History of the School

The School of Information Sciences can trace its origins to 1918, when the Detroit Normal Training School began offering courses in school librarianship to elementary teachers in the Detroit Public Schools. After the training school became the Detroit Teachers College in 1923, the library science program grew. In the 1930s, the college offered future elementary and secondary school librarians a bachelor's degree with a minor in library science. In 1940, the Teachers College became Wayne University and in 1956 it became Wayne State University.

During the 1960s and 1970s, the Library Science Department broadened and diversified its program to include both undergraduate courses and a series of continuing education programs. The American Library Association (ALA) accredited the Master of Science in Library Science (MSLS) degree in 1967. Due to budgetary concerns, it was necessary to move the Department out of the College of Education in 1984, and it began functioning under the administrative jurisdiction of the Dean of University Libraries. The name was changed to the Library and Information Science Program in 1993. The LIS Program grew from 125 students in 1987 to nearly 500 graduate students today. As a reflection of the growth of the student body and expansion of its degree and certificate offerings, the Board of Governors approved the creation of the School of Library and Information Science in 2009. The name was changed to School of Information Sciences effective August 2017 as a reflection of the wider role the school has in educating professionals for the information field.

The Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree is accredited by the ALA; the next regularly scheduled review takes place in 2023. The Specialist Certificate in Library and Information Science was created in 1978; the Graduate Certificate in Archival Administration was established in 1986. Both the Joint MLIS/MA degree and Graduate Certificate in Information Management were established in 2007; a fully online MLIS option was established in 2008; the Graduate Certificate in Public Library Services to Children and Young Adults was established in 2009; the Master of Science in Information Science degree was established in 2017.

In 2017, the MLIS program was granted continued accreditation by the American Library Association, marking 50 years of ALA accredited status.