Practicum

Gain work experience and explore career options in a wide variety of professional settings through LIS 591: Practium.

Practicum is a supervised field experience of professional-level duties in an approved library or information center. Prerequisite: Completion of 14 hours of library and information science courses. A maximum of 2 hours may be applied toward a degree program.

Because the Practicum is a for-credit work experience, it must meet specific requirements. It is open to students in good standing with 14 or more LIS credits, and earns 2 credits. Practicum students work for 100 hours in an organization under the guidance of a designated Site Supervisor, who has professional qualifications in the area of the Practicum activities, usually for the duration of one semester. At the end of the Practicum, the Site Supervisor prepares a written performance review evaluating the student's work. A  faculty member (Practicum Faculty Advisor) oversees the Practicum and assigns the final student grade.

K-12 Library Information Specialist students: School Practicum, LIS 591M, is required for students in the K-12 LIS Licensure program and highly recommended for students earning the LIS Endorsement on their Illinois Professional Educator License. Students interested in school librarianship will work with the K-12 Program Coordinator for school Practica placements. For complete information about school Practica, please see the K-12 Library Information Specialist Practicum Guide.

Program Goal and Objectives

The Practicum is a professional field experience program designed to provide the student with the opportunity to work in a professional environment under the supervision of an experienced librarian or information professional with the guidance of a faculty member. This opportunity allows students to integrate the theory and knowledge of course content with the application of principles and practices in a work environment, including these specific objectives:

  • To gain practical experience based on the understanding and application of theoretical knowledge.
  • To observe the analysis of and solutions to problems arising in professional work settings.
  • To interact with colleagues in a professional work environment.
  • To participate in a representative range of professional activities in the work setting.
  • To develop a professional self-awareness.
Practicum Components

Requirements

  • 100 hours working with the site supervisor and host site
  • Weekly log assignment - documentation of hours and activities
  • Course discussion forums - forums available in course Moodle space that allow the student to reflect on the experience
  • Performance review - students will meet with the site supervisor to discuss overall performance and will submit a written summary of and reflection on the discussion

Evaluation/Grading

The final grade for Practcum is entered as Satisfactory (S) or Unsatisfactory (U) and is determined by the faculty advisor based on the following:

  • An evaluation completed by the site supervisor
  • Active participation in the discussion forums
  • Completion/evaluation of weekly log and performance review assignments
  • Other information and or deliverables requested by the faculty advisor
Program Participants

The Practicum experience involves the cooperation of four participants—students, site supervisors, faculty advisors and the practicum coordinator—as described below.

Students

Students have the freedom and responsibility to create the Practicum experience that best meets their interests and career goals. Students initiate the process by identifying libraries or information sites of interest to them, contacting staff at the site to identify a potential site supervisor, and meeting with the site supervisor to discuss the parameters of the Practicum. Students also identify and meet with a faculty advisor to secure their approval for the Practicum. In order to register for Practicum, students will complete and submit a Practicum contract (iSchool login required).

In order to allow sufficient time to make Practicum arrangements, students should begin the process in the semester prior to the semester in which they wish to schedule the Practicum. For complete information about the student responsibilities, requirements, and lists of faculty advisors, please see Information for Students.

Leep online learning students: Leep students are also encouraged to participate in LIS 591. The Practicum requirements and responsibilities are the same for Leep students as for on-campus students. The Practicum coordinator is able to assist in site identification.

Site Supervisors

The  site supervisor is a professional working at the organization where the student wishes to conduct the Practicum. The student and site supervisor work together to develop a Practicum contract with specific learning outcomes outlined that will guide activities during the Practicum, and the site supervisor oversees the student's activities at the site. Site supervisors receive a tuition and fee waiver as a token for service. For complete information about the site supervisor responsibilities and the tuition and fee waiver, please see Information for Site Supervisors.

Faculty Advisors

The faculty advisor is a member of the faculty or staff who offers advising about the Practicum arrangements and activities, approves Practicum forms, evaluates students' assignments associated with the Practicum, and assigns final grades. For more information about the faculty advisor responsibilities, please see information for Information for Faculty Advisors. For a listing of the designated faculty advisors and their areas of interest and expertise, please see the List of Faculty Advisors.

Practicum Coordinator

The coordinator offers oversight and assistance to all participants in the Practicum program, including the following:

  • Conveys the purposes, objectives, and requirements of the Practicum to students and site supervisors.
  • Assists students in identifying potential Practicum sites.
  • Communicates with sites as necessary for the purpose of administration and assistance.

For more information on or assistance with LIS 591, please contact:

Rebecca Hodson, Practicum Coordinator
School of Information Sciences
501 East Daniel Street MC493
Champaign IL 61820
(217) 300-2254          
rhodson1 [at] illinois.edu