Graduate degree: M.A. in library and information science
Graduate certificate: special collections librarianship

Library and information science (LIS) is an interdisciplinary field of study that centers on the documentation that records our stories, memory, history, and knowledge. LIS professionals serve as custodians of printed materials, records, photographs, audiovisual materials, and ephemera, in both analog and digital form. Librarians and other information professionals collect, organize, preserve, and provide access to these materials and are the stewards of the knowledge that they contain. The School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) connects people to the resources that they need to understand their histories, communities, and the world around them. The school advocates for free and open access to these resources and train folks to use these materials to better themselves and society as lifelong learners.

The school offers the M.A. in library and information science and the graduate Certificate in Special Collections Librarianship. SLIS offers a variety of dual degrees and certificates to specialize in these areas of librarianship, including joint offerings with the UI Center for Book, the public digital humanities program, Special Collections at the University of Iowa Main Library, and a school librarian endorsement for licensed K-12 teachers. In addition, the degree may be pursued while completing other degrees at the University of Iowa, including other master's and Ph.D. degrees. Undergraduates at the University of Iowa also may apply for the Undergraduate to Graduate (U2G) degree program and complete their baccalaureate degree in combination with the M.A. in library and information science.

Student Organizations and Activities

All M.A. students in the school are automatically members of LISSO, the Library and Information Science Student Organization, which also serves as the student chapter of the American Library Association. LISSO sponsors various activities, such as speaker series, workshops, brown bag lunches, and social events. Participation in LISSO events provides students with significant opportunities for professional and extracurricular growth. Students also are encouraged to join other state and national professional organizations.

Honor Society

The Beta Beta Theta Chapter of Beta Phi Mu, the international honor society for library and information science, is located at the University of Iowa. Each year new members are chosen from the top 25 percent of the preceding year's graduating class. To be eligible for membership, graduates must achieve a g.p.a. of at least 3.75, demonstrate professional promise, and be recommended by the faculty.

Related Certificate

Public Digital Humanities

Students may apply to earn the Certificate in Public Digital Humanities. The program requires 12 s.h. of graduate credit and offers credentials to students who plan to incorporate digital technology into their future research, training, or careers. For more information, see the Certificate in Public Digital Humanities in the Catalog.

The School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) is housed in the south wing of the University's Main Library, in a setting that promotes community among students, faculty, and staff and provides easy access to resources of the University of Iowa Libraries. Facilities are provided for the varied instructional and research activities of the school.

The school includes classrooms dedicated for use by SLIS faculty and students. These rooms include a wired workstation technology classroom with Windows and Macintosh computers fully equipped for videoconferencing, and seminar classrooms with videoconferencing systems and large high-definition screens.

Gunther Commons

Gunther Commons, a state-of-the-art collaboratory equipped with workstations, is the school's combined student center and technology lab. Individuals and teams of students gather in the collaboratory to work on course assignments and to gain experience with specialized software that supports the latest teaching technologies. Students have access to Windows and Macintosh computers, with gigabit access to the campus network and wireless service throughout the Main Library.

University of Iowa Libraries

All of the resources of the University of Iowa Libraries are available to the school's students and faculty. The system contains more than four million volumes in the Main Library and six departmental libraries.

The web-based catalog provides access to books and periodicals, electronic indexes, and full-text databases held by University Libraries. In addition, InfoHawk+ provides online resource access to selected internet and CD-ROM resources arranged by subject and academic discipline. Wireless internet access is available in the Main Library.

The school benefits with proximity to the Learning Commons. It encompasses the majority of public space on the first floor of the Main Library. The Learning Commons is a technology-infused, comfortable and flexible learning space, and an academic and information help center.

The third floor of the Main Library houses the map collection, Special Collections, and University Archives, including the Iowa Women's Archives.

Other Libraries

Students have access to a variety of libraries through field trips, practicum experience, and personal use: the State Historical Society of Iowa library in Iowa City; the Iowa City, Coralville, and Cedar Rapids public and school libraries; the Augustana, Coe, Cornell, Mount Mercy, and Grinnell College libraries; and the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch.

