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Organizational History. — Library education began at the University of Michigan in 1879, when the University Librarian, Raymond Davis, introduced a course in bibliography. A more formal program was begun in 1909 when Davis’s successor, Theodore Koch, offered a summer program in “library methods” to seventeen students, each of whom possessed at least a high school education. In 1918, Koch’s successor, William Warner Bishop, raised the entrance requirement for this summer program to a minimum of thirty hours of college credit. In the spring of 1926, the Regents of the University authorized the creation of the Department of Library Science, designed to offer instruction in both the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts and the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies. Dr. Bishop was named as first Chairman of the Department, while he also continued serving as University Librarian.

Two degrees were offered by the department: (1) a Bachelor of Arts in Library Science, conferred at the end of one year of work; and (2) a Master of Arts in Library Science, conferred at the end of two years of work. In 1930 a bachelor’s degree was required for admission to the program, so that the Bachelor of Arts in Library Science was actually a postgraduate degree, despite its title.

In 1948, after a major curriculum revision, the program was reorganized, and the Bachelor of Arts degree was eliminated. The Master of Arts was awarded after two semesters and one summer session of work beyond the bachelor’s degree. No previous study in librarianship was required for entry into this program. The revised program was accredited by the Board of Education for Librarianship (now the Committee on Accreditation) of the American Library Association in 1954 and has been re-accredited on a regular basis since then. At the same time as the master’s degree was instituted, a program of study leading to the Doctor of Philosophy degree was approved by the University.

In November 1967, the University invited a panel of leaders in the library profession to come to Ann Arbor to examine the program and make recommendations for its expansion and improvement. The members of this panel included L. Quincy Mumford, Librarian of the Library of Congress; Robert Downs, Dean of Library Administration at the University of Illinois; Raynard Swank, Dean of the School of Librarianship at the University of California, Berkeley; and Lester Asheim, Director of the Office for Library Education of the American Library Association. In its report the panel recommended that the department be made a separate school, removed from the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, with its own Dean reporting directly to the Vice-President for Academic Affairs. On October 18, 1968, the Regents of the University approved the request of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts — made on behalf of the Department of Library Science — and created the eighteenth unit among the schools and colleges of the University. The change became effective on July 1, 1969.

While the School was a department, it was administered by four persons. The first was William Warner Bishop, University Librarian from 1915 until his retirement in 1941, while serving concurrently as chairman of the department from 1926 until 1940, a period of twenty-four years. His reputation as a librarian was international in scope. His greatest interest in library work was the building of the collection, and he brought the collections of the University Library into the ranks of the leading half-dozen university libraries in the United States. He was an alumnus of the University, having taken both bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Michigan. He majored in classical studies and taught Greek and Latin before becoming a librarian. He came to the post of University Librarian from the Library of Congress, where he had been head of the Reference Department. He was President of the American Library Association, President of the Bibliographical Society of America, recipient of many honorary doctorates, chairman of a group which surveyed the Vatican Library under the auspices of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, author of many articles, as well as of his Checklist of American Copies of “Short-Title Catalogue” Books.

In 1938 he brought Rudolph Gjelsness to the faculty from his position as Librarian of the University of Arizona. Two years later, Dr. Gjelsness was named chairman of the department, succeeding Dr. Bishop, and served until his retirement furlough year of 1964, a term of service equaling that of Dr. Bishop. This was not Dr. Gjelsness’s first connection with the University. He had directed the re-cataloging of the University Library’s collection from 1925 until 1929, when he became chief of the Preparation Division of the New York Public Library. He left the New York Public Library in 1932 to become Librarian at Arizona. He was very active in the affairs of the American Library Association and served abroad in Colombia, Mexico, and Iraq. One of his special interests was Scandinavian literature (he studied for two years at the University of Oslo under the auspices of the American Scandinavian Foundation), which led to the translation of a number of Norwegian works into English. During his chairmanship, the department grew steadily, until it was one of the largest in the country. It was during his term of office that the curriculum revision leading to the elimination of the bachelor’s degree and the institution of the doctorate took place. He was President of the Association of American Library Schools, recipient of two honorary doctorates, and received the first Beta Phi Mu (national honorary library science fraternity) award for distinguished service to education for librarianship.

On his retirement in 1964, another faculty member succeeded him as chairman, Wallace Bonk, whose term of service lasted only three years, at which time he resigned for reasons of health.

Following Dr. Bonk’s resignation, Russell Bidlack, who had served as acting chairman previously during Dr. Bonk’s sabbatical, was named acting chairman of the department. He served in this capacity until the change to a school was made. At that time, a search committee, consisting of both students and faculty, began the task of seeking a new Dean. Following a series of interviews, the committee presented to President Fleming a panel of names from which the Dean was to be chosen, with the recommendation that Dr. Bidlack be named as Dean. His name was presented to the Regents, who accepted the recommendations of the committee and the President. Dr. Bidlack became Dean of the School of Library Science as of July 1, 1969.

Faculty. — The original faculty of the department consisted of three persons, in addition to Dr. Bishop: Sydney Mitchell, Margaret Mann, and Eunice Wead. In addition to these full-time faculty, Miss Edith Thomas served as a part-time instructor and Miss Gertrude Maginn was Recorder (as well as secretary to Dr. Bishop in his role as Librarian of the University Library). The department opened with an enrollment of 57 students.

