LIBR 281-03
Seminar in Contemporary Issues
Topic: Diversity Issues in Information Environments
Spring 2011 Greensheet

Dr. Arglenda J. Friday
Other contact information: Phone:  918-378-2609
Office location: Denton, TX and Online
Office Hours:Best times-T/TH/10-2 CST or by arrangement

Greensheet Links
Textbooks and Readings
Course Requirements
ANGEL Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

This course is delivered online using the ANGEL class management service. Students should self-enroll on ANGEL using the access code sent on January 24 via the MySJSU messaging system.

Course begins on Wednesday, January 26

Course Description

This 3-unit seminar will investigate various types of environments/venues, and organizational settings -physical and virtual- in which information professionals may operate, and examine characteristics of diverse users.  These venues include public, academic, and special libraries/information centers, archives, museums and cultural centers. Information producers, resources, functions and services will be evaluated, while major concepts of cultural values, identity, language, ability, and information seeking behaviors will be explored. Issues and trends will be addressed.

Course Prerequisites: LIBR 200, 202, 204 required.

Course Objectives

Student Learning Outcomes
At the completion of this course, the student should be able to:

  • Examine the dynamics of cultural, gender/sexual, age-based, class, regional, national, transnational, and global identities and the similarities, differences, linkages, and        interactions between them within the context of a library or information center setting
  • Distinguish and describe characteristics, challenges, issues, needs, interests, and concerns associated with providing information services diverse groups
  • Identify differences between types of library (public, academic, school library and special) environments and information centers and their service provisions to diverse clientele
  • Develop skills and methods for identifying appropriate resources and communication channels for service delivery to these patrons from diverse backgrounds
  • Explore non-traditional aspects of information producers, publishers/content creators, and providers of resources for underrepresented groups
  • Increase awareness of major concepts of cultural values, identity, language, ability, and information seeking behaviors of globalized and domestic groups
  • Analyze and critically evaluate readings and studies reflecting major international, national, regional, state, and local trends pertaining to diversity and multiculturalism.

 LIBR 281 supports the following MLIS Core Competencies:

  • B. compare the environments and organizational settings in which library and information professionals practice;
  • O. Contribute to the cultural, economic, educational and social well-being of our communities

Course Requirements

Lectures, assignments, discussions and announcements will be on ANGEL. The primary requirements for this web based course are:

The course is divided into topics which will include:

  • Online lectures provided by the instructor,
  • Articles from the professional literature, and;
  • Other materials, including resource information and web sites.

Papers and Exercises
To demonstrate learning, students will complete:

  • A library visit report or problem identification to assess responsiveness to the needs and interests of a particular group selected from the list of diversity characteristics (age, language, culture, gender expression, ability, etc.)
  • An evaluation of a website, program, service or Internet resource to promote diversification
  • Short exercises to help identify issues and opportunities for libraries to better serve diverse clientele
  • A final project (research paper, information environment assessment, annotated bibliography, advocacy paper or diversity initiative proposal to improve services for an underserved population of patrons/potential patrons)

Discussion Forums
Each weekly unit will have a corresponding Discussion Forum. These discussion forums provide opportunities for class members to engage in meaningful cognitive exchanges about their experiences, observations, and interpretations of the readings as they pertain to libraries/information centers and diversity. This form of class participation may also include analyzing case studies, role playing, and posting relevant cites to support your opinions about issues.

Participation in the online discussions is essential for success in this course. Students are expected to post at least two comments on each discussion topic, one an original contribution and the other a response to another student’s post. Please check in on the discussions occasionally throughout the week.

Fieldwork Assignments
Students are expected to keep abreast of diversity issues affecting all types of library and information centers through:

  1. association and interaction with working librarians and library professionals;
  2. observations in various library settings; and
  3. by regularly reading professional literature, monitoring relevant listservs, and scanning newspapers and other journals.

Course Calendar

The following information environments will be covered in this course:

  • Introduction /Definitions and descriptions of diverse clientele
  • Historical perspectives pertaining to information institutions, libraries, and   knowledge centers and their services to diverse groups 
  • Understanding the behaviors of information users in diverse environments
  • Equity issues (including language, abilities – literacy, disabilities, socioeconomic factors -  homelessness, working poor, etc.) 
  • Information Producers /Publishers of print/electronic and multimedia materials for diverse clientele (Gender Studies, ESL/ELL, reluctant readers, immigrants)
  • Global diversity and international information issues (literacy, technology, access, cross-  cultural competence, co-operation across continents)
  • Roles of interdisciplinary, interprofessional, geopoliltical, social, and philosophical   perspectives of stakeholders involved in the provision of library services to diverse       communities

Course Grading

Evaluation Criteria
Grades will be assigned based on how well students demonstrate:

  • understanding of diversity and how it affects the delivery of library programs,  and services, and the diversification of its collections;
  • critical, reflective, and innovative thinking skills;
  • ability to articulate the ways that philosophical perspectives influence our understanding of underserved populations in our library service areas
  • originality in the approach to the assignment
  • greater depth of analysis and overall treatment than required by the assignment 
  • superior organizational, written, or communication skills in the presentation of the material. 

