The School of Library and Information Studies (SLIS) is a top-ranked program for library, information, and book arts education. SLIS aims to develop creative and critical thinkers and leaders for the information world through a supportive teaching and learning environment, collaborative research, and community engagement.
Through excellence in teaching, research, and service, SLIS is committed to educate socially responsible information professionals prepared to empower diverse populations in a multitude of contexts, communities, and cultures.
To advance the theory, art, and practice of professions specializing in the use and creation of information in traditional and emergent forms.
Since its beginnings more than 40 years ago, SLIS has developed a unique interdisciplinary personality that blends the arts, humanities, and social sciences. We support a mutual belief in and respect for those we serve. This is evident in our strong support of intellectual freedom, access to all, and the tenets of social justice.
The educational objectives of these graduate programs are as follows:
Provide students with the knowledge, skills, understanding, and diverse technologies to meet the changing informational and cultural needs of diverse populations and organizations. Foster leadership skills and abilities in all students, provide opportunities within the program for students with leadership potential to exercise their abilities, and encourage students as graduates to seek out and assume leadership roles. Improve and develop students' critical and conceptual thinking skills.
Research and creative activity
Augment and advance knowledge through basic research and improve professional practice through systematic inquiry into its nature, standards, and principles.
Apply the insights and knowledge gained through research and instruction in service to public- and private-sector organizations.
SLIS classrooms, faculty offices, and shared spaces are housed on the fifth floor of the Gorgas Library in the heart of the campus. Student spaces provide desktop computing, printing, laptop workstations, individual and group work spaces, professional resources, and a collection of children and youth literature. A student lounge is conveniently located for relaxation and refreshment.
Academic Common Market (ACM)
The School of Library and Information Studies participates in the ACM, an agreement among selected Southern states to share academic programs at in-state tuition rates. Residents of the states of Arkansas, Delaware, Virginia, and West Virginia may make an ACM application to attend the MLIS program. If accepted, The University of Alabama will pay the out-of-state portion of the student’s tuition. Residents of Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee may apply to the ACM to attend the MFA in book arts program, also with UA’s paying the out-of-state portion of tuition. Background information on the ACM, a list with the contact information for each state’s ACM coordinator, and an online application to the UA Academic Common Market.
A limited number of departmental assistantships, which pay a stipend and also cover some out-of-state fees, as well as a limited number of scholarships are available each academic year. For information, contact the director of the School of Library and Information Studies.
- Jim Elmborg, Ph.D.
- Anna Embree, M.F.S.
- Bharat Mehra, Ph.D.
- Jamie Naidoo, Ph.D.
- Laurie Bonnici, Ph.D.
- Steven MacCall, Ph.D.
- Jeff Weddle, Ph.D.
- Sarah Bryant, M.F.A.
- John Burgess, Ph.D.
- Robert Riter, Ph.D.
- Miriam Sweeney, Ph.D.
- Steven Yates, Ph.D.
Intern coordinator adjunct professor
- Sybil Bullock, Ed.S.
This course is devoted to the fundamentals of letterpress. Students will develop fine craft skills in a studio environment. Through hands on assignments, students will be introduced to hand setting type, press operation, and image making techniques. They will learn fundamental terminology, gain an understanding of the interaction of type, ink, and paper, and develop familiarity with the equipment. The emphasis is on fine printing and relief image making.
Students in this course will build on their skills on the press through the production of two assignments, culminating in the design and production of a book project. This course is focused on typographic design, the intersection of text and image, and press work. Readings and discussions in this course will focus on typography and the hierarchy of information in the book format.
This course is devoted to book production. Students in this course will produce and refine a series of mockups before embarking on the production of an ambitious book project. While these book projects can take many forms, this course will center on artist books as a creative medium. Readings, discussions, and visits to special collections will help direct the course. Individual projects will be a catalyst for the refinement of skills on the press, including the production and use of polymer plates, setting type, press operation, and maintenance.
