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MCTC Student Finds Inspiration for a New Life in the Library

Suela Deva in the MCTC LibraryThe day Library Information Technology student Suela Deva left her home country, the Republic of Albania, with her husband and two young sons; there was limited access to water and no electricity. It was 2004 and, with the end of the civil war, Albania was deemed insecure and unsafe. Selected by lottery, Suela and her family left the post-communist country with four suitcases, two filled with books, for Minnesota.

When the family arrived in Minneapolis, Suela remembers seeing the city lights glowing in the night sky. Despite being without permanent housing, insurance or a guarantee of employment, the family was overwhelmed with a sense of hope. While living in Albania, Suela thought everything in the world was as it was there. It was only after leaving, that she realized how different life could be.

Determined to create opportunities for her family, Suela worked 80 hours per week her first six years, and 50 hours per week the next four while balancing multiple jobs and time with her family. A constant source of inspiration and relaxation for Suela was the library. “It was a great change of scene and it felt familiar, connecting me to my past,” said Suela, who worked in the publishing industry alongside her husband in Albania. “Most of the libraries in Albania, an isolated country, were destroyed during the time of communism and no one was allowed to see, touch or read American History.”

Suela began volunteering in the library. Her peers noticed her passion and encouraged her to pursue employment. After garnering her courage, Suela applied and was offered a position as a public service assistant. She has since been promoted and is working full-time at her local library. Suela has been recognized in her new career and recently influenced a major organizational change that included reclassification of jobs and increased pay. The changes resulted from employees of local branches meeting to discuss common issues and topics. Suela was the brain trust behind the idea.

After six months at the Hennepin County Library, Suela decided to go back to school. Careful research and opportunity brought her to MCTC and its Library Information Technology program. “MCTC is affordable, recognized half of my bachelor’s credits from my former college in Albania and offers a powerful educational experience,” said Suela who has always felt supported and welcome at MCTC. “I completed my liberal arts degree in December of 2015 and will earn my AAS in Library Information Technology this month.”

Suela’s journey from Albania to MCTC has encouraged her to believe in herself, speak up for herself and pursue her dreams. “My family and I have had an amazing journey,” said Suela. “We are once again home owners, have insurance and strong careers. MCTC has been instrumental to our success.”

Published May 2017


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