Southern’s Unsung Hero: Kim Wilk
Melissa Nuñez – Opinions & Features Editor
Kim Wilk, Hilton C. Buley Library’s reserve circulation supervisor, said she started working in the Registrar’s office 31 years ago. Before the ease of helping students online or over the phone, lines would stretch all the way out the door. Twelve years later, Wilk said she got a promotion and began working at the library.
Now, as the supervisor for reserves and circulation, Wilk said she handles all of the library’s reserves, which adds up to about 800 electronic and hardcover books a semester. Wilk added she assists faculty and students with reserves, manages the circulation desk, supervises the student workers at the desk, and assists the many faculty and students who stop by the desk with questions.
Wilk said in the beginning of the semester, she sees a lot of freshman coming to the circulation desk with questions and when a student approaches them they will not be turned away no matter what the question is. Whether they are confused about where a building is on campus or about how to change their major, whoever is assisting the student at the desk will help them as much as they can.
“It’s a busy desk, we get a lot of questions a day,” said Wilk. “When you’re coming in [the library] we’re the ones you see. So they’re definitely coming up there with questions. We always try to greet you with a smile, we will never make you feel like you can’t come to us with any kind of question.”
Wilk added Southern students who have never stepped foot in the library are only hurting themselves. She said the library is the heart of the campus and offers so many resources, such as librarians with various academic backgrounds and specialties, as well as being able to help students save money on textbooks.
“[Students] don’t realize that if you went to the webpage, you can text the librarian,” said Wilk. “Or just come in, especially because a lot of freshman don’t understand what reserves are and if they learned that then they would save money on textbooks because we have the textbooks here. If you have big gaps between classes, you can check that reserve out for two hours. So you can sit here with that textbook and do your homework and save 300 dollars.”
Wilk said many of her student workers begin working in the library during their freshman year and they do not leave the position until graduation, so during this time her students become like family.
“When I hire students, I explain to the students we’re a family. I treat my students with respect and I get respect back,” said Wilk. “I’ve always had an open door policy with the students I hire: they can talk to me about anything and I think that’s why we are so close-knit. We spend more time in here than we do with our own families.”
Wilk added most of the students who work at the circulation desk have made the dean’s list and this is because their positions at the library are a major advantage.
“The plus side of working in the library is we won’t let you fail a class,” said Wilk. “We have the resources here, we have the education here, so if our student workers are in trouble with a class, somebody here can help them. By working here, it’s a family: your parents, your aunts, they are not going to let you fail if they can help you.”
Wilk added many of her students who graduated still contact her to keep in touch.
With 31 incredible years at Southern, Wilk said she hopes her last eight before retiring will be just as wonderful. She added that she is looking forward to working with the new university president, Joe Bertolino.
Photo Credit: Melissa Nuñez – Opinions & Features Editor