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Member Profile: In His Own Words – George Peckham-Rooney

George Peckham-Rooney works at Seyfarth, Shaw as Immigration Data and Operations Specialist. On Wednesday, October 28, George and Seyfarth, Shaw will host our last Lunch and Learn program of the year on embedded librarians. Here’s more about George:


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

I have been working for my current employer for the past five years.

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

Data and Operations Specialist: I help manage the immigration department’s practice database, lead group administrative staff, and coordinate many group operations. I oversee cataloging in the database and pull regular reports for clients and internal stakeholders. I also interact with users and vendors to troubleshoot our practice-wide systems, deploy system updates to bring new features to team members and train internal and external users on the system both in person and via webinar.

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

I have worked at the NASA Center for AeroSpace Information and the Center for Media and Child Health. In both instances, I cataloged documents and helped build their respective taxonomies: reworking the complete taxonomy for the Center of Media and Child Health, and submitting terms for inclusion at the NASA Center for AeroSpace information.

4) Why did you become a librarian?

I became a librarian to help people. I love connecting users with information/resources and helping them solve problems.

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

Libraries and librarians face an environment where their value is questioned and have to fight against an outdated public image.

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

Librarians need to promote their value within the organization. Rather than operating on a model of information scarcity, librarians need to add value through providing context and analysis to the information they deliver to users (providing information on the best sources, understanding users’ information needs etc.) Furthermore, librarians need to leverage their skills outside the library to aid other departments within the organization (such as marketing and business development), which shows their value and lets them understand users within the organization.

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

Librarianship is changing. Being a librarian is about information and not so much the container that information comes in. Be curious, be adventurous, and above all be not afraid to think big and upset convention.

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

I enjoy reading about technology, economics and human-computer interaction in-between spending time with my amazing wife and two young children.

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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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Speaker Profile: In His Own Words – Chris Vinson

Chris Vinson spoke on the Open Parks Network on Monday, August 10 at a program hosted by SLA Georgia, Society of Georgia Archivists (SGA) and the Metro-Atlanta Library Association. Get to know more about Chris:


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

I’ve been a librarian at Clemson University Libraries for four years, since May 2011.

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

I serve as the Head of Library Technology at Clemson University Libraries. My primary responsibility is to manage the Library Technology department, composed of 12 full-time staff who work in digital scholarship, programming & web development, and systems administration and technology support. The department also includes an army of student assistants who provide equipment support and scanning and metadata services. Another job responsibility is to serve as the principal investigator on a number of grants that support national efforts such as the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) and the Open Parks Network. I promote and advocate for these projects, and other Clemson initiatives, at national workshops and conferences.


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

Before arriving at Clemson, I was the Systems Librarian at the College of Charleston Libraries in Charleston, SC for nearly three years. My major achievements there included the development and launch of the Lowcountry Digital Library, a complete redesign of the Libraries’ web site and catalog, and establishing a new systems department.

Prior to my position at the College of Charleston, I worked as the Project Coordinator for the South Carolina Digital Library (SCDL), which was a joint position funded by the University of South Carolina and the Partnership Among South Carolina Academic Libraries, a statewide consortium. My major achievements in that role included the development of the SCDL’s first dynamic web site, a major growth in the number of partners participating in the project, securing LSTA grant funding, and writing the SCDL’s first business plan.


4. Why did you become a librarian? 

I gained an interest in and appreciation for librarianship during my time as student assistant at Winthrop University Library. As a humanities undergraduate student, librarianship seemed to be a natural area to move into after graduation. I originally wanted to be a reference librarian, but after securing an internship in graduate school working with digital libraries, I knew I wanted to work with digital projects and technology in libraries. I now love my work and try to translate that passion for libraries and technology into effective, positive change for my colleagues, my profession, and myself.


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

I believe figuring out how to deal with big data is the most imminent challenge for information professionals today. So much data is being produced from a variety of means that it is difficult to capture, describe, and preserve it all.


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

I’m still trying to figure this out, but I think it will require that we recognize it’s impossible to capture all the data out there, and we should focus on the best strategies for curating what data helps us accomplish our professional or institutional goals.


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

This profession requires that everyone be flexible in what they do—there are many opportunities to grow and be successful, but you must be willing to try new things, keep an open mind, and take risks. The more challenging the work, the more rewarding.


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

I spend my free time hiking the mountains around Greenville, exercising, reading, watching Netflix, and spending time with friends.

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Remembering Mimi Drake

Former Georgia Tech Library Director and SLA President Miriam (Mimi) Drake passed away on December 24, 2014. Since SLA Headquarters included her biography in its post, I thought it more fitting to share my “research” on Mimi and her legacy to SLA Georgia.

First, I learned that during the SLA Annual Conference in June 1983 in New Orleans, while Assistant Director of Purdue University Libraries and Chairman of the OCLC Board of Trustees, Mimi was recognized by H.W. Wilson and SLA’s Leadership and Management Division (LMD) for editing and contributing to the October 1982 issue on management of Special Libraries.

Mimi was the featured speaker on “shaping the future of information” at the Chapter’s March 7, 2000 meeting. When she retired the following year, she received the Chapter’s Distinguished Member award.

As part of SLA’s centennial celebration in 2009, Mimi was interviewed by SLA Fellow Gail Stahl. Even now, her sage advice still applies:

  • “… Try to interest students in the association, tell them what the association can be for them, for their careers, networking and things on the personal level that I think are really important.”
  • “We … have to demonstrate our value … We need to continue to enrich the field… Try to anticipate what’s coming down the pike.”

When the Chapter asked, Mimi said yes. She drafted a welcome letter for the 2012 SLA Leadership Summit, hosted by the chapter in Atlanta. And until she fell ill, she was willing to speak at a future meeting and contribute to the Chapter web site.

I wish that my paths crossed more often with Mimi’s, but can thankfully still apply her words of wisdom. With the Memorial Day holiday on Monday and the SLA Annual Conference starting in a few weeks, it’s fitting to remember Mimi, so please share any memories you have of Mimi by adding a comment to this post.

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Member Profile: In His Own Words – Stephen Sherman

Stephen Sherman joined the staff of the Foundation Center‘s Atlanta library/learning center in November 2008 and currently fulfills the role of senior librarian. His duties include managing the library’s collection of materials on fundraising and nonprofit management, providing in-depth resource consultations for Foundation Center patrons, and serving as the Atlanta office’s liaison for the Grant Space portal. He also teaches many community programs on grant seeking and proposal writing and is a frequent speaker at branches of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System.

Stephen is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill‘s School of Information and Library Science. He began his library career as a circulation/interlibrary loan assistant at Chowan College (now Chowan University), a small liberal arts college in northeastern North Carolina, and completed internships or assistantships with the EPA Library in Research Triangle Park and North Carolina State University Libraries. Stephen has also worked as a part-time reference librarian for Georgia Perimeter College’s Clarkston campus library.

Stephen serves as a contracts for services panelist for Fulton County Arts and Culture and also volunteers with the Metro Atlanta Library Association (MALA). His personal interests include rooting for the Atlanta Falcons and following the U.S. national soccer teams. Stephen lives with his wife and 2-year-old daughter near Decatur.


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