Master of Library Science Earns Continued ALA Accreditation

January 22, 2016

The American Library Association granted continued accreditation recently to the master of library science program at Emporia State University. Offered through the School of Library and Information Management, the MLS program went through a comprehensive review in fall 2015. The continued accreditation is good for seven years.

“The Master of Library Science is one of ESU’s most distinctive academic programs, with a unique instructional model and a distinguished history,” said Dr. David Cordle, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “We’re pleased and proud that the American Library Association has again recognized the MLS’s excellence by granting it continued accreditation status. Congratulations to Interim Dean Mirah Dow and the SLIM faculty and staff on this achievement!”

Emporia State’s library science program has 113 years of history after its beginnings in 1902 as a 10-week extension of the teacher education program of Kansas State Normal. In 1932, it earned full ALA accreditation as a Class III senior undergraduate library program. In 1951, the university, then called Kansas State Teachers College, approved a master’s program in library science. In 1967, the undergraduate program in library science was phased out, and the Department of Librarianship of the Kansas State Teachers College formally because the School of Library Science, a distinct unit, in 1975.

In 1983 when the name was changed to the School of Library and Information Management. SLIM now offers the MLS degree program, a Master of Science in Informatics, and a Ph.D. in Library and Information Management as well as certificates in Archives Studies, Leadership and Administration, and Informatics. In addition, a pre-licensure program in School Library Media prepares students to take the State of Kansas Praxis Test for licensure. The license is conferred by the State of Kansas Board of Education.

In 2014, when the program’s self-study for accreditation was completed, the 36-hour MLS degree program was the largest graduate program at the university based on total enrollment.

SLIM launched its first out-of-state instructional program in Sioux City, Iowa in 1988 at the invitation of the State Library of Iowa. In response to invitations from other state librarians, SLIM now offers MLS degree courses to cohorts in Denver, Colorado; Portland, Oregon; and Ogden and Salt Lake City, Utah. As in its flagship program in Kansas with courses offered on the Emporia and ESU-KC campuses, the regional programs offer required blended courses (online plus weekend-intensive face-to-face classes) that are supplemented by online electives.

SLIM’s MLS curriculum is focused on information resources and the services and technologies to facilitate their management and use. The curriculum prepares professionals who assume leadership roles; emphasizes basic and applied research; integrates technology and the theories that underpin its design, application, and use; responds to the needs of a diverse and global society, including needs of underserved groups; provides direction for future development of a rapidly changing field; and promotes commitment to continuous professional development and lifelong learn including skills and competencies that are needed for the practitioner of the future.  

For more information about earning the MLS, or any degree offered at SLIM, please contact Dr. Mirah Dow, professor and interim dean, mdow@emporia.edu, or Dr. Andrew Smith, associate professor and interim associate dean, asmith37@emporia.edu, or any regional program director.

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