Story by Jefferson City Magazine Staff | Dec 28, 2015
Claudia Schoonover, Missouri River Regional Library director, shares her passion for reading and a few favorite writers who inspire her.
WHAT HAVE YOU READ LATELY THAT YOU LOVE?
I keep going back to a poem by Wendell Berry, “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front.” I’ve reread the entire poem several times this week. I am especially drawn to these lines:“So, friends, every day do something that won’t compute. Love the Lord. Love the world. Work for nothing. Take all that you have and be poor. Love someone who does not deserve it. Denounce the government and embrace the flag. Hope to live in that free republic for which it stands.”
HAVE YOU ALWAYS ENJOYED READING?
Yes. I grew up on a farm, and we didn’t buy a lot of books. My little town had a population of 300 and no public library. The school library was really important to me. Mrs. Gross was the librarian, and she took an interest in me and recommended books she knew I would like. I learned at an early age that reading could make the world less big, less lonely. It helped me to
realize that other kids were experiencing similar things.
IF YOU COULD CHOOSE AN AUTHOR TO TAKE TO LUNCH, WHO WOULD IT BE?
I like Mark Twain, but I might be in too much awe to talk to him during lunch. I would probably choose Anne Lamott. She has a lot of heart. Her life is messy. Her writing is vulnerable, honest – a little crazy. I think we could have a casual, fun lunch.
DO YOU PREFER FICTION OR NONFICTION?
Nonfiction. Whatever is going on in the world or if there is something you want to know, whatever you’re into, there’s a nonfiction book for it. I like to read Malcom Gladwell, Gordon Livingston, Jon Krakauer, David Sedaris and Laura Hillenbrand. Nonfiction has so much variety – humor, leadership, biographies, cooking. I’m curious about a lot of things.
Schoonover has been a librarian at MRRL since 1996 and director since 2014. To promote reading in Jefferson City, please consider donating to the Missouri River Regional Library’s Foundation. For more information call Claudia Schoonover at 573-634-2464.