During the early 1960s, the presidents of the six New England land grant universities recognized the need for a publicly supported graduate program of library education that would serve the entire region. Since the University of Rhode Island had been offering extension courses in library studies since 1957, it was the most logical choice for the location of the proposed graduate program.
Under the reciprocal agreement among the six universities, the URI MLIS is available at reduced “regional” rate to students from New England states that lack their own publicly supported MLIS programs–currently Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont.
On October 3, 1962, the Rhode Island Board of Trustees of State Colleges approved President Francis Horn’s recommendation that a graduate school of library science be established at the University of Rhode Island and that the program be included in the New England Board of Higher Education Compact. URI’s first graduate library science courses were offered in fall 1963 and the full program began in fall 1964.
The Graduate School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Rhode Island is recognized on a regional and national level. The program holds accreditation from the American Library Association, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, and the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education. It has national recognition by the American Association of School Librarians and approval by the Rhode Island Department of Education.