Fonds UBCA-ARC-1341 - School of Library, Archival and Information Studies fonds

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School of Library, Archival and Information Studies fonds

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3.59 m of textual records and other materials.

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Administrative history

In response to the growing need for professional librarians in Western Canada and with strong support from UBC President Norman MacKenzie and University Librarian Neal Harlow, the School of Librarianship was established at UBC by Samuel Rothstein in 1961. Housed in the upper north wing of the UBC Main Library, the School operated as a professional school within the Faculty of Arts and Science. It opened with an enrolment of 30 students and four full-time faculty members. In May 1962, the School graduated its first Bachelor of Library Science (BLS) class. In February 1963, the School's program was accredited by the Committee on Accreditation of the American Library Association (ALA). ALA accreditation allowed the American and Canadian Library Associations to recognize the School as fully meeting the accepted standards for graduate education in library and information science and enabled the School's BLS graduates to seek employment in Canadian and American libraries. In order to incorporate new technologies into the curriculum and prepare students better for their professional careers as information specialists, the School replaced the one-year postgraduate BLS program with a two-year program leading to the degree of Master of Library Science (MLS) in 1971. The School's MLS program was later re-accredited by ALA in 1976, 1985, 1992, and 1998. In 1981, in conjunction with the Department of History, the School offered a two-year program in Archival Studies, leading to the Master of Archival Studies (MAS) degree, the first graduate program in archival studies in North America. The first Archival class comprised eight students and one full-time faculty member.
In 1984, the School changed its name from the School of Librarianship to the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies (SLAIS). In 1990, both the MLS and MAS programs were made subject to the academic policies of the Faculty of Graduate Studies. Still, the School remained within the administrative jurisdiction of the Faculty of Arts. In 1995, the School graduated the first students with the newly re-named Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS). In 1998, the School initiated a Joint MAS/MLIS program and a First Nations concentration in the MLIS and MAS programs. In 1999, the School offered a multidisciplinary Master of Arts in Children's Literature program (MACL) in conjunction with the Departments of English, Language and Literacy Education and Theatre, Film and Creative Writing. In response to the educational needs of already working professional librarians and archivists, the School also offered a continuing education program leading to the Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS). In September 2003, the School admitted six students to its inaugural Ph.D. program in Library, Archival and Information Studies. In 2020 the School's name was changed again to the School of Information to reflect the evolution of the information professions and changes within the disciplinary areas of the library, archival and information studies.
Since 1961, the Directors of the School include Samuel Rothstein (1961-1970), Roy Stokes (1970-1981), Basil Stuart-Stubbs (1981-1992), Ken Haycock (1992-2002), Edie Rasmussen (2003-2009), Caroline Haythornthwaite (2010-2015), Luanne Freund (2015-2020) and Errik Kwakkel (2020).

Custodial history

Scope and content

Fonds consists of correspondence, blueprints, minutes from Faculty, School Council and various committee meetings, handwritten notes, reports, draft proposals, public service announcements, flyers, course syllabi, curriculum revisions, class schedules, student lists, various publications of the School and its students, news clippings, display materials, photographs, slides, audio cassettes, a videocassette, a book and a medal. Fonds is arranged in 15 series: General History of SLAIS, Administrative, Faculty, Accreditation, School Committees, Courses, Students, Professional Associations, CLA Discovery '87, School Publications, Anniversaries, External Publications and Clippings, Audio Tapes, Photographs and Slides.

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The fonds was transferred to the UBC Archives in several accessions, initially by Judith Saltman, faculty member of SLAIS, in 2003. Additional records were acquired in 2004 when the School moved from its old quarters in the north wing of the Main Library to its temporary quarters in Technology Enterprise Facility (TEF) Building III, awaiting the completion of the new Irving K. Barber Learning Centre at the Main Library. Recent additions to the Faculty and School Publications series in Boxes 10-14 were acquired in 2014.


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Selected photographs have been digitized and included in UBC Library's Open Collections series UBC 69.1 and series UBC 69.2.

Restrictions on access

These are institutional records and are subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Researcher access to these records is subject to review. To organize access please contact us at UBC Archives.

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Finding aids

Online Finding Aid
Please see the finding aid for an inventory of files.

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Further accruals expected.

General note

Other names: School of Librarianship, SLAIS, iSchool.

Physical description

Includes 358 photographs, 9 architectural drawings, 1 scrapbook, 15 audio recordings, 1 video recording, and memorabilia.

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