Prism: the Office for Accreditation newsletter, Spring 2023

prism masthead

Spring 2023, Volume 31, Number 1 • ISSN 1066-7873 • Susana Stoll, editor
Comments, questions, and suggestions are welcomed. Please contact us at

In this issue:  
ALA accreditation by the numbers Fall 2022
News and announcements Previous Editions
COA announces accreditation actions
From the Director of the Office: Of Note
From the CoA Chair: Perspective
In profile: Lesley Farmer
External Review Panelists acknowledged
AASL-CAEP recognition news


Accreditation by the numbers

68 ALA-accredited programs
64 institutions with ALA-accredited programs
35 US States (plus Washington, DC and Puerto Rico) with ALA-accredited programs
5    Canadian provinces with ALA-accredited programs
42 ALA-accredited programs offering 100% online programs †
1 Program with candidacy status
19,997 total students enrolled in ALA-accredited programs in fall 2021 *
 6,956 graduates of ALA-accredited programs during the 2020-2021 academic year *

† As identified by the programs
* As reported by programs to the Office for Accreditation 


News and announcements

External Review Panel (ERP) Training at 2023 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, IL  

Date: Thursday, June 22, 2023
Time: 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Location: Hilton Chicago, 720 S. Michigan Avenue, Room: Boulevard AB

New and experienced External Review Panelist (ERP) pool members are invited to attend this 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. Experienced review panelists will share their experience and OA staff will present resources for use in the review process. LIS program representatives who are interested in learning more about the comprehensive review process are also encouraged to attend. 

Please RSVP to, by June 16, 2023, and include “ERP Training” in the subject line.

Open COA meeting at 2023 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, IL  

Date: Saturday, June 24, 2023
Time: 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Location: Hilton Chicago, 720 S. Michigan Avenue, Astoria Room

Join Committee on Accreditation (COA) members for a discussion of the draft revised Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies. Members of the COA will highlight changes in the proposed draft and will present information on the standards review process, including the research methodology. 

Once a revision is approved by the ALA Council, programs will be asked to begin responding to it in the next report. Programs that have already begun a comprehensive review cycle will remain responding to the same version of the Standards throughout the review.

COA announces accreditation actions

At the COA 2023 Winter Meeting

Continued Accreditation status was granted to the following programs with the next comprehensive review visit scheduled to take place in fall 2029.

  • Master of Library and Information Science at Dominican University. Meets all standards. No follow-up reporting required. 
  • Master in Information Science at the University of Montreal. Follow up reporting required by October 1, 2023, regarding Standard I.2) and section I.10 of Process, Policies, and Procedures (AP3). AP I.10).
  • Master of Arts in Library and Information Studies at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Meets all standards. No follow-up reporting required

Conditional Accreditation status was granted to the following program with the next comprehensive review visit scheduled to take place in fall 2025:

  • Master of Library Science at East Carolina University. Standard elements found to be out of compliance: Standard 1.1. Demonstration of ongoing broad-based planning that includes feedback from all constituents, beyond the advisory council (e.g., broader group of employers, alumni, and the professional library community served by the program); Standard II.1 and II.3. Evidence that the program is providing pathways and appropriate curriculum beyond school librarianship; Standard III.1. Evidence that the full-time tenure track faculty are not unduly burdened by the phased retirement of two faculty members; Standard III.2, III.3, III.5, and III.8. Evidence that the program is providing adequate support for research beyond the teaching releases during the first two years, given the 3/3 teaching load, which is reported as inconsistent with university policy, that the unit is ensuring the successful recruitment and retention of faculty from diverse backgrounds, and that non-tenured tenure track faculty are mentored for research within their respective research area; Standard V.6. Provide evidence that the program receives equitable funding at an institutional level relative to program, college, and university revenues.

From the Director of the Office: Of Note

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

Spring is a time of connection to all programs involved in the ALA LIS program accreditation process. Reporting, statistical and narrative, is reviewed and responded to by the Committee on Accreditation (CoA, the Committee). This reporting helps programs navigate beneficial change, truly the purpose of the accreditation process. 

At its Spring Meeting, the Committee discusses each program’s reporting in light of what is being accomplished in the interim to its last comprehensive review. Programs’ preparation of the reporting, intake of it, the Office’s preparation of it for the Committee, and the Committee review process, are a major undertaking. Each year the process grows in intensity as more programs come forward seeking ALA accreditation. Two applications for Precandidacy are in motion and one Candidate will have its visit next spring. Bringing all of the threads together to manage in one portal would be a boon to everyone involved. ALA staff have continued investigation of accreditation management systems. Procurement of a license is hoped to commence in the fall. The lessons learned from the prior license with a developer that folded before we were able to get through piloting help ensure that this time we will succeed!  

