When I was applying to the MLIS program for school librarianship one of the documents I had to submit was a statement of my purpose and goals. It challenged me to really think about the decision I was making to pursue this career path, why I was making it, and what I wanted to accomplish. Here is what I wrote (it was good enough to get me into grad school so perhaps you will enjoy it).
When I was growing up my papa read to my siblings and me every night before bed. He would read all sorts of things; poetry, picture books, short stories, novels, even comic books. We would pile around him, reading over his shoulder and studying every detail of the pictures. Those are some of my most treasured and impactful memories of childhood. I learned to love books; they contained worlds full of people, information, and truth. The contents of books have changed my life and I want to help children discover that magic.
Books have the power to take us places we will never go, introduce us to people we will never meet, and show us a whole new side of the world. Seeing the world through the eyes that books give us builds empathy and understanding for our fellow men, qualities that are crucial in our global society.
In my own life I have learned to understand the lives of people who are different from me by seeing the world from their point of view. Books such as Roll of Thunder Hear my Cry, Seedfolks, A Girl Named Disaster, and The Hiding Place have all taught me important lessons about the world and the people in it.
I began my degree in education with the intention of sharing my love of books with my students, as my papa shared his with me. I always had the idea in my mind that perhaps after I had taught for a few years that I might go back and get a masters degree is something literacy related. It was during my very first year of teaching that the vague idea of going into a more specific field in the future really crystalized in my mind as a desire to be a librarian. I was teaching at a charter school whose library consisted of one tiny room with an un-curated hodge-podge of beaten up books. As a charter school our school librarian was not required to have any training or certification, and consequently she did not have the knowledge to help students select books that were appropriate to their maturity, interest, and reading ability. I took it upon myself to make sure my students had access to a variety of books appropriate to their levels. I went to library book sales, scholastic warehouse sales, begged donations from friends and family, and regularly combed used book stores. I built my classroom library to more than 500 books during that year and soon realized that connecting students to books was my favorite part of teaching and I wanted it to be able to focus on it full time.
School librarians are in an ideal position to open the eyes of children through books. Helping students find books they enjoy, and encouraging them to explore the world through the pages of a book, is my passion. I want to create lifelong learners who see the world differently.
There’s no reason for me to wait until I have charge of a library to work towards that goal, though. I intend to use my graduate studies in my classroom immediately. Courses regarding school librarianship, instructional materials, learning resources, and literature for youth can be implemented in my classroom right away. The knowledge I gain from this program of study will have an immediate and direct impact on my students. It is my constant desire to improve my methods and better serve my students.
In the future I intend for my degree to help me reach more students through a station as a school librarian. While my current teaching position gives me direct responsibility over 34 children, a librarian position would increase my responsibility and impact to every student in the school. Helping students to develop a love of literature and providing them with the tools and knowledge to seek out books and materials that will challenge and inspire them is the dream of my heart.