Skip Navigation

School Librarianship

MLIS Degree Requirements Pre-K Through 12 Library Focus

According to the American Association of School Librarian (

“Today's school librarian works with both students and teachers to facilitate access to information in a wide variety of formats, instruct students and teachers how to acquire, evaluate and use information and the technology needed in this process, and introduces children and young adults to literature and other resources to broaden their horizons. As a collaborator, change agent, and leader, the school librarian develops, promotes and implements a program that will help prepare students to be effective users of ideas and information, a lifelong skill.”

The University of Oklahoma School of Library and Information Studies (OU SLIS) is the only American Library Association-accredited master's degree in Oklahoma offering a comprehensive degree program through coursework and practical experience ( The MLIS degree requires a minimum of 36 hours of completed coursework. To be awarded the MLIS, students must do one of the following end of program assessments in their final semester: complete a written thesis or prepare an eportfolio (if admitted prior to Fall 2021, you have the added options of a portfolio defense or a comprehensive exam).

Coursework (36 hours, 12 courses)

Below is the OU list of core courses for those seeking a career in a k-12 school librarianship.

NOTE the following for students electing the school librarianship focus:

  • The program is more explanative and prescriptive than others in OU SLIS’s MLIS degree program because it also supports Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) standards and regulations for teaching certification as a school librarian.
  • The program leaves room for only one elective to meet your unique educational objectives and career goals which is selected in consultation with the student’s advisor.
  • The title ‘School Library Media Specialist’ is listed as the state certification title, however, OU SLIS follows the AASL terminology of ‘School Librarian’. Regardless of the title, the OU SLIS MLIS with a K-12 focus prepares you for a career in school libraries!

Required Courses for All MLIS Students (18 hours, 6 courses)

It is strongly recommended that you take the six general core courses listed above BEFORE taking your end of program assessment.

  • LIS 5033 Information and Knowledge Society - taken in the first semester
  • LIS 5023 Management of Information and Knowledge Organizations (pre/corequisite: 5033)
  • LIS 5043 Organization of Information and Knowledge Resources (pre/corequisite: 5033)
  • LIS 5053 Information Users in the Knowledge Society (pre/corequisite: 5033)
  • LIS 5063 Information and Communication Technology (pre/corequisite: 5033)
  • LIS 5713 Research Methods and Evaluation Methods (pre/corequisite: 5033) - generally taken near the end of the program

Required Courses for School Librarian Certification (15 hours, 5 courses)

  • LIS 5183 Information Resources and Services for Children
  • LIS 5193 Information Resources and Services for Young Adults
  • LIS 5283 School Library Administration
  • LIS 5443 Collection Development & Management
  • LIS 5503 Information Literacy & Instruction

Electives (3 hours, 1 course)

Please consult your advisor for the one course from the options listed below that best meets your educational goals:

  • LIS 5253 Community Relations and Advocacy
  • LIS 5403 Cataloging & Classification (recommended for students working in small, rural, and/disadvantaged school districts)
  • LIS 5513 Information Sources & Services
  • LIS 5823 Library/Information Centers Internship (Strongly recommended for those who have no or little practical experiences in schools)
  • Any other course that meets specific individual needs with an advisor’s approval


For Students Holding a Teaching Degree

For students who hold a standard teaching certificate, the university may recommend them to the Oklahoma State Department of Education for certification. These students should consult with the College of Education certification representative (405-325-2108) when applying for certification. Information about the traditional path for Oklahoma Teacher Certification is available at:

Because school library media certification is an advanced certification (to be added on to a standard teaching certificate), candidates completing the SLIS certification program typically hold a standard teaching certificate and need to take one more exam, the OSAT, for the content area of school library media. Information on this test can be found at:

Students who hold the MLIS degree with a focus on school librarianship may be considered for a non-traditional (alternative) credential by applying for Alternative Certification through the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE).  Note that students pursuing alternative certification are asked to complete a pedagogical practices course and a classroom management course.  School Library Administration 5283 meets the required pedagogical practices, and the classroom management requirement may be met with a course from the College of Education, including but not limited to:

  • LIS/EIPT5533 Foundations of Learning Sciences
  • EIPT5183 Motivation and Learning in the Classroom
  • EIPT5203 Measurement and Evaluation in Education  

 Additional alternative certification requirements include the completion of required exams.

  • Oklahoma Subject Area Test (OSAT)
  • Praxis Performance Assessment for Teachers (PPAT)

Upon successful completion of the exams and MLIS degree, contact the SLIS office to request recommendation for certification. See OSDE Alternative Certification for additional information at:

If you have a question for OSDE, you may contact the Director of Instructional Materials & Library:

Jason Stephenson,Director of Secondary English Language Arts & Library Media 
Phone: 405-522-3628 

Or visit the OSDE Teacher Certification website:

Students applying for School Librarian Certification outside to Oklahoma must consult the State Department of Education in the state for which they seek certification.

Links of Interest

Professional Organizations

Not comprehensive of professional associations related to school librarians.


Oklahoma School Librarians is also accessible through this site.


*The following Learner, Librarian and School Library Frameworks are excerpted from the National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries by the American Association of School Librarians, a division of the American Library Association, copyright © 2018 American Library Association. Used with permission. The documents are permissible to use, reproduce, and distribute for private, non-commercial, and educational purposes only for use by Oklahoma educators, librarians, and citizens. Any usage or permission question can be directed to Visit for additional resources.