In the Fall of 1965, the State Board of Regents authorized establishment of a School of Library and Information Science at The University of Iowa. The first class of students started in September of 1967.

Although the School of Library Science was newly created, library education was not new at the University. For a number of years, courses in school librarianship had been offered in the College of Education.

The establishment of a separate school grew out of the belief that the needs of Iowa would best be met by having a multi-purpose school to train librarians not only for school but for public, academic and special libraries as well.

Faculty members from the earlier program in the College of Education formed the nucleus of the new Library School faculty. After an intensive study of library school curricula and the Standards for Accreditation of the American Library Association, a program of studies was developed and approved.

The School's statement of purpose affirmed its goal of providing the student not only with basic knowledge of historical concepts and technical skills, but also a philosophy of librarianship that would include a commitment to intellectual freedom and to the ideal of free dissemination of information and ideas.

The School sought ALA accreditation during its fourth year of operation, and in July 1971 this accreditation was achieved. In May 1972, the School moved to new facilities in the Main Library, which were designed specially for the needs and purposes of the School. The program has been continuously accredited since 1971.

Learn more about the early days of SLIS from alumni reflections recorded during our 50th anniversary in 2017.
Part 1 - Getting Started

Part 2 - Choosing a Path

Part 3 - In Conclusion

Timeline of the Past Few Decades

  • 1980 - Founding director Frederick Wezeman retires.
  • August 1981 - Carl F. Orgren appointed as director.
  • November 1983 - The School's name is changed to the School of Library and Information Science.
    Information science was integrated into the curriculum and communication and computing technology resources began to be supported.
  • June 1995 - The School is reaccredited under new American Library Association standards for Library and Information Studies.
  • August 1996 - Carl F. Orgren retires after 16 years as director.
  • 1996 - Padmini Srinivasan serves as director until August 2000.
  • August 2000 to July 2002 - Joseph Kearney serves as interim director during the School's seven-year accreditation review.
  • July 2002 - David Eichmann serves as director.
    The School receives accreditation until 2009.
  • 2006 to July 2011 - James Elmborg serves as director.
  • The School currently has ALA accreditation through 2016.
  • July 2011 - Daniel A. Berkowitz begins as interim director.
  • February 2013 - David Eichmann begins term as director.
  • June 2016 - The School is reaccredited until 2023.