Prism: the Office for Accreditation newsletter, Spring 2016

prism masthead

Spring 2016, Volume 24, number 1   ISSN 1066-7873

Laura Dare, editor

We welcome your comments and questions! Please contact us at

In this issue:


Prism Archive - previous editions of Prism, from Fall 2003 through Fall 2015
Best of Prism - selected articles from previous issues

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Accreditation at a glance

64 ALA-accredited programs
59 Institutions with ALA-accredited programs
33 U.S. states (including Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico) with ALA-accredited programs
5 Canadian provinces with ALA-accredited programs
ALA-accredited programs offering 100% online programs †
2 Programs with candidacy status
15,197 Total number of students enrolled in ALA-accredited programs in fall 2014 *
6,735 Graduates of ALA-accredited programs during the 2013-2014 academic year *
  † As identified by the programs
* As reported by programs to the Office for Accreditation
  (2015 student data will be made public at a later date, pending correction of several reporting errors)
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News and announcements

Change of due date for interim narrative reporting

The due date for Interim narrative reports (biennial narrative reports and annual progress reports) has been changed from December 1 to February 15. The Required Reporting for Accreditation web page has been updated to reflect that change. The due date for annual statistical data reporting remains at December 1.

The change stems from COA’s need for more current information when it reviews the reports at its spring meeting in April. It is also in response to a survey of program heads conducted in February asking, “Should the due date for interim narrative reporting (Biennial Narrative Report, Annual Conditional Status Progress Report, Annual Precandidacy Progress Report, and Annual Candidacy Progress Report) be changed from December 1 to February 15?” 87% of respondents said “Yes.” Several program heads commented that the proposed due date would come at a much better time in the academic year. The change was also announced in the April 2016 letters from COA to program heads responding to 2015 interim reports.


External Review Panel training at 2016 ALA Annual Conference in Orlando

Date: Friday, June 24, 2016
Time: 8:00am – 12:00noon
Location: Hyatt Regency Orlando, Celebration 08

New and experienced External Review Panelist (ERP) pool members are invited and encouraged to attend a training session on the role of ERP members in the ALA accreditation process. Participation in training is a prerequisite for serving on a review panel.

Participants will learn about the comprehensive review process and the 2015 Standards for Accreditation, hear from experienced panelists and members of the Committee on Accreditation, and work in groups to analyze a sample Self-Study. Special focus at this year’s training will be on Standard 1: Systematic Planning.

Program heads who want to learn more about the accreditation process, the site visit, and the role of the ERP in the review are welcome to attend as observers. If you’re interested in attending, please RSVP and indicate that you’d like to observe the session.

Please RSVP by June 3 to Laura Dare,, and include “ERP Training” in the subject line. Registration is limited and is on a first-come, first-served basis.


ALA accreditation appeal process training at 2016 ALA Annual Conference in Orlando

Date: Friday, June 24, 2016
Time: 2:00pm – 3:30pm
Location: Hyatt Regency Orlando, Celebration 08

Experienced External Review Panelists (two or more on-site visits) are invited to attend training on the updated accreditation appeal process and policy. People who complete this training will be eligible to serve on an Appeal Review Committee. This training is also useful to people serving on review panels where the accreditation decision could result in an appeal (initial accreditation review or review of program on conditional status). Program representatives are also invited to attend.

The ALA accreditation appeal process is detailed in Section IV: Appeal Process of the Accreditation Process, Policies, and Procedures (AP3) manual.

Please RSVP to Laura Dare,, by June 3 and include “Appeal Process Training” in the subject line.


COA open session at 2016 ALA Annual Conference in Orlando: A closer look at Accreditation Process, Policies, and Procedures (AP3), fourth edition

Date: Sunday, June 26, 2016
Time: 4:30pm - 5:30pm
Location: Rosen Plaza Hotel (9700 International Dr.), Salon 10

Committee on Accreditation members will highlight updates to Accreditation Process, Policies, and Procedures (AP3), fourth edition, and how these changes affect the ALA accreditation process.


