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Alan Wallace

Wallace and his wife, Leah.

Alan Wallace is the UT Libraries reference librarian for the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences; the Department of Psychology; and the Cinema Studies program. He provides instruction and in-depth consultation for students in these programs.

Wallace came to UT in 1986. “I had the idea of ‘see if you like it, stay a couple years,’ and now it’s been over 30 years,” he said.

Wallace received his bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Michigan and went on to receive a certificate in secondary education from Seattle University. Before coming to UT, he received his Master of Librarianship from the University of Washington, Seattle.

Why this field

When he was a child, Wallace’s mother introduced him to the library and he found it an ideal place to learn.

“I have always been interested in learning and have an inquisitive mind that is attracted to learning about many different things. The library is the ideal for those pursuits.”

Outside interests

The son of two musicians, Wallace learned to play trumpet at a young age. To this day, he plays an instrument almost every day.

Wallace is an avid music lover and enjoys jazz, orchestral music, and pop. His father, Herschel Wallace, was a professional musician and educator. Through school and private lessons, Wallace began to learn the trumpet.

He later picked up the classical guitar. At age 50 he taught himself to play the clarinet.

His one musical regret is that he never learned to play the piano. “My mom was a piano teacher,” he said. “I think I heard too many kids taking lessons and was just not interested at that time.”

Books and movies

His favorites include The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk and The Trouble with Cinderella: An Outline of Identity by Artie Shaw.

His favorite film is The Third Man, with Orson Welles. It features a soundtrack of zither music and inspired him to restore an Austrian zither.

Future adventures

Wallace and his wife, Leah, would like to take a train trip to the Pacific Northwest or a trip to Europe.

“I’ve been lucky—I’ve been to 47 of the 50 states.” Alaska, Hawaii, and Maine are the only ones he has yet to visit.

Advice to his college-age self

Wallace, age 18, in Bavaria, Germany.

“Don’t let someone else steer your dreams.”

Wallace recalls a school counselor who asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up then seemed dismissive of his answers. Despite that, Wallace pursued his interests.

“Believe in yourself, because you got one shot at it.”