Marnie Butu ’22, who resides in Northern Virginia with her family, recently completed the Master of Information degree program at SC&I and is eager to get started in a new career as a youth librarian.
SC&I: Tell us about yourself and your plans.
MB: As a kid, I didn’t see the value in school and I barely graduated high school. After getting my undergraduate degree in business administration, I felt like I wasn’t finished. Now I am the first in my immediate family to get a master’s degree and am proud that I completed my master’s with a 4.0 GPA. I hope to secure a position in either a school library or in a public library as a youth librarian. I look forward to collaborating with colleagues and building relationships in a position that allows me to use my creative skills. Whether I am working on projects or in a maker space, creating programs and activities, or making book recommendations that help to foster a love of reading in others, I can’t wait to get started!
SC&I: What prompted you to enroll in SC&I’s MI program?
MB: I currently work as a membership coordinator for a small educational organization and decided I wanted to pursue a different career. Libraries have always been special places to me, and becoming a librarian is a fantastic way to help people and give back to the community. I began researching American Library Association (ALA)-accredited university programs that were offered 100% online. When I learned that the Rutgers School of Communication and Information’s online MI program is nationally ranked in the top ten and has been ALA-accredited since 1954/1955, I applied and was thrilled when I was accepted. I started classes in the spring of 2019 and fell in love with the learning environment, the courses, and the amount of knowledge and support offered. It was a lot of hard work, but I thoroughly enjoyed being back in school. As I progressed in the program, I decided to lean either towards youth librarianship in a public library or becoming a K-12 school librarian, so I focused on the school librarianship concentration.
SC&I: What impressed you most about the MI program?
MB: The instructors in the program are so inspiring and knowledgeable, and their teaching methods stretched my thinking. I was most inspired by Associate Professor of Professional Practice, Library and Information Science Marc Aronson (courses on YA literature and the international K-12 books) and Associate Teaching Professor of Library and Information Science Joyce Valenza (courses on search and the information landscape). Professor Aronson was always clear that he wanted to hear multiple sides of discussion points and that we were not required to agree with his thinking. Many of those discussion boards became very dynamic and wide-ranging. Professor Valenza’s course on search was eye-opening. I thought I was a good researcher until I took her course! She provides so many resources for that class, I bookmarked them for future use. I also liked the feeling of community within the classes. We were encouraged to make connections between our existing knowledge and the lessons. Even though it is an asynchronous online program, we had a hefty amount of class discussion in most of my classes and several group projects. Hearing from fellow students helped me to grow; I learned much from my classmates.
SC&I: What are a few of your takeaways?
MB: I have always been a strong believer in inclusion, diversity, and access when it comes to learning, books, and libraries. My international K-12 books course helped me gain insights into publishing for children around the globe and deepened my understanding of diversity in books. Also, thanks to the MI program, I was able to learn more about the intricacies of building a collection, digital storytelling, and other technologies associated with libraries. This program was so comprehensive and I feel confident in the skills and knowledge I gained. It was a truly amazing experience!
SC&I: What advice would you like to share with future students?
MB: Plan ahead to manage your time. This is the key to your success, especially if you have other obligations like work or family. Also, don’t hesitate to reach out to your instructors if you need help or clarification. Your fellow students and colleagues are also great resources. I made connections with students who are now also good friends.