Library and Information Science (LIS) education has been offered at Charles Sturt University and its predecessor institutions since 1975, with the School of Information Studies being established in 1983, a few years after a graduate diploma in School Librarianship was launched, to complement the general library science programs. By the time the Riverina-Murray Institute of Higher Education became part of the new Charles Sturt University in 1989, the School’s LIS courses were being offered wholly in distance mode and fast gaining a reputation for providing a solid and thorough grounding in librarianship for students who were often already working and in need of flexible, part-time study options. In the 1990s, the School started to develop advanced courses and research degrees, and both student and staff numbers continued to grow. It also developed a very successful partnership with the University of Hong Kong, whereby the CSU programs were taken up by Hong Kong-based students assisted by local tutorial support. This arrangement remains in place to this day.
The 2000s saw further growth in the LIS programs and the first students to graduate with PhDs in the discipline. In 2007, the IT programs and lecturers moved out of the School, leaving it to focus solely on the LIS discipline in its new Faculty of Education. Shortly after, the School dramatically expanded its curriculum to encompass new fields of Information Studies outside of librarianship. Accordingly, in 2013, the School joined the iSchools organisation, an international consortium of information schools and departments dedicated to advancing the information field. In 2016, the School moved into its current Faculty of Arts and Education.
From a staff of two, and student numbers in the tens, the courses established in the 1970s and 80s have evolved into the largest LIS programs in Australia and some of the largest in the world. The School currently has around 2,000 students enrolled in the Bachelors and Masters of Information Studies, the Master of Education (Teacher Librarianship), several other specialist courses, and its PhD program. To support its teaching and research, the School has around 20 faculty, teaching and researching in a wide range of LIS subfields. While its ‘headquarters’ is Building 5 on CSU’s Wagga Wagga campus (about 400 km south-west of Sydney), both its staff and students are based in many other locations, across Australia and indeed the globe.