Students in the course will design and produce an ambitious, letterpress-printed book project. Students will refine their skills on the press as well as develop tactics for disseminating their work. A book produced in this course can be a stepping stone towards a career in book arts. Discussion and critique are foundational to this course. Class time will be spent on troubleshooting project issues, creating budgets for book projects, and developing an online presence for the marketing of books. A minimum of 3 credit hours is required when taken for the first time. After the initial 3 credits the course can be taken for variable credit and will contain unique content not covered in the initial 3 credit hours.
This course is devoted to the history, context, and production of artist books. It is also an opportunity to develop a habit of creativity. We will use the power of sequence and innovative book structure to complicate and deepen our creative work. Since the end of the 19th century, a wide spectrum of artists enlisted the form of the book as a means of creative expression. In this course, we will engage in creative mark-making, writing assignments, content-generation exercises, and bookbinding to facilitate the creation of a series of artist book projects. Our book production will be supplemented by readings and visits from guest artists and special collections librarians in order to provide a broad context for artist books. Books are interdisciplinary by nature, and this course can complement a wide range of interests, including photography, printmaking, painting, creative writing, architecture, libraries, graphic design, art history, zines, graphic novels, and many other topics.
Drawing upon both the historic and contemporary Western bookbinding traditions, this course is an initiation into fundamental binding forms, techniques, materials, and design. Through the construction of a series of cloth and paper structures, students will gain an understanding of the properties inherent to the materials and how they work in the context of bookbinding. In addition to the development of good hand skills and proper use of materials, aesthetic and design issues concerning book construction will be addressed.
An introduction to the materials and techniques of case bookbinding. Students will continue to refine the fundamental binding skills acquired in BA 530, while being introduced to more advanced materials techniques. Case bookbinding and custom built enclosures will be constructed using paper, cloth, and leather. Students will gain a comprehensive understanding of these skills necessary for completing both one-of-a-kind and edition work.
An introduction to the materials and techniques of leather bookbinding along with the principles of conservation treatments as they relate to the processes of rebinding. Students will study the methods of production of animal skins for book making, the qualities of these skins, and their identification. Instruction in the use of leather-working tools, advanced case binding techniques, and in-board binding construction will be introduced. A strong emphasis will be placed on paper mending, forwarding techniques and leather preparation. A minimum of 3 credit hours is required when taken for the first time. After the initial 3 credits the course can be taken for variable credit and will contain unique content not covered in the initial 3 credit hours.
This course is devoted to advanced techniques in hand bookbinding. Students will refine their binding skills while exploring methods for fine and design work. Readings and discussions will focus on sound binding practices, and the examination of both historic and contemporary book construction and design. An advanced final project will allow students to demonstrate their mastery of the materials and techniques presented in the binding I-IV course sequence. After the initial 3 credits the course can be taken for variable credit and will contain unique content not covered in the initial 3 credit hours.
An exploration of traditional and experimental forms of boxes and other protective enclosures for books. Boxes serve both aesthetic and functional purposes: they house, protect, and present their contents. Students will learn box making techniques such as measuring, fitting, covering, and casing; these will be considered also in connection with more complex components like partitioning and layering. We will discuss aesthetics in the context of overall design as well as selection of materials and structures appropriate for specific applications.
Provides hands-on experience in the fundamentals of making traditional Western-style handmade papers using a variety of fibers. The objective is to produce reference samples of various kinds of sheets, as well as edition sheets of papers for book or art-making purposes. After the initial 3 credits the course can be taken for variable credit and will contain unique content not covered in the initial 3 credit hours.
This course will focus on creative processes unique to hand papermaking that stemmed from developments and innovations in the field since the 1950s. Through lectures, readings, and projects, students will gain an understanding of paper as an activated entity that can stand alone or be integrated with other media in meaningful ways. Students will refine and expand on Western sheet formation skills through hands-on experience with processes such as pigmenting, pulp painting, and blowout. After the initial 3 credits the course can be taken for variable credit and will contain unique content not covered in the initial 3 credit hours.
