Staff profile: Ken Bolton

What do a librarian and an air traffic controller have in common?

Who he is: Ken Bolton, research librarian at the School of Hotel Administration

What he does: A little bit of everything. Reference, teaching, outreach, collection development, and anything else that might come up.

Where he comes from: I grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina and lived in California for 10 years before moving to New York.

Education: I received an undergrad degree at California State University San Marcos in San Diego, where I met my wife. When she was awarded a scholarship to Cornell, I became a trailing spouse; after we came here, I decided to get a master’s degree from the library school at Syracuse.

Background: I was an air traffic controller for five years. It wasn’t a profession that I wanted to stay in for the rest of my life, but it helped me learn how to do a lot of different things at the same time and stay very alert. That translates into librarianship — not exactly, because obviously it’s not as though two planes are going to run into each other here if I make a mistake, but it does show up in how much I multitask. You’re helping pilots get the information they need when they need it, and I’m doing the same thing in a very different way for students and faculty now.

What he’s most proud of: I teach a two-credit course that’s recently been approved as part of the permanent curriculum in the Hotel School. It’s popular and has been well-attended, so I’m proud of that. It’s about information survival skills, helping students figure out the best way to get through all the junk that’s out there and take away what they really need.

In his spare time: I try to support my doughnut habit by running, playing racquetball, basketball, and you might even catch me taking a Pilates class.

Dream job: Professional golfer. I am so far from that dream, but that’s why it’s a dream, right?

In this LibeScope series, interviews with library staff reveal their skills, talents, interests and backgrounds.