Tuscaloosa, Ala. – McLure Library will become the new home for the School of Library and Information Studies (SLIS). The move gives SLIS and its programs more visibility on campus, spotlighting creative scholarship and allowing students to see Book Art creative scholarship and work in action, engage with youth literacy and community action LIS research, observe archiving and digital preservation practices and participate in information science research.
SLIS’s relocation from Gorgas Library’s seventh floor to the McLure building is part of the Gorgas Library Master Plan, resulting from years-long discussions between the College of Education, University Libraries and the College of Communication and Information Sciences (C&IS). McLure closed its doors earlier this month and demolition inside will begin this summer.
Upon reopening, SLIS will use almost the entire building. The first floor will house the MFA in Book Arts program, as well as a materials center for the Archives Program and Book Arts. The second floor will house the SLIS administration suite, an exhibition area, a classroom, faculty offices and a flexible lab space for EBSCO Digital Preservation activities and information science research. The third floor will house an additional classroom, conference room and faculty offices, as well as the Blackshear Reading Room, which will be home to SLIS’s review collection of children’s and young adult books.
“One of C&IS’s strategic priorities is to cultivate high-quality academic programs,” said Dr. Jaime Naidoo, Interim Director of the School of Library and Information Studies. “The acquisition of McLure will do just that for SLIS. It will offer expanded studio space for the Book Arts Program, increasing opportunities for them to grow undergraduate course offerings as well as attract additional graduate students. McLure will also provide a dedicated space for students in the EBSCO Scholars audio-visual (AV) archiving program to study and learn critical techniques for preserving information in a digital format.”
As SLIS introduces a proposed undergraduate degree in informatics in the next few years, the move to McLure will provide spaces for incoming undergraduate students to study and engage with top researchers in information science. And with the proximity to the College of Education and growing programs in school library media and youth services, there are unique opportunities for collaborations and programmatic growth at the master’s level, feeding into future research and community-engagement initiatives in these areas.
Degree programs in SLIS prepare students to critically examine and mediate the production, utilization, dissemination, preservation and implications (social impacts) of information on our ever-changing world to address real-world challenges such as health disparities and cybersecurity. The School was first accredited in 1972 and began offering its MFA in Book Arts in 1985. Since, it has become one of the nation’s leading institutions for library and information studies, committed to intellectual freedom, universal knowledge and the tenets of social justice.