Things You Never Knew About Your Library

Customer, Staff, and Library Stories

Meet Kevin Wadlow- Reference Librarian at the Florence Branch

When I was asked to do this, I considered the many ways I could introduce myself. I settled on: Once upon a time, many years ago, I went to go see a mental health professional. I wasn’t feeling particularly great about my place in the universe and I was hoping to get some kind of diagnosis to explain… me. What I got was “eccentric.” Twice. By two different medical professionals. For those of you without immediate access to a dictionary, the word “eccentric” means “slightly strange.” I requested a print copy of my diagnosis so that I could frame it and hang it on my wall at home, but I was told that this wasn’t a thing people do. In just as many words, if we’ve met and I seemed normal to you, it’s likely that you weren’t talking to me but to my Social Anxiety. (It’s okay to be friendly to SA, but don’t encourage it.)

I have been the Reference Librarian for the Florence Branch for slightly over two years, meaning that I was finally comfortable with what I was doing as the Reference Librarian for the Florence Branch when everything shut down last year. Transitioning to virtual, instead of in-person, librarian-ness was challenging, but it gave me the opportunity to write on obscure topics for BCPL Undiscovered, the library blog. When I am not assisting patrons, I am responsible for scheduling adult programming. I run Old School Gamers of Florence, the adult gaming program, and assist a guy in a bird costume with the movie program, Condor & Crow’s Petrifying Picture Show.

You may also know me from such things as:

  • A tutor at “Book Buddies” (where I pitted my limited attention span against the equally limited attention span of 4-5th graders)
  • A sales associate at a book/art supply store (with identical twin managers who didn’t tell anyone they were identical twins and who worked on separate floors of the building)
  • A sales associate at a discount warehouse bookstore (equivalent to Spirit Halloween, if Spirit Halloween sold books)
  • A barista at a coffee shop (complete with its own pastry sweatshop)
  • a graphic designer for a sign manufacturing firm (who hired me based on a portfolio consisting almost entirely of webcomics)
  • And an IT consultant for an outreach librarian at a health and sciences library (nothing really unusual there but I’ve had something in parenthesis for all of the rest)
  • I also worked in grocery stores for far longer than I like to think about and the list of similarities I could make between libraries and retail would either enthrall or horrify, depending on how you feel about lists.
Condor & Crow’s Petrifying Picture Show

Most recently and prior to BCPL, I was a Librarian II for an out-of-state department of corrections. You can think of it as managing 3-5 small libraries (libraries which were surrounded by walls lined with barbed wire and secured by armed guards who don’t care to be referred to as “guards”) over the course of an average week that not everyone could visit, where only legal access counted, but regular books were expected, on a budget of $0. On a particularly bad week, I served a population of 5000+ individuals by myself. Was it a terrible place to work? Yes. Am I going to qualify that statement by saying “but” and then mention something positive? No.

In my spare time, I read horror novels, watch horror movies, drink horribly strong coffee, draw horrible drawings, and engage in long-distance, but still tabletop, role-playing games. (Ask me about the time my Grazerite Starship Pilot acquired a biomechanical spider body or how I won the Sean Connery Award for my investigative efforts against invisible red Russian communist werewolves in small-town USA.) I will neither confirm nor deny rumors that I am a murder of crows wearing a person suit, but I will say that you can find me online @thecrowsaysKAW.

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