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Critical Thinkers

CEHC's Master of Science in Information Science School Library (ISSL) program is now fully online.


ALBANY, N.Y. (April 24, 2018) – As terms like “fake news” and “alternative facts” continue to dominate headlines, there’s a growing need for certified school librarians who can teach our youth the critical thinking skills needed to sift, sort, access, select, and use reliable information.

UAlbany is helping meet the demand for professionals in the field through its Master of Science in Information Science School Library (ISSL) program in the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity.

The 36-credit program, recently approved by the New York State Education Department, is now fully online. The new format provides students the flexibility of full or part-time enrollment, with an average of 18 months to 2 years for degree completion.

“In an era characterized by the proliferation of information, the role of the school librarian is more important than ever. School librarians teach students, teachers and community members how to find and use reliable information, how to be responsible and responsive digital citizens, and how to be both consumers and producers of information,” said Joette Stefl-Mabry, CEHC associate professor and ISSL program director.

“Our fully online program is purposefully designed to prepare candidates to be information professionals and leaders as teacher/librarians in New York State and across the nation. What makes the ISSL program unique is that we integrate learning experiences throughout the program that enable our students to document evidence of their practice on student learning. Thus, in addition to mastering information literacy and technology competencies, our graduates are assessment literate."

Joette Stefl-Mabry
Joette Stefl-Mabry, CEHC associate professor and ISSL program director.

ISSL’s curriculum combines various disciplines to prepare 21st-century school librarians including: library and information science, education, cognitive science, instructional technology and design, psychology and sociology. The program is aligned to the National School Library Standards and is one of the first school library graduate programs to offer a makerspace course.

“I was already an educator for about five years before deciding to enroll at UAlbany,” said Bernard Bott ’10, a high school librarian in Guilderland and graduate of ISSL prior to its online transition. “You wear so many hats in our profession. That was emphasized by the diversity of courses in this program. It incorporates everything from statistics to information theory to basic coding. I lean on my degree every day.”

Due to the shortage of certified school librarians in New York, the State Education Department recently approved a 12-credit Supplemental Certificate (for candidates with teaching certification) and an 18-credit Internship Certificate (for candidates without teacher certification) in school librarianship. These programs provide a way for students to be hired as full-time school librarians while completing their ISSL degrees. You can learn more about them here.

All ISSL graduates are also immediately eligible for licensure as public librarians upon graduation.

Those interested in applying can email:

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than
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