For anyone who’s wondering, Georgia Lomax doesn’t spend her whole day reading. The majority of her time is spent connecting with people and the community, funding library services, and thinking about what the future holds. Libraries have evolved into so much more than a place to check out books. As Lomax said, they’re community epicenters for learning and connecting. Pierce County Library has declared 2019 “A Year of Reading” with a myriad of events and offerings. We caught up with her to learn a few of her favorite reads and more about her decades-long career working in libraries.
To Relax Sumner Link and Foothills trails
To Be Inspired On Commencement Bay on my sailboat
For Dinner Andale Mexican Restaurant or Dixie’s Home Cookin’
To Grab a Drink Katie Downs Waterfront Tavern & Eatery
What are you reading? She Would be King by Wayétu Moore (history and magical realism connect to reimagine the early years of Liberia.)
Favorite Movie I’m a Star Wars and Lord of the Rings fan. For the less familiar, I’d say Local Hero.
Favorite Places to Travel Anywhere warm with sailing opportunities, Scotland, or Sweden.
What are you listening to? An audiobook, of course! Everfair by Nisi Shawl.
Who Inspires You? Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, author, attorney, and confronter of injustice wherever it lurks. He doesn’t just talk; he leads action.
You have a long history working for library systems, dating back to 1985. What initially drew you to this kind of work?
Though everyone thinks “book” when they hear “library,” we’re really about helping people be successful in reaching their personal goals. Whether that’s building a garage, developing skills that lead to a dream job, or just relaxing. I like that the work is about delivering the right thing to each individual, or for each community. It’s endlessly unique and challenging. And we also have cool books.
What are three books everyone should have on their reading list? Yikes – please don’t make me choose! Those three books are different for each person. That said, here’s three I’ve read recently and think people would enjoy: The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery, Cooking for Picasso by Camille Aubray, and There There by Tommy Orange.
When you took your position as the Executive Director for the Pierce County Library System, did you have an overall goal in mind? I’m especially interested in ensuring the library and its staff are prepared for whatever the future brings, and that we understand the needs and interests of our communities (which vary a lot across our 1,800-square-mile service area).
I want the heart of Pierce County Library to be community, and the head to be literacy, from the foundational reading, writing and thinking, to the whole family of literacies that grow from those — digital, cultural, financial, civic, STEM, etc.
If you could have dinner with any author, who would it be, and why? I’d gather some of our amazing Pacific Northwest authors. I think there’d be interesting conversations if Robin Hobb, Marissa Meyer, Kellie Richardson, Jamie Ford, Jim Lynch, Ijeoma Oluo, David Levithan, and Peg Kehret showed up.