Registration for the 2011 masters’ degree program in Library and Information Sciences begins in August marking the second time this program will be offered at CSUN.
Oviatt Library officials established the program in 2009 in conjunction with the University of North Texas (UNT). Dr. Susan Curzon, Oviatt Library dean said she worked with a team of librarian employers from around the area to create the program.
“It had been a dream of mine,” Curzon said.
Concern about a librarian shortage sparked Curzon’s interest in the matter, she said.
“There are only about 150,000 librarians nationwide and 50 percent of the profession is expected to retire in the next three to four years,” Curzon said. “I knew it was important to put more librarians in the workplace.”
Curzon said she wished to create the degree at CSUN but acquiring American Library Association accreditation was a long process. In order to produce new librarians quickly, she said, her team looked to a program already established, resulting in a cohort with UNT.
Dr. Philip Turner, UNT director of the CSUN Greater Los Angeles Masters of Library Information Sciences Program, coordinates the cohort.
“We work with CSUN and various other schools around the country that have a demand for this degree,” Turner said.
Students take online classes through UNT and participate in institutes, projects and student meetings at CSUN, Turner added.
“The degree is awarded by the University of North Texas but students will graduate at CSUN, on the steps of the Oviatt Library,” he said.
The degree is completed in two years with a new cohort beginning every other year, Turner said, adding that during that time students take a total of 12 classes.
Students start each semester with a four-day institute on campus and complete the majority of their classes at home, Turner said.
There are two other such programs in California, UCLA and San Jose State, and both are full time, he said.
The design of CSUN’s program allows students to work around their schedules. Shawn Stamm, who has a full-time job, is one of those students.
“A lot of people work while doing the program,” Stamm said. “It’s really convenient because it’s mostly online.”
Grace Rosales, a student who works at a law firm during the day, said she likes the program’s flexibility.
“I’m able to do it at night after work,” Rosales said.
Having worked in their current jobs for several years, both Stamm and Rosales said they are enrolled in the program to further their education.
The degree trains people to be librarians, however the skills they acquire are useful in a variety of careers, Stamm said, adding that a lot of his classes focus on managerial skills.
It is a generalist degree that allows graduates to seek employment in libraries but also in many other places like law firms and hospitals, Turner said.
Demand for the new program, which Turner said costs a total of $15,000, has been high.
At least one student writes inquiring each week, said Turner, who added that many people applied for the first program but enrollment was limited at 45 students to keep it “small and focused.”
So far, the program has worked well.
“I’m so pleased to see the success of the program,” Curzon said. “Students often say how much they enjoy it.”