Through brainstorming, discussion, and writing, students in this course will develop the concept of and proposal for their Creative Thesis Project for the MFA Book Arts degree. This course will also guide students through the development of CVs, artist statements, workshop proposals, and a digital portfolio. A significant portion of the course will involve speaking to individuals practicing in the field and developing strategies for the business side of working as an artist. This course may be repeated for a maximum of six credit hours.
Workshops covering all subjects in the book arts, held both on and off campus.
Practical experience teaching introductory courses in printing, binding, and other appropriate book arts.
Provides an opportunity for the student to pursue independently a project in the book arts.
Provides an opportunity for an intensive investigation of both historical and technical studies of a book-arts craft.
A direct learning experience in a studio of a professional book artist.
The capping experience of the MFA in the book arts program is the creative project, thesis, and exhibition. Working with a faculty advisor, the candidate develops a project that demonstrates a deep understanding of the craft and the aesthetic, historic, and critical contexts of the book; to establish technical expertise; and to work independently.
This introductory course examines information science through conceptual foundations and historical underpinnings of the field as they relate to the nature and roles of information and information institutions. Students will learn fundamental approaches to understand the relationships between Information and individuals, organizations, and society.
This required course introduces students to values and ethics and power structures that impact information and information services to diverse communities. It serves as a foundation for broadly thinking about information, communities, power, and social responsibility of LIS professionals.
Introduces research design and statistical techniques used in library, media, and information science. At the conclusion of the course, the student should be able to comprehend and utilize research reports in these fields and to design and carry out basic research projects.
Instructional modules that introduce the student to basic skills in the preparation and utilization of educational media.
Explores principles and issues involved in developing library collections. Aspects such as community analysis, policy development, selection and acquisitions, resource sharing, evaluation, weeding, and preservation are examined.
Investigates approaches to current and historical methods for information organization by librarians, including emerging approaches to resource identification and description via linked data. Explores subject access in using traditional access tools, and contemporary issues in bibliographic control in the Web era.
Introduces reference and instructional services in libraries.
Designed to introduce students to the theory and practice of modern management by studying the management aspects of authority, communications, decision making, delegation, leadership, personnel, planning, budgeting, and motivation. Use is made of case studies and simulations.
An intensive course that provides an orientation to distance learning in the School of Library and Information Studies. Technical issues related to distance learning, resource issues such as access to library and electronic collections, and socialization to librarianship are addressed. Particular emphasis is on the online MLIS program in which the student has enrolled.
Surveys and evaluates the major informational and bibliographical resources in literature, mythology, religion, philosophy, history, and the visual and performing arts. Stephens, Aversa.
Surveys scholarly communication and the use of information in the social sciences. The use of reference sources in psychology, sociology, economics, anthropology and political science is taught.
Surveys scientific and technical communication, the bibliographic structure of science and technology, and information services for scientists and technologists. In-depth study of the major information sources in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, engineering, and geology is included.
This course introduces students to the variety of professional paths that an MLIS might pursue and will encourage students to explore the diversity of areas of library and information practice that may interest them. At the end of the course, students write an introduction to their program portfolio providing first attempts to define their own professional paths.
This course provides students with the conceptual frameworks, methodologies, analytical approaches, and argumentation skills needed as information professionals to resolve complex ethical crises and dilemmas surrounding the use of information, data, and emerging technologies.
Introduces a wide variety of print and non-print early literacy materials for young children ages birth to seven with an emphasis on selecting materials and developing literature-based story programs to meet their educational, cultural, and recreational needs. Among the types of story programming techniques to be explored are storytelling, flannel boards, drama, puppetry, and finger rhymes. Emphasis will be placed on investigating the principals involved in designing, implementing, promoting and evaluating early literacy story programs for young children.
Explores materials (print and non-print) and programs appropriate for children ages 3 to 12.
