Accreditation: What Does It Mean?

This fall, McGill’s School of Information Studies underwent the accreditation process. Confused on what that means? Here’s a quick guide:

What’s the ALA?
The ALA is the American Library Association, and is the largest library association in the world. It is responsible for overseeing the accreditation process of library schools across North America. Currently there are 59 accredited programs, 8 of which are in Canada.

What’s the point of the accreditation process?
The accreditation process ensures that member schools are up to standard and are delivering high-quality programs. Many employers require candidates who have a degree from an ALA-accredited school. If you have a library degree not from one of the accredited schools, it may be more challenging to find a job in the library field.

What was the accreditation process like?
In September, six ALA External Review Panel members flew into Montreal for five days. They met with students, faculty, staff, and upper administration. It was an intensive process, and they asked many different types of questions.
The planning for the accreditation process was not limited to the five days. Instead, it has been over a year-long process, with the final report from the faculty clocking in at over 200 pages.

When do we find out if we are accredited again?
January! The panel members don’t decide on whether SIS becomes accredited or not. Instead, they report back to the ALA, who will decide at their conference in January. The ALA’s decision and report will be released to the public.

Thanks to Liz Nash for answering all of these questions for us!

If you’re interested in knowing more about the process, you can also check out the ALA website here.

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