May Member Spotlight

Katherine Alphenaar
Library Specialist 

Grand Valley State University

Library Science Student
Wayne State University

2019 Annual Conference Scholarship Recipient

What are you currently reading?
1. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
2. Little Nothing by Marisa Silver
3. Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool by Peter Turner

What are your research interests?
I am interested in User Experience research and library design. I love investigating how spaces, furniture and services are used and how they could be improved to fit user needs. I'm particularly interested in the growth and use of virtual services and how signage and social media reach library users.

Do you have hobbies or interests outside of the library?
I'm a causal photographer, bullet journaler, cook and an avid Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan. Outside you'll see me kayaking, playing tennis, rollerblading, playing with my two dogs, or eating. I enjoy reading fantasy, poetry, and graphic novels. I prefer to listen to the audio books of thrillers for maximum fright and biographies read by the author.

What drew you to the library profession?
Growing up my mom volunteered at our school library and, before I was old enough to go to school, I would ride on the library cart while my mom picked up books from classrooms. Later, my middle school teachers would look for me in the library after I escaped the rigors of outdoor recess to read or help the librarian shelve books. Summers spent reading in the sun of Loutit District Library's courtyard turned to late nights studying in the stacks and working at the service desk at Grand Valley State University libraries.

Post-graduation found me working part-time at two libraries looking for a job in publishing when it suddenly occurred to me I was searching for jobs in the wrong profession. Looking back, the variety of ways librarianship intersected with my life amazes me and I'm equally surprised how it wasn't until it was staring me in the face that I realized this profession was the perfect combination of my strengths and interests. I love the range of work present in libraries. I enjoy working both with people and independently on research and creative projects. Connecting people to information or services they are looking for energizes me.

What do you value about MiALA?
I value the opportunity to network with other library professionals and grow my understanding of academic library environments while I'm still in graduate school. MiALA has given me the invaluable opportunities of attending conferences and engaging in committee work early in my career.