‘Mr. Library’ Makes CSU Global’s Academic Library Accessible for Students

Years ago, if you had asked Jeff Wahl what he would be when he grew up, he would have replied, “a musician.” And while that is true—Wahl earned a bachelor’s degree in music and is an accomplished solo musician—he is known at work and on YouTube as “Mr. Library.” 

A voracious reader from a young age, Wahl got a job as a library shelver after college to supplement his income. Wahl taught music full-time in a school system before a realization hit: being in a classroom just wasn’t a good fit for him. “I was used to teaching students one‑on‑one. I didn't like supervising field trips, I didn't like classroom discipline. All that stuff was foreign to me.”

Wahl knew it was time for a change. After a series of library jobs – one that included Fort Collins Public Library that serves 177,000 people annually – he still didn’t see it as his main career until he saw a flyer on the wall for a graduate program in library sciences.

“It just hit me. I was looking everywhere else for the next thing, yet I was unable to see what was right in front of me. One of the luckiest days of my life was in that break room when I saw that flyer. And for the first time, I thought ‘why not?’ What am I resisting this for?” 

After completing his master’s, Wahl worked as a researcher in a law firm’s library before getting the itch to return to academia. For the next 13 years, Wahl worked in Front Range Community College’s library system. Increasingly, the library became more online-oriented, which inspired Wahl to create YouTube tutorials on how to utilize all of the resources available. 

In 2019, Wahl applied for the Director of Library Services position at CSU Global. “It seemed like a natural fit – so much of what I was doing was technology and working with [the community college’s] online library.” Wahl has been at CSU Global for almost three years and views his position as a customer service role.

“When students meet with me, I never want to make them feel like they're bothering me. The first thing people usually say when they ask for help is, ‘I know this is a stupid question.’ But this is my job. If you stop asking me questions, I might not have a job, so please ask as many questions as possible.” 

Wahl draws on his own experience as a student to help create resources for CSU Global. “I was the student who asked lots of questions in class. At the end of class, peers would come up to me and say, ‘I'm so glad you asked those questions because I’m an introvert.’” 

Today, Wahl turns his most frequently asked questions into YouTube videos, under his alter ego, Mr. Library. With more than 1,600 subscribers, 860,000+  lifetime views, and over a hundred videos, Wahl is a source of information not only to CSU Global students but to librarians and learners around the globe. His most popular video, APA Format Paper, boasts nearly 80,000 views, with one subscriber sharing, “This was hard for me to learn but you made it easy – thank you.” 

While Wahl’s YouTube tutorials are accessible to anyone, there are many more resources available exclusively to CSU Global students:

  • A 24/7 chat feature is monitored by librarians to answer questions about the online database.
  • Individual research consultation appointments conducted via Zoom.
  • The Writing Center offers APA citing and resource assistance, plus personalized consultations and tutoring
  • Extensive video and eBook databases.
  • Interlibrary eBook loans.

Wahl’s favorite aspect of his job is restoring students’ confidence in learning, especially if they feel like they’re behind. “When I work with students, I don't try to pretend I know everything,” shared Wahl. “It seems like it's such a relief for students to realize their questions are normal and that they can turn to our resources for help.” 

Wahl still performs and records music, he knows he is doing what he was meant to: helping students find success.