After spending 45 years on the ISU campus, first as an undergraduate and then as a library employee, Cindy Wahl retired June 1, 2015. After earning a BA in Craft Design in 1974 and a BA in Art Education in 1975, Cindy started student teaching and realized that teaching might not be the career path for her. So, in the fall of 1976, she went to the Home Economics placement office (the Art department was in Home Economics) to look at available jobs. Carolyn Erwin was working in the placement office at the time and asked her what kind of job she wanted. She replied, “any job that would allow her to move away from home (Anamosa).” Carolyn said that the library was a good place to work and that she should go to the ISU placement office, which she did that day. This was back in the day when applicants for merit positions had to take tests. Cindy took the tests, went home, and received a phone call for a job interview at the library. She moved into an apartment on Welch Avenue and started as a Clerk I in the Serials Department of the Library on October 18, 1976. Within 18 months, she was promoted to a Library Assistant I and then to a Library Assistant III. She worked at the serials Kardex and in Serials Acquisitions. For a few months she did some basic Serials Cataloging which gave her a better understanding of records which she benefitted from in each position she held in the library. She supervised the Kardex staff, and continued working in Serials Acquisitions when she was reclassified to a Library Assistant IV. She spent the next 15 years in the Preservation Department working on vended services including preservation facsimiles, microfilm, digitization, mass deacidification, custom-fit boxes, and library binding, learning a lot about preservation and getting to know a plethora of vendor reps.
Cindy has been a life-long Cyclone fan since her father was a graduate of the ISU Veterinary College and her mom worked for Colonel Pride at the Memorial Union. Her first memory of Ames was coming with her family when her dad had meetings one summer. The family went to the Lincoln Way Café in Dog Town and shocked the waitress when 3 young Wahl children, ages 7, 4, and 3, all ordered liver and onions for lunch! Yum!
For Cindy the best part of working at the library has been the people she met and has gotten to know. Last summer, she even had a library work friend from the 1970’s come to visit. Over all those years, she has met and worked with so many and she enjoys keeping in touch with them. The biggest change she witnessed were records in paper form and typewriters shifting to computers and digital records.
Now that she is retired and home from a trip to Chicago to attend her nephew’s wedding, she has stacks of books to read, including the complete library of Agatha Christie; “I need to get busy before the books become brittle.” (The things you worry about after working in Preservation). She has started reading one of the books from her stacks. Her plan is to read a book and pass it on. She also hopes to do some traveling with her sister and she has a long list of blanket weaving projects for each of her nephews and nieces; “I have more yarn than I have books.”
Thank you Cindy for all of the contributions you have made to the library over 39 years!
Happy retirement, Cindy!