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Welcome to the University of Iowa’s School of Library & Information Science, where we value inquiry, community, and the knowledge and connections that result from their practice. 

My research focuses on understanding library history and print and digital culture in historical context.  This isn’t surprising when you consider the changes in librarianship that I’ve experienced:  Almost half a century ago, my first student library work at a circulation desk meant that I checked out books with pocket cards and a rubber date-due stamp.  Later, my first full-time library job came at a time when the speed and precision of online searches mattered and the laser printer that allowed us to print search results in the library was an expensive addition to our resources.  Since then, I’ve continued to learn about our field’s past and present, both through research and conversations with those who work in libraries every day.

A distinctive aspect of our School is its focus on librarianship.  Before coming to SLIS our faculty have worked as librarians, curators, and other roles that preserve and create access to ideas and information.  This means that our instruction is informed by practice as well as research.  We value instruction and are proud that our publications share our knowledge with a wider community of faculty and researchers, winning grants and awards for our scholarly contributions.  Importantly, we have a strong record of community-engaged learning that gives students experience with some of the tasks and objectives that are part of librarianship. 

In recent years, SLIS has expanded course offerings and degree programs into new specializations for students. We are especially excited about our Undergraduate to Graduate (U2G) program that allows undergraduate students to begin their graduate coursework during their senior year and finish the MA in LIS with only one additional year of study. Our online degree option is open to all SLIS students, so you can take classes wherever you are. The Special Collections Librarianship Certificate prepares students to work in archives and manuscript collections, and those interested in conservation and the material book can complete dual degree programs with the University of Iowa Center for the Book. We continue to support our strengths in academic and public librarianship, and our Teacher Librarian program continues to train educators to lead K-12 school libraries and media centers across Iowa.

The School’s alumni work as public library directors and youth services librarians in Iowa and beyond, serving communities by providing innovative services and resources.  Our recent graduates have become a conservator at the Library of Congress, digital humanities specialists at the UI Libraries, and curators at other institutions in the U.S. and Canada, where they ensure, in innovative ways, continued access to old and new media.  Cataloging and collection development specialists are other professional paths followed by our graduates.  Instructional librarians, medical and legal librarians, and librarians for those who are imprisoned are further examples of the work done by SLIS graduates.  Even this list doesn’t encompass the entirety of work done by our alumni or what you could do with our ALA-accredited master’s degree. 

We invite you to learn more about our program.  We welcome the opportunity to talk with you about your interests in serving others through the outreach and instruction that characterizes our profession in the twenty-first century.  If librarianship is part of your future, SLIS at the University of Iowa is, too.

Jennifer Burek Pierce, PhD
Interim Director
School of Library and Information Science