AASL-CAEP program review training at 2016 ALA Annual Conference in Orlando

Date: Friday, June 24, 2016
Time: 12noon - 4:00pm
Location: Orange County Convention Center, S330G

New and experienced reviewers and program report writers are encouraged to attend this session to learn about the CAEP (formerly NCATE) program review process, the 2010 ALA/AASL Standards for Initial Preparation of School Librarians, report preparation and review, and appropriate assessments. Banhi Battacharya, CAEP Sr. Director of Program Review, will present updated information on CAEP accreditation and program review. All programs submitting an initial report must now use the 2010 standards. Reviewers who have not been trained on using the 2010 standards must attend this session in order to be assigned to review a program using those standards.

So that we have sufficient training materials on hand, please RSVP to Laura Dare,, by June 3 and include “AASL-CAEP training” in the subject line. Learn more about the AASL-CAEP program review process.


AASL CAEP Coordinating Committee meeting at 2016 ALA Annual Conference in Orlando

Date: Friday, June 24, 2016
Time: 8:30am – 10:00am
Location: Orange County Convention Center, S330G

Members of the AASL CAEP Coordinating Committee are strongly encouraged to attend. The meeting is also open to interested conference attendees.

New External Review Panelists sought

The Office for Accreditation seeks experienced library and information professionals to participate in the accreditation process as External Review Panelists. We are particularly in need of librarians and educators with specializations and experience in the following areas:

  • Archives and records management
  • School librarianship
  • Public librarianship
  • Information science
  • Information technology
  • LIS graduate program administration
  • Service to diverse populations
  • French language skills
  • Spanish language skills

Find out more about what’s involved in serving on an External Review Panel. If you are interested and meet the qualifications, please complete the External Review Panel Member Information Form and plan to attend the training session on June 26 at the 2016 ALA Annual Conference in Orlando.

If you know someone who might be interested in serving as an External Review Panelist, please encourage him/her to apply, or send a recommendation to


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ALA accreditation standards and policy reminders

The Committee on Accreditation (COA) calls your attention to the following important aspects of the 2015 ALA standards and policy, as well as CHEA standards for recognition.

Disclosure of accreditation status requirement

Accreditation Process, Policies and Procedures (AP3), fourth edition, I.7: As a public protection, including for prospective students, any reference to ALA accredited status or display of the ALA Accredited logo must include the specific status as granted by COA: Candidate, Conditional, Continued, Initial, Precandidate, or Withdrawn. Specific language to use is indicated in individual status sections of AP3: I.11.2, I.12.1, I.13.1, and I.14.

Demonstration of accountability to the public

Current, accurate, and easily accessible information about the program is available to students and the general public. This information includes documentation of progress toward achievement of program goals and objectives… (2015 Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies, IV.2)

Notification requirement of institutional or programmatic changes

As many institutions and programs are going through organizational changes, the Office for Accreditation reminds program heads of notification requirements. From AP3, I.22: Any change in executive administration must be communicated in writing to the Office for Accreditation within 30 days. Examples of executive administration changes that must be reported include, but are not limited to:

  • Chief executive officer of the institution, e.g., president;
  • Head of the accredited program, e.g., dean, director, chair;
  • Chief academic officer of the institution, e.g., provost.

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COA announces accreditation actions

The Committee on Accreditation (COA) of the American Library Association (ALA) has announced accreditation decisions made at the 2016 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Boston.

Continued Accreditation status was granted to the following programs, with the next comprehensive review visit scheduled to take place in fall 2022: 

  • Master of Library and Information Science at Dominican University (IL);
  • Master of Library Science at Emporia State University (KS);
  • Master of Library and Information Science at the University of Hawaii;
  • Master of Science in Library and Information Science at Syracuse University (NY).

Continued accreditation with release from Conditional accreditation status was granted to the following program, with the next comprehensive review visit scheduled to take place in fall 2022:

  • Master of Science in Library and Information Science degree at Long Island University (NY).

Information on accreditation statuses and types of reviews can be found in Section I of Accreditation Process, Policies and Procedures (AP3), fourth edition.

The following institutions have programs that are being visited in the spring 2016 academic term. The accreditation decisions will be made by the COA at its meeting at the 2016 ALA Annual Conference in Orlando.

