Kent State University has been educating information professionals for more than 60 years.

The coursework, specializations and degree offerings in the School of Library and Information Science have evolved over the years to reflect and anticipate changes in the field. With its entirely online degree programs, the School now serves students and scholars around the world. And through its study abroad courses, the School broadens learning opportunities for domestic students.

1940s

  • As early as 1946:
    • Undergraduate courses in library and information science are offered as a cooperative effort at Kent State University. The Department of Library Science is academically attached to the College of Education during its formative years, although it is administered by the University Library, with most instruction delivered by librarians.
  • 1949: 
    • Graduate courses leading to the Master of Arts degree in library science are introduced.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • PHOTO: John Nicholson, University Librarian and Director, Department of Library Science, 1946-1959

1950s

  • 1950:
    • The first graduate class in library science receives degrees.

1960s

  • 1960:
    • The Department of Library Science is moved completely under administrative control of the College of Education, and an externally recruited chair is appointed with the explicit charge of seeking American Library Association (ALA) accreditation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • PHOTO: Guy A. Marco, Director, Department of Library Science, 1960-1966; Dean, School of Library Science, 1966-1977
     
  • 1961-62:
    • The master's degree program becomes the 33rd American Library Association-accredited program in the United States.
  • 1966:
    • The Department of Library Science becomes the School of Library Science, administered by a dean, a status it retains until 1994.
    • The Center for the Study of Librarianship is founded as a vehicle for supporting externally funded research, with much of the center's early support coming from the State Library of Ohio.
  • 1968:
    • A post-master's certificate program is introduced.

1970s

  • 1970:
    • The events of May 4, 1970, have a chilling effect on the university as a whole. Despite the closing of the campus, however, library science classes continue to meet off campus in libraries, faculty residences and other facilities.
    • In the fall, the school moves from its original quarters in Rockwell Hall, the old University Library building, to its present location in the new University Library.
  • 1971:
    • The new University Library is dedicated April 9 in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of library science education at the university.
    • The Center for the Study of Ethnic Publications and Cultural Institutions in the United States is founded; it operates until the spring of 1995.
  • 1975:
    • The school offers its first courses in Columbus as part of a cooperative venture with The Ohio State University.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • PHOTO: A. Robert Rogers, Dean, School of Library Science, 1977-1985

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • PHOTO: Mary Kay Biagini, Interim Dean, School of Library Science, 1985-1986

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • PHOTO: Rosemary R. Du Mont, Dean, School of Library Science, 1986-1991; Dean, School of Library and Information Science, 1991-1994; Director, School of Library and Information Science, 1994-1995

 

1980s

  • 1988:
    • The School moves its Columbus location to the West Campus of The Ohio State University, and the first full-time faculty member for that site is appointed.
  • 1989:
    • Thanks to enrollment growth through the 1980s, by 1989 the number of master's students enrolled makes the program the second largest of all ALA-accredited programs in the country, with much of the program's growth attributed to the success of the Columbus program.

1990s

  • 1991:
    • The school is re-accredited by the American Library Association.
    • The name of the department is changed to the School of Library and Information Science.
  • 1994:
    • The School of Library and Information Science becomes a unit within the College of Fine and Professional Arts as part of a university-wide initiative to move independent schools into colleges. The position of dean is converted to that of a director who reports to the dean of the College of Fine and Professional Arts.
  • 1994-95:
    • The physical facility in Kent is extensively remodeled in to provide expanded computer lab space, a student research center, new space for the Center for the Study of Librarianship and a digital classroom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • PHOTO: William Caynon, Interim Director, School of Library and Information Science, July-Dec. 1995; Interim Director, School of Library and Information Science, 2002-2003

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • PHOTO: Danny P. Wallace, Director, School of Library and Information Science, Jan. 1996-2000
     
