The LIS program gives each student the opportunity to graduate with practical experience in a library or information setting. The practicum is intended to provide connections and experience, depth and breadth, and additional insight that complement classroom learning, helping students to master LIS Student Learning Outcomes in the context of professional work. Many MU students report that the practicum was their favorite experience in their program, as it provided a tangible way to apply theory to practice. Additionally, studies (Palmer et. al. 2014; Goodsett & Koziura, 2016; Duffus, 2017) have indicated that practical experience increases employment opportunities of recent graduates. Therefore, we strongly advise all students to embrace this opportunity and to tailor their practicum experience to their own needs and circumstances. The practicum should be relevant to the student’s career goals and, as relevant, course of study. Students seeking school library media certification must complete a practicum in a school library setting; students enrolled in the Archives emphasis area must complete a practicum in an archives setting.
The guide for 7381 Practicum in Information Agencies is available here: https://missouri.app.box.com/s/cu2goxffuhumzui8x0cjt21wd7jlniox.
The guide for 7380 School Library Practicum is available here: https://missouri.box.com/v/SLM-Practicum-Guide.
The practicum guides provide information germane to both practicum students and their supervisors.
- Download the practicum guide and read through for the process.
- Select up to three locations for your practicum.
- Reach out to those locations to find out if they can host you.
- Decide on the best location and submit your practicum application.
- Draft a learning plan with your practicum host.
- Submit draft learning to the practicum coordinator for approval before obtaining signatures.
- Once your learning plan is completed, register for the class with a permission code from the practicum coordinator.
Students taking the practicum are responsible for finding up to three practicum sites, as one or more selections may not be available. The requirement for practicum experiences is that the student is supervised by an MLIS-degreed librarian or certified archivist, or other employer holding an appropriate advanced degree (e.g., PhD) and that the supervisor turns in required paperwork. In this way, a number of paid and unpaid opportunities (e.g., internships, etc.) can serve as a practicum experience, as long as the student works with an iSchool practicum advisor, has a supervisor willing to submit the required paperwork, carries out the work and reflects on it as required, etc. Work generally occurs on-site, but individual projects and remote work, completed under the supervision of a librarian or archivist may also provide practical experience.
Duration and Scheduling
The practicum may be taken for 2 or 3 credit hours; each student can take up to two. We recognize that a practicum experience may not fit conveniently into students’ schedules along with work and family responsibilities. With the approval of students’ on-site library supervisors and iSchool practicum advisors, the practicum experience may be extended over two semesters, completed during intersession, or be completed on evenings or weekends.
Regardless of practicum hours taken, all students must complete 39 hours of coursework.
School Library Media Practicum
Students pursuing school library media certification are required to take one or more practicum courses. Please consult your advisor for specifics about your situation.
- 7380 School Library Practicum (for people seeking add-on certification) requires 100 or more clock hours of school library experience under the guidance of an experienced school librarian.
- Early Field Experience (for people seeking initial certification) requires 30-50 clock hours of observation in a school library, with minimal interaction with children and teens.
- Mid-Level Field Experience (for people seeking initial certification) requires 45-60 clock hours of observation in a school library, with structured interaction with children and teens.
- Culminating Field Experience (for people seeking initial certification) requires 12 weeks of guided practice in a school library under the supervision of an experienced school librarian and working directly with students and teachers.
Practicum waivers are not allowed without the specific authorization of the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Academic, Public, and Special Libraries or Other Information Agencies
- ISLT 7381, Practicum in Information Agencies
Library and Archival Practicum Opportunities
This is a starter list of placement opportunities if you need ideas, but the world is open to you. The practicum coordinator, Laura England-Biggs can discuss further opportunities and will serve as the SISLT-side coordinator for your experience. Please see the LIS web page guiding you through the application process.
Columbia—Jefferson City Area
- Daniel Boone Regional Library
The Daniel Boone Regional Library has three locations: Callaway County Public Library, Columbia Public Library and Southern Boone County Public Library. Practicum opportunities depend on availability of professional staff.
- Missouri River Regional Library
Includes Osage County Library and Bookmobile.
- Central Methodist University — Smiley Library — Fayette, MO
- Columbia College, Columbia
- Lincoln University
Possibilities include work with the Institutional Repository Librarian (Digitization Projects), the University Archivist (Digitization Project); work in Technical Services, Access Management and Reference. There is also an Arts Library.
- State Technical College — Linn, MO
- Stephens College Library, Columbia
- University of Missouri — Columbia
Instruction, public services, reference, technical service opportunities.
- University of Missouri — Health Sciences Libraries (Columbia)
Greater Kansas City Area
- Johnson County Public Library
This public library also has an ongoing digitization project for the local history of the area. It also has a fabulous makerspace offering 3D printers, laser cutters, tools, and a music sound studio. JCPL has a strong youth services staff always with things going on that would make great practicum experience as well. Fourteen locations.
- Kansas City Public Library
The KC Public Library has 10 branches including a digital branch.
The library is willing to customize a practicum that would give the student experiences in many aspects of Public Libraries — Collection Development, Youth Services, Special Collections, Digital Services, Outreach, ILS management and Programming/Marketing. Kansas City Public has a strong emphasis on programming and digital exhibits/projects. Named a 5-Star Library by Library Journal.
- Mid-Continent Public Library
Mid-Continent’s 29 branch libraries offer many practicum opportunities in locations around Clay, Platte and Jackson counties.
- Mid-Continent Public Library — Woodneath Library Center
The emphasis here is on story-telling and self-publishing.
- Midwest Genealogy Center, Independence, MO (a branch of the Mid-Continent Public Library)
Good for those seeking exposure to archival and genealogy work. Opportunities for instruction, cataloging, digitization.
