Library Studies Specialization

Libraries exist to provide access to recorded information and knowledge in all of its formats. To accomplish this mission, librarians acquire materials-- including books, audio and visual recordings, digital resources, and periodicals--and organize them for ease of access. They educate library users in strategies for finding needed information. Librarians encourage reading for pleasure, education, information, and inspiration; and they facilitate the creation of communities of readers.  Librarians are strong advocates for all people’s right to read and to inform themselves. A library can serve as an intellectual commons for a particular community, enabling people to come together around areas of mutual interest. In fact, libraries serve as the focal points for communities of many kinds--imagined communities as well as ones that are geographically determined (national, state and public library service areas) or institutionally based (in school, academic and corporate settings).

The library studies specialization at UCLA stresses the development of leaders for the profession and a commitment to the core values of the profession as articulated by the American Library Association:

• Access
• Confidentiality/Privacy
• Democracy
• Education and Lifelong Learning
• Intellectual Freedom
• Preservation
• The Public Good
• Professionalism
• Service
• Social Responsibility

In addition to learning about values and ethics, this specialization also enables students to gain the competencies recommended by other professional associations, such as the Special Libraries Association and the California Library Association, and to begin to engage in activities of professional associations, emphasizing regional, ethnic, national and other concerns.  UCLA supports strong student chapters of the American Library Association and the Special Libraries Association, and has its own Activist Librarians and Educators group and Diversity Recruitment and Mentoring Committee.

Within the library studies specialization, students learn the functional activities associated with the profession such as collection development, public services, cataloging and classification, service to children and young adults, and outreach to underserved populations.  Students may also take classes that prepare them to work in a particular type of library, such as public, academic, or corporate.  When they graduate they will have the basic professional skills expected of all beginning librarians as well as an understanding of the dynamic nature of the field and the challenges and opportunities it presents.

Faculty research interests and information on their ongoing research projects relative to this area can be found on their respective websites. The following lists a broad array of student interests within this specialization:

Students specializing in Library Studies complete a course of study which combines core courses, elective courses, and practical experiences such as internships, field work and research opportunities.  Students are required to take a minimum of one research methods course such as systems analysis, historical methods, or social science research methods; students wishing to pursue more in-depth research may take independent study courses or write a thesis.
 To better prepare themselves for positions of leadership, many students choose to culminate the program by preparing a portfolio instead of writing a thesis.

Students are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the internship and field experience opportunities available at the more than 250 departmental approved sites in southern California including local academic and public libraries and libraries in special settings such as law firms, the Henry E. Huntington Library in San Marino or the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena. Other internships include national or international sites such as the Congressional Research Service (through the University of California in the District of Columbia) or St. Petersburg State University of Culture. These associations offer many opportunities for participation in the life of the Information Studies Department and the broader professional community. In addition, students are encouraged to take cognate courses outside the department in the humanities as well as the social and physical or life sciences, which will prepare them to serve particular communities, manage specific organizational settings or work with particular subject content.

The master's program in library and information studies has held continuous accreditation from the American Library Association (ALA) since 1961.  ALA accreditation assures the educational community, the general public, and other agencies or organizations that an institution or program (a) has clearly defined and educationally appropriate objectives, (b) maintains conditions under which their achievement can reasonably be expected, (c) is in fact accomplishing them substantially, and (d) can be expected to continue to do so.

Updated: 5/9/14