Public Library Concentration

See yourself leading an information revolution in public libraries? The Public Library Concentration prepares MLIS graduates to positively engage with the range of opportunities facing the post-modern public library: extended community involvement, incorporation of emerging technologies, and pro-active advocacy for service populations..


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Declaration of Intent Forms

To pursue the Public Library Concentration students must fill out and submit the Declaration of Intent form.



For questions, please contact
Joyce Latham
PL Concentration Coordinator

The Traditional, The Digital, and You

Our Research

Learn more about our current research on Wisconsin librarians' reactions to the Pew report on "Library Services in the Digital Age". PL Research Site>>

Public library leaders build vital, resilient communities through their understanding of user needs, community partnerships, access to information and library services, and the legal and financial frameworks of public libraries. The objective of SOIS’ PL Concentration is to enable graduates to take strong leadership positions with sensitivity to community needs and the possibilities engendered by new media technologies.
Career Opportunities

Library Director • Public Services Librarian • Adult Services Librarian • Coordinator of Library and Information Services • Information Services Specialist • Patron Services Manager • Outreach Coordinator • Young Adult Coordinator • Children & Young Adult Library Coordinator

Program Requirements

999 - Independent Research (3 credits)Any SOIS Masters of Library and Information Studies student may choose to pursue the Public Library Concentration. The concentration is a credential which appears on your transcript, and is completed within the context of the MLIS program.  The student's concentration program must be approved by the Director of the Public Library Program. Submit the Declaration of Intent Form [.pdf | .doc] for approval.

The following guidelines apply:

  • A minimum grade of “B” (3.00 grade points) is required in all SOIS courses applied toward the concentration.
  • A maximum of 6 transfer credits from an institution other than UWM may count toward the concentration, subject to Graduate School and SOIS transfer policies and procedures. UWM graduate coursework taken prior to admission to the current degree program is subject to standard transfer limits. Any transfer credits applied toward a concentration are part of the total transfer limit for that degree.
  • A student may not earn a concentration and a certificate based on identical coursework.

Required: Students must take the following courses

  • 736 - The Public Library (3 credits)
  • 861 - Seminar in Intellectual Freedom (3 credits)
  • 864 - (891 topic) Public Libraries: Philosophy, Politics and Policy (3 credits)

Electives: Students must take at least three of the following courses:

  • 520 - Managing Library Collections (3 credits)
  • 524 - Management of Library and Information Services (3 credits)
  • 622 - Information Marketing (3 credits)
  • 661 - Ethics and the Information Society (3 credits)
  • 682 - Digital Libraries
  • 685 - E-publishing and Web Design (3 credits)
  • 691 - Public Library History
  • 862 - Legal Issues for Library and Information Managers (3 credits)
  • 999 - Independent Research (3 credits)

Public Library Concentration Planning Form>>

Who We Are


Joyce Lathum

Joyce Latham, Assistant Professor
Director of the Public Library Concentration


Hansen, Catherine

Catherine Hansen, Lecturer