Justina Wuebker


My Reflections On Library Principles and Ideals

Areas of Interest

  • Public Library Services
  • Youth Services

Statement of Purpose

I wish to go to the University of Wisconsin – Madison’s school of library sciences because I have spent my whole life wanting to be a librarian and in my investigation of library schools, Madison is one of the best programs available. When I was seven, I told my mother that I wanted to be a librarian. It was a worthy goal since my fourth grade Iowa Tests of Basic Skills tests put my reading level at a second semester in college level. When I was a senior in high school I decided that I wanted to work study at the local library. It was my favorite part about high school and I was immediately hired there once school was out and I have continued to work at the Rockwell City Public Library ever since. I have also served as a student employee manager at Wartburg College’s Vogel Library and as an assistant librarian at the Hudson Public Library as well.

When I step into a library, I feel like I belong there and I want others to have the same feeling. My background in French helps me to assist the kids who go there after school with their language homework. The years I spent traveling the entire United States with my dad as a child have helped me to teach them geography. My high school trips to France, Texas, and Tennessee give me experience in different cultures as well as the Asian and World literature classes I’ve taken from Wartburg College. The computer classes that I took in high school have helped me to teach countless others how to print off pictures of their grandchildren or friends in various sizes and frames.

Receiving a minor in Leadership at Wartburg has taught me so much about how I can lead a community by helping the library to be the central source for information in the area. Leading community programs at the Hudson Public Library and co-organizing children’s programs at the Rockwell City Public Library have helped me to become more confident in my leadership skills, as well as my involvement in the Community Builders program within one of my Leadership classes at Wartburg. Because I love my library jobs and feel they are relevant to my graduate school experiences, I wish to be able to continue with my present library employment, which is why I am applying for the graduate school distance program. The director at my local library will be moving in a year or two, and I’d like to learn more about some of the administrative duties that she performs so that I might have a better chance applying for her job when it becomes available.

My immediate career goal is to be the director of a small town library to gain some administrative experience and to pay off some of my school loans. Eventually I would like to become a teen librarian at a larger public library because I love working with teen literature and have a close friend who is the personal assistant to a couple of our favorite teen authors. It’s really amazing to see all of the work that authors put in to advertising, promoting, and encouraging people to read their books. Seeing the hard work that goes on behind publishing makes me all the more ready to promote reading to that age group.

The most important reason that I want to obtain a Masters of Library and Information Sciences though is that I could use it for the greater good. I’ve worked all of my life to be a good role model for my friends and family. My best friend has had a very rough last several years and I try to be the person that she can look to when times are rough. I want to be able to do this for a community. I want to be the person who can help people find what they need, when they need it. If someone is going through a divorce and wants a book on how to cope with all of the feelings and emotions that it brings up, I want to be the person who helps them by finding the perfect book to ease their pain. I want people to be able to come to the library because they know that the librarian is someone they can trust to provide them with exactly what they need in an era of information overload. I have a minor in business so that I’ll be able to market events, manage budgets, and communicate clearly in every way needed. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature so that I can recognize good literature and recommend it to others. I have been doing my best to help others my whole life, and I really want to be able to continue doing this, in a professional capacity.

There is only one school located in Iowa that has a library and information sciences program accredited by the American Library Association, and their program is not the best fit for my talents and interests. The University of Wisconsin was recommended to me as someplace to consider, and the website was so well put together and the courses look so interesting that I know it is the place that I want to be, especially since I can study via distance learning. Having taken an online class through Wartburg College last summer, I know that I will be able to keep up with my studies by staying in contact with the professors and keeping up with any additional materials. As of now I am preparing for graduate school by studying for the GRE, which I plan to take at the beginning of 2013, and finishing my Bachelor’s of Arts degree in English. Please consider my application, as I have been waiting my whole life for this opportunity.

Final Reflection

SLIS has taught me that despite thinking I knew everything before I came to the program, I knew almost nothing. SLIS has taught me that there is no absolute grasp of knowledge on a topic. Having worked in small town libraries for a few years before coming to the program, I held the belief that I would be learning about how larger libraries worked instead. I ended up learning more than I’d ever imagined about both and now I’m excited to take some of the things I’ve learned and put them into practice. My classes on Children’s and Youth librarianship with Marge Loch-Wauters have had a specific impact on how I think of programming. She has led me to some great resources for planning programs that I will always have bookmarked on my personal and work computers. My first class with Michele Besant both thoroughly scared me about the classes I had ahead of me and also showed me what I could do when I put my mind to it. I hadn’t been pushed like that since high school and it was a new challenge to see what I was able to do. The Go Big Read project, as well as several projects in the 644: Digital Tools, Trends, and Debates class by Dorothea Salo, brought me to tears so many times and yet I made it through both of them with more resolve and a little bit more self-confidence. Library school has taught me that when the workload seems impossible, I can keep going and I can conquer as long as I have some sugar-free Red Bull and a good support system.

I’ve also made some more realistic future plans. I’d previously been under the impression that I would suddenly be qualified to be a library director somewhere and I would be making decent money right away. This makes me chuckle. I now have plans to stay where I’m at for a year so that I will have two full years of experience there, and then I will either look for a youth services position at a larger local library or if there are available small town director positions, I will look into those positions as well. I’m not limited to only youth librarianship or administration positions, those are just the ones I am most comfortable with. Dorothea told a story of not knowing how to fix a server or other piece of equipment on her first day at a new position but being told to work at it regardless. I know that I need to get out of my comfort zone and I am wanting to do more and more at my current position as well. As the programming librarian, I mainly put on programs for all ages of patrons. I also fix the computers, train staff, and catalog new items. I’m getting better at teaching my staff how to do items so that I can delegate and have more time to work on programming ideas as well as finding grants so that I can have more fun and exciting materials to work with for my programs. Library school has torn me down at times, but it has also given me an excitement for the things I’ll be able to accomplish in the future.