The School of Library and Information Sciences of North Carolina Central University was authorized by the State Legislature in 1939 when the charter of the then North Carolina College for Negroes was amended for the purpose of allowing the establishment of graduate and professional programs at the College. That amendment established the program in library education and the mission of educating African American librarians for the state of North Carolina.
In the fall of 1939, the College offered a course of study through the Department of Library Science. The School of Library Science was organized as a professional school in 1941. Three programs were offered during the first two years of the operation of the School of Library Science. The professional program for the Bachelor of Library Science (B.L.S.) degree was established for persons holding a baccalaureate degree at the time of entrance, and undergraduate majors and minors were offered through the College of Arts and Sciences.
The undergraduate major was discontinued in 1943. Ten years later, in 1953, the School awarded its final B.L.S. degree. The master's program in Library Science was initiated in 1950, with the first Master of Library Science (M.L.S.) degree being awarded in 1951. The master's program in Library Science was originally accredited by the American Library Association in 1975. The name of the school was changed to the School of Library and Information Sciences in 1984. In January, 1989, the School began offering a joint program in law librarianship and legal information systems. Beginning with the 1990-91 academic year, the School now offers an interdisciplinary program in Information Science leading to the Master of Information Science (M.I.S.) degree.
The School of Library and Information Sciences office, library, classrooms, computer laboratory, distance learning center, and other facilities are located on the third floor of the James E. Shepard Memorial Library. The SLIS Library consists of professional literature and other print and non-print materials needed to support the various courses. There are also two special collections: 1) papers of African-American librarians, and 2) works by African American authors and illustrators of children's materials.
The School established an African American Resources program in
1991, which includes the William Tucker Collection of African
American authors and illustrators of children's materials, and
the North Carolina Center for the Study of Black History, an archival
collection of civil rights and African American economic and social
developments in the southeastern U.S.. This program, which supports
teaching, research, and outreach services, is located in the new
Hayti Heritage Center of Durham.