Mr. Mitchell taught only one year at Michigan, moving to the University of California, Berkeley, where he taught one year in the School of Librarianship before being appointed director of that school. Miss Mann and Miss Wead, on the other hand, taught until their respective retirements. Miss Mann is perhaps best known for her reformation of the teaching of cataloging and the production of the textbook which incorporated her method, Introduction to Cataloging and the Classification of Books, published by the American Library Association. It became the standard text for the courses in cataloging and classification.

Miss Wead had her library science training in Melvil Dewey’s New York State Library School. She had worked at the Library of Congress before coming to the Library at Michigan, where she was curator of rare books, and then assistant custodian of the William L. Clements Library of American History before joining the faculty of the Department.

When Mr. Mitchell left, Dr. Bishop replaced him with Carleton Joeckel, who came from the library school at the University of California, Berkeley, and taught at Michigan for three years. At that time, he went on to take a Ph.D. at the University of Chicago, and was subsequently appointed Dean of the Graduate Library School there. His doctoral dissertation, The Government of the American Public Library, is a classic in library literature. It was with this group of distinguished teachers that Dr. Bishop began the staffing of the department. Forty-five years later, the School of Library Science has a full-time faculty of sixteen, including the Dean and Assistant Dean.

The Master’s Degree Program. — The master’s degree program attempts to introduce students to librarianship as a profession, to nurture professional attitudes toward library work, to develop an understanding of the responsibilities and judgments required for professional roles, and to encourage a positive commitment to continuing education for librarianship. It has a group of “core” courses, which all candidates are required to take. These courses provide a foundation in the history and philosophy of librarianship; an appreciation of current trends and issues in the profession; an understanding of the role of libraries and information services in our contemporary society; and a sensitivity to the need for experimentation to cope with the demands of the future. The core also presents a picture of the diversity among types of libraries and the variety of jobs within them, including the professional and personal requirements involved, and students are encouraged to make a commitment to some special aspect of librarianship for concentrated study after the core courses are completed.

The program also attempts to introduce students to the theory and principles of building collections, organizing them, and providing service to the particular type of public involved, considering both traditional methods and the newer devices of modern technology and information science. Since the School is attempting to train practitioners of a given type, it is also necessary to introduce students to the tools and methods of their profession, as well as to its ideals and theories.

Although the School is not divided into departments at this time, courses do group themselves into areas which would form a natural basis for departmental organization. The School has a special program for librarians of Asian collections; one for music librarianship; and is currently working on an experimental program for the training of media specialists for the school systems. It would be possible also for a student to elect courses by type of library, rather than by type of work, so that he might specialize in school librarianship, special librarianship, college or university librarianship, or public librarianship.

Admission to the master’s program requires a bachelor’s degree, with at least 90 hours of liberal arts. Enrollment in the program has been rising through the years, with an increase of 40 percent in the 1960s. The Department began with an enrollment of 57 students in 1926. By 1946 the enrollment stood at 81. Moving along another two decades brings us to an enrollment of 448 in 1966. Part of the large increase is accounted for by the expansion of the extension program at the Graduate Study Centers in Detroit, Flint, and Grand Rapids, which enable numbers of students who would find it hard to come to the campus for their entire program to take course work for graduate credit. As of April 1971, 4,479 degrees had been awarded by the Department and the School, including 69 doctorates.

The Doctoral Program. — The doctoral program was established in 1948 to afford an opportunity for advanced study and research into the problems of librarianship. A recent survey showed that about 57 percent of 63 graduates of the program are employed full time in library education as of 1970. Nine of these head library schools, while five are assistant deans of schools. Slightly over 37 percent are employed in academic libraries, with seventeen directing libraries, one employed as an associate director, and one as an assistant director. The remaining eight doctorates hold such positions as librarian for general administrative research, head of major departments in university libraries, curator of rare books, while one is employed as a specialist in the U.S. Office of Education.

Quarters. — From 1926 until September 1968, the department was housed in the General Library building. Unfortunately, as its enrollment and faculty grew, the Library Building did not, and space needs became severely pressing. With the move to Winchell House, West Quadrangle, the department went suddenly from five faculty offices to 26, from a small, cramped, airless central office to a large one with windows and light. The move enabled the department to bring two faculty members, housed outside the Graduate Library, under one roof with their colleagues.

Publications of the School. — A Studies series was begun while the School was still a Department, with the first number being issued in 1954. It was Katherine Packer’s Early American School Books. The other titles published to date include The City Library of Detroit (Russell E. Bidlack, no. 2, 1955); Michigan’s First Book-Store (Wallace J. Bonk, no. 3, 1957); The American Book in Mexico (Rudolph H. Gjelsness, no. 4, 1957); An Introduction to American Magazines, 1800-1810 (Benjamin M. Lewis, no. 5, 1961); The Nucleus of a Library (Russell E. Bidlack, no. 6, 1962); Bibliography of Philosophy (Charles L. Higgins, no. 7, 1965); Frank Leslie and His Illustrated Magazine, 1855-1860 (Budd L. Gambee, Jr., no. 8, 1964).

Recent publications of the School include It is Well to Remember the Beginnings, a chronology of the life of William Warner Bishop by Claud Glenn Sparks, and A Commitment to a Profession — Education for Sensibility in the House of Facts, by Kathleen Molz.

Wallace J. Bonk

The University of Michigan, an Encyclopedic Survey ... Wilfred B. Shaw, editor, Volume VI, pp. 176-181.

History of the University of Michigan

School of Library Science