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Library Diaries: The man behind the mustache

Photo by Joey Gale, photo editor

Bart Schmidt is a 41-year-old beer brewing, world traveling, bike riding and intense mustache-growing librarian. Schmidt is the digital projects librarian at the Cowles Library, and he has worked on the Drake campus for seven years.

“I am a curious person and like to answer questions and help people find things,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt has a bachelor’s degree in information resources and a master’s degree in librarian information science.

When people look at Schmidt, the first feature they will probably notice is the mustache.  Schmidt’s facial hair stemmed from his need to cover a scar, and this grew into a two-and-a-half-year project. With such a timely investment, many would assume that Schmidt is pretty serious about his mustache.

“I think they’re funny,” Schmidt said about his mustache admirers. “I have a really patient fiancé.”

Schmidt said that his mustache attracts a lot of attention from 25-year-old men who often compliment him with intelligent words such as “epic ‘stache, man.”

Schmidt and his mustache have done a lot of traveling. He has treaded in India, France, Spain, Finland, Mexico, Costa Rica, the Baltics, Germany and throughout the United States.

“I enjoy someplace different,” he said. “Come on, we live in Iowa.”

Schmidt achieved a significantly different experience in Srinagar, Kashmir on Dec. 30, 2006. On this day, Saddam Hussein was hung, and Schmidt experienced the riots in the streets of the city.

Bike riding is also a favorite pastime of Schmidt’s.

“I’ve always loved biking,” he said. “It’s the first thing you have that you can leave the neighborhood with.”

Previously, Schmidt has participated in the Tweed Ride, a Des Moines bike ride where riders dress up in the traditional British cycling fashion, which includes tweed, herringbone, wool, plaid and a vintage cycle. Riders peddle from The Royal Mile, a bar downtown, and then make stops at the Capitol and Ichi Bike shop. The group then loops around to the end where it started.

Back in the day, Schmidt had stops with a few odd jobs before he settled down as a librarian. He worked briefly selling T-shirts on the Jersey Shore. Schmidt described the job as “almost like being a carnie.” He also worked as a car sales man and helped run a nonprofit consumer rights organization.

However, Schmidt’s list of jobs may not end with librarian.

“I don’t know what to do after being a librarian,” Schmidt said. “I keep asking myself that.”

However, he has the vague idea of a brewery and barbershop micro-business. There is one problem, however.

“I don’t know how to cut hair,” Schmidt said.


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1 Comment

  1. Jason Mathwig February 16, 2012

    Its as if the mustache wrote the story itself. If only it could? Can it?
    Either way, the article makes me want to grab a book and a beer right now…

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