March 12, 2018
Since we posted the news that Roger Rohweder and Duncan Smith were retiring, we’ve heard from people who used NoveList since the beginning, used to work with Duncan at a public library here in North Carolina, or were generally expressing their appreciation for the work that Roger and Duncan have put into public libraries over the last thirty years. These kind expressions have often been followed by the question “Who could possibly fill those shoes?”
With that question in mind, we are pleased to introduce you to Danielle Borasky, the new Vice President of NoveList. Danielle is a librarian who has worked in sales and marketing in the NoveList office for seven years, so she’s known to the staff, but may not be known to you. We wanted to give you a chance to get to know her, so that you will feel that NoveList continues to be in good hands, working for you, our library customers, and your readers.
How did you get started in your career?
Working in a public library was one of my earliest jobs. In college, I worked at the circulation desk of my local public library in Liverpool, NY and when I moved to Durham, I worked in the audio-visual room at the Durham County Library. I knew I wanted to get a Master’s degree, but not what I wanted to get a Master’s in. One of the first classes I took was at the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In that class, I knew immediately that librarians were my people and I’ve never looked back.
Amusingly enough, not only have I circled back to working with public libraries, but I’ve actually fulfilled a career aptitude test I took in high school. That test -- the name of which I can’t remember -- predicated I would be either in business or a librarian. At the time, I dismissed both suggestions. Now, I’m a librarian in the business of serving libraries.
What drew you to working at NoveList?
My first job out of library school was great. I was responsible for opening a new special library, and I ran a one woman show for many years. I was responsible for it all -- cataloging, collection development, our website, reference, everything. After a couple years, more staff were added to my library, and I was moving into marketing and external communications for the larger organization. When I saw a job opening for a marketing role here at NoveList, it felt like the perfect fit. Marketing to me has always been about figuring out what my community needed and working to meet those needs. Working at NoveList meant I got to do that while meeting the needs of public libraries.
How does it feel to take over from Duncan?
Duncan is incredibly well-respected in the library world and he’s led NoveList successfully for many years. He and Roger created NoveList. While that means I could never replace him, I feel lucky that I’ve been able to work so closely with someone who has inspired the library world and be inspired myself, too. Duncan’s passion for public libraries, for reading, and for the role of the public library in a community has always resonated with me. He created NoveList with a powerful mission that I intend to continue.
Have you started working on your plans for the future of NoveList?
Public libraries are a place people come to find inspiration to be better versions of themselves. NoveList has always played a role in helping libraries help their readers dream about and grow into those better people. And we’re going to keep doing that same good work with a core mission of helping readers find their next favorite book. We’re also going to explore other ways to help libraries help readers, whether that’s helping their community become more engaged in the library or helping the library become more engaged in their community. But the core mission is, and will continue to be, to help libraries help readers.
Do you have advice for people new to NoveList?
Appeal terms are my favorite thing to tell people about; they help you find books from a unique perspective. I have a favorite appeal term: character-driven. While I like historical fiction and read a lot of it, I noticed that my favorite books are all character-driven and have that appeal term in common.
What have you liked best about working at NoveList?
Early on in my career here, maybe at my first conference, a woman came up to me and said, “I just wanted to stop by and say how much I love NoveList.” I realized right then and there that I was lucky to work for a company where people would take the time to tell us how much we mean to them and their work. As I’ve worked here longer, I’ve realized I’m also lucky to work at a company where the staff feels the same dedication to our customers -- if we could, we would go up to them all and tell them how much we appreciate their work in libraries. Being a part of that dedicated community makes NoveList one of the best places to work and -- I’m sure -- one of the best businesses to lead.
What would you liked most for people reading this interview to know?
Throughout my entire career, I’ve seen my role as thinking about what my customers or my community needs and working to meet those needs. This was one of Duncan’s strengths and one I intend to continue. Ultimately, NoveList isn’t about fiction or audiobooks or metadata -- it’s about a group of librarians working to help librarians around the world better serve the needs of their community.
Jennifer Lohmann is a NoveList Consultant.