Staff Profile: Bobbi Coffey, Finance Research Librarian

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Before joining Princeton University Library (PUL) in 2017, Finance Research Librarian Barbara (Bobbi) Coffey spent over 30 years in the financial industry, in roles ranging from managing director of equity research to vice president of finance in a publicly traded internet company. The majority of her experience involved equity research analysis, in other words, finding information for institutional investors to make informed decisions. 

“What I do now is not that different,” said Coffey. “I’ve always been an information professional. Now, I help faculty and students find the information they need to do their analysis to test a hypothesis, or look more deeply into potential theories.” 

PUL provides a wealth of financial datasets that allow researchers to examine stock price changes, companies’ financial statements, mergers and acquisitions, IPOs, and currency fluctuations. The majority of these resources are available via remote access. 

When Coffey works with faculty and students, she asks: “What do you need? I can probably find it for you.” Coffey said she could even provide gold prices dating back to the year 1200. 

Students seeking a certificate in finance or with a finance-related question in their independent study work often consult with Coffey. She serves as a liaison with Princeton’s Bendheim Center for Finance and the Operations Research and Financial Engineering (ORFE) department, along with Engineering Librarian Willow Dressel.  

Bobbi also supports the Career Center by helping students conduct company research prior to interviews. “Information is power,” said Coffey. “Let's say you want to work at Proctor and Gamble, but you also want to live in Des Moines. You can do the research to see where they have offices, and maybe decide not to turn down the interview.” Coffey also provides students with cost of living data, which can play an important role in salary negotiations.

In support of the Financial Literacy Initiative on campus, which empowers students with the resources, tools, and knowledge to cultivate financial wellness, Coffey co-taught the investing section of a Finance 101 course held over Wintersession. 

Though she no longer advises investment decisions, Coffey continues to provide people with the information and data they need to make informed decisions. 

Coffey stays involved with the financial sector by serving as a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitrator. In the financial industry, parties involved in a dispute go to arbitration, rather than to court. Arbitration may involve a client and a broker or an employee and a brokerage firm, for example. 

On campus, Coffey audits several finance classes to stay abreast of curriculum, assignments, and student needs. She offers public finance research webinars through the Federal Depository Library Program and conducts her own research as well. 

Coffey’s forthcoming publication in the International Journal of Maritime History may have been inspired by her close proximity to the ocean, living only two blocks away, or a sailing voyage she took some years ago across the Atlantic. By analyzing the financial data from all known whaling voyages, provided by the New Bedford Whaling Museum, Coffey discovered that most whaling voyages were just barely more profitable than investing in U.S. government bonds. 

Questions about finance research? Contact Bobbi Coffey at  

Published on May 10, 2021

Written by Emily Judd, Publicity Manager

Media contact: Barbara Valenza, Director of Library Communications