“I do consider myself the wealthiest person in State College, but I measure wealth differently than others.” – Elaine Meder- Wilgus

Another small business in State College, Pa. that adds an abundance of rich personality to the small town is Webster’s Bookstore.  Pictured above, Elaine Meder-Wilgus, the owner of Webster’s Bookstore sorts and categorizes her new books that just came in stock in State College, Pa. on March 10, 2021.  Elaine has run this store for over 20 years now, and finds it easy to build connections with students who feel that this can be their safe space. “We forget that people need a place to be themselves, as their authentic selves,” she says. Reading is an escape from reality for Elaine and many others, and she loves to spread wisdom and comfort to all that walk into Webster’s. Meder- Wilgus describes working at Webster’s as “spending her days with best friends, whether it’s people or it’s books that day.”

When COVID first hit, Meder-Wilgus lost a third of her business overnight, as a majority of her profit is made through catering with Penn State. Throughout the pandemic, she has also been forced to let go hard-working employees that have helped shape Webster’s to be what it is today. From all the tragedies the pandemic has brought, Elaine stays hopeful and positive for the future. Elaine looks at this unfortunate situation as a way to reshape Webster’s.  She says “We have stopped a machine that has been running in full speed for years, when we restart it, what do we want it to look like, and how do we want to be part of this machine?”  Connecting with the State College and Penn State community is a huge focus for Elaine and the workers of Webster’s. She emphasizes the power of books, and how books bring people together. She loves to show her passion to people who now have learned how to take a break from the constant hustle and bustle of society during these unprecedented times.

“You don’t get to decide what happens to you in your life, but you do decide how you deal with it.” -Elaine Meder-Wilgus