  • The Catholic University of America (Washington, DC)
  • Chicago State University (IL)
  • University of Iowa
  • University of South Florida
  • University of Tennessee

The following institutions have programs that are being visited in the fall 2016 academic term. The accreditation decisions will be made by the COA at its meeting at the 2017 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Atlanta.

  • University of British Columbia
  • McGill University (QC)
  • North Carolina Central University
  • Pratt Institute (NY)
  • University of Southern California
  • Wayne State University (MI)

ALA accreditation indicates that the program meets or exceeds the Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies, established by COA and adopted by ALA Council. The accreditation process involves rigorous, ongoing self-evaluation by the program and verification of evidence through an external review. COA evaluates each program for compliance with the Standards, which address The COA evaluates each program for compliance with the Standards, which address systematic planning; curriculum; faculty; students; and administration, finances, and resources.

The MLIS directory provides a complete list of programs accredited by ALA. Individuals who would like more information about a particular program should contact the program.
The ALA COA is a leading force in accreditation, having evaluated educational programs to prepare librarians since 1924. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) recognizes the ALA COA as the authority for assessing the quality of education offered by graduate programs in the field of library and information studies.

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By Karen L. O'Brien, Director, ALA Office for Accreditation

Effective reporting

Programs that submitted biennial narrative reports last December were the first to respond to the 2015 Standards. Statistical reporting has also been a different experience this year. Change is surely the constant. These changes should prove beneficial to us all.

At the 2016 COA Spring meeting, April 7-8, the Committee voted to change the due date for interim narrative reports from December 1 to February 15. The decision was guided by the results of a survey of deans, directors, and chairs conducted by Laura Dare, Accreditation Manager, and is reflected in the letter from COA that each program receives annually in response to interim reporting. As usual, that letter will include dates for next reporting. Documentation on the website, including the Required reporting for accreditation page, has been updated to reflect the due date change.

Interim reporting and COA letters of response quite naturally inform development of a self-study for a comprehensive review. With the new Standards, use of the prior self-study (program presentation) could prove problematic. That makes it all the more sensible to let interim reporting be a guide to developing the self-study.

Having a sense of how it is to report to the 2015 Standards will inform reviewer training efforts. Program personnel with visits in the next couple of years will benefit from attending the reviewer training sessions held on Fridays at ALA Annual and Midwinter ALA conferences. Workshops for program personnel are being planned for Thursdays at ALA Annual Conference beginning in 2017. Stay tuned for developments in virtual reviewer training as well.

Latest program data trends

The latest statistical data (2015), trended and summarized, is scheduled to be available by May 20 from the Reports and Publications page under the Data on Program Performance section.

Outcomes assessment: a new study

The Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors (ASPA) has released a study on outcomes assessment, reporting that ALA is among the 76% of accreditors that rely on programs to define what successful outcomes mean in their own context. Indicators of success are typically based on program mission. Other accreditors are more prescriptive, requiring “specific areas that must be addressed, similar to bright line indicators such as graduation, placement, and licensure rates. Also included are broader inquiries like student or alumni satisfaction measures, and alumni performance or employer feedback.”

Upcoming COA decisions on Initial Accreditation status

The results of the review of Chicago State University’s Master of Science in Library and Information Science program will be determined at the 2016 ALA Annual Conference.

The University Southern California’s Master of Management in Library and Information Science program is scheduled for its initial accreditation visit in fall 2016. An accreditation decision is to be made at the 2017 ALA Midwinter Meeting.

See the MLIS directory for a list of programs with Candidacy status.

