The Department traces its origins to 1889, when Melvil Dewey became director of the New York State Library in Albany and brought with him the library school he had opened years before at Columbia University in New York City.

The institution was renamed the New York State Library School. Although that school returned to Columbia in 1926, New York State created a library facility for training secondary school librarians as part of the New York State College for Teachers in Albany - the forerunner to the University at Albany.

In the intervening 91 years, the Department has been preparing students to live in an information-rich environment. Whether taking an introductory course or studying for a professional position as a librarian, archivist, or information specialist, students benefit from a renowned faculty that is augmented by interdisciplinary expertise from allied fields such as cognitive psychology, linguistics, and computer science.

Mission Statement

The Department’s mission is to provide and promote education and leadership in the library, archival, and information professions through distinguished teaching, research, and service.

The Department provides a unique blend of programs to put graduates at the leading edge of the Information Society. Working in a wide variety of formats, students learn how information is created, organized, represented, stored, accessed, retrieved, managed and protected in both traditional and non-traditional media. In addition, they investigate the uses and impacts of information and technology on individuals, organizations and society, including formal and informal communities, libraries, government, and business.

The Department’s Goals

  • Provide quality educational programs to foster engaged learning and discovery, and prepare students for careers in the information professions
  • Engage in interdisciplinary research and scholarship that enhances teaching, improves professional practice, expands the boundaries of the information sciences, and benefits society
  • Collaborate with organizations and communities to design, implement, and assess information systems and services
  • Promote the development of public information policies that supports a broadly diverse, informed, and responsible citizenship
  • Assist in the development of high standards of ethics and practice within the information professions.

Albany graduates occupy top jobs in academic, public, school, corporate and government libraries and archives, as well as in other information-handling organizations throughout the world. Students in the Department of Information Science learn how information is created, organized and utilized, and how to ensure that tomorrow's information structures and networks respond to society's need for new knowledge, whenever and wherever it comes to life.