Certificate in Youth Services

Note: iSchool specializations will be retired this fall. Specializations will not be an option for those starting the MS/LIS program in Spring 2017 and after. If you started a specialization(s) before Spring 2017, you have the option to complete them. If you have questions, please contact Karla Lucht, klucht [at] illinois.edu

The iSchool is top-ranked in the specialization of youth services as well as in the overall field of library and information science, and we offer a broad range of courses in resources for and services to young people (ages 0-18) in both school and public library settings. The Certificate in Youth Services (YS) is designed to prepare students for youth services work in public library settings.

Who should consider completing this Certificate?

Students who are interested in pursuing careers in youth services librarianship in a public library or other information setting should consider completing coursework for the Certificate in Youth Services.

Coursework for the certificate will include:

  • Diverse information and literacy needs of young people (ages 0-18) and families.
  • Theories and techniques in planning, implementing, and evaluating programs and services for youth.
  • Resources to develop young people’s reading/viewing/listening and information literacy skills.

With this foundation, recipients of MS/LIS degrees with a YS certificate will be excellent candidates for work as an information professional serving children and young adults in public libraries and nontraditional institutions through which young people seek or are provided with educational and entertainment resources.

Please note: This certificate does not meet the requirements of the K-12 Library Information Specialist Licensure program. School librarians usually require teacher certification, which is beyond the scope of this certificate. For more information, please visit our K-12 Library Information Specialist Licensure page.

Requirements for completing the MS/LIS with a Certificate in Youth Services

Students earning a master’s degree in LIS are required to take 40 graduate hours of credit. Two courses—LIS 501: Information Organization and Access (4 credit hours) and LIS 502: Libraries, Information, and Society (2 or 4 credit hours)—are required; the remaining 32-34 credits are self-selected by each MS student.

MS/LIS students earning a YS certificate take LIS 506, Youth Services Librarianship (4 credit hours), plus 2 or more courses (8 credit hours) selected from a recommended course list. These courses may be taken in any order. In addition to the 12 hours of coursework, students earning the YS certificate are expected to take LIS 591, the Practicum course (2 credit hours), in a public library youth services setting.


Required YS course (4 hours)

LIS 506: Youth Services Librarianship (4 hours)

Required YS practicum (2 hours)

LIS 591: Practicum (in a public library youth services setting) (2 hours)

Recommended YS courses (8 hours)

LIS 403: Literature and Resources for Children (2 or 4 hours)
LIS 404: Literature and Resources for Young Adults (2 or 4 hours)
LIS 409: Storytelling (2 or 4 hours)
LIS 445: Information Books and Resources for Youth (2 or 4 hours)
LIS 446: Fantasy Literature and Media for Youth (2 or 4 hours)
LIS 490YS: Youth Services Community Engagement (2 hours)
LIS 514: History of Children's Literature (2 or 4 hours)
LIS 515: Media Literacy and Youth (2 or 4 hours)
LIS 527: Literacy, Reading, and Readers (4 hours)
LIS 590CR: Comics: Advising Child and Adult Readers (2 hours)
LIS 590IF: Intellectual Freedom and Library Services for Youth (2 or 4 hours)
LIS 590LG: Library Gaming Programs (2 hours)
LIS 590MY: Global Contexts and Social Justice in Youth Literature (2 or 4 hours)
LIS 590RV: Reviewing Children's Literature (2 hours)
LIS 590SO: Information Sources and Services for Children (2 hours)

Other LIS courses relevant to youth services may be petitioned to count toward the certificate.

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements for the YS certificate are the same as those for all master's degree program applicants; i.e., there are no additional requirements. Please review the general MS/LIS program information as well as the admissions section of our website for minimum admission requirements and to learn how to apply. Students seeking the YS certificate must complete a brief application (see below), which may be submitted at any time prior to their graduation.

Students with a pre-existing MS in LIS from an ALA-accredited program and substantial professional experience in public library youth services librarianship may also qualify for enrollment in the Certificate in Youth Services as described above (12 credit hours that include LIS 506 + 8 credit hours in recommended youth services courses).


Currently enrolled students and others interested in the certificate program must submit our online application form. Students who completed all relevant qualifications and graduated from in May or August 2012 are also eligible to apply for the certificate via the online application form. Upon successful completion of the required courses, a certificate will be mailed to you.

For further information, please contact the YS certificate program director, Deborah Stevenson, at dstevens [at] illinois.edu or (217) 244-7452.