You Should Know … Jacob Simone


For Jacob “Jake” Simone, 34, education is a major part of life.

(Courtesy of Jacob Simone)

Simone works as a regional sales manager for EBSCO Information Services, a research database and digital book-providing service often used in libraries and schools. Students and library guests can use EBSCO to find academic sources for research, access books online and even view health care information from professionals.

Simone is also fairly active in the local Jewish community, especially in The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore’s Young Adult Division. He often hosts their monthly Shabbat gatherings.

Simone lives in Owings Mills. His partner, Sarah Hiller, also works in the Jewish community at Jews United for Justice.

Did you have a Jewish upbringing?
I started life in North [New] Jersey in Teaneck, a very Jewish area just across the river from New York. My father was a son of a Conservative pulpit rabbi, more on the religious side, which we called Conservadox. So my dad grew up not only really religious, but also very much under the eye of the community. My upbringing was influenced by that: I grew up kosher, keeping Shabbat. I remember when I was a kid, I wasn’t allowed to own these light-up sneakers I wanted because they might light up on Shabbat.

My mother was a lot less religious, though Judaism was still very important to her. She and my father made a deal that once their children graduated high school, they could choose whether they wanted to keep kosher or not. When I graduated high school, we had my celebration dinner at Red Lobster, so you can tell what I chose.

Tell me about your work in the library sciences.
I [work] for the database platform EBSCO, which you might have used in college. I’m an outside traveling salesman. Instead of selling EBSCO to universities, I sell it to public libraries in high schools and K-12 schools, so I get to travel around the mid-Atlantic region. I travel just about every week, and I get to meet with librarians — I love the library world. The database I offer helps people find books and resources, all sorts of things.

Why do you think your work is important?
At one point I was doing research on YouTube, and I listened to this commencement graduation speech. The speaker talked about how important it was to keep in mind who you’re serving in your life. And I love the fact that I’m serving these libraries, who are helping the community by spreading information literacy, they have a super altruistic goal. And I’m helping them meet their goals for the things that they want to do, whether they’re ways that they can help their communities or help their students learn. And that’s why a lot of us really love talking to librarians. They’re very down-to-earth, well-educated and community-minded.

You’re involved with YAD as a Shabbat host. How did you get involved with the organization?
That’s probably the most direct way that I’m involved with The Associated. They started this program of hosting Shabbat dinners in people’s homes, and they told me about it when they started doing it, I think about a year ago at this point, and I was fully on board. Really excited about it. I’ve always loved group Shabbat dinners, especially with peers. I went to a lot of Hillel dinners when I went to college at Towson University. I also go to other Associated events; they’ve been a good connection to the Jewish community for me. I go to their yearly gala, where you get to dress up and go out, and whenever there’s an event that looks interesting, I’ll go to that.

Do you have any goals for the future?
I hope to keep doing my work for a very long time, since I really enjoy it. I’m almost in an MBA program right now, so hopefully I’ll advance my career with that degree. With The Associated, I want to continue to support them. They do great work. Between school and work, my free time is pretty limited right now. But they’ve always been on my radar and I’m always looking at events that they are offering and trying to attend whatever I can.

Do you read a lot? What books do you like to read?
I’m on the road a lot, so I’m a huge audiobook listener. I’m a voracious reader, primarily through audiobooks. And I love fantasy series. I love really long fantasy series with these really long books, like “Lord of the Rings” and Brandon Sanderson. But I also try to venture out of fantasy and broaden my horizons when it comes to the kinds of books I read.

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