What credentials do I need to work as a school librarian in Illinois public schools?

A school librarian in an Illinois public school must have the Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL) with a teaching endorsement in the content area Library Information Specialist (LIS).

The special PK-12 Library Information Specialist endorsement permits the holder to work as a school librarian at all levels from Pre-K through Grade 12. The SOIS offers all the courses needed for the Library Information Specialist endorsement. For anyone who does not already hold the Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL), the SOIS offers a combined Master of Library and Information Science degree (MLIS) and PEL with a Special K-12 Library Information Specialist endorsement. As one of only two such entitlement programs in Illinois, the SLMP enables those who complete the program to work in any type of library (public, school, academic, or special) and entitles them to the PEL and Special K-12 Library Information Specialist endorsement.

Anyone who holds a valid Illinois PEL can complete the required 24 hours of coursework toward the PK-12 LIS endorsement and pass the content-area test for Library Information Specialist.

I have a B.A. or B.S degree and would like to become a PK-12 school librarian. Can I do this in the SOIS program at Dominican?

Yes, you can. The SOIS offers a combined Master of Library and Information Science degree (MLIS) and Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL) with a PK-12 Library Information Specialist endorsement. As an entitlement program, the School Library Media Program (SLMP) enables those who complete the program to work in any type of library (public, school, academic, or special) and entitles them to the PEL and Special PK-12 Library Information Specialist endorsement. See the Student Progress Packet (pdf) for requirements.

I have an advanced degree in an area other than library and information science and would like to become a school librarian. Can I do this in the SOIS program at Dominican University?

Yes, you can. The SOIS offers a combined Master of Library and Information Science degree (MLIS) and Special PK-12 Library Information Specialist endorsement. As an entitlement program, the SLMP enables those who complete the program to work in any type of library (public, school, academic, or special) and entitles them to the Professional Educator License with PK-12 Library Information Specialist endorsement. See the Student Progress Packet (pdf) for requirements.

I have a master's degree in library and information science from another ALA-accredited program and would like to become a school librarian. Can I do this in the SOIS program at Dominican University?

Yes, you can. Some of your previous LIS courses may meet the requirements for the Illinois Library Information Specialist endorsement. Upon admission to the SOIS as a non-degree-seeking student, the director of the School Library Media Program will evaluate your college/university transcripts. Your coursework and clinical experience requirements will be based on that evaluation. See the Student Progress Packet (pdf) for requirements.

I have a current elementary or secondary classroom PEL and would like to take the courses required for the Special K-12 Library Information Specialist endorsement as a part of the Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree. Can I do this in the SOIS program at Dominican University?

Yes, you can. The School Library Media Program requires 33 hours of specific courses to meet the competencies required by the Illinois Professional Teaching Standards for the Library Information Specialist. In addition to the 33 hours of required courses, you must take 3 semester hours of electives from courses offered by the SOIS and pass the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) content-area test for Library Information Specialist. See the Student Progress Packet (pdf) for requirements.

I have a current elementary or secondary PEL and would like to obtain a PK-12 Library Information Specialist endorsement. Can I do this in the SOIS program at Dominican University?

Yes, you can. At present, candidates with a valid Professional Educator License may earn a Library Information Specialist endorsement by completing 24 semester hours in library coursework and passing the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) content-area test for Library Information Specialist. You must apply for admission to the SOIS as a student-at-large.

I do not have a professional educator license and would like to become a school librarian. Can I do this in the SOIS program at Dominican University?

Yes, you can. The combined Master of Library and Information Science degree (MLIS) and PEL with a Special K-12 Library Information Specialist endorsement entitlement program provides all the required courses except for three education courses stipulated by the Illinois State Board of Education for licensure as a school librarian. You can take the required education courses at a two- or four-year college or university. The School Library Media Program director can advise further.

I want to apply to the SOIS School Library Media Program for school library licensure, but I understand there are some tests that I have to take. What are they, when do I take them, and how do I find out where and when they are offered?

The Library Information Specialist endorsement requires the successful completion of the Illinois Library Information Specialist content-area test (code 175). Full information on when and where the tests are given and how much they cost is available on the Illinois Licensure Testing System site.

I am a SOIS student, and I do not have an Illinois professional educator license. When I entered the SOIS program, I did not plan to become a school librarian. Now I think I want to be a school librarian after all. Can I apply to the School Library Media Program? What are the application requirements?

Yes, you can! You can apply to the School Library Media Program at any point during your MLIS program. However, to avoid having to take too many additional courses due to a late change of course, it is to your benefit to apply to the School Library Media Program as soon as you decide you are interested in pursuing school librarianship. To enter the School Library Media Program you must complete a School Library Media Program application (pdf) and a criminal background check with fingerprinting.

In addition to coursework, what else do I have to do to earn the Special PK-12 Library Information Specialist endorsement?

Pass the Library Information Specialist content-area test.

If you do not hold a valid professional educator license, you must:

  • Complete three education courses: 1) Educational Psychology, 2) History and Philosophy of Education, and 3) Services to the Exceptional Child;
  • Complete 100 hours of observation in school libraries; and
  • Complete two 200-hour clinical experiences (student teaching).
  • Participate in an exit interview with the director of the School Library Media Program, who will review your portfolio and assure that you have met all program requirements before authorizing you for licensure.

See the Student Progress Packet (pdf) for requirements.

I have finished all the requirements to receive my Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) but have not met all the requirements for my school librarian licensure. Must I wait until I have met the licensure requirements before I can graduate?

No, you don't. Although graduation and licensure are related, they are two separate processes. You can graduate before you receive your license, or you can get your license before you graduate.