Staff Profile: Jill Powell

04/08/19

Who she is: Jill Powell, engineering librarian at Carpenter Hall.
 
What she does: I manage the collections for engineering and earth sciences, and am the liaison to the following departments: biomedical engineering, electrical and computer engineering, and mechanical and aerospace engineering. I also do some reference and instruction.
 
Why it’s important: The College of Engineering is booming, with 5,000 students and many new faculty. It’s exciting to see the engineering quad being renovated with new labs and study spaces, and seeing students make use of our collections. There are 29 student project teams, some who utilize our Society of Automotive Engineering technical papers to design race cars, for example. It’s important to properly steward the collection so that we are acquiring the materials they need with limited funds. I manage 21 separate funds for resources, including books, journals, databases, standards, and technical reports. I utilize usage reports and faculty feedback in helping me manage the collection. I also negotiate prices with vendors.
 
Where she’s from: I grew up in Columbus, Ohio.
 
Background: Before coming to the library, I worked at Cornell University Press as an acquisitions assistant. I used a typewriter and a Dictaphone! My mother was a librarian and my father loved physical fitness. While growing up, I wasn’t too interested in those things, but as an adult I inherited both passions.
 
Education: I graduated from Cornell with a B.A. in German and economics from the College of Arts and Sciences. I graduated from Syracuse University with an MLS. I spent my junior year abroad in Freiburg, Germany.
 
How long at Cornell: 33 years, 35 if you count my two years at Cornell University Press.
 
Best part of her job: This year, the best part is being honored by my engineering librarian peers with the Homer I. Bernhardt Distinguished Service Award. In general, I love managing the collections and balancing the budget. Knowing the journal titles gives me a special bond with patrons who appreciate what we can provide for them. Being a part of the research life cycle gives librarians an insider's view of how these resources are being used by researchers to solve scientific and engineering challenges.
 
In her spare time: I’m always looking for the perfect tea and scone. Seriously, I love hiking, skiing, visiting historic homes, and reading.