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The University of Michigan, after giving instruction in librarianship in the summer session for many years, opened in the autumn of 1926 a Department of Library Science as part of the undergraduate curriculum in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. Four years later the requirements for admission were changed to put the work of the Department of Library Science on a strictly graduate basis.

The Department of Library Science has restricted the numbers of its students, particularly in recent years, to a small and compact group of high academic standing. It has aimed to train a comparatively small number of especially selected students rather than to seek to attract considerable numbers.

The department has been extremely fortunate in its faculty. Margaret Mann, Associate Professor Emeritus since 1939, and Associate Professor Eunice Wead (Smith ‘02, A.M. Michigan ‘27) have been connected with the department since its beginning. During its first year, Sydney Bancroft Mitchell (McGill ‘01, A.M. ibid. ‘04), of the University of California, held the professorship at Michigan. He was succeeded by Associate Professor Carleton B. Joeckel (Wisconsin ‘08, Ph.D. Chicago ‘34, B.L.S. New York State Lib. School ‘10), who later went to the University of Chicago. Joeckel was succeeded by Harland Abbott Carpenter (Boston ‘25, B.S.L.S. Columbia ‘28), who in turn was followed by Cecil John McHale (Carleton ‘22, A.M. Harvard ‘25, A.B.L.S. Michigan ‘29).

In 1938 the Carnegie Corporation gave the department an endowment of $150,000 (later increased to $200,000). Rudolph H. Gjelsness (North Dakota ‘16, B.L.S. Illinois ‘20) was called from the University of Arizona to take an endowed chair thus provided and was afterward promoted to the chairmanship of the department. Katherine Elizabeth Schultz (Smith ‘18, A.M.L.S. Michigan ‘34) was appointed Assistant Professor in 1939, succeeding Associate Professor Mann. In addition to the three full-time members of the staff, the department has drawn since its beginning on the staff of the University Library for instruction in the regular academic year. In its early years Francis L. D. Goodrich (‘03, B.L.S. ‘16, A.M. ‘16), the Associate Librarian, and later his successor, Samuel Wilson McAllister (‘16, A.M. ‘22, B.S.L.S. Columbia ‘28), had charge of a few courses. R. H. Gjelsness, when he was Assistant Librarian, Edward Henry Eppens (B.D. Yale ‘96), the chief classifier, and Edith Thomas (‘14), the head of the Library Extension Service, have likewise been members of the faculty of the department. In each summer since 1927 the summer session has drawn to the city of Ann Arbor teachers of library science from other institutions and librarians of distinction.

In the first fifteen years of the department’s existence, 739 degrees in library science were conferred — 538 bachelor’s, 200 master’s, and 1 doctor’s.

The department is definitely integrated with the work of the University in both the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts and the Graduate School. The department does not exist as a separate educational unit, as do most university library schools. Admissions to the department and the work of students conform in every respect to the rigid and exacting conditions laid down by the University for work beyond the first bachelor’s degree.

While a number of the graduates of the Department of Library Science have gone into public library work, it is noteworthy that the majority of them are to be found in college and university libraries and in libraries of research institutions. This is only natural, in view of the close connection between the University Library and the Department of Library Science, which operated under a single director until 1940.

The department has had an unusual number of students from abroad, particularly from Italy and New Zealand.

In earlier years definite efforts were made to train librarians for high schools in Michigan and the surrounding states. The courses furnishing such training had to be curtailed because of reductions in income owing to the prevailing economic crisis.

William W. Bishop


Announcement of the Summer Session, Univ. Mich., 1909-40.

Catalogue and Register, Univ. Mich., 1925-27.

Courses in Library Science, Univ. Mich., 1925-40.

General Register Issue, Univ. Mich., 1927-40.

President’s Report, Univ. Mich., 1925-40.

Proceedings of the Board of Regents …, 1923-40.

The University of Michigan, an encyclopedic survey ... Wilfred B. Shaw, editor, Volume II, Part IV, pp. 642-643.

History of the University of Michigan

Department of Library Science