Explores materials (print and non-print) and programs appropriate for teenagers.
Examines services, programming, and popular materials provided to adult users of public libraries.
Introduces graduate level concepts and skills associated with project management in information rich environments. Includes teamwork, team development, and collaboration.
This course is intended to provide students with an introduction to the concepts, theories, and practice of library user instruction through reading, discussion, class speakers, and practice. The focus of the course will be on instruction for adult users in public and academic library settings.
Examination of public library development, purpose, governance, and services and exploration of issues and concepts involved in managing public libraries.
Study of the role of library service in higher education.
Develops a philosophical and functional background of the school-media program as an integral part of the teaching-learning process.
Philosophy, environment, and unique aspects of the services, operation, and management of special libraries and information centers are covered. Provides considerable opportunity for study of topics of interest to individual students.
Introduction to medical librarianship and the environment in which it operates. Orientation to the health care field, operation and administration of health sciences libraries, and basic information sources and services for the health sciences is included.
Introduces the fundamentals of information and records management. Content includes (a) inventory, scheduling and auditing records; (b) active and inactive information maintenance; (c) organizing and administering a records center; and (d) applications for information systems (computer, microform and paper).
Survey of archival resources and special collections, with attention to their organization, administration, and service problems.
Explores various types of literacy programs and outreach services for youth (children, tweens, and teens) as well as the development and management of library environments that facilitate life-long learning and reading adventures.
Comprises a series of modules that cover the basic skills required to undertake instructional development. Materials needed to plan and prepare instruction, as well as exercises designed to upgrade interpersonal skills, are included. Designed for library-media specialists, supervisors, administrators, and others who assist teachers in the development of instruction.
Introduces a wide variety of storytelling techniques both traditional and digital (technology-based) and explores how these strageties can be used in library programs and services for children and young adults. Emphasis is placed on developing personal storytelling skills via technology and traditional resources. A web-cam is required for this course.
Explores the development and implementation of various types of library programs and outreach services for children and young adults that promote cultural diversity.
This course offers an introduction to archival theory and practice. Emphasis is placed on investigating the nature and character of archival forms, the role of the archivist in society, the ethics of archival practice, and the social function of records and archives.
Archives are made by ideas. Archivists have defined, and described, archives as functioning as memory, evidence, and information. In addition, archives have been ascribed cultural, historical, and artifactual values. This course is a critical examination of archival thought and its influence on how archives are conceived, constructed, and ultimately used.
This course explores topics in the selection and appraisal of archival materials. In this course you will gain exposure to the principles and approaches, which influence how records are selected for long-term retention and preservation, as well as practical performing this archival practice.
This course explores topics in the organization of archival materials. Specifically, the topics addressed include the description, arrangement, and representation of archival objects and collections. In studying these topics, students will obtain an understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of these practices as well as practical experience in creating usable collections through archival arrangement and description.
Provides future information professionals with a solid foundation of basic information technologies at the skill, conceptual, and analytical levels. Acquaints students with the role of technology in information organizations. Students gain hands-on experience in web application production from a user-centered perspective, including: hypertext, usability analysis, database application, and technology instruction. Foundations of change management are addressed. IT Fluency is used as a model to explore the topics of this course.
Prepares students to develop digital libraries, exploring the issues associated with creating, operating, and maintaining digital libraries; analyzing electronic library programs in the U.S. and assessing their impact on education, scholarship and research.
Students learn basic programming concepts and skills for managing different types of content and developing interactive systems. PHP, as part of the "LAMP Stack" (Linux, Apache, PHP, Mysql) is the programming language used in this course to explore the development of digital libraries. We will start out at a beginner's level with PHP & MySQL, and students will gain understanding of basic programming syntax, data structures, and logic. Students will then learn how to develop web applications for more applied tasks, including data parsing and processing, and extending specialized PHP libraries for implementing further functionality of system components found in digital libraries.
