We had the good fortune of connecting with Julia Schmidt and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Julia, what makes you happy? Why?
In short, books! More importantly though, stories and the people those narratives belong to. I love books for the stories they tell, the perspectives they bring, and the opportunities for growth that they provide. There are so many lives I wish I could live, and books provide the opportunity to briefly transport myself into someone else’s shoes. Especially living in our current national and global climate, books are gateways to understanding, often written with greater care and intention than many quick social media posts. There are many reads that I pick up and don’t agree with everything in them, but I read them to understand, build empathy, and hear the story behind how people arrive at the crossroads they’re currently facing. I love hearing their journeys and I can appreciate their stories no matter what.
The reason I have loved my Bookstagram so much is because I get to connect with other avid readers who simply want to geek out about their latest reads with someone! Bookstagram is this lovely corner of the internet for the shy kids who like to sit in the corner, the introverts who like to recharge by reading alone, as well as the social butterflies who fall more in love with books by discussing them.
Something that also brings me immense joy in this sphere has been introducing book-wary friends to the magic of audiobooks! Listening to books opens up a realm of reading often overlooked by many. No matter what you hear or are told, audiobooks are reading! This is how stories were passed down throughout history and powerful oration can engage even the most unsure listener or reluctant reader. I’m grateful to have grown so much (and hope to continue to) in this realm of reading. As I continue to grow in and promote literacy, I believe the possibilities really are infinite.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
In typical Millennial fashion I worked 2-3 jobs at once throughout much of my working life. This was partially out of financial necessity, but also in an effort to truly find my niche. While briefly working as an Assistant Managing Editor in Atlanta, my boss told me that magazine publishing was a lifestyle. In essence, there was an expectation for me to eat, sleep, & breathe all things publishing. It sounded dreadful to me at the time, mainly because I realized I wasn’t passionate about the work I was being asked to do. That job, as well as my jobs at a PR firm, Letterpress stationary store, daycare, retail store, and nonprofit paved the way for me to learn so much about myself. There were pieces of me that enjoyed pieces of those roles, but it took a lot of trial and error before I found a path that matched my beliefs, as well as my skills.
I was not someone who knew from a young age what I wanted to be when I grew up, so I continually tried new things. I would encourage others to do the same and embrace the process, even when you’re unsure of where it’s leading. The steps I took professionally were not always cohesive in that they weren’t a perfect succession of how to get from Point A to Point B, but they were always intentional. Intentionally pursue avenues you find interesting and worth your time. There were many moments when I felt incredibly discouraged because I didn’t know where I was heading, but I’m learning now that I wasn’t aimless, but rather determined to not settle for a career that was just OK. It can be frustrating to not settle, and it will likely take longer than expected, but it’s worth it. For me, I found my passion both professionally and creatively in books.
As a Library Specialist by day and a Bookstagrammer by night, I absolutely love what I do. My day job allows me to formally work with books and provide necessary and free resources to the local community. My Bookstagram (a book-related Instagram account) provides me with a creative outlet, where I review books, work with publishers, and talk about all things reading with my followers. The best part of my Instagram account is hearing from friends (old & new) about how their reading lives have been re-ignited from following my account. I couldn’t want anything more! Reading is a means of building empathy, learning, and engaging with the world around us and I am so grateful to share my love of books with others!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Considering a lot of my friends don’t live near the mountains that is one of the biggest draws to a beautiful state like Colorado! Whether I take them to Kenosha Pass to see the leaves change in the fall, go on a hike at Rocky Mountain National Park, or on a shorter hike in the foothills near Chatfield Reservoir, the mountains are a must! My husband and I really enjoy the brewery tour at Breckenridge Brewery in Littleton and drinking tea at iN-TEA on Main Street. You also can’t go wrong with a multitude of amazing craft breweries here in Colorado like Dry Dock Brewing Co, Jagged Mountain, and Launch Pad Brewery. It’s been a little while due to COVID, but we always loved seeing a show at DCPA, grabbing some tacos at Tamayo, and then having a late night drink at the Green Russell speakeasy. Also, be sure to check out the BookBar Denver & the Tattered Cover on Colfax for all your book loving dreams to come true!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My love of reading was born of watching my mom read as I grew up. I watched her join book clubs and manage church library collections, surrounding me with a subtle, but ever-present love of the written word. Thank you to my mom for “Reading by example” 🙂 My biggest thanks goes to my husband and best friend Taylor. Thank you for not laughing at me when I geeked out over the idea of starting a Bookstagram 😉 And thank you for always encouraging my passions, being my biggest cheerleader, and loving me so well! Life is better with you.
Other: Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/38753703-julia-the-book-borrower