GSLIS program receives perfect score on accreditation renewal

by Emma Mangione

The Harrington School’s Graduate School of Library and Information Sciences is a consistent success story.

Recently the GSLIS program’s American Library Association accreditation was renewed, keeping the institution certified by the ALA. In fact, GSLIS department head Valerie Karno, pictured left, stated that the program received a perfect report.

“This means we are fulfilling certain standards of competency in our curriculum,” said Karno. “There was not one, single request for a change in our whole program.”

Karno refers to the program as the “hidden gem” of the Harrington School.

Admissions graduate assistant Kate Fox states that the program is among the top 50 programs in the country.

“I like to say the program is self-selective,” said Fox. “The acceptance rate is 90 percent but that’s generally because of the great applicant pool.”

Currently, there are 110 students enrolled in this two-year program. The students range anywhere from early 20s to mid 60s and include individuals from librarians looking to further their education to people pursuing their second or third career.

All GSLIS courses are taught by professors currently doing research in their field. Students can enroll in the program either full- or part-time. The program is mostly composed of online courses with some hybrid courses that meet both online and in person. This flexible design makes the program more accessible and affordable.

Students in the program choose between three different tracks: school libraries, leadership and digital media. In addition, students can receive a dual master’s degree in history, English or public affairs and still graduate in three years.

GSLIS students are also able to participate in new exciting grant programs. One program, which was awarded a $1 million grant, focuses on running the Media Smart Library. This program will show local libraries in Rhode Island how to include media in their facilities.

In addition, Karno recently received a grant from Infosys for her own program that will center around community outreach. As part of this grant, Karno and other faculty will be teaching students how to facilitate learning in public libraries. They will go to libraries in low-funded areas in Rhode Island such as Cranston, Providence and Central Falls to introduce computer coding to those communities.  

“It is a nice way that GSLIS and the Harrington School are representing URI in the local community,” said Karno.