The ALA Executive Board Working Group on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) is organizing to provide guidance to LIS programs. These efforts should prove useful with the more intense focus on EDI in the revised Standards that ALA Council is considering for adoption at its meeting on Monday at the 2023 ALA Annual Conference

Join the Office for a general reviewer training on Thursday afternoon at the 2023 ALA Annual Conference (see details and RSVP information in News and Announcements in this newsletter). The CoA will hold its open meeting at Conference on Saturday afternoon and present the draft revised Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies Saturday, June 24, 2023, from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm, Hilton Chicago, 720 S. Michigan Avenue, in the Astoria room. 

The CoA is welcoming to its ranks this spring, Andrea Copeland (Chair, Library and Information Science Program and Director, Luddy School of Informatics, Computing & Engineering, Indiana University Purdue University). This fall, the new CoA Chair is Gail Dickinson (Professor Emerita, Old Dominion University) and we welcome Jose Sanchez (Associate Professor, Graduate School of Library and Information Studies, Queens College, City University of New York) as a new member.

Bright days ahead-- stay tuned!

From the CoA Chair: Perspective

By Athena Salaba, 2022-23 Chair, Committee on Accreditation (Professor, School of Information, Kent State University)

At the January 2023 meeting, the Committee on Accreditation (CoA), made additional revisions to the Standards for Accreditation of Master's Programs in Library and Information Studies (last edition was in 2015) based on the feedback received in Fall 2022. The revised Standards were forwarded to the ALA Council for review and adoption at its meeting on Monday at the 2023 ALA Annual Conference.

In addition to making the Standards statements clearer and less redundant, the major focus of this revision is on the reporting of demonstrated efforts and outcomes for equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI), and to ensure a sense of belonging for all stakeholders. The accreditation Standards are used in conjunction with Accreditation Process, Policies and Procedures (AP3), which includes ALA-CoA policies, descriptions of the various accreditation processes and procedures, and guidelines for the preparation of the documentation, such as candidacy application materials, the self-study, and the biennial narrative report, with lists of suggested evidence for demonstrating how each  standard is being  met. With the standards revision, the CoA is working on providing additional guidance to the programs. Work has started on the development of a self-study template that would incorporate examples of evidence, some listed in AP3.

I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the following statements from the revised Standards:

  • “Accreditation serves to ensure educational quality, judged in terms of demonstrated results in supporting the educational development of students.” – Standards, p. 4
  • “The Committee on Accreditation protects the public interest and provides guidance for educators…. By identifying those programs meeting recognized standards, the Committee offers a means of quality control in the professional staffing of library and information services.” – Standards, p. 4
  • “The Committee on Accreditation examines the evidence presented for each of the Standards; however, its final judgment is concerned with the totality of the accomplishment and the environment for learning.” – Standards, p. 4
  • “These Standards identify the indispensable components of library and information studies programs while recognizing programs’ rights and obligations regarding initiative, experimentation, innovation, and individual programmatic differences. The Standards are indicative, not prescriptive, with the intent to foster excellence through a program’s development of criteria for evaluating effectiveness, developing and applying qualitative and quantitative measures of these criteria, analyzing data from measurements, and applying analysis to program improvement.” – Standards, p. 6 

These statements, among others, guide CoA’s review of LIS programs. The Standards allow for flexibility for the programs to define their goals, develop innovative curriculum and offerings to meet the needs of the LIS students, graduates, faculty, employers, and the field, while protecting the broader public interest. The Standards and the AP3 provide guidance to the programs, but they also provide appropriate flexibility for programs to develop the criteria and measures for evaluating effectiveness and the quality of the accredited program, while making sure each of the Standards and individual statements are addressed and the program can demonstrate how the Standards are met with the support of evidence. All this is to ensure educational quality and to protect the public interest.  


In profile: Lesley S.J. Farmer

Professor Library Media at California State University Long Beach, External Reviewer

Q. Describe your career path, including any interesting projects you have been involved with lately.

I’ve worked in librarianship since fourth grade. As a latch key kid in July when I was 10, my dad dropped me off at the main public library all day during the week. One day I overheard a little boy ask the librarian where the book about a boy and dinosaur was located. The librarian scratched her head, so I piped up: “I bet you want The Enormous Egg by Oliver Butterworth,” and I pointed to the shelf. It was just what he wanted, and I thought: “I could do this for a living!” and I never looked back. 

