Member Spotlight - Nanette Donohue

December 12, 2022

This week's member spotlight is on Nanette Donohue. Nanette is the Technical Services Manager at the Champaign Public Library. She also serves as a co-chair of the ILA Advocacy Committee. We asked Nanette to tell us a little about herself and answer a few professional and amusing questions. Continue reading to find out more about Nanette

How did you get your start in libraries?

I literally grew up in libraries! My mom joined my hometown library board when I was in grade school, and she started working at the library when I was in junior high. I got roped into volunteering at a young age, which led to summer jobs at the library, which led to an undergraduate job at my university library. After a few years of avoiding the inevitable, I went to library school at the University of Illinois and graduated in 2003.    

Best advice you've received since starting your career in libraries?

If it’s not personal, don’t take it personally.

Any advice to newcomers working in libraries?

Set a solid work-life boundary and stick to it. It’s great to love your work, but don’t let it take over your entire life. Burnout and compassion fatigue are very real and we all need down time. Know your capacity and do your best to not exceed it.

Also, don’t be afraid to get involved with things that interest you professionally. Your perspective is important, valued, and necessary.

When and why did you become a member of ILA?

I joined soon after I left library school, around 2003-2004. One of my colleagues encouraged me to get involved and to attend the Annual Conference.

How has being a member of ILA helped you professionally? 

The first thing that comes to mind is networking. Being involved in ILA has given me the opportunity to connect with people from around the state. I’ve learned a lot from attending conferences and serving on committees as well!

What is your proudest professional achievement to date?

Getting elected to the ILA Executive Board in 2016 was very exciting. I was at a bit of a low point professionally, and it gave me a boost when I needed it. 

Hardcover, paperback, e-reader, audiobook, or all?

Each of them has its merits, and I love them all!

Favorite author?

It’s so difficult for me to choose a favorite! That said, I will drop everything to read new books by Rebecca Makkai, Kate Quinn, Jesse Q. Sutanto, and Helen Hoang.

If you were stuck on a deserted island, what five books would you bring with you to pass the time until being rescued?

Definitely a guide to surviving on a deserted island! Not the most fun reading, but there are some practicalities that I’d have a tough time handling. I am very much an indoor animal and would likely fail at fending for myself without some kind of assistance.

After that, I’d probably choose one of those big fat Russian novels that I’ve always been meaning to read but haven’t–War and Peace, Anna Karenina, that sort of thing. I’d want to include a Regency romance, specifically one with a lot of snappy dialogue, because I’d need a comfort read, and a twisty spy novel or thriller. My final pick would be Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert Massie–it’s such a fascinating story and I could see myself reading it over and over and over without getting bored with it.

Cat or Dog?

Cats! We have three cats. They are lovely reading companions. They are also jerks. I cannot imagine life without them!

Favorite film, podcast, or television show?

I love stoner comedies. Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle is a favorite. I’m also a huge fan of Clerks and can quote large parts of it from memory.

My favorite podcast is You Must Remember This–it’s impeccably researched and the storytelling is fabulous. The two seasons about Kenneth Anger’s Hollywood Babylon are my favorite–I was obsessed with that book when I was in high school, and Karina Longworth (the host) debunks a lot of the lurid stories from the book. 

TV-wise, I’m a huge fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race and all its various spinoffs, and the Great British Baking Show is a family favorite. My kids give me the “Hollywood handshake” when I bake something particularly tasty.

One person you would like to meet, dead or alive why?

I would really love to meet my ancestors, especially the ones who immigrated to America. I’m curious about what brought them here and what their lives were like back in the old country. One of my great-grandmothers emigrated from Paris, France to rural Indiana to marry my great-grandfather after World War I–that’s a story I’d love to hear! Talk about culture shock!

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