Book Lover: Reading Is Relaxation, Escape For This Librarian, Fitness Coach

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Amy Eklund is a librarian for a large county library in Georgia. She selects and purchases adult fiction books for her library system. Earlier in her career she was an orchestra manager and librarian for a youth orchestra program. During that job she realized she enjoyed working at the library more, and changed gears to become a full-time librarian.

When I asked her why she loved to read, she said, “I enjoy the relaxation and escape, and I also love learning new things and hearing different perspectives.” Read the rest of the interview below!

Question: Why do you love to read?

Answer: I enjoy the relaxation and escape, and I also love learning new things and hearing different perspectives. It’s interesting though, because during the pandemic, reading longer books has been more difficult for me. My attention span and concentration have been affected stress, as many people have experienced. I also miss physically browsing shelves for books – that’s part of the fun and the experience of reading for me. But once this time in history passes into the next, I look forward to rediscovering a more regular schedule of reading.

Q: What is your favorite genre of books to read?

A: For nonfiction: religion, biography, self-help, and library-related professional reading are some of my regular genres. I absolutely love cookbooks – I have a collection of older cookbooks passed down from family, used bookstores, yard sales, and antique stores. For fiction, I enjoy fantasy and magical realism, historical fiction, and themed series mysteries, but I will read pretty much anything except violent thrillers and horror.

Q: What is the easiest part of being a librarian? The hardest?

A: The easiest part is the enjoyment I get from selecting great materials for the system and seeing good statistics on books getting checked out – that means happy readers! The hardest part is making choices – I’d like to buy lots of everything, but the budget has limits. It’s a fun challenge to get just enough copies of the titles that are wildly popular while also making sure that there’s balance and representation of all voices in the collection.

Q: What is your favorite book?

A: My favorite book – that’s tough – I think I’d have to pick a childhood favorite, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. I have the annotated edition and the illustration and commentary just fascinated me!

Q: What are you reading now?

A: Right now I’m reading The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins. I’m almost finished – it’s a quick and exciting read!

Q: What is the most popular book in your library?

A: For adult readers, probably the most popular books so far this year is the Four Winds by Kristin Hannah (the print copy has over 400 holds right now!)

Q: Besides reading, what else do you do for fun?

A: I’m a fitness coach on the side – I enjoy helping people find home fitness solutions, meal-planning tools, and recipes that I use myself. My husband and I enjoy hiking and we’ve recently begun trying different sections of the Appalachian Trail in north Georgia. Eating good food and trying new restaurants is also fun – right now it’s takeout only, but we look forward to international cuisine in-person experiences in the future. We’ve also become Netflix and Disney+ junkies…getting back to a more regular reading schedule is a priority though and I want to balance out the amount of time that’s currently spent on television [smile]!

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