CGS Library Committee

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What better place for a group of genealogists to spend National Library Week than the Family History Library in Salt Lake City? I’m going to put a little twist on genea-blogger Lori Thornton’s summons and write a tribute to the California Genealogical Society Library Committee and librarian volunteers.

The Library Committee is composed of several volunteers with years of experience in all areas of librarianship. They are experienced genealogists as well, who know how to catalog, locate new publications and out-of-print books, keep good records and, best of all, freely give their time and expertise. Past and present committee members include: Gloria Hanson, Barbara Hill, Arlene Miles and Laura Spurrier.

L to R: Laura Spurrier, Arlene Miles, Gloria Hanson. Not shown: Barbara Hill
Gloria Hanson has experience in libraries from Korea to St. Louis. After obtaining her Masters in Library Science (M.L.S.) from the University of Southern California, Gloria decided to “see the world” and worked as a civilian employee for the U.S. Army in Korea where she ran three libraries. Stateside she has worked as a cataloguer for the St. Louis Public Library system and retired from the San Francisco Public Library as a branch district manager. Now Gloria puts her experience to work for CGS primarily in periodical processing and cataloging and receiving books.

Barbara Hill has a total of thirty-three years of library work experience, including time in public, school, technical and academic libraries. Her favorite jobs involved working in library acquisitions which is her focus for the CGS Library Committee. She often humorously ascribes her interest in genealogy to “prenatal influence” since her mother was pregnant with Barbara while researching the family at the Library of Congress. (It probably influenced her career choice as well.) Barbara and her mother collaborated on the family’s U.S. and Canadian research for many years until her mother’s death.

Arlene Miles is a retired library technician who has acquired an eclectic resume in specialized libraries, including air quality management, law, environmental as well as volunteer work at an electric railway museum. Arlene joined CGS in 2007 intending to do family research but she couldn’t resist keeping her fingers “in the library pie.” She soon set to work on the uncataloged periodicals, setting up a spreadsheet to organize incoming titles, identify missing issues and process subcription renewals.

Laura Spurrier chairs the Library Committee and acts as head librarian. Her credentials include masters degrees in history and East Indian Area Studies from the University of Wisconsin and a M.L.S. from the University of California, Berkeley. Laura worked for fifteen years at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory where she retired as a technical information specialist. Genealogy was the family hobby in the Spurrier household so Laura caught the bug as a teenager. She is a specialist in Quaker research and has lectured on the topic to the society.

Please join me in honoring the CGS librarians for the valuable work they do.

Photograph by Kathryn M. Doyle, Salt Lake City, Utah, 4/16/2008.

Copyright © 2008 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library.


  1. Thomas MacEntee  April 16, 2008

    Wow! What a great tribute. I have to say these are some great gals. (I can still say that and not sound like a “sexist pig” right? Oh boy – now I just realized how much I dated myself with that phrase!)

  2. Kathryn Doyle  April 16, 2008

    Hmmm… Thomas, I’ll ask them and get back to you!

  3. Anonymous  April 20, 2008

    I agree with Thomas–and these gals are certainly appreciated around CGS, as are you, Kathryn!

  4. Kathryn Doyle  April 20, 2008

    Thanks, Lorna!

    I bet it was quiet around the library this week. Everyone is on their way home so things will be hopping again.