I was a school library aide until college, and I volunteered in the college library to do their bulletin board since they couldn’t hire me. I indexed the NC union catalog version on microfilm while getting my MSLS at UNC Chapel Hill, and my first professional job was with Baltimore County Public Library. Then I moved to California (the first time) I served as the librarian for Singer’s R&D division, and then joined Peace Corps Tunisia where I cataloged their National Nutrition Library and taught library science and English at their National Administration School. 

I was the first YA librarian at Radnor Memorial Public Library and was the librarian at NE Catholic High School in Philadelphia while working on my doctorate in adult education at Temple University. I later substituted at Marin Public Library System and Marin Community College while I worked as a school librarian at San Domenico School and Redwood High School. I also taught library and technology courses at Villanova, University of Delaware, Virginia Commonwealth University, Catholic University of America, University of Hawaii, University of Hong Kong, San Jose State University, and for the last two decades at California State University Long Beach (CSULB) as their Teacher Librarian program coordinator. I also established and manage the ICT Literacy Community for MERLOT. Been there, done that. 

Q. When, why, and/or how did you initially become interested in serving as an accreditation external reviewer?

I have been an ALA member since 1972. However, when I started my job at CSULB, I wanted the program to become nationally accredited. I started reviewing school librarian programs for AASL, When I joined ALISE soon thereafter, heard about ALA COA, and wanted to be involved in order to learn more about its accreditation and get involved in the process. I also wanted to visit other library/information schools to inform my own practice and improve CSULB’s program.

Q. Do you have any thoughts on the qualities that make an effective review panelist?

As with most professional activities, one needs to be open-minded, observant, dependable, collaborative, patient, flexible, supportive, and gracious. Communication skills are vital: listening, asking critical questions, conveying information accurately and professionally, and writing succinctly and insightfully. One needs to read and write about the self-study and accompanying evidence carefully, thoroughly, critically, and analytically. It is easy to compare a program with one’s own experience, but that is not the job: it is to verify what was written in the self-study, read between the lines, and determine what is not conveyed. Sounds like a superhero, no? 

Q. What advice would you give to new review panelists?

Besides being a superhero? Be prepared. Attend trainings. Find out what is expected of you and when and manage your time accordingly – and double your estimate to time needed. Carefully and thoroughly read the accreditation process policies and procedures and refer to them when reading and analyzing the program’s self-study. Use the templates to help guide your reading, analysis, and note-taking. Pay attention and do what your ERP chair asked you to do in a timely and high-quality way. Get to know your ERP colleagues and ask for guidance and clarification. Enjoy the visit experience and learn from others; again, listen carefully (including what is not said) to verify the self-study, and do not go off-target. Remember that you represent COA and the field at large; you are COA’s eyes and ears (remember Heinlein’s fair witness?) but you are NOT the decision-maker.

Q. What do you feel is the most important aspect of preparing for a comprehensive review? For programs and for reviewers?

Know and follow the standards with both the lens of the program being evaluated as well as that of COA. Follow the evidence and convey the program’s intent accurately, thoroughly, and justly.

Q. What advice would you give someone involved in working on a program’s comprehensive review for the first time? For programs and for reviewers?

The same as above: Know and follow the standards with both the lens of the program being evaluated as well as that of ALA-CoA. Provide and follow the evidence and convey the program’s intent accurately, thoroughly, and justly. Ahead of time: take the ALA-CoA trainings, volunteer to review a program, ask ALA-CoA and comparable successful programs for advice, study self-study and report exemplars. For programs: involve all your stakeholders in the process, and be transparent, make sure your study has a unified “voice” and structure, and make it easy for the reviewer to read, understand, and experience the program firsthand. 

Q. Do you have any general observations about the accreditation process that you’d like to share?

Experiencing the “kitchen” side of the accreditation process informs your practice and gives you an opportunity to work with excellent, caring professionals. This is a special opportunity to give back to the profession.

Q. What are two good books you would recommend? 

If you’re looking at school libraries, you can read my book Managing the Successful School Library. For a fun professional read, try Sardar and Van Loon’s Introducing Media Studies. And for librarian insider delight, read/view Phil Shaw’s Shelf Obsession; you may find yourself organizing your home library in an intriguing new way!

External review panelists acknowledged

External review panelists contribute substantial time and effort to the accreditation process to assure quality in LIS education. We extend our appreciation to the following panelists who served on accreditation reviews during the fall 2022 academic term. 


