Wednesday, December 2, 2020


photo of Donna Wrublewski
For most of the past year, working remotely and multitasking consistently, Donna Wrublewski has served as Chemistry & Chemical Engineering Librarian, Interim Humanities Librarian, and Interim Head of Research Services. After an extensive interview process, she is now assuming a new role in the Library as of this month: permanent Head of Research Services.

The Research Services (RS) group focuses on reference and research assistance, instruction, and liaison outreach to campus groups to inform them about Library resources and services. Donna’s team of seven librarians and two senior library assistants serves as the primary point of contact between the Library and the Caltech community. The group also has primary responsibility for collection development evaluations and decisions. Donna will supervise and help coordinate activities within RS, between RS and other Library groups including Library Administration, and between RS and the rest of campus.

When asked what she would like the faculty and students to know about the Library’s research services, Donna responded, “Please do not hesitate to ask us anything. Seriously. All of the following are valid questions that we can answer: ‘Can you buy this book? Do we have access to this journal? Can you help me find properties of a fiberglass-reinforced composite material called G10?’” She clarified that the last question was a real patron request. Donna had worked on G10 as a graduate student in polymer engineering, so she was able to really dig into the literature and help the patron find some useful information.

Donna emphasized that all the Research Services librarians are highly trained, and several have bachelor’s and advanced degrees in the sciences and engineering. She said that students and faculty should not be afraid to “speak geek” to them—they will more than likely know what the patrons are talking about, as they follow the research activities of campus very closely. (And if by chance they don’t know, they’ll learn pretty quickly to help the researcher find what they need.)

Donna will now be in charge of designing and implementing a research service vision that responds to current and emerging needs at Caltech. Leveraging the strengths of an institution of Caltech’s size and prominence, Donna will be a leader, both on campus and in the greater library community, for scholarly communication, open access and publishing, and open science initiatives. She hopes that this new role will allow her to strengthen the support that Research Services offers to research and teaching activities on campus. By continually identifying new and evolving campus needs, she can focus staff efforts and training toward meeting those needs.

It's not surprising to learn that someone who has worked in a variety of positions at the Library enjoys the work environment. Donna explained, “I like helping people, especially through teaching. And I like learning new things. There’s always something new to learn, either a subject, a technology, a development in the library field, and more. It’s a lot like graduate school that way (but with slightly better hours).”