Ingram Blog

Staff Spotlight – Rachel Montgomery

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Can you talk a little about what led to your career and how you joined Collection Development at Ingram? When did you first know you wanted to become a librarian, and why?

I always wanted to do something with books, but nothing ever felt like a good fit. I wound up getting an office job after college, one that didn’t make it through the 2008 recession. My mom thought I should consider grad school (What!? More school? No thank you.), and while looking through the course catalog, I stumbled upon library science. Despite all the time I spent at libraries growing up, it never occurred to me to pursue it as a career (which should have been obvious – I made my own card catalog on 3x5 cards when I was a kid). I applied and was accepted – and realized that I had found my people. I started out as a Teen Librarian in Indiana before moving to Florida where I did Collection Development for a county system. That’s where I fell in love with Collection Development and finding the right books to suit each locations’ needs and wants. When I found an open position in Ingram’s Collection Development department, I knew I had found my dream job.

What book(s) are you currently reading?

I am reading The Silence of Bones by June Hur, a YA historical mystery set in Korea, for bookclub; a galley of A Good Day for Chardonay by Darynda Jones, one of my favorite authors; and a re-read of Cast in Shadow by Michelle Sagara, the first book in a fantasy series that I’ve been reading for over a decade. Next up on my list is Arsenic and Adobo, book #1 in A Tita Rosie's Kitchen Mystery, by debut author Mia P. Manansala. I love cozy mysteries, especially foodie mysteries, and this one takes place in a family run Filipino restaurant.

What’s your guilty pleasure when it comes to books?

I have no guilty pleasures when it comes to reading – something I had to learn over the years. In high school, I would finish whatever assignment/busy work we were told to do in class, and then I would break out whatever book I was reading. One day I was reading an inspirational pirate romance (with the appropriate pirate-and-his-lady cover) and my friend laughed at it. I hid my reading for a long time after that, but NO MORE! Read what brings you pleasure, and do it guilt free – it wouldn’t have been published if you were the only person in the world who would read it.

You oversee the Author (Adult), Inspirational Fiction, Mass Market Genre Fiction, and Paperback Original Fiction standing order programs. Tell us about any trends or patterns you see in these categories. Talk about any trends you’d LIKE to see emerge or disappear?

We’re seeing a lot of internet celebrities writing books, from the hilarious Holderness family with their March title, Everybody Fights: So Why Not Get Better At It to TikTok’er Tabitha Brown’s September title, Feeding the Soul. As an, ahem, geriatric millennial (rude), I should know more about internet content creation platforms, but I’m an old fuddy duddy who doesn’t know how to snap a chat or correctly spell Tick Tock, but I’m going to have to get out there in the wider web to keep on top of “what’s good” as this trend continues.

I’ve also seen rom-coms, particularly diverse rom-coms, growing on the Paperback Original Fiction program. Along that vein, I’m really excited about two upcoming holiday rom-coms: The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer and A Holly Jolly Diwali by Sonya Lalli. I love that we’re getting other winter holidays featured in a fun rom-com setting and I hope to see more titles like this in the future. Our holiday displays with be the stronger for it.

And I’m anticipating a slew of COVID fiction – we're just starting to see titles that take place during the pandemic, but I’m expecting many more. I've already started a list for our Virtual Book Display and I’ll post it once it gets a little bigger.

What’s the best thing about your job?

The people! We have such an amazing team and I consider everyone in the department my friend. We’ve gone on holiday outings together, several of us are in a bookclub together, and we’re always there to help each other out. It’s such a positive, uplifting environment. It also turns out that I’m a big data nerd, and a lot of the behind-the-scenes work we do fits right in with that previously unknown personality trait.

What’s your favorite part of the workday?

Pre-pandemic, my favorite part of any workday would be when someone brought in snacks. Since I’ve been working from home, my favorite part is when my dog comes to check on me. In terms of actual work and not food or pets, I love making Virtual Book Display lists. I always loved making book displays for my library, and it’s fun getting to do that with all the titles available in iPage. Not only do I get to create lists that libraries could use as inspiration for their own displays, but I also get to recommend titles that they may not have in their collection. It’s creating a book display and doing readers’ advisory, all rolled into one.

Who had the biggest impact on your career choice?

Hands down that would be my mom. She encouraged me to pursue higher education when school was the last thing I wanted to do again. But because of that push, I found where I fit, and I couldn’t be more grateful.