  • Rick AmRhein, Professor of Library Science, Christopher Center, Valparaiso University
  • Hermina Anghelescu, Professor, School of Information Sciences, Wayne State University
  • Joyce M. Latham, Associate Professor Emerita, School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • Jennifer Weil Arns, Associate Professor, Davis College, School of Library & Information Science, University of South Carolina


  • Rachel Applegate, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Faculty Affairs, Office of Academic Affairs, Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis
  • Pascal Calarco, Librarian, Systems Dept., J. Francis Leddy Library, University of Windsor
  • Linda C. Cook, CEO (retired), Edmonton Public Library
  • John D'Amicantonio, Information Resource Officer (retired), U.S. Department of State
  • J. Gordon Daines III, Curator of Research and Instruction Services/Curator of Yellowstone National Park Collection, Brigham Young University
  • Prudence W. Dalrymple, Teaching Professor, Health Informatics (retired), Drexel University
  • Gregory S. Hunter, Professor of Library and Information Science, Palmer School of Library and Information Science, Long Island University
  • Courtney McDonald, Associate Professor & User Experience Librarian, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Dorothy Meaney, Director, Tisch Library, Tufts University
  • Dany Savard, Director, Open Scholarship, York University Libraries
  • James Vorbach, Director & Associate Professor, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, St. John’s University
  • Ann C. Weeks, Professor of the Practice, Emerita, College of Information Studies, University of Maryland
  • Maurice Wheeler, Associate Professor, Department of Information Science, University of North Texas
  • Cabot Yu, Manager, Information Management Business Solutions, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, Government of Canada


New external review panelists sought
Find out more about what is involved in serving on an external review panel at If you are interested or want to recommend someone, the External Review Panel Member Information Form is accessible from that page. 

Especially sought are reviewers with expertise in:

  • Archives and records management
  • Cultural heritage information management
  • Curricular review and redesign
  • Distance education
  • School librarianship
  • Public librarianship
  • Information science
  • Information technology
  • LIS graduate program administration
  • Service to diverse populations
  • French language skills
  • Spanish language skills

AASL-CAEP recognition news

Fall 2022 AASL recognition decisions

The following programs, which are part of an education unit (school or college) accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), received National Recognition by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) in fall 2022:

  • Appalachian State University, Library Science
  • Longwood University, Library media preK-12
  • Marshall University, School Library Media Specialist
  • McDaniel College, School Library Media
  • Northeastern State University, Library Media Specialist
  • Northern Illinois University, Library Information Specialist
  • St. John Fisher University, MS in Library Media

National Recognition is awarded to 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. 

Fall 2022 reviewers appreciated
We extend our appreciation to the following program reviewers and auditors who served during the fall semester:

  • Kelli A. Carney (Assistant Professor of Library Media, Northeastern State University)
  • Cassandra Barnett (Library Media Specialist, Curriculum Support, Arkansas Department of Education, Division of Elementary and Secondary Education)
  • Rene Burress (Department Chair and Associate Professor, Dept. of Educational Technology and Library Science, College of Education, University of Central Missouri)
  • Judy Bivens (Chair, Library and Information Science (MLIS) Program, Trevecca Nazarene University)
  • Elizabeth A. Burns (Associate Professor, Dept. of STEM Education and Professional Studies, Old Dominion University)
  • Audrey P. Church (Coordinator, School Library Media Program, Longwood University)
  • Patsy Couts (Professor, Advanced Professional Services, College of Education and Professional Studies, University of Central Oklahoma)
  • Sherry Crow (Professor and Department Chair, Advanced Education Programs, Fort Hays State University)
  • April M. Dawkins (Assistant Professor, Library & Information Science (LIS) Department, University of North Carolina at Greensboro)
  • Lesley Farmer (Professor, Librarianship Program, California State University Long Beach)
  • Pamela Harland (Faculty, Program Coordinator for Library Media and Digital Learning Specialist, Plymouth State University)
  • Carl A. Harvey (Associate Professor, School Librarianship, Longwood University)
  • Ramona Kerby (Professor, School Librarianship Program, McDaniel College)
  • Janice Newsum (Assistant Professor of School Library and Information Science, College of Education, University of Houston-Clear Lake)
  • Andrea Paganelli (Associate Professor and Grad Coordinator, School of Teacher Education, Western Kentucky University)
  • Ellen M. Pozzi (Professor, Educational Leadership and Professional Studies, William Paterson University)
  • Brenda Pruitt-Annisette (Educator/Researcher, DeKalb County School District)
  • Michelle Robertson (Assistant Professor, Dept. of Advanced Professional & Special Services, University of Central Oklahoma)
  • Terri Toland (Associate Professor, Curriculum and Instruction, Arkansas Tech University)
  • Holly A. Weimar (Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Library Science, Sam Houston State University)

The next issue of Prism will be published in November 2023.