VALDOSTA, GA — There is only one American Library Association-accredited Master of Library and Information Science Program in Georgia — and it is located at Valdosta State University.
The ALA Committee on Accreditation granted continued accreditation status to the program at its Jan. 26 meeting. The next comprehensive review visit is scheduled for fall 2020.
The ALA first awarded accreditation to VSU’s MLIS program in 2007.
“As the MLIS program enters its 13th year of operation,” shared Dr. Linda R. Most, associate professor and assistant director of the program, “we remain committed to offering a quality publicly supported online education for generalists and specialists in the library and information science fields. The program’s primary focus continues to be to educate librarians for academic, public, and special libraries in Georgia.
“The MLIS program faculty and leadership would like to thank the program’s students, stakeholders, and our professional colleagues across the university and in the wider LIS community for their support, advice, and encouragement through the reaccreditation process. We couldn’t have done it without you.”
The ALA has awarded accreditation to 63 master’s degree programs in library and information studies across the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico, to date. The process involves an external review panel of practitioners and academics verifying that each program, including VSU’s program, meets the standards for accreditation of master’s programs in library and information studies.
Most employers require an ALA-accredited master’s degree for more professional level positions, and some states require an ALA-accredited master’s degree to work as a professional librarian in public and school libraries.
VSU welcomed the first nine students into its MLIS program in August 2001. Today, the program admits roughly 80 to 90 students a year. Enrollment numbers climbed once the program was initially accredited in 2007. Most of the program’s students are older, working, married, and raising families. They come to the program from as close as the local community and as far away as Korea, Uganda, and China. A typical student takes two courses a semester, graduating in six or seven semesters.
Dr. George Gaumond, former university librarian, wrote a proposal to the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia seeking to have VSU selected as the host site for an online library school after Emory University closed its library school in the mid-1990s.
Clark Atlanta University had a library education program until 2005.
The mission of VSU’s MLIS program is “to prepare professionals who will exercise leadership in planning, promoting, implementing, and administering the preservation, organization, dissemination, and effective use of society’s recorded information.” The seven-member faculty teaches a curriculum that “reflects the role of library and information services in a rapidly changing technological and global society.”
GetEducated, a consumer group dedicated to helping students compare and rate United States-based online colleges and universities, named VSU’s MLIS program a Best Buy in 2012. The program was found to offer a high quality education at a cost that ranks well below the national average.