UIUC Graduate School of Library and Information Science

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Graduate School of Library and Information Science
Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.jpg
Established 1893, as the Library Science Program at the Armour Institute in Chicago
Dean Allen Renear
Students 85 undergraduate, 745 graduate[1]
Location Champaign, Illinois, United States
Website lis.illinois.edu

The Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS), also The iSchool at Illinois, is a graduate school at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Its programs are currently accredited in full good standing by the American Library Association. The school is also a charter member of the iSchool initiative.

GSLIS offers professional degrees including the standard Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS), Master of Science in Bioinformatics, and a Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS). Specializations within the master's degrees include Youth Services, K-12 Librarianship, Manuscript and Archival studies, Special Collections, Community Informatics, Socio-technical Data Analytics, and Data Curation.[2] The school also has a Ph.D. program in LIS, the oldest such program in the country, which is primarily oriented towards information studies interdisciplinary research.

Students seeking their master's or CAS degree can earn their degree as an on-campus student or as a distance student via the LEEP Online Education option. For doctoral students, at least one year of residency is required on campus.


GSLIS at Illinois has been ranked as the top Library and Information Science (LIS) graduate program in the country by U.S. News & World Report since 1996.[3] In the Research and Markets' 2008-2009 Survey of Academic Libraries, Illinois was ranked the number one library and information science program in the U.S. and Canada.[4] GSLIS is also ranked first in services for children and youth, second in digital libraries, and fifth in school media library in comparison to other U.S. and Canada library and information science schools.[5][6][7]


The program has its roots in the Library Science Program at the Armour Institute of Chicago created in September 1893 as part of the strong cultural movement following the Industrial Revolution to professionally educate men and women for the upcoming twentieth century and for the technical world.[8] The public library had come to be seen by most as a "university of the people," and those who were to become the "best librarians" were those formally educated in the trade.[9]

Seeking a director, Gunsaulus, the president of the Institute, asked Melvil Dewey to recommend the best person for the job. Dewey recommended Katharine Sharp, who was finishing up her library science degree program in Dewey's school in Albany, NY.[10] Once established, the school became the only library science program in the Midwest and the fourth in the United States.

Sharp, in turn, became the library school: "Her enthusiasm, her drive, and her unswerving dedication were the determining factors for the school during its formative years in Chicago as well as the following ten years when she directed the Illinois State Library School on the Urbana-Champaign campus." [11] The school in Chicago, operating off of a technical institute model, began taking on a university structure under Sharp's leadership. The Armour facility did not provide enough collection or classroom space that was needed, and finances were becoming tight. The University of Illinois and the University of Wisconsin were interested in the program, and both universities offered to accept Sharp's program. Sharp chose the University of Illinois, and the program moved to Urbana.[12]

The initial location for the library science program was in Altgeld Hall where it remained until 1926. It then moved to the Main Library for the next fifty three years until 1979. The program then relocated to David Kinley Hall until 1993. An additional relocation went underway when the University purchased property from Acacia Fraternity's Illinois Heth chapter and moved GSLIS to its current location at 5th and Daniel Streets.[13]


GSLIS is located on the corner of 5th and Daniel streets in Champaign, Illinois. It is situated next to the Department of Speech and Hearing Science and across the street from the Department of Psychology. The building was formerly the location of the Acacia Fraternity and still has functional showers for both men and women along with three kitchens. A computer lab, known as the Learning Resource Lab (LRL), is located in the basement and available for student use 24/7 with card access. Other areas, such as the 2nd floor lounge and the doctoral student area, serve as study spots for students. Wireless Internet access is also available in all public areas, and technology support is provided by the department's Help Desk on the second floor. The Help Desk is staffed by current GSLIS master's students.

The building is also in close proximity to many campus libraries. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, one of three campuses of the University of Illinois system, has over 40 libraries; their combined holdings are among the largest in the United States and the world. One such library, The Center for Children's Books, which houses more than 16,000 youth trade books, is located on the bottom floor of the GSLIS building.[14]

Research Areas[edit]

Research Centers[edit]

  • The Center for Children's Books[16] - The Center’s mission is to facilitate the creation and dissemination of exemplary and progressive research and scholarship related to all aspects of children’s and young adult literature; media and resources for young (ages 0–18) audiences; and youth services librarianship. It is also home to the The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, an academic journal that published reviews for books intended for a 0-18 audience.
  • Center for Digital Inclusion[17] - The Center for Digital Inclusion fosters inclusive and sustainable societies through research, teaching, and public engagement about information and communication technologies (ICT) and their impacts on communities, organizations, and governments. Digital inclusion encompasses not only access to the Internet but also the availability of hardware and software; relevant content and services; and training for the digital literacy skills required for effective use of ICT.
  • Center for Informatics Research in Science and Scholarship[18]- The GSLIS Center for Informatics Research in Science and Scholarship (CIRSS) studies the information lifecycle in the contexts of science and scholarship. Center members contribute to our understanding of how data curation, information modeling, and data analytics can enable scientists and scholars to leverage digital information resources. CIRSS members have expertise in digital preservation, interview methods, information retrieval, data and text mining, knowledge discovery, ubiquitous systems, collaborative systems, socio-technical systems, author disambiguation, persuasive technologies, reading behaviors, information modeling, scientific publishing, institutional repository development, cultural heritage collections, gaming, social networking and digital music retrieval and evaluation. Funding partners include Google, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Library of Congress, the Environmental Change Institute, and Institute for Museum and Library Services.

Student Activities[edit]

Student organizations at GSLIS include:

Programs of Study[edit]

Study programs[edit]

Specializations and Certificates[edit]



  • Grotzinger, L. (1992). Remarkable beginnings: The first half century of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science. In ideals and standards: The history of the University of Illinois Graduate School of Library and Information Science, 1893-1993 (1-22). Champaign, IL : The Graduate School of Library and Information Science. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Retrieved from https://www.ideals.illinois.edu/handle/2142/18680

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°06′28″N 88°13′53″W / 40.10778°N 88.23139°W / 40.10778; -88.23139