Department of Information Studies Records, 1912-2004
- State University of New York at Albany. Department of Information Studies
- Documents the administrative, curricular, and social activities of the Department of Information Studies from its establishment as a one year undergraduate school for librarians in 1926 through the early part of the twenty-first century.
- 18.47 cubic ft.
- English and English
- Preferred citation:
- Preferred citation for this material is as follows: and Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, Department of Information Studies Records, 1912-2004 . M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as the Department of Information Studies Records).
Access and Use
- Conditions Governing Access:
Portions of the collection may contain recent administrative records and/or personally identifiable information. Please contact an archivist for more information.
Some files in series 1 and all of the personnel files in series 4 are restricted.
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- Scope and Content:
These records document the administrative, curricular, and social activities of the Department of Information Studies from its establishment as a one year undergraduate school for librarians in 1926 through the early part of the twenty-first century. The bulk of the records, which consist of correspondence, meeting minutes, memoranda, annual reports, accreditation reports, and course outlines and syllabi were created between 1926 and 1990.
- Biographical / Historical:
Although the Department of Information Studies officially opened in September, 1926, it traces its origins to January 5, 1887, when Melvil Dewey first opened the Columbia College School of Library Economy. Two years later, Dewey resigned from Columbia to assume the position of Director of the New York State Library in Albany. Before he left, he insured that his young library school also moved to Albany were it became an adjunct of the New York State Library and was renamed the New York State Library School. This two-year program remained in Albany until 1926 when the State Board of Regents and Columbia University's Board of Trustees combined the School with the Library School of the New York Public Library and moved it once again to Columbia University. In order to insure that a facility capable of training secondary-school librarians remained in the Capital Region, James Sullivan, the State Commissioner of Secondary Education, established a new Library School as part of the New York State College for Teachers in 1926.
However, this was not the first time that the State College had offered courses in librarianship. In 1916, the College Board of Trustees hired Elizabeth Cobb as the school's librarian and as an instructor. The 1917 College Bulletin reveals that she instructed two courses in the English Department entitled "Library Methods" and "High School Library Management." In 1921, Elizabeth Cobb became the primary instructor in the State College's new Department of Library Science, which offered in courses in "conjunction with and upon the suggestion of the New York State Library School." Cobb supervised the department until 1926, when the Department of Library Science was replaced by the new State College Library School. Martha Caroline Pritchard, herself a graduate of Dewey's New York State Library School, became the first head of the New York State College for Teachers Library School in 1926. The new one-year undergraduate curriculum consisted of a combination of classroom instruction, field work in the department's library, and organized field trips to libraries in the Capital region and in New York City. The nascent program soon received national recognition when the American Library Association's (ALA) Board of Education accredited the department as a Type III (undergraduate) library school in 1934.
By 1951 the school had expanded to a five year curriculum and in that year it offered its first Masters degree. However, six years later the school failed to gain accreditation under the 1951 standards for five-year programs adopted by the ALA. The reasons cited in the ALA's Report were that the department's small number of full-time faculty and its location in a state college rather than a university rendered it incapable of fulfilling the requirements of its new graduate program. In 1962, the same year that the New York State College for Teachers became the State University of New York at Albany, the department changed its name to the School of Library Science. The school now prepared students for jobs in school, public, and college libraries, and for careers in library education. The school's faculty were engaged in securing research and education grants, publishing, and redesigning the school's curriculum. In response to the school's advancements, the ALA re-accredited the program in 1966. The school's plan to implement a Doctoral Program in Library Science was approved by the University Senate and by the State University of New York (SUNY) central administration in 1971, but the State Education Department refused to register the new program the following year.
In 1986, the school merged with the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy. The new School of Information Science and Policy prepared its students for an assortment of careers including information systems and library management, information policy, the economics of Information, government information resource management, archives and records management, and information technology applications. In 1990, the School of Information Science and Policy and several other schools in Rockefeller College implemented a new interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in Information Science. Beginning in 1995, the school introduced the M.S. in Information Science (M.S.I.S.), a degree designed to emphasize interdisciplinary studies in information science and public policy and offer an advance internship experience. In 2000, Rockefeller College was restructured and the School of Information Science and Policy became its own school once again. This lasted until 2005, when the School of Information Science and Policy joined the new College of Computing and Information and became the Department of Information Studies.
School Names 1917-1921 English Department (two courses) 1921-1926 Department of Library Science 1926-1932 Library School 1932-1961 Department of Librarianship 1961-1962 Division of Library Science 1962-1971 School of Library Science 1971-1986 School of Library and Information Science 1986-2005 School of Information Science and Policy 2005-present Department of Information Studies
Chairmen and Deans 1917-1926 Mary Elizabeth Cobb (College Librarian and Head Instructor) 1926-1940 Martha Caroline Pritchard (First Chairman) 1941-1948 Esther Stallman (Acting Chairman 1940-1941) 1948-1961 Robert S. Burgess (Advising library science educators in Korea 1958-1961) 1958-1961 H. Carolyn Howard (Acting Chairman in Burgess' absence) 1961-1966 Irving A. Verschoor (First Dean) 1966-1967 Edgar W. Flinton (Acting Dean) 1967-1977 John J. Farley 1977-1978 Robert S. Burgess (Acting Dean) 1978-1981 Ben-Ami Lipetz 1981-1993 Richard Halsey 1993-1995 Richard P. Nathan (Acting Dean) 1995-2003 Phillip Eppard (Acting Dean 1995-1997) 2003-2005 Peter A. Bloniarz 2005-2006 Carol A. Doll 2006-2007 Stephen DeLong (Interim Department Chair) 1967-1977 Terry Maxwell 2011-present Phillip Eppard
- Acquisition information:
The first of these records (1926-1965) were transferred to the University Archives, M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, by John Farley, Dean of the School of Library and Information Science, on December 16, 1974. Sometime in the late 1980's, several more items from the University Archives vertical files were combined with those previously transferred by the School of Library and Information Science. More records were received in August 2008 from Phil Eppard.1974-2006
- Processing information:
Processed in 2016 by Jason Thomas.
- Higher Education Administration
UAlbany Academic Departments
- State University of New York at Albany
State University of New York at Albany. Department of Information Studies
State University of New York at Albany. School of Information Science and Policy
Martha Caroline Pritchard
Irving A. Verschoor
John J. Farley
Robert S. Burgess