Faces of UMSI: Celia Mulder

Celia Mulder graduated from the University of Michigan with a screen arts and cultures degree in 2011 and began work on her MSI in 2016. In the interim, she was in pursuit of a career that would provide an enjoyable day job and support the writing of her novel.
 
She experimented with a stint at a food co-op, time at a rare books and antiques seller, an in-depth stretch with a wedding planner (where she helped plan more than 50 weddings), and finally started to see glimpses of her next path when she joined the team at the Traverse City Public Library.

“There were a lot of tasks I could take on without a master’s degree,” Celia recalls, “but then I realized I wanted more responsibility with projects. To get to the next level in the library system, I eventually realized having a master’s degree was the only way.”

Applying solely to UMSI was her way of leaving the decision up to fate. If she wasn’t accepted, she’d just move on to Plan C. Not only was she accepted to the program, she was also nominated for the Public Library Associate (PLA), which she qualified for as well. The two-year, paid internship at the Ann Arbor Public Library truly excited her.

“That was the greatest piece in the whole experience,” she says. “Not only was I starting grad school but I had a job – a job that people thought I would be good at — lined up. It was flattering, and it was a perfect opportunity.”

Perhaps Celia will be an adult or teen services librarian after graduation. Maybe she’ll work her way up to a director position. She’s glad she has choices, another benefit that the UMSI program has prepared her for.

“In the past, a library degree was usually a ticket to becoming a librarian and doing that for the rest of your career. This program is bridging the gap, though, between librarians and directors of libraries,” Celia explains. “Handling complaints and budgets, making hard decisions — UMSI is giving me the foundation to really follow any career in a library setting, assuming, of course, that my novel-writing career doesn’t take off with wild success.”

She describes her first completed book as a spy/comedy/romance novel. Writing one to two hours a day, it took Celia about two months to finish the first draft. She’d love to get it published, but for now she is satisfied with tackling and completing the challenge of writing a book.

When Celia isn’t immersed in school work, dreaming of her next novel, or trying to read for fun, she likes to knit. She took it up a couple years ago as a stress-relieving activity and has stuck with it ever since.