130th Anniversary

Our distinguished history

The year 2023 will mark the 130th anniversary of the iSchool at Illinois. This anniversary will be celebrated with a series of events, starting in January. Please visit this webpage for updates as details become available.

From our start as a library school in 1893, the iSchool has expanded our teaching, research, and engagement as information and technology grow in importance and the world advances. Our alumni total more than 11,500 and serve as our greatest advocates, and our continuous number-one ranked MS in library and information science degree program is a testament to our excellence.

Katharine Sharp, director of the first library science program, was recommended for the role by Melvil Dewey. Sharp founded the program at the the Armour Institute in Chicago in 1893. Her dream of a university-anchored library program was realized in the fall of 1897, when the Illinois State Library School opened in Urbana at the University of Illinois.

Closeup of arched doorway

Our strategic goals

Our goals for the future focus on creating sociotechnical solutions to real-world problems and building a just and informed society and address three broad areas:

  • Advancing research that transforms our communities and world.
  • Leading the world in education in the information sciences.
  • Nurturing and growing a culture of inclusion both locally and globally, ensuring diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in all aspects of our work.

To assist with our progress in the area of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility, we have formed a new area of focus in our School to identify and develop opportunities to promote DEIA throughout our culture, programs, research, and public engagement.

Our bright future

It’s an exciting time to be part of the iSchool. We are growing rapidly, recruiting the best and brightest students and world-class faculty who enhance our teaching and research. We are focused on offering a high-quality education to our students and giving our graduates a competitive edge in the job market. Our close-knit community is distinguished by innovation and a strong desire to help people and benefit the social good.