San José State University School of Library and Information Science Appoints New Director


Photo of Sandy HirshDr. Sandra Hirsh, an experienced LIS scholar and leader, has been named as the new director of the San José State University School of Information.

Hirsh will bring a blend of academic and professional achievements to her new role with the school, including experience as a faculty member at several academic institutions, as a librarian in academic and special libraries, and more than a decade in leadership positions with two of Silicon Valley’s leading global companies. She is a recognized advocate for library services, has an extensive record of research in the field, and has been actively involved in leadership roles with professional associations.

Hirsh’s connection with the school dates back to 1991, when she taught a graduate course in reference services. For the last nine years, she has been a member of the school’s International Advisory Council.

In addition to her work with iSchool, Hirsh’s academic experience includes serving as an Assistant Professor for the School of Information Resources and Library Science at the University of Arizona from 1995 to 1998, where she taught both classroom-based and online courses, advised graduate and doctoral students, and consulted for the Arizona Department of Library, Archives and Public Records. Hirsh has also served as an adjunct faculty member for the Information School at the University of Washington.

For the last decade, Hirsh has worked for Microsoft and Hewlett Packard (HP) — two leading global companies. As a Senior User Experience Manager at Microsoft’s Silicon Valley Campus in California, she led a team of designers and researchers focused on product development related to user experiences with emerging technology. Her projects included explorations of how to more effectively deliver information services in a mobile environment, how to organize information on web-based portals to meet user needs, and how to address the information needs of a diverse global audience. Through her accomplishments at Microsoft, she is a recognized leader in innovation and creative thinking, who understands how to leverage emerging technology to meet user’s information-seeking needs.

Hirsh also directed the Information Research Program at HP Labs, where she influenced the company’s future research directions and investigated how HP researchers use information and integrate it into their work. She was instrumental in implementing new programs to meet the research needs of HP engineers and scientists and create new tools to facilitate knowledge sharing across HP’s international community. Additionally, she managed a company-wide project to sponsor the UCLA Surveying the Digital Future Project over a three-year period by building a data repository, facilitating data usage by business units, and influencing data collection processes.

As a LIS scholar with a strong commitment to research, Hirsh’s research has focused on information-seeking behavior and understanding the information needs of a broad spectrum of users, from children, to historians, to engineers — both in the United States and around the world. Her accomplishments are reflected in an ongoing publication record in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings, multiple awards, invited conference presentations, receipt of a highly competitive National Science Foundation grant, and five U.S. patents for her innovative design concepts for consumer web products.

Hirsh’s leadership roles in the LIS community include serving on committees for the American Society for Information Science & Technology (ASIST) and the American Library Association (ALA). She chaired ALA’s Publications Committee for the Reference Users and Services Association, served on the ALA New Members Round Table, and serves as an advisor for ALA Editions, which publishes resources for LIS professionals. Hirsh has been a conference presenter and organizer for numerous professional associations, including ASIST, the Special Libraries Association, and the Association of Library and Information Science Education (ALISE).

Hirsh is a second generation librarian whose library experience dates back more than 25 years, when she worked as a library assistant in an academic library. Later, she worked as a librarian in academic and special libraries, including a law library and a corporate library. More recently, she chaired the Palo Alto (California) Library Advisory Commission, which created a long-range library plan for the city that resulted in a voter-approved bond measure for improved libraries in Palo Alto, even in the midst of difficult economic times.

Hirsh holds a PhD in Library and Information Science from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and a Master of Information and Library Science (MILS) from the University of Michigan.

Hirsh’s appointment with the school will begin in August 2010. Current iSchool Director Ken Haycock will be retiring from San José State University at the end of this academic year, although he will continue working with other academic units on strategic planning and supervising doctoral students in the San José Gateway PhD Program.