Virgil the Skeleton has been a quiet presence at JTCC Libraries for years. A skeleton of few words, he was often found helping nursing students with their anatomy classes. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, though, Virgil found himself looking for a new purpose. Classes had gone online and library materials (including Library Skeletons) weren’t being checked out. He started feeling quite lonely and a bit lost. Despite the challenges he was facing, Virgil eventually found a new calling in a most unexpected area: social media. Though he’s still seen in the library on a regular basis, Virgil now makes frequent appearances on the JTCC Libraries Instagram (@jtcclibrary), where he helps the library celebrate various holidays, spreads the word about important policies, and even runs his own advice column.
Despite his regular presence at the library, Virgil has remained a bit of a mystery. Little was known about the beloved library skeleton who devoted so much time to helping students and staff at the library. However, a few days ago, Virgil was kind enough to sit down with me for an interview, where we discussed his past, his future, and everything in-between.
Jordan: First off, I know you keep a busy schedule, so thank you for chatting with me this afternoon, Virgil.
Virgil: Not a problem at all. Thank you for having me!
Jordan: Let’s jump right in. To most of the JTCC community, you’re known as Virgil the Skeleton or just Virgil, but your full name is actually Virgil C. Skeleton. Do you mind sharing what the C stands for?
Virgil: As soon as I find out, you’ll be the next to know! [laughs] No, honestly, I have no clue what it stands for. As far as I know, it could stand for Chuck or Carl or even Cactus. Though, personally, I think it would be cool if it stood for Cyrus. Virgil Cyrus Skeleton… that just has a nice ring to it. But I’m not in a huge hurry to find out. For now, just C is fine with me.
Jordan: It lends to your air of mystery.
Virgil: I guess so.
Jordan: Speaking of mysteries, another question that’s been asked a lot is about how you got to JTCC. Was there something specific that attracted you to the college?
Virgil: I’ve always been an advocate for education, and I feel that higher education can open so many doors. When I found out there was a need at the library, I sent in my application and interviewed. I don’t think they were necessarily looking for a library skeleton, but they hired me on the spot. It’s been a great fit. I’ve got a lot of flexibility, and helping the students has been really rewarding.
Jordan: I can without a doubt say that your work here has been amazing. But what about before JTCC? What did you do before you came here?
Virgil: [takes a deep breath] Oh, wow… I’ve had a number of interesting jobs. If I tried to list them all, we’d be here forever. But one of my favorites was working as a lab technician for the biology department of a research company. I was also a hat model for quite a while. I got to travel the world, which was awesome. I still do work for that modelling agency occasionally, mainly around Halloween. Halloween hat modelling is a very niche market, but I enjoy it. I just don’t do it very often anymore, as my focus is on the library.
Jordan: It sounds like you’ve had your share of adventures. What about here at the library? Do you have any favorite spots?
Virgil: I’ve spent a lot of time helping students in the study rooms, and they’re pretty awesome. I know there’s a lot of students who use them on a regular basis, and I understand why. The study rooms are quiet, which a lot of students like. I recommend giving them a try. But I always remind people that they do need to read and agree to the study room terms and check the room out if they want to use them. Make sure you talk to the library staff at the desk beforehand. And if you don’t want to use a study room, the lounge in the library is pretty nice too.
Jordan: Indeed. So, Virgil, we hear many questions about you here in the library, and I jotted some of them down. Do you have some more time?
Virgil: Of course!
Jordan: Awesome! OK, so one question we hear a lot is if you’ve ever broken a bone, and if so, which one?
Virgil: I have! Back when I was a hat model, some friends and I went to Sweden for a photoshoot. It was winter, and we had some free time, so we decided to go ice skating. While I was skating over to the door to leave the ice, I tripped and… well, down I went. I broke my collarbone and shoulder, but doctors were able to put some new hardware in me and I’ve been fine ever since!
Jordan: Yikes! That sounds like it hurt! On a much less painful note, do you have a favorite joke?
Virgil: Oh, this one absolutely tickles my funny bone! Why are skeletons so good at chopping down trees? Because they’re LUMBARjacks!
Jordan: That’s so bad, it’s almost good!
Virgil: I know, right? I can’t help it… I’m a sucker for jokes like that. The more terrible, the better!
Jordan: I agree with you there. All right… so it might be a bit odd, but we’ve had several people ask what you’d want your tombstone to say. Care to share?
Virgil: I’ve never really thought about it. Maybe something like, “Here lies Virgil C. Skeleton. He worked his fingers to the bone for mankind” or “R.I.P Virgil. He was always willing to lend a helping hand.”
Jordan: Both of those sounds very nice, and I think they really speak to the kind of person… er, skeleton you are. Another random question we’ve heard is, “Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses or 1 horse-sized duck?”
Virgil: I’m a lover, not a fighter, so I’d rather not fight anything. If I had to choose, though, I’d pick the 100 duck-sized horses.
Jordan: Why that?
Virgil: I wouldn’t have to fight them. I could just pick them up and carry them wherever I want!
Jordan: I hadn’t thought of it that way. OK, we have one last question, and this one comes from the library staff as a whole. Do you have any advice for our students and readers?
Virgil: The first thing I would mention is in regards to grades. We may not think about it much, but it’s important to remember that while it’s easy to bring a high GPA down, it’s really hard to bring a low GPA up. The other bit of advice I’d pass along is to remember to be true to yourself and always treat others the way you’d want to be treated.
Jordan: Those are both very good pieces of advice. Thank you for sharing them. And thank you for stopping by and chatting with me!
Virgil: Absolutely. Thank you for having me!