WU Libraries Staff Spotlight: Paul Hahn

Music Library Assistant Paul Hahn grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, playing cello in the Albuquerque Youth Symphony.  He holds bachelor’s degrees in music and computer science, both from WU. As a choral singer, he has performed with the WU Chamber Choir, the St. Louis Symphony Chorus, and a vocal jazz ensemble called Offbeat created and directed by the former head of WU choral organizations, Orland Johnson. Paul joined the Olin Library staff in 1990, which led indirectly to his marriage to Rosemary (then Hamilton), a cataloger who is now emeritus. Paul is currently a member of the jazz group Java Jived, which is directed by Gaylord Music Library staffer Mark Scharff. Whenever possible, Paul commutes from Brentwood to WU on his recumbent bicycle. Along with cycling, he enjoys science fiction movies, television, comics, and attending fan conventions.

Tell us a little bit about your job. I run the circulation/reserve desk at the Music Library. I train and supervise the students who work the desk and am responsible for the paperwork for all of our student workers, including those who don’t work under me. My reserve responsibilities include creating and uploading electronic content for reserve (like streaming audio files and PDFs), in addition to traditional, physical reserve. I do stacks maintenance every day, checking the shelving work that our students do. Along with Brad, I maintain the Music Library’s web pages, including the Musician’s Necrology. I also supervise the processing of our audio/visual materials by the student workers and serve as the point person on our staff for Reference.

How has your job changed over the years? I started in 1990. Back then, not only did most of the electronic stuff not exist, we didn’t even have computerized circulation yet. We were still having people sign book cards and filing them manually. One of my first duties when I started as a part-time assistant to the person whose position I occupy now was typing up overdue notices. There have been many changes to our building, too, including getting rid of the card catalog and finding more places to put shelving.

What do you like best about the work? I’m a fairly extroverted person, so I enjoy interacting with patrons. I also enjoy supervising the student workers.

You’re a vocalist on the side with Java Jived. Are there any performances coming up that we should know about? Our next performance is unfortunately not open to the public; we’ve been hired by a country club to provide music for one of their events. But there will be others—we recently performed at The Monocle in The Grove, for example.

Have you read anything good lately? I buy so many comics that even though I read them a lot, I’m still way behind on them. But Black Panther, which was recently relaunched by Marvel Comics with scripts by noted author and social commentator Ta-Nehisi Coates, has been pretty good. My wife recently had John Scalzi’s new SF novel, The Collapsing Empire, out from the public library, and I managed to read several chapters of it before she returned it.  When I have more time, I’d like to get back to that and finish it.

Julie Hale

About the author