  • 1996:
    • Kent State marks the 50th anniversary of professional library education and the 30th anniversary of the School of Library and Information Science.
    • The collection supporting the Center for the Study of Ethnic Publications and Cultural Institutions in the United States is merged with the collections of University Libraries and Media Services.
  • 1996-97: 
    • The experimental Northwest Ohio project is launched, bolstered by an Ohio Board of Regents grant, to provide funding for the construction of a distributed learning classroom at SLIS in Kent. This leads directly to the OhioLEARN Project and the OhioLEARN M.L.S. Program, a specialized version of the Master of Library Science degree tailored for delivery via a distributed learning system. Students take most of their courses through the digital videoconferencing network made possible by the OhioLEARN Infrastructure Project with instructional sites at SLIS-Kent, the OhioLINK Training Center in Columbus, Jerome Library at Bowling Green State University, Langsam Library at the University of Cincinnati and Alden Library at Ohio University. Many of the students who began the OhioLEARN M.L.S. program receive their master's degrees in Fall 2001. The OhioLEARN Project is a successful effort to make history by venturing into new geographic areas using an electronic videoconferencing network.
  • 1997:
    • The school is re-accredited by the American Library Association.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • PHOTO: Richard E. Rubin, Ph.D., Director, School of Library and Information Science, 2000-2002; 2003-2010
     

2000s

  • 2000:
    • The 25th anniversary of the School's presence in Columbus is celebrated at Columbus Metropolitan Library in conjunction with the school's annual Alumni and Awards Dinner in April.
    • That summer on the Kent Campus, library classrooms 317 and 319 are carpeted and furnished with new tables and chairs, thanks to a generous donation.
    • The School receives university approval to change the name of the master's degree from Master of Library Science (M.L.S.) to Master of Library and Information Science (M.L.I.S.). The change in degree reflects the increasing influence of technology and information science on the profession.
  • 2001:
    • The Ohio Board of Regents approves the newly created Master of Science in Information Architecture and Knowledge Management (IAKM). The School serves as the administrative home of the new interdisciplinary IAKM degree program, which enables students to hone their information skills as they prepare for careers as cybrarians, cybermedia designers, information architects and knowledge managers.
    • After a restructuring of the College of Fine and Professional Arts and approval of the Kent State Board of Trustees, the School joins the new College of Communication and Information (CCI). The new college unites four Kent State schools that share common interests: School of Communication Studies, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, School of Library and Information Science and School of Visual Communication Design. The new College of Communication and Information allows each school to explore partnerships and to draw from the strengths of the other schools.
    • In the fall, the School launches its 12-12-12 M.L.I.S. distance degree, a program designed for students in areas of Ohio who otherwise might not be able to complete a master's degree at the Kent or Columbus locations. The 12-12-12 program uses both interactive video and Web-based courses to deliver classes to students in northwest Ohio (Bowling Green State University), southwest Ohio (Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County) and southeast Ohio (Byesville).
  • 2002:
    • The successful 12-12-12 M.L.I.S. distance degree is continued and expanded with courses offered at the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, Clermont County and Ohio Valley Area Libraries (OVAL) in Wellston. The program is discontinued in 2011 with the launch of eDegree, a fully online degree program for the M.L.I.S.
    • The school's enrollment tops 650 students in fall semester with 16 percent of the students earning their degree via the 12-12-12 M.L.I.S. Distance Degree program.
  • 2003:
    • The Reinberger Children's Library Center is dedicated and first used for classes. Monies from a $240,000 gift from the Reinberger Foundation of Cleveland allowed for the construction of the center, a state-of-the-art classroom and model library for future generations of librarians who plan to serve young readers. It is unique among American Library Association-accredited library schools.
  • 2008:
    • Ken and Sylvia Marantz of Columbus donate their collection of more than 25,000 children's picture books to the School. Located in the Reinberger Children's Library Center, the Marantz Picturebook Collection for the Study of Picturebook Art is dedicated in December. The collection is cataloged by illustrator and also includes posters, original artwork and character toys.
    • Thanks to a generous $249,000 grant from the Reinberger Foundation of Cleveland, the Marantz Picturebook Collection occupies 1,800 square feet of newly renovated space and features compact shelving, display areas for rare books and collections, distance learning classroom, storytime area and private study locations.
    • The Columbus program relocates to the State Library of Ohio in the historic Jeffrey Mining Manufacturing Co. complex in Columbus' Italian Village. The newly renovated 6,100-square-foot facility includes state-of-the-art classrooms, conference and meeting areas, faculty and staff offices and a computer laboratory.
  • 2009:
    • The Center for the Study of Information and Religion is created to study how people use information in their religious behaviors and thinking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • PHOTO: Donald A. Wicks, Ph.D., Interim Director, School of Library and Information Science, 2010-2012