Opportunities to connect

Join me at the COA open session at the 2016 ALA Annual Conference on Sunday from 4:30 to 5:30 at the Rosen Plaza Hotel, Salon 10. Members of the COA will discuss key aspects of the 2015 Standards and process documentation. I invite you to give me a call at 312-280-2434 or drop me a line at


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By Joan S. Howland, Chair, Committee on Accreditation and Roger F. Noreen Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Information & Technology, University of Minnesota Law School

“Hey. A Little Less Conversation, a Little More Action, Please” 1

A positive development in the ongoing efforts to sustain and promote the value of American Library Association (ALA) accreditation has been the formation of the Task Force on Accreditation Process and Communication and the Task Force on the Context of Future Accreditation. Approved by the ALA Executive Board in June 2015, the task forces are charged with studying and providing thoughtful feedback on critical accreditation issues including workflow, communication, transparency, internal and external perceptions, and collaboration among interested parties. The work of the task forces will assist ALA and the Committee on Accreditation (COA) in ensuring that the accreditation standards evolve in a coherent fashion and remain responsive to the changing dynamics of library and information science graduate education.  This work also will guide graduate library and information science (LIS) programs in delivering curricula and training that is sensitive to the evolving needs of students, faculty, administrators, “boots on the ground” librarians, and the consumers of the services provided by library and information science professionals.  An added benefit of the accreditation initiative will be the bringing together of individuals who are vested in the same concerns but who are rarely provided opportunities to share knowledge, exchange viewpoints, develop trust, and ally with one another to achieve common goals.

In tandem with the ALA task forces, COA has commissioned an external consultant, Sutton Enterprises, to evaluate committee processes and procedures as well as those of the Office for Accreditation. The purpose of this consultancy includes, but is not limited to: 1) improving and enhancing communication, transparency, and trust between COA and the LIS programs; 2) improving the efficiency and effectiveness of all aspects of the accreditation process, specifically identifying methods of streamlining the process and providing more coherent guidance to the programs; and 3) improving the experience of and value for LIS programs navigating the COA review process. As of April 1, 2016, Sutton had conducted a significant number of interviews with representatives of many constituencies, including directors of LIS programs, chairs of external review panels, current and former COA members, and the Office for Accreditation staff. COA envisions that the next step in this process will be the “mapping” of the accreditation process to identify bottlenecks, redundancies, and other areas of concern. The intention is that the consultancy will inform and enhance the work of not only COA but also of the task forces.        

The efforts of the task forces and COA to improve processes and procedures, as well as enhance the value of ALA accreditation, should be commended. However, similar to professionals in other fields and disciplines, as members of ALA we often spend too much time soliciting the opinions of our colleagues rather than seeking the often more astute and practical guidance of those we serve. Therefore, in writing this column, I feel it is appropriate to draw upon the counsel of that often overlooked sage, Elvis Presley. Although internationally recognized as one of the most significant musical and cultural icons of the 20th century, many are unaware of Elvis’s keen affinity for reading that stemmed from his visits as a youth  to the  public libraries in Tupelo, Mississippi and Memphis, Tennessee 2 and grew into a “voracious” lifelong  habit (albeit, arguably, consuming quantity over quality).3  As suggested by the title of this column, I believe all those involved in the accreditation review process should take to heart Elvis’s message from his 1968 hit, “A Little Less Conversation, a Little More Action.” Once the reports from the task forces and the COA consultant’s study are reviewed and distilled, collaborative and focused conversations among stakeholders must be encouraged. More importantly, concrete steps must be taken, guided by plans derived from broad consultation, respectful dialogue, and reasoned compromise. Drawing on another phrase in the aforementioned song, and with a full appreciation that many of the song’s other lyrics should not be repeated in any context, all parties involved should also heed the guidance:

“A little more bite and a little less bark
 A little less fight and a little more spark”

Even before the current accreditation review initiatives began, LIS program directors, COA members, participants in external review panels, and other stakeholders had ample opportunity to comment on the process. And many did so with great candor. However, through the work of the current accreditation task forces and the internal COA review, the time will soon be ripe to study, absorb, and act upon the information and data collected. I am certain that all those invested in ALA accreditation will put aside preconceptions, past grievances, personal or institutional agendas, and preferences for past practices. I am equally certain that all parties will seize this opportunity not only to improve the accreditation process, but also to strengthen collegial relationships throughout ALA and the broader profession.

1 Davis, Mac and Strange, Billy “A Little Less Conversation” (1968), single by Elvis Presley released in September 1968 on RCA Victor.

