Jack Bales

Photo by Norm Shafer

Jack Bales treats his library-research classes like musicians treat rock concerts. He tries to be “enthusiastic” and “energetic” and “on.” “I tell myself that no matter how I’m feeling, I have to be the Mick Jagger of the library world,” said Bales, UMW reference and humanities librarian. When he isn’t onstage in the classroom, he’s helping students find the best ways to investigate research topics – from Alzheimer’s to Zimbabwe. In more than three decades at the Simpson Library reference desk, he’s heard them all. “Students come by the reference librarians’ offices and email us,” Bales said. “That’s the best part of my job, helping students locate research information for their classes and papers.” Growing up in Aurora, Ill., the eldest of nine, Bales was enchanted by books. In grade school, he once was too busy reading to notice his classmates had gone out to recess. By fifth grade, he’d started two things – a paper route and a savings account. He paid his way through … [Read more...]