Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Statement of Purpose

[The following is my statement of purpose for admission into the Library and Information Science graduate program at the University of Missouri. I may tweak it a bit before sending it in later this month. Oh, and I'll actually be taking classes through the University of Nebraska at Omaha. UPDATE — Sent in! UPDATE — Accepted!]


After seven years in small business IT consulting, I realize it's time to either affirm it as my life's work or take action toward a more wholly satisfying career. I do enjoy helping others use (and cope with!) technology for business ends, but I would prefer to support a cause I personally value: the promotion, operation, and protection of library services.

It would be hard to overstate the importance of libraries in my life. Literature shaped my imagination and character; informational books changed my fundamental worldview; contemporary academic discourse has become a hobby. I want to be directly involved in providing everyone else with the same opportunity or better.

Though I intend to stay open to other possibilities in coursework ahead, I am interested in academic librarianship in the areas of collections development, reference, digital libraries, subject specialization in philosophy and religion, and accessibility for visually impaired patrons. I will also follow and participate in the professional discussion of library principles, then do my part in articulating those principles to stakeholders. Day to day, I see myself working to improve the availability of information resources in general, then assisting students, teachers, and community members with their individual needs.

Why grant me this opportunity? Last semester, I earned a flawless grade in my first graduate level class, "Leadership and Management in Libraries and Information Agencies," demonstrating my ability and drive to excel in the program while working full time. But school is one thing, hands-on aptitude is another. My work in information technology has prepared me for a library career in the sense that I am familiar with the process of designing and implementing systems, then giving personal support to the end users of these systems; not to mention the concrete usefulness of IT experience itself in twenty-first century libraries! My demeanor is calm and unflappable. I have an appreciation for ideal solutions, but won't hesitate to address urgent needs with a workable solution. The one form of idealism I will zealously defend against practical concerns is human rights, which include those intellectual freedoms championed by the library profession.

Thank you for your consideration. I am excited to officially get started in this program!


  1. I am currently applying for the same program, and was looking for sample statement of purposes. If you don't mind me asking--As well as this wonderfully written statement, how did your GRE scores and GPA rate with those UNO-Mizzou preferred? I am wondering primarily because my Verbal Reasoning Score is 4 points below where they wanted me to be, but everything else I can offer is above par.

    Thank you in advance for any advice you can offer.

  2. Good evening, Rachel.

    My undergraduate GPA was 3.0 or slightly lower, which certainly didn't help. On the other hand, I had two graduate 'A's after almost a decade out of the undergraduate scene. Maybe that hinted at a reform? I'm about 2/3rds through now with a 4.0, so their risk taking on me was justified.

    GRE scores were: 760 verbal, 730 quantitative, and 4.5 analytical writing (somehow!). According to a translation table (, that would be about 170 verbal and 157 quantitative on the new scale. Don't let the faculty know, but the GRE was my hardest class. ;-)

    My advice is to play up whatever you can contribute to librarianship that isn't a common factor. For me, that would be a tech background and a philosophical bent. Leadership experience, creative solutions, design skills, and the like would all be quite attractive to the folks making these decisions.

    Best wishes and feel free to contact me by email if you have questions or want me to hook you up with others associated with the program.