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Library and Information Science Program Earns Accreditation through 2026

Tue, 07/16/2019 - 12:29pm | By: Kendra Ablaza

The School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) has been granted continued accreditation through 2026 by the American Library Association for its master of library and information science degree program. It is the only ALA-accredited program in Mississippi and has been continuously accredited since 1980.

The school, part of USM’s College of Education and Human Sciences, is one of only 60 ALA-accredited master’s programs at colleges and universities in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. USM’s ALA accreditation indicates the program has undergone an extensive review and meets the ALA Committee on Accreditation’s Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies.

“The accreditation process is tough,” said Dr. Teresa S. Welsh, professor and director of the School of Library and Information Science. “They had an external review panel come for an on-site visit. They interviewed students, faculty, deans, and alumni. They also did a survey. Finally, we went before the 17-member ALA Committee on Accreditation at the association’s annual conference this summer. We also send in reports once every two years and annual statistical reports.”

The MLIS program is fully online with half of its students from Mississippi, and the other half from states across the U.S. like New York, California, Arkansas, and Montana. In Fall 2018, the program enrolled 158 graduate students.

USM is also known nationally for two MLIS-related events: the annual Fay B. Kaigler Children's Book Festival and its library and information science study-abroad course titled “British Libraries, Archives, and Special Collections.” Because of its ALA accreditation, Welsh said the School has drawn students from about 45 different programs across the U.S. to participate in the course that includes travel to the United Kingdom.

The School offers a MLIS degree program with a School Licensure emphasis, and graduate certificates in either archives and special collections, or youth services and literature. It also offers courses on children’s literature and young adult literature, complemented by access to USM’s de Grummond Children's Literature Collection, one of North America's leading research centers in the field of children's literature.

“Just about every librarian, archivist or information specialist will recognize an MLIS degree from an ALA-accredited program,” Welsh said. “It’s the gold standard in our field.”

For more information about the School of Library and Information Science and its programs, online visit