College of DuPage LTA Student Interview

By Amanda Musacchio

This is the first in a series of interviews with currently enrolled College of DuPage Library and Information Technology students. These interviews were conducted by myself, Amanda Musacchio, Program Chair and Instructor at the College of DuPage. The Library and Information Technology Program includes a 30 credit Library and Information Technology Certificate as well as a 64 credit Associate in Applied Science Library and Information Technology Degree. For more information, please contact me at musacchioa@cod.edu.

Judy Kuiken, LTA Student at College of DuPage

This first interview features Judy Kuiken, a second-year student who will be completing her certificate requirements in May of 2020.

  1. Question: What would you like to share about yourself?

JK Response: Hi, I am Judy Kuiken. My first library work experience started in February of 2017 in Mesquite, Texas and I worked in the Circulation Department.  I enjoyed learning new skills – diversity, and interaction with patrons.  It was there that I found my new career “love”, librarianship. 

Upon my return to the Chicagoland area, I needed to find employment with my discovered new career “love”.  After applying at a few libraries, I received a welcomed call in January of 2018 from Helen Plum Memorial Library in Lombard. Excitedly I met with the Circulation Department Manager, who not only hired me on the spot and informed me of the benefits of working at Helen Plum, one being tuition reimbursement.  I hit the jackpot!  Not only would I be able to work in the library, but now I could enroll in the Library and Technology Certification Program (aka LTA program for those of you who don’t know the millions of library language acronyms).  I could not wait for the required one-year employment to start tuition reimbursement and signed up for and started the LTA Program in August of 2018.       

I live in Glen Ellyn and I am completing my last semester in the LTA program at the College of DuPage.  I expect to finish my LTA certification journey and the final requirement of my certification with my Practicum Course starting in January 2020.  I will graduate with certification in hand in May of 2020.

  • Question: What are you excited about that is happening in Illinois libraries (and beyond)?

JK Response: I think what excites me most about what’s happening in Illinois libraries and especially what I’m experiencing at Helen Plum Library, is the pursuit of patron-focused service.  The top library priority should be our patrons and community but I feel sometimes, with all the social and economic challenges libraries face, the focus can be spread too thin.

  • Question: What is something interesting you have discussed in your classes?

JK Response: Integrity.  The foundation that libraries are built on.  The ALA and its Mission “to provide leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.”  The ILA’s Vision “to collaboratively shape a new future for libraries in Illinois” and their Mission “Leadership, advocacy, partnership and learning for the benefit of Illinois libraries”. That’s where it all starts.  I want to be part, even if a small part, of an organization like the ILA that has professional core values of “information access, equity, intellectual freedom, and objective truth”.

I know I’m new to this new career “love” and maybe a little idealistic but it’s the mission, vision and core values that remind us all of why we do what we do.  I respect them and respect the value that libraries have, not only in their communities but throughout the world.

  • Question: How do you see yourself contributing to the Illinois Library world in five-plus years?

JK Response: If this blog is still up and running in five years let’s talk.  I never want to forget the main focus of libraries and that is patron and community service.  I would like to be part of a collaborative team traveling around Illinois promoting patron focused service.  What corset-tight library “rules” can we loosen or “laws” we can lobby to reword or change that would allow equal information access to all patrons wherever they may live in Illinois?

  • Question: What do you like most about the College of DuPage Library and Information Technology Program?

JK Response: Having a business background, what sparks my interest is understanding the big picture of library operations and the LTA Program has given me that opportunity.  I, like many others, had no idea of what it takes to run a library.  I’ve gained a great deal of respect for all who have chosen this profession and the seamless effort that patrons enjoy as a result of the hard work of many.  I am not only learning some of the many library staff job descriptions and responsibilities, but I am learning the financial end and challenges libraries face.

I have a “thank you” with which I would like to conclude: 

I would like to thank the entire staff at the Helen Plum Memorial Library for their continued support with helping me to understand library “stuff”, research, working around my school schedule, which has been inconvenient at times, and doing and being the best at what libraries do and that is to provide leadership to enhance learning and ensure access of information for all.

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