Student would work with a physical archival collection. This would involve processing, arranging, and describing the collection. Final result would be a PDF finding aid on MGC’s website. OR Student would work with a digital archival collection. This would involve digitizing the original material, editing the digital content, and helping MGC staff to create a digital archival exhibit for MGC’s website.
Oral History Program
Student would have the opportunity to work with MCPL customers who come in to record their family history with the Tell Me A Story program. With MGC staff, student would use recording equipment to record session, edit the recording, burn to a copy to a CD, and send to customer. OR Student would help MGC staff to process a Tell Me A Story kit. This would involve editing the recording, burning to a copy to a CD, and sending to customer.
Student would work on indexing various items found within MGC’s collection. Items include books, newspapers on microfilm, and archival materials.
Student would work with Technical Services staff to learn the encapsulation process and help them to work through the maps in MGC’s collection.
- Rolling Hills Consolidated Library, St Joseph, MO
- Avila University — Hooley Bundschu Library
The Hooley Bundschu Library houses a number of unique collections including Women Religious Special Collections (focused on the experience of Catholic sisters and nuns), the CSJ Heritage Center Archives (focused on the U. S. Federation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph), and the Avila University Archives.
- Kansas City Art Institute — Jannes Library
This library has a special emphasis on art, supporting the arts curriculum. There are potential digitization projects in the archives and in special collections. Special collections that have not been digitized include the Ekker Collection of Fabric Designs on Paper (6000+ items, so this would be designing the project workflow and getting it started), and our collection of Artists’ Books cries out for improved imaging and documentation.
- Metropolitan Community College
MCC participates in the Common Read (similar to the One Read at other libraries). Depending on time of year, this could be a special project.
- Rockhurst University — Greenlease Librarian
This library offers an experience at an academic library and offers a range of electronic resources.
- UMKC — Miller Nichols Library
This library houses the Labudde Special Collections and the Marr Sound Archives, along with a leading music library. Opportunities in public services, instruction, collections and special collections. Opportunities may vary depending on professional staff availability.
- University of St. Mary, Leavenworth, KS (40 minutes from downtown KC)
The library has a special collection devoted to Abraham Lincoln and may have digitization projects. Practicum students can also gain experience in instruction and creating online tutorials, developing tutorials for makerspace/technology tools, developing a marketing plan, development of a vendor management system, working on active learning initiatives, developing assessment tools as well as traditional library work.
- William Jewell College — Curry Library
This library houses the Jewell College Archives and offers a range of electronic resources.
Beyond the traditional library work, this library offers collections for Missouri Baptist historical documents and institutional special collections. If a student would like experience with digitization, creating finding aids, or would like to design their own practicum experience, they are more than welcome to come to the William Jewell archives.
- Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Research Library
- Jackson County Law Library
- Linda Hall Library (Science library)
- National Archives and Records Administration
This is the Kansas City location of the National Archives. This site curates special exhibitions and hosts genealogy and historical data entry volunteers. Please check this web page to see if NARA is accepting applications before you try contacting them: Availability of positions.
- Nelson Atkins Museum Art Reference Library
The museum offers students opportunities to explore the world of an art reference library.
- St. Luke’s Hospital Health Sciences Library
- State Historical Society of Missouri — Kansas City
- Truman Presidential Library
The library is run by the National Archives and Records Administration. Good for those seeking exposure to archival work. Practicum opportunities depend on the availability of professional staff.
- University of Kansas Medical Center — Archie R. Dykes
- University of Missouri — Kansas City Health Sciences Library and Dental Library
- University of Missouri — Kansas City — Leon E. Bloch Law Library
Opportunities for students with JD to help with reference desk, updating LibGuides, 1L research instruction and one-off research lectures e.g. Tax Practicum, International Human Rights, Education Law, Law, Science and Technology.
St. Louis and Illinois
- Kirkwood Public Library
- New Athens District Library (New Athens, IL)
- Municipal Library Consortium of St. Louis County
Includes links to the nine independent community libraries.
- St. Charles City-County Library District
- St. Louis County Library
Headquarters or various branches; Volunteering will provide a variety of library experiences, but you must be approved by the SLCL system and a Branch Manager. Background check required.
- University City Public Library
- Fontbonne University
- Lindenwood University Campus Library (Belleville, IL)
- McKendree University (Lebanon, IL)
- St. Charles Community College Library
- St. Louis Community College Library “mc”
- St. Louis Community College Library “WW”
- St. Louis Mercantile Library
Located in the Thomas Jefferson Library, UMSL
- St. Louis University Libraries – Pius XII Memorial (main)
- University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL) Library
- Washington University
- Webster University Library
- American Association of Orthodontists Library
- Federal Reserve Bank St. Louis
- Missouri Botanical Garden Library
- Missouri History Museum Library & Research Center
- Promotion and Administrative Support for Library Carpentry Workshop
- St. Louis Art Museum Richardson Memorial Library
- St. Louis Zoo Library & Teacher Resource Center
- State Historical Society of Missouri — St Louis
- Bellevue Public Library
- Blair Public Library
- Fairbury Public Library
- Gering Public Library
- Lincoln City Libraries
- Norfolk Public Library
- Omaha Public Library
- Lied Scottsbluff Public Library — Scottsbluff
- Plattsmouth Public Library
- Sump Memorial Library — Papillion
- Washington Branch (Omaha Public Library)
- Doane University Library & Archives
- Little Priest Tribal College
- University of Nebraska — Kearney Calvin T Ryan Library
- University of Nebraska — Kearney Calvin T Ryan Library (Archives)
- University of Nebraska — Lincoln
- University of Nebraska — Omaha