Other Resources

The second floor of the University Capitol Centre (UCC) houses the instructional services and campus services departments of the University's Information Technology Services. It provides instructional and research computing facilities and services for the University community. All University students, staff, and faculty may use the center's computers for University-related research, thesis preparation, and class work. Instructional Technology Centers provide campuswide access to the University's academic computing resources and the internet.

Library and Information Science Courses

SLIS:4150 Introduction to Book Studies 3 s.h.

Theory and practice of book studies; meanings of word and image in the book format; comparative study of other media, applied study of the codex as physical artifact. English majors and English and Creative Writing majors may apply this course to the following area and/or period requirement. AREA: Literary Theory and Interdisciplinary Studies. PERIOD: Varies by semester. Same as ENGL:4150, UICB:4150.

SLIS:4910 The Book in the Middle Ages 3 s.h.

Relation of text, decoration, function, creators, and audience in different genres of medieval manuscript books 400-1500 A.D. Same as HIST:4910, UICB:4910.

SLIS:4920 The Transition from Manuscript to Print 3 s.h.

History of the book and communication in Europe 1400-1800; production, distribution, and use of texts in cultural context. Same as HIST:4920, UICB:4920.

SLIS:5010 Libraries, Culture, and Society 1-3 s.h.

Role of libraries and information agencies in society; major issues including information policy, professional ethics, literacy, diversity, technology, and pedagogy. Requirements: admission to library and information science.

SLIS:5020 Foundations of Computing 3 s.h.

Introduction to historical, cultural, and practical roles of digital technology in libraries and information centers; application of thinking and research in digital inequality, user experience, and tech support to hands-on assignments; evaluation of emerging technology based on institutional and user needs. Requirements: admission to library and information science.

SLIS:5030 Information Organization 3 s.h.

Introduction to information organization, the systems and standards used in libraries and information centers to describe and organize documents and records for optimal stewardship and retrieval; hands-on experience in creating media (e.g., LibGuides, Omeka galleries) and encoding XML documents; preparation for further practice in cataloging, metadata, preservation, and retrieval. Requirements: admission to library and information science.

SLIS:5041 College and University Libraries 3 s.h.

Focus on praxis of academic librarianship—the way theories and ideas are applied and embodied in day-to-day work of librarians and organization of academic libraries; exploration of different types of academic libraries and their goals, functions, services, and contexts in which they operate; different types of academic librarianship; development of a preparedness for engaging complexities of academic library work as it progresses the goals of higher education; for students interested in academic librarianship, archives, and special collections. Requirements: admission to library and information science program.

SLIS:5042 Public Libraries 3 s.h.

Modern public libraries were founded on principles of equality, democracy, intellectual freedom, and public good; exploration of the historical development of public libraries and current issues related to their management and operations; practical projects and observation of library operations; opportunity to apply classroom learning to real-world work; for students interested in working in a public library or archives. Requirements: admission to library and information science program.

SLIS:5043 Special Libraries 3 s.h.

Management, organizational structures, collections, and client services in special libraries; site visits to a variety of special libraries and information centers; projects that apply theoretical principles. Prerequisites: SLIS:5010. Corequisites: SLIS:5010, if not taken as a prerequisite. Same as IGPI:5043.

SLIS:5044 School Library Media Administration 3 s.h.

How to create and deliver a program that focuses on teaching responsibilities of school librarians and their collaborative role in the school; examination of research, standards, curricular frameworks, information process, and inquiry models; administrative and leadership roles of teacher librarian including policy and procedure development, budgeting, and program evaluation; development of a functional library program plan.

SLIS:5200 Innovation and Technology Methodology 3 s.h.

Power of technology to connect, communicate, create, convince, and collaborate within library setting; development of a personal philosophy and network within the innovative technology realm; introduction to a variety of multimedia tools; creation of projects on multiple platforms.

SLIS:5220 Resources for Children 3 s.h.

