Degree Programs

Master of Library Science (M.L.S.)

Goals and Objectives for the Master of Library Science Program

The Master of Library Science (MLS) is a 36-credit-hour program accredited by the American Library Association. The program is innovatively designed to meet the new challenges of our profession. Students in the program are introduced to the roles and functions of libraries in contemporary society. They become familiar with key policy issues and technological trends, and with how these issues and trends affect libraries and information centers of all kinds. Students learn to manage and evaluate collections, respond to the information needs of patrons, and to use technology to improve access to information. Students who complete the program are prepared for careers in library administration, public services, technical services, reference services, and collection development at public, school, academic, and special libraries.

SLIS has identified the following primary goals and objectives for the MLS program. Upon completion of the MLS program, graduates will be prepared to:

1. Assist and Educate Users of Libraries and Information

  • Analyze and identify information needs that represent a variety of age, academic, economic, and social groups and apply appropriate search strategies for effective and efficient information retrieval in each situation.
  • Educate users and potential users of information systems to locate and evaluate information resources.
  • Analyze and evaluate the provision of information systems and services in a variety of library and information settings.

2. Develop and Manage Library Collections

  • Prepare and apply policies and procedures that support the selection and acquisition of information resources which will meet the information needs of an organization, institution, or community.
  • Manage, evaluate, and preserve collections of information resources.

3. Organize and Represent Information Resources

  • Understand and effectively apply principles of representation and systems of organization to provide access to resources in a variety of library and information environments.

4. Apply Management and Leadership Skills

  • Understand a wide range of organizational structures and management and leadership styles; demonstrate positive attitudes and constructive actions that characterize innovative leadership.
  • Recognize the value of collaborative planning and project management.
  • Apply the interpersonal and organizational skills necessary to manage and evaluate projects and personnel successfully.
  • Work effectively within and across a variety of organizational structures.
  • Communicate an organization’s values and contributions, and identify sources that will support the organization’s activities.

5. Conduct and Analyze Research

  • Understand and apply research and evaluation methods to investigate questions related to the acquisition, representation, organization, use, and/or dissemination of information.
  • Analyze and interpret findings of such research and evaluation.

6. Demonstrate Basic Technical Expertise

  • Understand the basic applications of modern technology in today’s libraries and other information environments.

7. Approach Professional Issues with Understanding

  • Comprehend the social, political, and legal aspects of information creation, access, and ownership.
  • Engage in continuing learning in professional organizations in library and information science.
M.L.S. Degree Requirements

The Master of Library Science degree can be completed with 36 credit hours of graduate course work in the School of Library and Information Science, plus the prerequisite (3 cr. course) S401 Computer-Based Information Tools. A maximum of 6 graduate credit hours from another ALA-accredited master’s degree program may, with approval, be applied to the M.L.S. degree. The transferred courses must have a grade of B or higher and must be taken within the five-year time frame allowed for completion of the degree. Only within recognized joint programs, as outlined in this bulletin, may other non-SLIS courses be applied toward the M.L.S. degree. Your course of study builds a foundation in five areas of librarianship, then allows you to work with your advisor to choose advanced elective courses to develop the knowledge and skills needed for your career goals.

Prerequisite: S401 Computer-Based Information Tools (3 cr.)

The School of Library and Information Science requires that each student be computer, network, and information literate and be familiar with basic operations that will be used throughout the student’s course work. This knowledge is a prerequisite for many courses in the SLIS curriculum and will form the basis for further learning and skill development throughout students’ academic and professional careers. To acquire this base, each student must complete SLIS S401 (normally taken during the first semester). S401 must be completed within the first 9 degree credit hours. S401 does not count toward the M.L.S. degree credit hours.

M.L.S. Foundation Requirements: (15 cr.) Choose one course from each area:

  • Assist and Educate Users of Libraries and Information Centers
    • S501 Reference (3 cr.)
  • Develop and Manage Library Collections
    • S502 Collection Development and Management (3 cr.)
  • Organize and Represent Information Resources
    • S503 Representation and Organization (3 cr.)
    • S504 Cataloging (3 cr.)
  • Apply Management and Leadership Skills
    • S551 Library Management (3 cr.)
    • S552 Academic Library Management (3 cr.)
    • S553 Public Library Management (3 cr.)
    • S671 School Media (3 cr.)
  • Conduct and Analyze Research
    • S505 Evaluation of Resources and Services (3 cr.)
    • S506 Introduction to Research (3 cr.)
    • S519 Evaluation of Information Systems (3 cr.)

M.L.S. Elective Courses: (21 cr.) In addition to the 15 credit hours of M.L.S. foundation courses, students must complete a minimum of 21 hours of elective courses to complete the 36 hours required for the M.L.S. degree. Any SLIS course can be taken as an elective. Students should consult with their faculty advisors about course selection, and care must be taken to ensure that prerequisites have been satisfied before registering for any course. No more than 6 credit hours may be applied to the degree from the workshop courses under the S603 number. M.L.S. students may complete an internship (S605) for up to 3 credit hours.

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