I’ve been in a bit of a slump with the current crisis we’re experiencing, but I’m listening to two audiobooks- The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater and Emma by Jane Austen (for a virtual book discussion by my library). I’m also reading The Woods series by James Tynion IV and Michael Dialynas and The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams.

Welp, I guess that’s all I can say about me! You can find me over at @qsreads on Instagram, and you can use the code QUINN20 both at Quinton Creations and Every Second Bookmark to get 20% off your orders!

Until next time…

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