Children's literature and librarianship are entwined, interdisciplinary fields that now encompass everything from storytelling to new media, reflecting the field's service to a population spanning from newborns to 14-year-olds; survey of issues that youth librarians must understand by studying a progression of ages and developmental stages, issues of professional practice, and elements of genre and media for young people, anchored by books and media suited to these ages; strategies and resources that youth services professionals can use for creating responsive services and collections in the 21st century.

SLIS:5230 Resources for Young Adults 3 s.h.

Examination of topics related to populations served by youth service departments (i.e., societal issues and informational needs) and the ways libraries meet needs of young adults; immersion into the world of young adults and how this relates to recreational reading and information seeking needs; how to evaluate and select from a variety of fiction, nonfiction, print, digital, and web-based resources; how to guide young adults to become competent, critical consumers and producers of information while creating a welcoming environment that celebrates diversity.

SLIS:5240 Resources for Adults 3 s.h.

Role of public libraries in meeting adults' informational and recreational needs; popular culture materials, reader's advisory services, lifelong learning.

SLIS:5520 Studies in Book History and Technologies 0-3 s.h.

Topics related to production, distribution, and consumption of books through history and into the future. Same as UICB:5520.

SLIS:5530 Preservation Management 3 s.h.

Responsible stewardship of collections, integration of preservation into libraries and archives systems, maximizing limited resources, establishing preservation priorities, and advocacy; appropriate care of books, paper, photographs, time-based media (e.g., audio, video, film), and born-digital objects; lectures, discussions, student presentations, and hands-on activities; for students who will be responsible for managing collections. Same as UICB:5530.

SLIS:5535 Book Conservation 3 s.h.

Practical methods, materials assessment, conservation history and evolution. Prerequisites: UICB:4270. Same as UICB:5220.

SLIS:5600 Reading Culture: History and Research in Print and Digital Media 3 s.h.

What reading means, and what it means to read, have changed with time and place; cultural study of books and reading to evaluate strategies and resources involved in crafting historical interpretations of books and their readers; consideration of ways that reading has always been interdependent with other media, from needlework to social media; how researchers locate and interpret primary source material to study reading culture, and how cultural heritage organizations promote their holdings to researchers. Same as UICB:5600.

SLIS:5630 Introduction to Special Collections Librarianship 3 s.h.

Introduction to history of collecting in special collections and key areas of praxis (e.g., appraisal, arrangement and description, preservation, reference and access, outreach).

SLIS:5700 Cultural Heritage 3 s.h.

Increased use of digital technologies in collection, organization, dissemination, and use of heritage resources that generate intellectual, social, technological, legal, and ethical challenges to—and opportunities for—the heritage practice; exploration of challenges and opportunities, as well as their impact on the heritage profession; students become familiar with key heritage-related concepts and topics, apply them to a concrete project, and write a report of their findings.

SLIS:5900 Health Informatics 3 s.h.

Technological tools that support health care administration, management, and decision making. Same as HMP:5370, IGPI:5200, ISE:5860, MED:5300.

SLIS:6020 Literacy and Learning 3 s.h.

Learning and literacy theory relevant to work in information services; how librarians can help people process information and use it to form understanding and create new knowledge. Prerequisites: SLIS:5010.

SLIS:6100 Database Management 3 s.h.

Principles and practices of database design and management; discussion and practice of database application lifecycle, data modeling, relational database design, SQL queries, reports, and other interfaces to database data and documentation; individual and group projects. Prerequisites: SLIS:5020. Same as IGPI:6100.

SLIS:6110 Evidence-Based Practice in Library and Information Science 3 s.h.

Structured approach to improved libraries through decision making that supports collection, interpretation, and evaluation of data; assessment of the effectiveness of library programs and services.

SLIS:6115 Information and Inquiry 3 s.h.

Inquiry is a knowledge-building activity—we inquire when we ask questions, search for information in databases, or conduct research—and in all these cases we need and use information; exploration of how librarians can help patrons acquire high-quality information by engaging with online academic databases, reference resources, and relevant research; practice-based assignments provide opportunities for students to search in academic databases, interview reference librarians, and conduct research.

SLIS:6130 Community Engagement 3 s.h.