Grades for class participation will be based on your performance in terms of concrete, cognitive, and relevant contributions to the discussions or issues for analysis. Concrete would include the number of times you participate in class discussions or the number of times you provide links to outside sources of interest. Cognitive activities include the depth of your posts, critical evaluation of the readings by comparing them to other authors/sources/best practices, providing new ways of looking at an idea or suggesting new sources or leads for the class, and bringing up new ideas or questions.

No extra credit will be available.

Course Calendar
Assignment due dates are located in the ANGEL course. They are subject to change with fair notice.

Late Assignments
Late assignments will not be accepted without prior notification and approval of the instructor, and with the understanding that there may be a reduction in number of points earned for the assignment. Incompletes will be assigned ONLY in cases of documented family or medical emergency.

Textbooks and Readings

The readings and articles will also be available through the King Library, the Internet, and/or the course site. Current topics will be taken from library journals and other appropriate venues, including periodicals promoting services and programming to diverse communities. 

Supplemental Readings 

  • American Library Association - diversity articles and publications
  • Galens, J. et al. (eds.Gale Encyclopedia of Multicultural America. (2nd Ed.) New York: Gale Research Inc., 2000.
  • Guerena, S. (ed.)Latino Librarianship: A Handbook for Professionals. (2nd Ed.) Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., 2000.
  • International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) - articles and publications
  • Josey, E.J. & DeLoach, Marva (eds). Handbook of Black librarianship. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2000.
  • Metoyer-Duran, C. Gatekeepers in Ethnolinguistic Communities. Norwood, NJ: Ablex Pub., 1993.

No Textbooks For This Course.

Grading Scale

The standard SJSU School of Information Grading Scale is utilized for all iSchool courses:

97 to 100 A
94 to 96 A minus
91 to 93 B plus
88 to 90 B
85 to 87 B minus
82 to 84 C plus
79 to 81 C
76 to 78 C minus
73 to 75 D plus
70 to 72 D
67 to 69 D minus
Below 67 F


In order to provide consistent guidelines for assessment for graduate level work in the School, these terms are applied to letter grades:

  • C represents Adequate work; a grade of "C" counts for credit for the course;
  • B represents Good work; a grade of "B" clearly meets the standards for graduate level work;
    For core courses in the MLIS program (not MARA) — INFO 200, INFO 202, INFO 204 — the iSchool requires that students earn a B in the course. If the grade is less than B (B- or lower) after the first attempt you will be placed on administrative probation.  You must repeat the class the following semester. If -on the second attempt- you do not pass the class with a grade of B or better (not B- but B) you will be disqualified.
  • A represents Exceptional work; a grade of "A" will be assigned for outstanding work only.

Students are advised that it is their responsibility to maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA).

University Policies

General Expectations, Rights and Responsibilities of the Student

As members of the academic community, students accept both the rights and responsibilities incumbent upon all members of the institution. Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with SJSU's policies and practices pertaining to the procedures to follow if and when questions or concerns about a class arises. See University Policy S90-5 at More detailed information on a variety of related topics is available in the SJSU catalog at In general, it is recommended that students begin by seeking clarification or discussing concerns with their instructor. If such conversation is not possible, or if it does not serve to address the issue, it is recommended that the student contact the Department Chair as a next step.

Dropping and Adding

Students are responsible for understanding the policies and procedures about add/drop, grade forgiveness, etc. Refer to the current semester's Catalog Policies section at Add/drop deadlines can be found on the current academic year calendars document on the Academic Calendars webpage at The Late Drop Policy is available at Students should be aware of the current deadlines and penalties for dropping classes.

Information about the latest changes and news is available at the Advising Hub at

Consent for Recording of Class and Public Sharing of Instructor Material

University Policy S12-7,, requires students to obtain instructor's permission to record the course and the following items to be included in the syllabus:

  • "Common courtesy and professional behavior dictate that you notify someone when you are recording him/her. You must obtain the instructor's permission to make audio or video recordings in this class. Such permission allows the recordings to be used for your private, study purposes only. The recordings are the intellectual property of the instructor; you have not been given any rights to reproduce or distribute the material."
    • It is suggested that the syllabus include the instructor's process for granting permission, whether in writing or orally and whether for the whole semester or on a class by class basis.
    • In classes where active participation of students or guests may be on the recording, permission of those students or guests should be obtained as well.
  • "Course material developed by the instructor is the intellectual property of the instructor and cannot be shared publicly without his/her approval. You may not publicly share or upload instructor generated material for this course such as exam questions, lecture notes, or homework solutions without instructor consent."

Academic integrity

Your commitment, as a student, to learning is evidenced by your enrollment at San Jose State University. The University Academic Integrity Policy F15-7 at requires you to be honest in all your academic course work. Faculty members are required to report all infractions to the office of Student Conduct and Ethical Development. The Student Conduct and Ethical Development website is available at

Campus Policy in Compliance with the American Disabilities Act

If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, or if you need to make special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible, or see me during office hours. Presidential Directive 97-03 at requires that students with disabilities requesting accommodations must register with the Accessible Education Center (AEC) at to establish a record of their disability.

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