Katherine Donaldson

Please tell us your name, current work place and position.

My name is Katherine Donaldson, and I am currently the Librarian-in-Residence at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. This is a two-year position where I have the opportunity to rotate between different departments in the library to gain a wide breadth of experience. While I provide reference service on the desk and teach library instruction, I have also gained hands-on experience with collection development, scholarly communications and digital scholarship-related projects.


Where did you attend school for your MLIS degree?

I attended the University of Washington and graduated in 2014.


How long have you been an APALA member? Why did you first join?

I actually became a member through my work on an Emerging Leaders project this year. I had heard of APALA before, and when it was time to select an Emerging Leaders project to work on, I thought that this would be a good opportunity to learn more about APALA. My Emerging Leaders group (Team E!) has been working on creating a marketing plan and style guide for APALA. We conducted a survey of both members and non-members and will incorporate that feedback into our recommendations. Throughout this process, it has been great to work not only with my fellow Emerging Leaders, but to meet and interact with APALA members, all of whom have been very welcoming and encouraging of our project. After having been exposed to APALA through this experience, I hope to become more involved in the future.


We’re very interested in the diversity of ethnic/cultural heritage within APALA. Please share your ethnic/cultural heritage with us and any other background information, as desired.

My mother is Malay, born in southern Thailand and raised in Malaysia, and my father is white. Because of my name, and the fact that I apparently don’t look very “Asian,” I’ve become used to many people not recognizing my Asian heritage. Instead, I have been mistaken for several different races/ethnicities throughout my life, depending on context and location. Growing up, I sometimes found it difficult to articulate my identity, particularly because my mom’s ethnic group is not very well-represented in the United States. However, I’m very proud of my mom, and I feel that my mixed-race identity has made me more respectful of how others choose to identify themselves.


What aspects of librarianship are key to your personal satisfaction at work? Please share some of your professional goals and interests.

I decided that I wanted to be a librarian because I realized I truly enjoyed the discovery process of research as an undergrad history major at Macalester College. I enjoy learning new things, and librarianship provides many opportunities to do this. I also value education, and believe that by helping to connect people with information, I can help to make a positive impact on student learning. In my position as a resident, I’ve particularly enjoyed connecting with students and faculty through reference and instruction and exploring how digital technology can strengthen library services and collections. I think there are a number of opportunities for libraries to expand their services supporting digital scholarship and other digital initiatives, which in turn might provoke us to think about and approach information (and digital) literacy differently. I look forward to continuing to explore some of these professional interests after I complete my residency.


This interview was conducted by Alyssa Jocson Porter, with editorial assistance by Jaena Rae Cabrera.

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