Community engagement is the process of asking, listening to, and empowering individuals, organizations, and partners to build relationships and move toward common goals that benefit and improve a community; exploration of applications for community engagement; opportunity for students to explore community engagement principles through practical experiences; for students interested in library programming and outreach, or work in a library or archives. Requirements: admission to library and information science program.

SLIS:6140 Digital Environments 3 s.h.

Methods and models for building digital libraries; organization with metadata; standards such as those for object identifiers, open access, building cross-linkages between collections; automatic harvesting of content. Prerequisites: SLIS:5020. Same as IGPI:6140.

SLIS:6145 Digital Preservation and Stewardship 3 s.h.

Libraries, archives, and collecting institutions of all kinds now care for digital materials alongside analog collections; introduction to practices related to preservation and continued stewardship of born-digital and digitized materials; assessment and application of standards for creation and maintenance of digital collections across a variety of library and information science contexts; for students who will manage digital collections in their practice, including those interested in digital humanities.

SLIS:6150 Information Behavior 3 s.h.

People seek, gather, and use information in various contexts; exploration of patterns of information behavior to develop a better understanding of personal and sociocultural aspects of human information needs and practices in contexts; practice-based assignments that provide opportunities for students to research an information activity or phenomenon, a type of information, or a particular user group; how librarianship is about understanding and serving information needs of various communities.

SLIS:6155 Information Visualization 3 s.h.

Introduction to theories, techniques, and examples of information visualizations for different presentations of data. Prerequisites: SLIS:5020. Same as IGPI:6155.

SLIS:6170 Management, Teams, and Leadership 3 s.h.

Managers, teams, and leaders are critical for effective operations of libraries and information centers; exploration of principles and practices of organizational management, human resources, financial management, budgeting, communications, policy making, and strategic planning; strategies for cultivating and supporting inclusive, culturally competent organizations and structured approaches for planning and evaluating library programs and services; practical assignments that prepare students to work in libraries and archives. Requirements: admission to library and information science program.

SLIS:6250 Cataloging and Classification 3 s.h.

Introduction to various systems used to describe materials and information in library catalogs; principles of organizing catalog information for effective retrieval; standards used across libraries, archives, and museums including Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR2), Resource Description and Access (RDA), Dewey Decimal System, and Library of Congress Classification; knowledge and skills needed to begin work as professional catalogers in a diverse range of libraries. Prerequisites: SLIS:5030. Corequisites: SLIS:5030, if not taken as a prerequisite.

SLIS:6255 Rare Books Cataloging 3 s.h.

Application of cataloging standards to rare books and other special collections materials; hands-on cataloging of rare books and visits to local collections; critical skills and confidence necessary to begin cataloging rare, special, and unusual books using accepted standards from the field; for students interested in archives and special collections librarianship.

SLIS:6330 Collection Development 3 s.h.

Collecting is a core library activity that includes various types of media collected from traditional print to digital media; focus on curating an inclusive collection that is accessible to all library patrons; examination of the life cycle of a resource within the library from understanding intellectual freedom policies to identification of resource needs, selection and acquisition, promotion and use, to deselection; collection development across library settings and how collection development relates to instruction in libraries. Prerequisites: SLIS:5010 and SLIS:5030.

SLIS:6335 Metadata Theories and Applications 3 s.h.

Introduction to concepts, principles, functional requirements, and practices of metadata; emphasis on metadata implementations in library, archive, and museum communities; extensive hands-on exercises; application and design of metadata element sets and schemas, data exchange formats, and value vocabularies.

SLIS:6345 Stewardship of Information and Collections 3 s.h.

Library collections provide a foundation for library service; exploration of issues affecting development and management of library collections including policies, assessment, budgeting, selection, deselection, acquisitions, partnerships, formats, marketing, legal issues, cooperation, and ethics; strategies for cultivating and supporting inclusive, culturally competent collections, and how this supports intellectual freedom; practical assignments that prepare students for collection stewardship work in public, academic, and school libraries. Prerequisites: SLIS:5010. Corequisites: SLIS:5010, if not taken as a prerequisite. Requirements: admission to library and information science program.

