Jenay Dougherty | Movers & Shakers 2024—Community Builders

Jenay Dougherty aims to increase representation of Pacific Islanders in leadership roles, both within librarianship and in everyday life.


Undergraduate Engagement Librarian, University of Iowa Libraries


MLS, Emporia State University, 2015


In Palau, Dougherty once swam in Jellyfish Lake, an isolated marine lake where the native jellyfish species have been isolated for thousands of years and have evolved to survive without the need to sting.


Photo by Teagan Perrin 





Pacific Islander Outreach

Jenay Dougherty aims to increase representation of Pacific Islanders in leadership roles, both within librarianship and in everyday life.

“As a biracial Pacific Islander growing up in the Midwest,” Dougherty says, “I didn’t see anyone like me outside of family, especially not in libraries or academia. People often mistook me for the wrong ethnic group.”

In her roles as cochair and elected secretary of the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) Engagement Task Force, Dougherty draws upon familial ties to the Republic of Palau to bring a critical perspective. She actively works toward expanding APALA’s engagement and outreach initiatives to identify inclusive practices that promote visibility and representation for Pacific Islander, Central, South, Southeast, and Southwest Asian American library workers. Additionally, she serves as a liaison to the Asian Pacific American Cultural Center, collaborating with students on various programs and events.

In her capacity as a primary contact for first-generation college students at the University of Iowa Libraries, Dougherty actively participates in the 1stGen@Iowa mentor network, connecting first-gen students with faculty and staff who offer guidance, resources, and connections to various services and departments across campus.

“Pacific Islanders are seen as the minority within a minority,” Dougherty says. “We often get left out of important spaces that should be inclusive. This was the main reason I wanted to serve on the Engagement Task Force, to highlight these issues of being PI in majority-dominated Asian spaces.”

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