2 In 2012 a library check-out card for “The Courageous Heart: A Life of Andrew Jackson for Young Readers: from Humes High School in Memphis,” signed by 13year old Elvis Presley, sold at auction for $7500.



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Spotlight on process: Resources for programs in the ALA-accreditation process

By Laura Dare, Accreditation Manager, ALA Office for Accreditation

In each issue of Prism we focus on an aspect of process, policy, or procedure of ALA accreditation. This issue’s column focuses on resources to assist programs throughout the accreditation process. If you have an idea for a future column, please send it to Laura Dare.

The two guiding documents for ALA accreditation are the ALA Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies and the Accreditation Process, Policies and Procedures (AP3) manual. The Office for Accreditation (OA) provides a variety of resources to assist programs both with Standards compliance and with the accreditation process. A few of the available resources are detailed below. More can be found at Resources for LIS Administrators.

Selected resources for programs in the comprehensive review process

  • A customized comprehensive review timeline, shared with the program early in the review process, lists the various process steps and due dates, and includes links to relevant sections of AP3. This Excel document allows the program to easily see what steps have been completed and what tasks are on the horizon. A similar timeline is given to the ERP chair for the review.
  • Examples of evidence that might be used to indicate compliance with the Standards for Accreditation (AP3, Section II.7.4). This list, created by COA, provides a standard-by-standard suggestion of evidence that is typically needed to indicate compliance.
  • The Sample Program Presentations page provides links to more than 30 publicly available self-studies. While the available Program Presentations were all written to the 2008 Standards (no examples for the 2015s will be available until 2017, when the first programs to use the 2015 Standards complete their comprehensive reviews), these self-studies can help generate ideas for the organization and formatting of the document, as well as the types of evidence that can be used to indicate Standards compliance.
  • The OA maintains a Correspondence Log for each program. This is a chronology of excerpts from each COA letter to the program, beginning with the most recent accreditation decision and including letters from COA in response to interim reports. The log also contains names of contacts at the program and institution (program head, CAO, CEO, and anyone identified by the program as “to be copied on accreditation-related correspondence”), the version of the Standards being used, date of next reporting and next comprehensive review, and information that has been sent by the program to COA/OA regarding personnel or organizational changes. While the log is prepared specifically as a reference tool for COA, it is also a very useful document that program heads can use to see at a glance any Standard issues that the COA has flagged. The Correspondence Log is shared with the program during the comprehensive review process, but is also available at any time upon request to the OA. The log can be a valuable quick-reference tool for a newly appointed program head.
  • Program heads are invited to attend ERP training sessions at ALA conferences. ERP Chair training, offered at Midwinter, is focused on the comprehensive review process, and is especially useful to programs in that process. General ERP training, offered at each ALA Annual Conference, is focused on the Standards and the role and responsibilities of the ERP.

Prism: the Newsletter from the Office for Accreditation is a primary source of information about ALA accreditation, including process and policy updates, accreditation-related sessions at ALA conferences, recent accreditation decisions, an editorial by the COA Chair, and informational columns by the OA Director and Accreditation Manager. The newsletter is published twice yearly, in April and November. 

Each LIS program is unique and thus has different needs. The OA staff members are always available to explain processes or talk through challenges, and may be able to identify additional resources that would be useful in specific situations. Contact us at

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External Review Panelists acknowledged

External review panelists contribute substantial time and energy to the accreditation process to assure quality in LIS education. We extend our appreciation to the following panelists who served during the fall 2015 academic term.


  • Ann Curry, Professor, University of Alberta
  • Gail Dickinson, Associate Dean, Darden College of Education, Old Dominion University
  • Lisa Hinchliffe, Coordinator for Information Literacy Services and Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Edward O'Neill, Research Scientist (retired), Office of Research, OCLC
  • Jennifer Paustenbaugh, University Librarian, Brigham Young University


