Questions with Puron: Featured RIPS Member – Emily Donnellan

Compiled by: Jessica Almeida

Questions with Puron is a social media series launched by the RIPS PR & Recruitment Committee to highlight the diverse views and professional strategies of the constituents of Research Instruction and Patron Services Special Interest Section (RIPS-SIS). Twice per month, our beloved penguin mascot poses a series of questions to one of the many librarians who make up RIPS. Puron talked with Emily Donnellan, Branch Librarian for the U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit.

Puron: Share your favorite new (or new-to-you) resource for 2020! [could be a website, database, secondary source, anything]

Emily: I had a reference question concerning foreign law on child abduction another Librarian, Shannon Lynch, shared the coolest database: It is exclusively for international child abduction law and you can sort by country, keyword, year, or article.

Puron: What’s something interesting about your work [in a government library or firm library, etc.] that most people outside the field wouldn’t know?

Emily: Before becoming a government librarian I didn’t realize how answering reference questions could affect legal opinions and interpretations. Working in an Academic Law Library previously I answered questions for faculty who were usually mulling over an area of law and advocating for a particular interpretation. The questions I get now are often on the fly – can we even do this?? – questions from law clerks and Judges. I used to think the law changed slowly and now I see it can change quickly.

Puron: What do you love about being a law librarian?

Emily: That every day I get to go on information scavenger hunts and learn something new. I love when I’m asked a difficult question and have learn (or quickly relearn) the law, share resources, and hopefully find the exact answer the patron was hoping for.   

Puron: What is your dream vacation destination for when it is safe to travel again?

Emily: To keep myself sane during COVID I watched all the episodes of Caribbean Life on Hulu. I’m basically an expert on the 2018/19 real estate market throughout the Caribbean now. When it’s safe (and my daughter gets a little older) I’d love to visit the Dominican Republic, St. Croix, or really anywhere with aquamarine water. 

Puron: What is your favorite book?

Emily: From 2011-2019 I was a YA Book Blogger at So, I’ve got a huge soft spot in my heart for YA. My current favorite reads are The Cruel Prince by Holly Black and House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig. My favorite adult novel in recent memory was My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan

Puron: What is your favorite app (or what app can’t you live without)?

Emily: I downloaded the app Planta a couple weeks ago and I’m loving it so far. During quarantine I bought a ton of plants and they kept dying. Planta lets you input your plant (with a picture) and tells you if it’s in optimal light, whether it needs to be repotted, and when it is time to water it. I’m hoping this brings my plants back from the brink!         

Puron: What is your favorite movie?

Emily: The Mummy with Brendan Frasier. Evie may be the reason I’m a librarian today.

We hope you enjoyed getting to know Emily. If you would like to hear from more members, join the conversation on our Twitter RIPS-SIS (@RIPS_SIS) or connect with us on Facebook The PR & Recruitment Committee will also be reaching out to select members for participation in this series. If you would like to be featured, or want to recommend someone, please email Emma Wood at

About malikahhalllibrarian

Malikah Hall is a Reference Librarian and Instructional Assistant Professor at Texas A&M University. She was previously the Diversity Fellow, Research Services Librarian, and Lecturer in Law at Cornell University. Malikah is very active in AALL where she is the current RIPS Law Librarian Blog editor, Immediate Past Chair of PEGA-SIS, a member of the AALL Diversity & Inclusion Committee, and a member of the AALL Legal Research Competencies Review Special Committee. Malikah graduated from North Carolina Central University with a J.D./M.L.S. joint degree. In her spare time, she enjoys playing with her sweet dog and anything true crime related.
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