History of UBC iSchool

In response to a growing need for professional librarians in Western Canada, a School of Librarianship was established at the University of British Columbia in 1961 as a professional school within the Faculty of Arts and Science. The School graduated its first class of Bachelors of Library Science in May 1962.

The program of the School was accredited in February 1963 by the Committee on Accreditation of the American Library Association. In order to incorporate new technologies into the program of studies and to prepare students better for careers as information specialists, the School in 1971 replaced the one-year Bachelor’s degree program with a two-year program leading to the degree of Master of Library Science. This program was re-accredited in 1976, 1985 and 1992 under the 1972 standards of the ALA. In 1998 and again in 2007 the program was re-accredited for the full seven-year period under the 1992 standards of the ALA.

It is thus recognized by the American and Canadian Library Associations as fully meeting accepted standards for graduate education in library and information science.

In 1981, in conjunction with the Department of History, the School inaugurated a two-year program leading to the degree of Master of Archival Studies, the first graduate program in archival studies in North America. In 1984, the name of the School was changed to the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies.

In 1990, the Master of Library Science and Master of Archival Studies programs were made subject to the academic policies of the Faculty of Graduate Studies. In 1995, the School graduated the first students to receive the newly re-named Master of Library and Information Studies degree.

In 1998, the School initiated a Joint MAS/MLIS program, a First Nations Concentration in the MLIS and MAS programs, and part-time studies in the MLIS program. In 1999, the School enrolled its first students in the new MA in Children’s Literature program.

Since 2003, UBC iSchool has offered a Ph.D. in Library, Archival and Information Studies.  Graduates of iSchool’s doctoral program are now teaching and conducting research in universities and other institutions in Canada and the US, Korea, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

As part of its 40th Anniversary celebrations in 2001 UBC iSchool created a special book on our history:


Forty Years of Library Education: The
School of Library, Archival & Information
Studies, The University of British
Columbia — 1961-2001

by Maurizio Dattilo & Judith Saltman

click on the book image to read it online