The department was founded in 1929 within the College of Arts and Science by Jesse Lee Rader. The first degree programs offered were the Bachelor of Arts in Library Science, Master of Library Science, and the Master of Arts in Library Science. Both Master's programs were conferred accreditation by the American Library Association in 1956. The name was changed to the School of Library and Information Studies in 1990 to reflect the expanding role of the School in the information age. The School continues to offer the only ALA-accredited Library and Information Studies program in Oklahoma.
SLIS programs are designed for both traditional students and for working adults.
On-campus courses meet once per week during the early evening or in intensive weekend sessions. Interactive digital videoconferencing technology is used to link students and faculty in Norman and Tulsa.
Online course offerings use a variety of technology tools to provide a dynamic learning environment, including Canvas, Adobe ConnectPro, Podcasts, and course websites.