Student Stories: Marjorie Bonallo Luce

Marjorie Luce

Major: Library and Information Technology

No stranger to her chosen career, Marjorie Bonallo Luce wanted to continue her education.

She had held various positions in public, academic and school libraries for more than 20 years and decided to enroll in graduate school. Moving from the west coast to Chicago and staying with friends, she planned to work in a library full-time while pursuing her studies at night.

Unfortunately, she discovered that her plan would not work.

Workforce Development Services

“I quickly found out that in Illinois, many library jobs required a Library and Technology degree, which is not what my bachelor’s degree was in,” she said. “Despite my extensive experience, I couldn’t get hired.”

Luce even interviewed for a position at the College of DuPage Library, where she found out about the College’s Library and Information Technology program. Unfortunately, without a job or her own place and discouraged in her job search, she was unsure how to proceed. She ended up at COD’s Workforce Development Services office looking for guidance.

“The puzzle pieces all started falling into place when I walked into that office,” she said. “At first I thought I was backtracking, but I quickly realized it was just the opposite.”

Luce qualified for a Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) grant that covers tuition, fees and books for WIOA-approved programs. As luck would have it, the Library and Information Technology program was on the approved list.

“I originally thought work-based programs were only for jobs in the trades and limited to a few options, but there were so many approved programs at COD to choose from,” she said. “Never would I have thought that I could get a library degree through a work-based program.”

The Library and Information Technology program provided exactly what she needed to continue with her library career.

“The classes were fairly small at COD, so you got to know your classmates. We developed a buddy system and studied together,” she said. “The professors were really good about showing you where the jobs are and how to be successful in your job hunt.”

Luce earned both her Associate in Applied Science degree and certificate in Library and Information Technology and transferred to Dominican University to earn a dual master’s degree in Library and Information Science and Information Management. Thanks to a transfer partnership between COD and Dominican, Luce received a $5,000 scholarship to help offset the cost of school, from which she is set to graduate in August.

The classes were fairly small at COD, so you got to know your classmates. We developed a buddy system and studied together.

Marjorie Bonallo Luce

“If I had gone straight into a master’s program and not started at COD, I would have missed out on a lot of pertinent information and the practicum experience, and I definitely wouldn’t be as prepared as I am today to reenter the workforce,” she said. “I had been out of the library world for about five years. During that time, technology had changed so much, so there was a lot for me to learn. Libraries are almost like community centers now, and because there are not as many books as there used to be, librarians are moving into records management, which is all electronic.”

Armed with her education, Luce is currently looking for positions and excited about her future. She is glad that COD provided a path that allowed her to gain more than she expected after moving from Washington.

“This certainly wasn’t the education or workforce path I thought I would take,” she said. “But I wouldn’t change it for the world, because I’ve learned so much along the way and feel much more prepared to apply for my dream job after I graduate. I ended up coming to Illinois for one degree and I’m completing my education with three.”

Learn more about the Library and Information Technology program at College of DuPage