A Brief History of the School of Information

The School of Information at The Florida State University is one of the top-ranked programs in the nation and has held this ranking for many years. The program maintains a respect for tradition, while it continues to explore new ways to educate information professionals.

In 1947, the College was established as the School of Library Training and Service, a professional school offering a Master’s degree (now Specialist degree). The School was authorized in 1968 to offer the doctor of philosophy degree and in January 1969 to offer the advanced master’s degree. The College’s present master’s degree is titled library and information studies; students major in either information studies or library studies. An undergraduate major in information studies began in fall 1996.  This degree was replaced by an undergraduate major in Information Technology starting in the Fall of 2005.

The School can trace its history back to the 1920s at what was then the Florida State College for Women (FSCW).  The first library science courses were developed by Ms. Louise Richardson, a librarian who joined FSCW in 1920.  The first course, Library Methods 300, was offered in 1926 by Ms. Richardson to seven students.  With the hiring of an “instructor” in library science in 1929, the 1930 SFCW bulletin listed the “Department of Library Science” with two faculty and seven courses.

With the influx of returning soldiers after the war, FSCW became co-ed and changed its name to The Florida State University (FSU).  Then FSU President Doak Campbell, reached out to Dr. Louis Shores to come to FSU and assume the Deanship of  a library school.  The new “School” was announced in 1947 as the School of Library Training and Service (SOLTAS).  Dr. Shores remained the Dean until 1967 when he was succeeded by Dr. Harold Goldstein.  The School changed its named on January 1968 to the “School of Library Science.”  Another name change occurred in June 1981 when the faculty voted to change the name to the “School of Information” in preparation for the opening of the School’s new building (its current location) in November 1981.  In the Spring of 1985, Dr. F. William Summers joined the school as the new Dean (its 3rd) followed by Dr. Jane Robbins in 1994 (its 4th).    In November 2004, the School changed its name to the College of Information and Dr. Lawrence Dennis succeeded Jane Robbins in December 2004 as the new Dean. Following a June 2009 merger with the College of Communication, a new entity was created on July 1, 2009: the College of Communication & Information.  The College had three schools, one of which was the School of Information.  Dr. Corinne Jörgensen assumed the Director role in July 2009 and served a three-year term.  In August 2012, Dr. Kathy Burnett became the Interim Director of the School.

The School of Information is proud that in its more than 60-year history, it has produced graduates who occupy positions of significant leadership and responsibility. In addition, the faculty includes past-presidents of the American Library Association, the Association of Library and Information Science Education, Beta Phi Mu (the honorary society for Library Science), the Division for Educational Media Management (DEMM) of the Association for Educational Communication and Technology (AECT), the American Association of School Librarians, the Association for Library Services to Children, the Florida Library Association, and the Florida Association for Media in Education. Awards won among the honors faculty members are the President’s Teaching Award, the Blackwell/North American Scholarship Award, the Beta Phi Mu Award and the Lippincott Award. The College also has endowments for the Lazerow and Srygley Lectures.  The school has over 8000 alumni since its inception.