SLIS:6350 Archives: Theory and Practice 3 s.h.

Archives are the traces of people and places and can be independent organizations or found in academic, public, and community libraries; exploration of how archives are formed and ways in which archival records are used to construct histories; practice-based assignments that provide opportunities for students to engage with local archival collections; for students interested in archives, special collections, records management, or who may encounter archives and manuscripts in library and information science practice.

SLIS:6355 Public Services for Special Collections and Archives 3 s.h.

Focused examination of core services in special collections and archives including reference, instruction, and outreach; reading room services and policies; research strategies and tools for answering reference questions; best practices for in-person and virtual teaching with primary sources; community outreach, events, exhibitions, and social media. Prerequisites: SLIS:5630 or SLIS:6350. Corequisites: SLIS:5630 or SLIS:6350, if not taken as a prerequisite.

SLIS:6370 Topics in Book Studies 3 s.h.

Topics relevant to book studies and special collections. Same as UICB:6370.

SLIS:6411 Topics in Library and Information Science 1-3 s.h.

Current topics in the field of library and information science.

SLIS:6490 Information Policy and Ethics 3 s.h.

Recent developments in production, use, and organization of information have created new opportunities and raised ethical challenges that demand responses from information professionals; exploration of major ethical frameworks and their relevance for addressing ethical issues arising in information-intensive environments; practice-based assignments that provide opportunities for students to apply ethical theories to key ethical issues faced in various information-intensive contexts. Same as IGPI:6490.

SLIS:6520 Practicum in Libraries and Information Centers 3 s.h.

Focus on practical application of theory; students gain experience in library and information science work, work with faculty member to identify opportunities for practicum placement in libraries and other organizations, and set professional and personal goals; 120 hours of fieldwork; participation in classroom conversations. Requirements: 15 s.h. of SLIS coursework.

SLIS:6521 Distance and Online Education: Practicum in Library and Information Centers 3 s.h.

Supervised field experience in selected libraries and information centers; emphasis on application of theory to practice; at least 120 hours of fieldwork. Prerequisites: SLIS:5010 and SLIS:5020 and SLIS:5030 and (SLIS:6110 or SLIS:6170) and SLIS:6115. Requirements: minimum of 15 s.h. of SLIS coursework.

SLIS:6530 School Library Media Practicum 3 s.h.

Field experience in an elementary and a secondary school library program for a total of 40 hours; discussion of various program components including delivery of library's instructional program, collaborative efforts, integration of information literacy skills and technology to support learning, and administrative and operational tasks involved in managing a school library program; students facilitate a lesson at both sites and complete a project that supports library instruction. Prerequisites: SLIS:5044.

SLIS:6570 Independent Study 1-3 s.h.

Formal contract between student and faculty member. Requirements: formal proposal.

SLIS:6571 Distance and Online Education: Independent Study 1-3 s.h.

Formal contract between student and faculty member; opportunity to pursue in-depth research in a particular area of interest that does not duplicate an existing course in the curriculum; students meet with faculty member to design a plan of study and submit a bibliography and description of the final project. Requirements: formal proposal.

SLIS:6580 Thesis 0-6 s.h.

Prerequisites: SLIS:5010 and SLIS:5020 and SLIS:5030 and SLIS:6110 and SLIS:6170.

SLIS:6590 Digital Humanities Capstone arr.

Application and practice of classroom experience to a specific project under guidance from a faculty member and project team leader. Prerequisites: CLAS:7290 or SLIS:7290. Requirements: admission to public digital humanities certificate program, an approved certificate plan of study on file, completion of 12 s.h. of approved coursework, and good standing in all required certificate coursework. Same as GRAD:6590.

SLIS:7290 Digital Humanities Theory and Practice 3 s.h.

Overview of theories and use of technology to preserve, deploy, visualize, map, and analyze concepts; discussions with practicing digital public scholars; assignments consist of a digital portfolio tailored to student research; introductory course in public digital humanities certificate. Same as CLAS:7290.