University of Washington offers online Master of Library and Information Science

January 8, 2002

New degree to be the first of its kind in nine-state Western region

A new program at the UW will make it possible for aspiring librarians to get

the education they need to advance their careers, without having to relocate

or leave their jobs.

Starting this fall, the Information School of the University of Washington

will offer an online Master¹s degree in Library and Information Science

(MLIS). The UW Information School is the only American Library Association accredited

institution in the Northwest, making this the first such degree by a school

in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and Nevada.

³After years of slowly building up our staff and programs, we are ready

to help the voices in the region that have been crying out for library and information

science education,² said Mike Eisenberg, dean of the Information School.

³It is a dream come true, to be able to offer this.²

The degree comes at an opportune time for libraries in the Northwest. Many

libraries expect to lose experienced librarians soon, as Baby Boomers enter

retirement age. And a distance degree would allow younger, inexperienced librarians

to earn the skills and credentials to replace those retiring.

³We know we will see many people leave the workforce in libraries in the

next decade,² said Jim Scheppke, state librarian at the Oregon State Library.

In the next few years, younger librarians with master degrees ³can look

forward to advancing very rapidly into well-paying positions,² he said.

The distance-learning format is convenient for working professionals who don¹t

have the luxury of time and mobility to pursue an education. But the UW¹s

use of short campus sessions also gives students the opportunity to meet their

instructors and to network with other students, maintaining the benefits of

an on-site degree. The 63-credit degree will take students about three years

to complete.

³We have a number of staff who¹d love to get a degree in library

science, but they are working full time, they are unable to pick up and move

to Seattle for a couple of years,² said Michael Wirt, library director,

Spokane County Library District. ³I think this is a wonderful opportunity.²

³We have a cohort of library directors and staff members that would be

interested in a distance program at the UW,² said Karen Strege, Montana

state librarian. ³I think that distance education, combined with on-campus

study, is an absolute necessity to ensure that Montana citizens are served by

quality library professionals.²

The MLIS is not only useful for aspiring librarians, but also for a range of

professions in information technology, business and academia. In fact, about

13 percent of librarians don¹t work in traditional libraries, according

to the Special Libraries Association.

The program will pay for its costs through student fees and other non-state

funding, joining the growing rank of self-sustaining degrees at the UW that

include new degrees in digital media and construction engineering.

To apply, candidates need a bachelor’s degree with a minimum grade-point average

of 3.0 and a GRE score. A TOEFL score is required for international students.

The Information School requires a personal statement, transcripts, and three

letters of recommendation. The application deadline is March 15, 2002.

For application materials, please call 206-543-2320 or 1-800-543-2320, or e-mail .

Media Contact:

Bridget Warbington

UW Information School