  • Rick AmRhein, Chief Information Officer, Office of the President, Valparaiso University
  • Hermina Anghelescu, Associate Professor, SLIS, Wayne State University
  • Jennifer Weil Arns, Associate Professor, SLIS, University of South Carolina
  • Stephen T. Bajjaly, Director and Professor, SLIS, Wayne State University
  • Diane L. Barlow, Special Assistant to the Dean, College of Information Studies, University of Maryland
  • Tracy Bicknell-Holmes, Dean, Albertsons Library, Boise State University
  • Rick J. Block, Metadata Librarian, Seattle University
  • Kenneth-Roy Bonin, Senior Fellow, Faculty of Public Affairs, Carleton University
  • Cecelia M. Brown, Professor and Director, SLIS, University of Oklahoma
  • Rene Erlandson, (formerly) Director, Virtual Services, Criss Library, University of Nebraska Omaha
  • Patricia Evans, Research/Technology Librarian, Supreme Court of the US Library
  • Janine Golden, Associate Professor, Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California
  • Vicki L. Gregory, Professor, School of Information, University of South Florida
  • Lynne C. Howarth, Professor, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto
  • Anne Cooper Moore, Dean, J. Murrey Atkins Library, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • Muzhgan Nazarova, Catalog Librarian for Slavic Language Resources, Duke University Libraries
  • Toby Pearlstein, Director of Global Information Services (Retired), Bain & Company
  • Susan Roman, Dean Emerita, GSLIS, Dominican University
  • Ann Carlson Weeks, Associate Dean, College of Information Studies, University of Maryland
  • Amanda J. Wilson, Director, National Transportation Library, U.S. Dept. of Transportation

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AASL-CAEP recognition news

ALA policy B.9.2.2 states: "The master's degree in librarianship from a program accredited by the American Library Association or a master’s degree with a specialty in school librarianship from an ALA/AASL Nationally Recognized program in an educational unit accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation is the appropriate first professional degree for school librarians."

Fall 2015 AASL recognition decision

The following program, which are part of an NCATE- or CAEP-accredited education units, received AASL National Recognition or National Recognition with Conditions during the fall 2014 semester. National Recognition is awarded to education master’s programs in school librarianship that have been reviewed and approved by AASL's program reviewers using the ALA/AASL Standards for Initial Preparation of School Librarians (2010).

  • East Central University (OK), M.Ed. in School Library Media
  • Longwood University (VA), M.S.Ed. with School Library Media concentration
  • Northeastern State University (OK), M.S.Ed., Library Media & Information Technology
  • Nova Southeastern University (FL), M.S. in Education with Educational Media
  • Olivet Nazarene University (IL), M.A. in Education, Library Information Specialist

Fall 2015 reviewers

We extend our appreciation to the following program reviewers and auditors who served during the fall 2014 semester:

  • Anne Akers, Assistant Clinical Prof/School Library Program Coordinator, Department of Library and Information Studies, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • Susan Ballard, Project Director, School Librarian Program, Granite State College/University System of NH
  • Mary Ann Berry, Retired/Adjunct, Department of Library Science, Sam Houston State University
  • Elizabeth Burns, Lecturer, School Library Program, Dept. of Teaching and Learning, Old Dominion University
  • Kelli Carney, Assistant Professor of Library Media, Curriculum and Instruction Department, Northeastern State University
  • Audrey Church, Coordinator, School Library Media Program, Longwood University
  • Patsy Couts, Professor, College of Education and Professional Studies, University of Central Oklahoma
  • Sherry Crow, Assistant Professor of School Library Science/Educational Media, College of Education, University of Nebraska at Kearney
  • Liz Haynes, Director (retired), School of Library and Information Science, University of Southern Mississippi
  • Cynthia Houston, Associate Professor, Library Media Education Program, Western Kentucky University
  • Mona Kerby, Professor, School Library Media Program, McDaniel College
  • Johan Koren, Associate Professor, Dept. of Early Childhood & Elementary Education, Murray State University
  • Rebecca Pasco, Professor and Coordinator, Library Science Education Programs, Library Science Education Programs
  • Karin Perry, Assistant Professor, Department of Library Science, Sam Houston State University
  • Barbara Ray, Professor, Northeastern State University
  • Angie Richeson, Technology Outreach Officer, Community of Gothenburg
  • Linda Underwood (retired), North Carolina Central University


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The next issue of Prism will be published in November 2016. Stay tuned!

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