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USM-H gauging interest in library science, info management programs

November 18, 2009|By HEATHER KEELS

HAGERSTOWN -- The University System of Maryland at Hagerstown is gauging interest in potential Master of Library Science and Master of Information Management programs that could be introduced in Hagerstown within the next few years, USM-H spokeswoman Erin L. Harman said Wednesday.

If there are enough students interested, the programs could be offered through the University of Maryland at College Park's College of Information Studies, Harman said.

Depending on the level of interest, the programs could be taught by faculty on-site or through an interactive video network that would link USM-H classrooms to those at the college's Shady Grove location, USM-H executive director C. David Warner III said. Blended classes that use online and classroom elements also are a possibility, Warner said.

About eight people attended an information session Wednesday evening at USM-H led by Diane L. Barlow, associate dean of College Park's College of Information Studies. They included several teachers and public library employees interested in the MLS program, as well as school system and library officials who spoke to Barlow about the strong need for such a program in the Hagerstown area.

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Jona French, supervisor of instructional technology and media programs for Washington County Public Schools, said that with many of the county's school library media specialists reaching retirement age, the county has an increasing need for qualified applicants. Several teachers have expressed an interest in earning MLS degrees, but without a program nearby, French said she has been referring them to Mansfield University's online program.

Harman said that in a survey of school and library systems in the Tri-State area, officials from Frederick County (Md.) Public Schools and the Chambersburg (Pa.) Area School District also expressed a need for more qualified media specialists. Washington County Free Library Assistant Director Kathleen O'Connell said the library has 25 to 30 staff members who would be interested in staff development or continuing education classes, Harman said.

The Master of Library Science is a 36-credit program that can be completed over two years, with students taking two courses each fall, spring and summer semester, Barlow said. The college offers several specializations and concentrations, including a school library media program, she said.

The MLS program is fully accredited by the American Library Association, Barlow said.

The Master of Information Management is also 36 credits and is designed for students seeking careers managing information or technology for companies and organizations.

More information is available online at http://ischool.umd.edu.

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