MS/School Library Licensure Program

I am interested in public youth librarianship and K-12 librarianship. I see the holistic enrichment of children and adolescents as one of the most important and effective ways of improving a community.

—Ritse Adefolalu (MS '17)


Graduates of the combined MS in LIS/School Librarian Licensure program are qualified to receive an Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL) with a Special (K-12) LIS Endorsement for work in a school environment as well as to pursue careers as beginning librarians and information professionals in other work settings. This program is similar to the MS/LIS degree program but includes significantly more required coursework and field experiences to achieve teaching licensure in Illinois.

The iSchool at Illinois equips candidates with the theories and practices of library and information science (LIS) through the study of the foundations, principles, and ideas of the discipline and the status and expectations of the profession. Our program objectives include teaching graduates to anticipate social and technological changes and promote change to advance the profession; fostering critical thinking about literature and research in LIS and related fields; encouraging commitment to high standards of practice, conduct, responsibility and service; and preparing for evaluation and development of services. In addition, the combined program stresses the importance of creating diverse learning environments, the value of developing inquiring and reflective minds, the effective application of technology in schools, and the library information specialist's role in fostering a commitment to service.


MS Requirements | MS Courses | School Librarian Licensure Requirements

MS Requirements


Candidates interested in the MS in LIS/School Librarian Licensure (LIS) program must be accepted as an MS/LIS student before their application to the licensure program is reviewed. Students may apply to the licensure program during or after 8 hours of IS coursework is completed.

Prospective MS/LIS students who already hold an Illinois teaching license should NOT apply to the School Librarian Licensure program. Those students should follow the directions for applying to the MS/LIS only, and indicate an interest in the School Librarian Licensure program. Since they are already licensed teachers, they need to meet the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) requirements for adding the School Librarian Endorsement to their current license. The requirements for this endorsement are explained on the MS/ISBE Endorsements page. Master's students who hold Illinois teaching licenses take the 24 hours of IS endorsement coursework as part of their 40-hour MS/LIS requirement. 

When applying to the School Librarian Licensure program, candidates must:

  1. Complete the School Librarian Licensure Program application
  2. Submit an official score report demonstrating a passing score on the Illinois Test of Academic Proficiency #400 (TAP)
    • The TAP, which has replaced the Illinois Basic Skills Test, is administered by the Illinois Licensure Testing System, The ILTS website has information about test dates, registration fees and includes an online study guide.
    • As of February 2013, ISBE approved rules that allow prospective candidates to use one of the following assessments in lieu of the TAP. Tests of basic skills scores are valid indefinitely. The handout "TAP or ACT/SAT?" will help you decide which test to take.
      • Illinois Basic Skills Test 096 or 300
      • ACT Plus Writing (with a composite score of 22 and minimum ELA/Writing score of 19, if taken before September 1, 2015)
      • ACT Plus Writing (with a composite score of 22 and minimum Writing score of 16, if taken after September 1, 2015)
      • SAT (with a score of 1030 or higher in critical reading + math and minimum writing score of 450)
      • Applicants wishing to use their ACT or SAT scores in lieu of the TAP must create an ELIS account through ISBE before their scores will be acknowledged. See the CoTE for testing requirements. For more information please contact ischool-k12 [at] (Ann Ohms), program coordinator.
  3. Write 2 application essays.

Students should see the Admissions section of our web site for specific application requirements, deadlines, and forms for both the MS/LIS degree and the School Librarian Licensure program. Contact the Admissions Office at (217) 333-7197 with questions.

Entry Dates

Application to the School Librarian Licensure program must be made no later than October 1 for acceptance in the following spring semester, or February 15 for acceptance in the following summer or fall semesters. These deadlines apply to both on-campus and Leep students.

Required Clinical Fee

After candidates are formally admitted to the School Librarian Licensure Program, they confirm their programmatic status by enrolling in EDPR 203 during their first semester as a licensure candidate. EDPR 203 does not carry course credit or appear on transcripts but is a means by which candidates are assessed the required one-time clinical fee for program supervision.

Financial Aid and Enrollment Status

A limited number of tuition waivers may be available to School Librarian Licensure candidates during the semester of their student teaching. More information about waivers is available from the program coordinator.

MS in LIS/School Librarian Licensure Courseload

The MS in LIS/School Librarian Licensure program requires a minimum of 40 semester hours in library and information science, plus an additional course in special education (SPED), field experience (practicum), and student teaching as required for licensure. For a brief overview of the required courses needed to complete the MS/School Librarian Licensure program, see the MS/School Librarian Licensure Course Requirements.

School Librarian Licensure Practicum/Early Field Experience

The practicum is a supervised field experience of professional-level duties at an approved school library site. It is designed to provide School Librarian Licensure candidates with the opportunity to work in a school environment under the supervision of an experienced library information specialist with the guidance of the program coordinator. It is also an opportunity to integrate the educational theory and course content knowledge with the application of best principles and practices for working with youth and young adults. Candidates will be able to experience real issues, obstacles, and solutions within the K-12 school setting by interacting with professional colleagues and engaging in professional activities while gradually assuming some teaching responsibilities.

Candidates will complete a minimum of 100 hours in a school library setting and receive a maximum of 2 semester hours of graduate credit. Prerequisites include completion of 14 hours of IS coursework, and acceptance into the School Librarian Licensure program. Candidates complete the practicum requirement the semester prior to student teaching.

Student Teaching

Field experiences are critical components of a candidate's preparation for work as a school library media specialist. They provide the opportunity to acquire an understanding of the teaching process through guided, personal, "hands-on" experience. After successful completion of a practicum and all required IS and education coursework, candidates will register for two student teaching placements: one in an elementary library setting and one in a secondary library setting (middle or high school). Each placement will last eight weeks under the direction of an on-site cooperating teacher-librarian and a university supervisor, who work together to support and guide candidates as they apply the skills and knowledge learned in their university coursework to the real world. During each placement, teacher candidates perform the full spectrum of professional activities associated with the work of a professional library media specialist. The program coordinator works closely with candidates to arrange student teaching placements throughout Illinois only. See a map of schools where librarians have supervised candidates in field experiences. New placement sites are added each semester, according to students' needs.

Students fulfilling the student teaching requirement as part of the School Librarian Licensure Program will be awarded a full stand-alone tuition waiver which also includes waiver of the service fee, AFMFA fee, and Library/Technology fee. No other fees are covered in this waiver. In addition, students will receive a $1000 scholarship. This award may also affect any federal financial aid in the form of loans students have accepted. Students are highly encouraged to contact the University of Illinois Financial Aid office to understand how this award will individually affect them.

For More Information

Contact the Admissions Office with questions about the admissions process: (800) 982-0914 or (217) 333-7197, or see the Admissions section of our website. For questions regarding the combined MS/School Librarian Licensure Program, contact the program coordinator at ischool-k12 [at]

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