Cindy Altick Aden graduated from Stanford University with a degree in International Relations. Her focus was on languages, cultural communication and political science.
A year later Cindy completed a certification program from Stanford’s Mass Media Institute and became a reporter for the Palo Alto Weekly. She held subsequent newspaper jobs and freelanced stories for multiple weekly newspapers in the Northwest, serving as editor for two papers.
Cindy graduated from the University of Washington with a master’s in Library & Information Science and was recruited for the Library of Congress intern program where she started her library career serving Congress. She worked subsequently at the University of Washington as a reference librarian and as a collections selector at Suzzallo Library, as a reference librarian at Odegaard Undergraduate Library and as Head of Circulation at the Gallagher Law Library.
Cindy left academia to work for Kitsap Regional Library, a public library system, as Assistant Director in charge of Reference Services across the multi-branch system. After two years of commuting by ferry, Cindy was contacted by a start-up, Amazon.com, which was looking for a librarian. There she oversaw the cataloging and engineering teams and finally served as the program manager for all the product business sectors. Cindy was employee number 750, and she saw the company expand to 5 countries and over 10,000 employees by the time she left in 2004.
Cindy then worked for Corbis, Bill Gates’s image company, where she served as Head of Cataloging and addressed image management: discovery, metadata and preservation. OCLC then recruited Cindy for a position in Business Development, where she worked with Silicon Valley companies, like Google, Goodreads and Yelp, who wanted access to library data and to understand bibliographic metadata and discovery. Cindy served in that position for over 7 years, enhancing library discovery on the Internet.
Cindy became the Washington State Librarian in August, 2016. Issues like access to broadband, developing a statewide ebook platform, augmenting library catalog visibility, defending federal library funding and identifying new ebook models that benefit libraries and authors, have been some of her areas of focus.
In August, 2020 she became the third iSchool Distinguished Practitioner of Practice at the University of Washington. She is excited to bring together her experience with journalism, government, internet search and discovery and strategic partnerships, to guarantee libraries are always relevant to their communities.