Mission & history
The mission of the School of Information Studies is the advancement of learning through education, scholarship, and service in library and information studies. Faculty of Education Mission McGill University Mission
The School of Information Studies focuses upon the knowledge and skills necessary for identification, acquisition, organization, retrieval, and dissemination of information to meet people's needs in diversified information, knowledge, and learning environments.
The School aims to advance the dynamic field of library and information studies by:
- Attracting excellent students and inspiring them to become future leaders in the information profession
- Developing innovative, service-oriented information professionals for diverse environments
- Producing research and publications that advance the theory and practice of the discipline
- Promoting excellence in professional practice
- Playing a leadership role in the information society in Quebec, Canada, and abroad
The School benefits from its position in Quebec and Canada in pursuit of the following goals:
- Education: To design, implement and promote programs for academic and professional development
- Scholarship: To encourage critical thinking and research to advance both theory and practice
- Service: To serve academic, professional and civic communities
As the pioneer school of its kind in Canada, SIS has been offering programs at McGill since 1897. Our professional diplomas and degrees, including the MLIS, have been continuously accredited by the American Library Association since 1927.
1897: Apprenticeship-training program in librarianship offered by Redpath Library.
1904: Library School opens under the jurisdiction of the University Library Committee. It is the first formal library education program in Canada, and one of the first university programs in librarianship found anywhere in the world outside the United States.
Instrumental in the founding of the School and the establishment of its curriculum, Melvyl Dewey, a good friend and colleague of Charles Gould, University Librarian and also a founder of the School, teaches at the school during its first year.
1904: Summer course offered annually, with breaks particularly during World War I.1927: Summer course accredited by the American Library Association (ALA) as Type IV under its "Minimum Standards for Summer Courses in Library Science" (1926).
Sessional Diploma program begins with the aid of a grant from the Carnegie Foundation. The entrance requirement is senior matriculation.
1929: Diploma program accredited by the ALA in the Junior Undergraduate Category under its Minimum Standards for Library Schools (1925).
The Diploma program is transformed into Canada's first graduate Bachelor of Library Science program, assisted financially by the Carnegie Corporation. The prerequisite for entry is a Bachelor's degree.
1931: The BLS program accredited under ALA's "Minimum Standards for Library Schools" (1925) Graduate School Category.
1934: The BLS program accredited under ALA's "Minimum Standards for Library Schools" (1933) Type II Category.
1940: The Carnegie grant ends and the University assumes full financial responsibility for the School. The School is placed under the jurisdiction of the Faculty of Arts and Science.
A Master of Library Science degree with thesis is offered under the jurisdiction of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research. Bachelor of Library Science is a prerequisite.
1957: The BLS program ccredited by the ALA under its Standards of Accreditation (1951).
1965: A 2-year Master of Library Science program without thesis is established, replacing the 1-year BLS and the thesis MLS. This program provides a new pattern for library education - one which has become the Canadian norm and has been adopted by many schools in the United States and other countries.
The School changes its name to the Graduate School of Library Science and is placed entirely under the jurisdiction of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research.
1969: Library Science moves to modern facilities in the new McLennan Library Building after a long tenure in Redpath Library. The facilities are larger and more conducive to the coming "information age".
1975: MLS program accredited under ALA's Standards of Accreditation (1972).
1980: MLS program receives conditional accreditation for 2 years under ALA's Standards of Accreditation (1972).
1981: MLS program is restored to full accreditation through 1987.
1985: The name of the School is changed to Graduate School of Library and Information Studies (GSLIS).
1986: The master's degree is renamed Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS).
1987: MLIS program reaccredited under the ALA's Standards of Accreditation (1972).
1991: PhD students accepted, under the ad hoc provisions of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research
Albert Tabah becomes GSLIS's first Ph.D. graduate in 1996.
1994: The Library and Information Studies Library is closed. The collection is relocated to the 6th floor of the McLennan (Humanities and Social Sciences) Library building.
1996: A post-master's Graduate Diploma in Library and Information Studies is introduced.
The MLIS program is reaccredited under the ALA's Standards of Accreditation (1992).
The School joins the Faculty of Education.
1998: Dr. J. Andrew Large, Director of the School, becomes the first holder, in Canada, of a named chair in Library and Information Studies - the "CN-Pratt-Grinstad Chair in Library and Information Studies."
2001: A post-master's Graduate Certificate in Library and Information Studies is introduced.
2003: MLIS program reaccredited under the ALA's Standards of Accreditation (1992) for a 72nd continuous year, the longest in North America.
2004: GSLIS and Canadian library education celebrate their 100th anniversary.
2005: GSLIS begins to offer "Areas of Specialization" within its existing MLIS program: (i) Archival Studies, (ii) Knowledge Management, and (iii) Librarianship.
2007: The name of the School changes to the School of Information Studies.
2009: PhD Program in Information Studies officially inaugurated. The School moves to its own building at 3661 Peel after 40 years in the McLennan Library Building.
2010: The MLIS program reaccredited under the ALA's Standards of Accreditation (2008).
History timeline adapted from
McNally, P. (2011). McGill University School of Information Studies: A chronology.
- McNally, P. (2004). McGill University, Graduate School of Library and Information Studies. ELAN, Ex Libris Association Newsletter, Special Issue (Summer), p. 3-7.
- McNally, P. (1993). Fanfares and celebrations, anniversaries in Canadian graduate education for Library and Information Studies. The Canadian Journal of Information and Library Science, 18(1), p. 6-22. (Reprinted in Readings in Canadian Library History 2, 1996. p. 39-56).
For more on the history of the School, you can also visit the GSLIS centennial site.