Recently, I explained that to become a librarian, one almost always needs an MLS degree. In the whole of Illinois, there are only two tertiary schools that have Master of Library and Information Science programs accredited by the American Library Association (which is itself headquartered in Chicago): Dominican University (formerly Rosary College) in west suburban River Forest and the University of Illinois at Champagne-Urbana. Today, library graduate schools at universities are almost always known as library and information science schools or “iSchools” for short.
Both Dominican University and the University of Illinois have post-master’s certifications. Both also offer Ph.D. programs.
Susan Roman is Dean of Dominican University’s Graduate School of Library & Information Science (GSLIS). Her school offers the following “Areas of concentration/career pathways” within ALA-accredited programs: Academic Librarianship, Archival Studies, Book Arts, Children’s Services, Cultural Heritage Information Management, Digital Libraries, Health Sciences Librarianship/Health Informatics, Knowledge Management, Music Librarianship, Organization of Information, Public Librarianship, Reference and User Services, School Librarianship, Special Collections, Special/Corporate Librarianship, and Young Adult Services.
Dominican University has a joint program with Loyola University Chicago (a fellow Catholic university founded by the Society of Jesus) whereby a student can earn a Master of Art (M.A.) degree in public history from Loyola and a MLS degree from Dominican. This is called the Master’s in Public History and Library Information Science Program. A graduate student can thus earn two degrees faster than one otherwise could. It is an ideal education for someone who wants to become an archivist at a library.
Rosary College introduced a library studies undergraduate major in 1930. Today, in addition to MLS degrees, Dominican University’s GSLIS offers post-graduate certification programs in knowledge management, school library media, and special studies.
In the fall of 209, Dominican University’s GSLIS also began to offer a doctoral program so one could earn a Doctorate of Philosophy in Library and Information Science (Ph.D.). This is Dominican University’s first doctoral program. In an article in the Fall 2009 issue of Dominican University Magazine, Dean Roman was said to foresee “the PhD program producing national experts in the management of urban and rural public libraries, youth services (for children and young adults in schools and public libraries), and cultural heritage information/archival studies (a cross among museum, library and archival studies).”
John Unsworth is Dean of the U of I’s Graduate School of Library & Information Science (GSLIS). His school offers the following areas of concentration and career pathways: Archival Studies, Book Arts, Children’s Services, Cultural Heritage Information Management, Digital Libraries, Health Sciences Librarianship/Health Informatics, Information Systems Design/Analysis, Law Librarianship/Legal Information Services, Management and Administration, Music Librarianship, Organization of Information, Public Librarianship, Reference and User Services, School Librarianship, Science Librarianship, Special Collections, Special/Corporate Librarianship, Young Adult Services, Data Curation, and Community Informatics. This program has a thesis option.
U of I’s GSLIS enrolls about 700 students per year and has over 6,500 alumni. It has the oldest extant Ph.D. program in the U.S., which celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2008.
Like many other American tertiary schools, GSLIS now has an online degree program. It introduced “LEEP, a distance-education program that enables candidates worldwide to complete a master of science degree, a certificate of advanced study or a K-12 library and information science certificate online.”
GSLIS can (and does) brag it was founded in 1893, which makes it one of the oldest library schools in the world. However, it should be pointed out that GSLIS was founded by Katharine L. Sharp at the Armour Institute in Chicago, and moved to the University of Illinois in 1897. [In 1939-1940, the Armour Institute and Lewis Institute merged to form the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT).] U.S. News & World Report has frequently ranked U of I’s Graduate School of Library & Information Science as number one iSchool in the country.
In 2008, the U of I’s Graduate School of Library & Information Science was ranked number one library and information science program in the U.S. and Canada, according to a poll of 75 college libraries in the U.S. and Canada conducted by the firm Research & Market’s 2008-2009 Survey of Academic Libraries. The iSchools at the University of Michigan and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill tied for second place. Research & Market, an international research firm based in Dublin, Ireland, conducts an annual Survey of Academic Libraries that collects data about library budgets, grants, and collections.
The Department of Library, Information and Media Studies (LIMS) at Chicago State University (CSU) is not accredited by the ALA, but it has been “granted pre-candidacy status by the [ALA’s] Committee on Accreditation,” a distinction I will explain below. The department “prepares professionals to work in K-12 schools as School Library Information Specialists.” It “offers the Master of Science in Library Science (MSLS) degree with three concentrations: 1) School Library Information Specialist; 2) Technology in Libraries; and 3) Public, Academic, and Special Libraries. The department also offers a non-degree endorsement in School Library Media for teachers who are certified.”
The LIMS programs “are approved by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).” CSU’s College of Education “is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).” They “are being revised and expanded to prepare professionals for public, academic and special libraries as well as information agencies.”
The department’s “Pre-candidacy status is an indication that the department has voluntarily committed to participate in the ALA accreditation process and is actively seeking accreditation. Pre-candidacy does not indicate that the program is accredited by ALA, nor does it guarantee eventual accreditation of the program by the association.”