Staff Spotlight: Kathryn Shaw

November 1, 2021
Ingram Staff
Staff Spotlight: Kathryn Shaw

Kathryn has always had a passion for words, for reading, and for education, so it’s little wonder she ended up working in the world of books.

Like many young adults, she had no idea what she wanted to do after graduation. Her first job right out of college was a temporary position at the science and engineering library of her university, a role that turned out to be among the first signs she was destined to be a librarian. She LOVED it. Unfortunately, due to a hiring freeze, the library could offer her only part-time work after the temporary position expired. So, Kathryn shifted gears and worked in sales for two different industries. She gained invaluable sales, marketing, customer service and problem-solving skills in those jobs, but the tug to return to the world of books always lingered.

After her first child was born, Kathryn began volunteering at the local public library conveniently located within walking distance of her home. After her second child was born, she began a part-time Circulation position at the same library. Working in a dynamic, well-loved library was the cincher – Kathryn realized it was time for her to get her master’s degree in Library Science.

Her first full-time library job after her third child entered preschool came with collection development responsibilities, and Kathryn knew she had found her niche. For her, collection development wasn’t work. She could spend hours searching for great titles for the library and be oblivious to the passing of time.

After stints in both public and academic libraries in Michigan, her family moved to Tennessee where Kathryn worked in various positions in a large library system. She dearly missed collection development, though, so when an opportunity on the Collection Development team at Ingram opened, she jumped at it. After almost 2 years with Ingram, she realizes how much she had missed working in a business environment and how much she enjoys working on the vendor side. She’s very happy she made the move!

Can you tell us a little bit about your role as the Manager for Collection Development Programs?

I can say for certain that I manage a fantastic team of associates who’ve taught and continue to teach me so much. Together, we are responsible for managing the Standing Order programs our customers use to make selection easier. I help to solve any standing order program problems that arise and communicate to the customers how we’re fixing the issue(all that problem solving and customer service experience coming into play!). I’m also one of the first contact points for, and facilitator of, our other iCurate® services, like Core and Coming Soon.

I get to work with several other departments at Ingram, which I thoroughly enjoy. I edit the Collection Development newsletter and blog content, which puts me in regular contact with our Marketing department, and I sometimes assist the sales team. Ultimately, I see myself as a liaison and an advocate for our Collection Development department.

What are some things you found surprising transitioning from working in public and academic library settings to working on the vendor side?

A lot of pleasant surprises! Ingram is one of the most collegial environments, if not THE most collegial, I have ever worked in. Everyone I encounter – regardless of which part of the company they work in – is so kind and tremendously supportive.

I love the fact that I work with people who are really talented. I’ve always wanted to surround myself with people who are a lot smarter than I am, and I’ve definitely succeeded at doing so here at Ingram. It’s such a fascinating industry, there’s always something to learn, and yet I’m still able to support libraries. Hundreds of libraries, in fact, and we get to help them build great collections.

What do you enjoy most about being part of Ingram’s Collection Development Team?

Well first, I love Collection Development as a part of my profession. Second, the Collection Development team is made up of really good people. They know their stuff, and they’re passionate about libraries. We’ve all been “in the trenches,” and we know both how great and how challenging it can be to work in a library. Plus, I’m always developing, even if the skills I’m learning are not directly related to my job. That’s important to me.

What is one book you think everybody should read, and why?

Well, Pride and Prejudice is my favorite novel, because it’s about the human condition. It provides great entertainment but also a good lesson in not judging a person based on one’s preconceived notions or biases, and how we end up hurting people, including ourselves, when we do.

I have a list of others, and they all touch on similar themes: The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: And Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sachs, Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt, Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. We never know what someone is going through, why they are the way they are, or the huge obstacles they’ve faced.

But my final answer is Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. Twenty years old and still relevant. It’s a hilarious read, but also a detailed snapshot of the lives of people who work in the food and restaurant industries. They all work so hard, often in difficult and hazardous conditions, and play crucial roles in feeding us. Bourdain focuses on restaurant staff, but his anecdotes could extend to any food provider: farmers and other agricultural workers, food processing and prep staff, grocery workers, delivery drivers – anyone on the food supply chain. They're often underappreciated and undervalued, but they are essential. They deserve more recognition and respect than they receive.

What do you wish our library customers knew about Collection Development at Ingram?

I wish customers knew the extent of services we provide, questions they could ask, or requests they could make. We might not always be able to give them exactly what they need or want, but we always work hard to find a solution. Above all, I wish they could see the care we put into every project we undertake. Whether It’s specific project for a library, like an inClusive diversity audit or an Opening Day Collection, or our complementary lists and Standing Order Programs that anyone can use – whatever we do involves the same diligence and dedication. Customers are in good hands with our Collection Development team.

Staff Spotlight: Kathryn Shaw
Ingram Staff

Ingram Staff

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