2010s

  • 2010:
    • A state-of-the-art Digital Laboratory is created to give students hands-on experience with digital library and digital preservation technologies. Using the specialized equipment, students learn to digitize manuscripts, books, photographs and slides, architectural drawings and other larger format visual materials, as well as more than 20 audio and video formats. Digitization is the conversion of analog information into digital information, which makes the data accessible to users because it can be made available online.
    • The School receives a federal grant for $552,908 to create a unique educational partnership between the school and the myriad educational, medical and cultural institutions in the University Circle area of Cleveland. The grant is awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the primary source of federal funding for libraries and museums in the United States. The grant gave 72 college undergraduates a hands-on introduction to the library profession, particularly in specialized areas with a shortage of qualified people (e.g., art, health sciences, music and other specialized academic areas). The partnership included the libraries and archives of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Cleveland Museum of Art, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland Botanical Garden, Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland Institute of Music, Cleveland Orchestra, Siegal College of Judaic Studies and Case Western Reserve University's nine affiliated libraries.
    • The Center for the Study of Information and Religion hosts its first fall symposium.
    • The Ohio Board of Regents approves a Ph.D. in Communication and Information,which encompasses all four schools within the College of Communication and Information, including the School of Library and Information Science. The College accepts its first Ph.D. students that year.
  • 2011:
    • The school launches its first entirely online Master of Library and Information Science (M.L.I.S.) program, called eDegree. The eDegree is based on the very successful 12-12-12 distance degree program the School offered for the previous 10 years at physical locations around Ohio. With the launch of eDegree, the School discontinues the 12-12-12 distance program. (The name "eDegree" was later dropped as the name for the online M.L.I.S.)
    • The School creates a museum studies specialization, becoming the first M.L.I.S. program in the country to offer a holistic approach to this field of study.
    • Oversight of the school library media licensure program moves entirely to the School. It was previously shared with the College of Education, Health and Human Services.
    • The health informatics concentration is established within the Master of Science in Information Architecture and Knowledge Management program.
    • The Center for the Study of Information and Religion hosts its first international conference.
  • 2012:
    • The school is re-accredited by the American Library Association.
    • The School launches its first study-abroad course, Museum Origins, in Florence, Italy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • PHOTO: Tomas A. Lipinski, J.D., LL.M., Ph.D., Director, School of Library and Information Science, 2013
     
  • 2013:
    • The School expands and doubles its space for teaching, research and student services. The remodeling project includes the addition of 14,000 square feet previously used by Audio Visual Services on the third floor of the University Library and the 12,000 square feet the School had occupied since the 1970s.
    • The renovations include the addition of MuseLab, a space for faculty and students doing projects on museological topics as part of the Museum Studies specialization. The first exhibition, which debuted in December for the School's grand reopening, was “For the Love of Religion: Exploring concepts of love embedded in the religious beliefs and practices of Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam,” a M.L.I.S. student's culminating experience project.
    • The Reinberger Children’s Library Center expansion allows for acquisition of several new collections, including more than 600 pop-up books donated by alumna Carol Davis and a collection of first-edition Beatrix Potter books and figurines from the late Margaret Alexander. The latter collection is housed in the new rare books room, Pris and JDub's Historical Children's Book Nook.
    • The first graduate of the College of Communication and Information's interdisciplinary doctoral program, with a focus of study in Library and Information Science, receives a Ph.D. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • PHOTO: Jeff Fruit, Interim Director, School of Library and Information Science, 2014-2016
     
  • 2014:
    • The School adds its first writer in residence, award-winning young adult and children’s author Angela Johnson, to share her expertise through participation in workshops, course lectures, conferences and symposia, and other school events and activities as appropriate. She also will use the Reinberger Children’s Library Collections for research and inspiration for her own writing. 
    • The School launches a second study abroad course, International Children's Literature and Librarianship in Denmark. 
    • The Muselab unveils its exhibition "What's Real? Investigating Multimodality" in April. The exhibition is the result of a first-ever class project from undergraduate and graduate students in the School of Visual Communication Design and the School of Library and Information Science.
  • 2016: 
    • The School becomes a member of the prestigious, international iSchools alliance.
    • The School hosts three conferences during the summer of 2016: the international Archival Education and Research Institute; the Church and Synagogue Library Association; and the inaugural Marantz Picturebook Research Symposium.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • PHOTO: Kendra S. Albright, Ph.D., Director, July 2016-present
     
  • 2017: 
    • The School of Library and Information Science changes its name to the School of Information. 

 

Photo credits: Kent State University Libraries. Special Collections and Archives. (Nicolson, Marco, Rogers, Biagini, Du Mont, Wallace, Caynon)