This course explores the affordances of social software applications such as blogs, tagging, and online social networks and their functions in various work locales through the concepts of informatics. The focus of this course is on social software fluency for work and productivity.
Introductory course that examines conceptual and ethical foundations of metadata and Semantic Web information organizing methods in a range of practice contexts including library cataloging and special collections. Introduces data management software tools and techniques used for acquiring, cleaning, enhancing, and analyzing metadata datasets.
Explores societal problems and professional developments that relate to digital reference services in public, academic and special libraries. Explores the impact of digital reference on users and libraries.
This course examines the history of cyber-related espionage and terrorism, explores websites and Web 2.0 media that support and fight against terrorism, and identifies human behaviors indicative of potential information and communication technology (ICT) interaction misuse. The focus of this course is primarily on human behaviors as they relate to ICT use and provides students with opportunities to identify and examine strategies to protect their organizations from misuse of technology systems and applications.
This course will survey information management tools and techniques applied for maintaining, processing, and disseminating digital information. Specific topics will include physical database structures, database design, database-driven web applications, user interface, and representation for retrieval. Course exercises cover fundamental techniques for data modeling, implementing and querying databases, and information visualization.
Intern Sch Media Cntrs.
Explores diverse cultural groups and the ways that all types of libraries can effectively serve the informational and recreational needs of these populations.
Examines the place of information and communication technologies, online resources, and social networking tools in the current practice of information and communication interactions for persons with mild to severe physical access challenges.
This course explores how race, gender, and sexuality shape (and are shaped by) LIS as a profession and practice. Socially constructed theories of race, gender and sexual identity will be critically examined in different contexts as they intersect, overlap and impact LIS institutions, information use, technology practices, and the design of information resources and services in the processes of creation, organization, and dissemination of information in library and information professions.
This course covers a range of social, political, and economic issues related to how people interact with information and communication technologies. The class explores the effects of different social contexts on the creation, use, and meaning of information technologies. Subject matter will range from examining online interactions, mobile technologies, information and work, digital labor practices, and laws and policies related to information technologies.
Explores societal problems and professional developments that have, or are likely to have, an impact on the practice of librarianship. May be taken more than once.
Provides the opportunity for an intensive investigation of a special aspect of library and information studies, under the supervision of an appropriate faculty member.
Thesis Research. Maximum of 6 hours may be earned.
Examines the ways in which graphic novels, comics, and other visual narratives serve as engaging and enriching media for contemporary youth (children and young adults); explores the use of these materials in classrooms and libraries to teach information, visual, and cultural literacies; and provides opportunities to explore and critically analyze visual narratives using multiple methods.
This course addresses cultural stereotypes and issues surrounding cultural authenticity in children's and young adult literature, and suggests how librarians / educators can help children use literature to make intercultural connections with youth from diverse cultural backgrounds. Provides opportunities to explore diverse perspectives and theories related to selecting, analyzing, and interpreting international and multicultural literature for youth.
A study of the theories and strategies related to instructional collaborations involving school libraries and media centers.
A critical examination of issues related to social and cultural justice in the administration of school libraries and media centers.
Examines the intellectual objectives served by descriptive bibliographies and introduces the methods and problems of bibliographical description of printed books of the hand- and machine-press periods. Emphasis is on the examination and historical analysis of books as physical objects. Primarily for students interested in the history of books, special collections, rare book cataloging, and humanities reference work.
Examines the book as a cultural artifact and explores the impact of print culture on communication and knowledge/information production in Europe and the United States. Topics include orality and literacy, reading, authorship, copyright, markets and distribution, and the future of books in a digital age.
Examines the book as a physical artifact, as the material embodiment of text. Topics include the transitions between hand production and mechanical production, methods of bookmaking, printers and publishers, the alphabetic code, paratext, letterforms and typography, paper, page formats and layouts, illustrations, bindings, and other semiotic systems and bibliographic signifiers, as well as the purpose of the book with special emphasis on the relationships between meaning and physical form and the complex conventions of the book.