Friends Focus: Cameron Dahl

Read on to learn more about one of HTFL’s fantastic reference librarians, Cameron Dahl!

Tell us a bit about yourself:
Cameron Dahl, I’m originally from Buffalo, NY and moved to Philly four years ago for
graduate school. I have a B.A. and M.A. in English from the University at Buffalo and an
MLIS from Drexel University.

What brought you to the HTFL?
I was in graduate school and was looking for a job in a library when I was hired at HTFL.

What are your primary duties at the library?
I’m a Reference Librarian. I answer reference questions and help people with research (in person and online). I also manage the music CD and DVD collections, help maintain the web site and participate in adult programming.

How long have you worked at the library?
I’ve been working at HTFL for 3 and a half years.

Where do you hope to see the library in the next 5 years?
Hopefully we will continue to grow and attract more people in the area to come in and see what we have to offer. We’re working on expanding the types of programming we have to draw in different demographics. In particular, I’d like to see more of the Gen X and Y populations coming in.

Who is your hero of fiction?
Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye. He gets kind of a bad rap, even in literary criticism, but I’ve always read it as a book about grief and I think his reactions are completely  understandable in that context. His younger brother has died, and he’s struggling to come to terms with that in a time and place when people didn’t openly discuss such things. It’s the quintessential book about a young person feeling alienated by their culture, which is why I think it has remained a classic for so long.

Who are your favorite writers?
J.D. Salinger, Flannery O’Connor, J.G. Ballard, Haven Kimmel, Jon McGregor

Name your favorite:
Books:

Iodine by Haven Kimmel
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Homer’s Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned about Love and Life with a
Blind Wonder Cat by Gwen Cooper
The Kids Are All Right by Diana, Liz, Amanda & Dan Welch
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Movies: Let the Right One In, The Silence of the Lambs, Suicide Club, Pretty in Pink,
American Psycho

Songs/musical groups: I like most Post-Punk and New Wave (U2 , Joy Division,
New Order, Depeche Mode, The Jesus and Mary Chain, etc.). I also listen to a lot of
electronic music (Justice, Deadmau5, Burial) and I like baroque classical (esp. Pachelbel
and Bach).

Web sites: Craigslist, youtube,beatport, goodreads, lolcats

What is your favorite:
Food — Lebanese
Place— The Pacific Northwest
Sport — cycling
Indoor Activity—playing piano

Do you have any pets?
My tuxedo cat, Fledermaus, aka Frau. Her name means “bat” in German and she got her name because the first thing I noticed when I found her was her big ears.

Which is the best vacation you’ve ever had in your life?
It’s a toss-up between the time I went to Portland and Seattle with my best friend and the time I took Amtrak across the country, from California to NY.

If given a choice to skip work for a day, how would you spend the entire day?
If it were nice outside, I’d go biking on the Wissahickon trails. If not, I’d probably go to Rittenhouse and browse around in the shops.

If you were stranded on a lonely island, what are the five things that you would want?
My cat, a way to listen to music, a piano or keyboard, food (obviously), a hammock

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
peace and quiet, spending time with my cat or my favorite people

What is your greatest fear?
dying before I’ve accomplished all the things I want to do

What is your greatest extravagance?
Going out to eat a lot. I don’t like to cook or do dishes.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Of the ones that are printable: “Seriously?” “What!?” “No way!” “I frown upon that.”

Which talent would you most like to have?
The ability to make small talk with strangers.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
7 years of higher education, and finding a profession that I truly enjoy at a fairly young age.

What is your most treasured possession?
My bikes, followed closely by my macbook

Which historical figure do you most identify with?
That’s a really tough question, but I would say someone like George Bernard Shaw. His writing reveals that he was an astute critic of his times and a champion of the underdog, but he tempered his critiques with a healthy dose of wit.

What is your motto?
As it harms none, do what you will.

Thank you, Cameron, for taking the time to answer all my questions! I hope you all enjoyed learning more about one of our amazing librarians. Next time you see him behind the reference desk, don’t forget to say hi (or ask a good question) 🙂