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Member Profile: In Her Own Words – Cindy Hill

Cindy Hill is currently Manager of the Research Library and Bank Archives at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

She served as SLA President from 2003-2004 and, in June 2014, received the John Cotton Dana Award, SLA’s most prestigious honor. SLA Georgia is proud to have Cindy has our Fall 2015 meeting speaker where she’ll talk about changes in SLA, our profession and the information industry since her SLA presidency.

1) How long have you been a librarian at your current employer?

I started at the FRBSF in January 2011 so I’ve been here just over 4 ½ years.


2) What is your title and what are you main job responsibilities?

I manage the Research Library and Bank Archives; my title is Manager. I’m responsible for leading the strategic vision and direction of the information services, ensuring that our group is providing core resources and services to the Bank, and providing a Nordstrom-level or Zappos-level quality of interaction.


3) What other libraries have you worked in and what were some of your major achievements there?

While at Sun Microsystems, my team and I partnered with a then-physical bookstore to create the first in-house electronic bookstore. I contacted Amazon, then a very new business to pitch the idea to them, but they were only interested in selling directly to the consumer, not to a business. With our bookstore partner, we sold thousands of books, netting a small income for the library which was used to purchase other resources.

At the same time, we also worked with a start-up to visualize information, specifically online search results. In addition to the standard search strategy results, we were able to display visually the results highlighting best results and more importantly, tangential results which often resulted in the “ah-ha” moment.

While at an engineering consulting firm, formerly known as Failure Analysis Associates, I purchased a Kurzweil scanner (this was in the late 1980s) so that we could scan and then search full-text thousands of proprietary documents which resulted in – again – finding the hidden gem of information buried in hundreds of pages of text.


4) Why did you become a librarian?

While I was substitute-teaching, I found I have a passion for working with people of all ages to find answers to their questions, to go outside the boundaries of their known information circles, and to explore new areas, new ways of getting the job done, just “new ways”. Oh, and I worked as a library page in my junior high school and was promoted to the high status of putting on the plastic sleeves to the book jackets. I’m sure that launched my career in information.


5) What are the challenges you see facing information professionals and special libraries today?

Our biggest challenge is to stay knowledgeable, stay credible and to keep on top of learning and applying our learning. And then to communicate with others what we’ve learned and more importantly, why it’s important to them.


6) What ideas do you have for overcoming these challenges?

Be receptive to change, be a change maker, see the value of continual learning – and learn inside and outside our profession, be inclusive, be bold, be brave.


7) What advice would you give new entrants to our profession?

I’ve learned – based on my 7 different work experiences – that for me, it’s all about relationships. If I can build good, strong relationships with people throughout my organization, then it’s much easier to inform, ask, negotiate, compromise, come to consensus and make tough decisions. Relationships take work and time so they are something that I constantly think about and work on.


8) When you’re not at work, what are your interests and hobbies?

So many things! I am a commissioner (and currently the chair) for our local library. I am also very active in SLA, both at a national and local level. I love any hikes and backpacking that are over 10,000 feet in altitude; long-distance bicycling (I rode across Iowa two years ago, along with 20,000 other bicyclists); reading (of course); machine and hand-sewing; hanging out with my extended family; collecting alphabet books and wordless books – just a few of my interests.

SLA Georgia looks forward to hearing more from Cindy on Wednesday, September 23, at noon. Be sure to SAVE the DATE and join us!






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