Ingram Blog

Staff Spotlight: Kim Collins

Kim and her older son have a reading pact. Whenever his English teacher assigns a book to read, Kim will read the same title at roughly the same time. They both enjoy this arrangement, formed when her son was in middle school, because it has evolved into their own small, unofficial book club. Kim’s son seems to now delve into the books more deeply, exploring their central ideas, themes, and literary elements. The shared reading also helps create discussion between them and the rest of the family and provides a wonderful way to connect.

They most recently read Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell, while Kim also read a biography titled Ida B. The Queen: The Extraordinary Life and Legacy of Ida B. Wells, by Michelle Duster. “I read a wide variety of genres,” Kim says. “Anything from fantasy and dystopian fiction to biographies, psychology, self-help. I like Juvenile and YA, too.”

Kim’s broad interests and love for the written word led to a long career in the newspaper industry. When her husband was in the military and stationed in Washington State, she worked as a marketing assistant for a paper in Bremerton. Back in Tennessee, she next worked in marketing and advertising for a business journal and a daily paper in Memphis before moving to a large paper in Nashville.

A desire to be more involved in her sons’ school prompted Kim in 2012 to apply to an Inside Sales position at Ingram Content Group. She got the job, and over the next 3.5 years, learned about the book publishing industry and applied her valuable marketing experience to the sales environment. In 2015, she transitioned to the Account Services department as an Account Services Specialist, working in MARC records, processing, and custom cataloging. Kim then moved to Collection Development in 2019, where she feels fortunate to assist libraries with their standing order needs while working with the "most amazing group of librarians and Collection Development administrators. We really are like one big family,” says Kim.

What role do you play on the Collection Development team?

Along with my colleague, Dana Lynch, I am a Customer Service Specialist and the voice of our department. If customers need assistance with lists, with their day-to-day tasks, if they need ipage support as it relates to Collection Development, or with almost anything else related to developing their library’s collections, I am one of the first people who can help them. I also administer the Popular Series (Adult) standing order program.

What trends do you see emerging within Popular Series for adults?

I’ve noticed in the two short years I’ve managed the program that certain segments of the romance genre -- namely historical romance and romantic suspense – have become much more popular. It’s interesting to see the increased interest in these subgenres and fun to talk to customers about it.

What skills from your previous positions in marketing and sales help you most in Collection Development?

I’ve always worked with customers, and having been in sales, I’ve learned that it’s all about the connection we have with them. Relationship building, I think, is the best skill I bring to the Collection Development team. I love talking to and helping our customers, and the last 10 months of quarantine, library shutdowns, and working from home have only made me realize this more. Not only do customers and I talk about how we can help them support their patrons, we tell each other about our families, graduations, new grandbabies, etc. I want customers to feel like they’re an extension of the Ingram family.

What part of your job do you enjoy most?

It’s all about the customers, again, and talking with them is absolutely my favorite part of my job! I learn as much from them as they from me. They often let me know about new titles or series that might qualify for addition to a standing order program, for example. I really feel we have a great partnership with our library customers.

What have you learned from 2020?

I learned how resilient we are – as individuals, as a department, as a company, and, along with our library customers, as an industry. Within Ingram, we all banded together to continue to best serve our customers so that they can support their customers. None of us expected to be in this space, but here we are 10 months into it, and we’ve all done a great job making the most of it with one another. 2020 taught me that we’re a professional lifeline for our libraries.

Favorite book?

When I was nine years old, my teacher read Superfudge to the class, and it opened a new world of books to me. I loved it, and I then had to read everything Judy Blume wrote. Superfudge is probably my favorite children’s book.

Years later, as an adult, I looked for titles comparable to The Color Purple after I had read the book and seen the movie. I found Their Eyes Were Watching God, and once again, a new world opened to me. Zora Neale Hurston’s writing is poetry. Her words are so vivid, you feel as though you’re right there in the story with the characters. And what she talks about is still relevant today.

Since this is February, the month of love, what do you plan to do for Valentine’s Day?

I’m lucky. Every year on Valentine’s Day, my husband cooks – usually a chicken and sausage pasta dish that is divine! Sometimes, we even take the day off from work to spend it together.