Staff Profile: Suzanne Cohen

Who she is: Collection development coordinator, Martin P. Catherwood Library, ILR School.

What she does: I build and manage library collections, both locally held and remotely accessed, for the Catherwood Library, ILR School, Cornell University, and broader industrial and labor relations research communities.  I also work as part of the Catherwood Research and Learning Services team to support researchers and instructors.  

Why it’s important: Our library collections are an essential part of the research, teaching, and learning activities that take place at a large research university. As part of a land-grant institution, we also have a mission to serve the citizens of New York State through our collections and services. Last, but not least, as the most comprehensive resource in North America on labor and employment, we take a leadership role in providing access to information related to the world of work, whether that be through collecting or through collaboration with other institutions.

Where she’s from: Homer, NY.  

Background: Many people seem to discover the option of librarian-as-career later in life, but as the child of two academic librarians (who were both first teachers), I was aware of this possibility for as long as I can remember. I grew up seeing my parents really enjoy their work (most of the time!) and their colleagues and thinking how great it would be to find something like that for myself. I spent some time traveling and working in restaurants around the country before coming to the realization that, yes, I wanted to be an academic librarian, too! My first job out of library school was at a small liberal arts university in South Dakota, and I gained three years of great experience (doing a little bit of everything!) before being hired at Cornell. 

Education: Bachelor of Arts in History from the State University of New York, Binghamton, and a Master’s in Library Science from the State University of New York, Buffalo.

How long at Cornell: Almost 22 years.  

What she likes the most in her job: A few things come to mind: Helping people—it’s incredibly gratifying to know that I played a role in someone else’s success; I feel like I learn something new every day (whether from my coworkers or from the researchers we support); and library work remains an exciting challenge as libraries necessarily evolve.

In her spare time: Reading (surprise!), walking/hiking, making lists of things I’d like to get done, and being with family.

Dream job: I feel like I have it. Mail carrier was always high on my list, because I liked the idea of walking around all day, but I am very happy that I pursued becoming a librarian in the end.