LIBR 230-01
Issues in Academic Libraries
Spring 2011 Greensheet

Mary Martin
Data Services Manager
Business & Law Librarian
Honnold/Mudd Library
Claremont Colleges
Claremont CA. 91737
Voice: (909) 621-8923
Fax: (909) 607-8785

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Textbooks and Readings
Course Requirements
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Students need to self-enroll in this course on the ANGEL Course Management System. The instructor will send the enrollment PIN via the MYSJSU messaging system.

Course Description

This course will investigate current issues that impact the planning and functioning of the academic library. Topics covered will include issues related to social and political environments, clientele, services, collections, physical settings, financing, staffing, and future trends in the academic library sector.

Course Objectives

This course will provide students with a framework within which they will be able to understand current issues relevant to academic libraries. It will assist in preparing them as professionals for participation in the structure and work environment of an academic library, and as members of the profession. The method will involve researching issues and fully exploring creative and alternative points of view.

Focus will be on broad issues that connect academic libraries with their parent institutions and with the wider worlds of scholarly communication, publishing, information technology, and higher education. Major components include personnel and staff development, governance and standards, collection management, networks and cooperation, administrative organization and services. Considerable attention will be given to the impact of new and emerging technologies on library space and the structure, staffing, and management of academic libraries. Critical review of the literature, case studies, and written assignments will be required.

The main objective is to prepare the student for participation in the current academic library setting, where work is done primarily in committees or teams, and where a combination of leadership and the ability to work in a collaborative environment are essential.

MLIS Core Competencies
On completion of this course, students should be able to use information learned in this class toward mastering of Core Competencies

  • Identify and discuss current issues and major areas of concern to academic libraries; (A,B,C,L)
  • Discuss the major aspects of providing the range of traditional and innovative services being offered by academic libraries; (A,B,C,I,N)
  • Establish criteria and methods for assessing academic community needs, for measuring and evaluating library effectiveness, and for promoting and financing services (E,F,I,M,N,O)
  • Utilize critical thinking and problem-solving techniques in analyzing specific problem situations commonly encountered in academic libraries. (B,C,D,E,L,N)
  • Understand the principles of project management and work in a group to plan and implement a new service or change and existing service.(B,D,F,G,M,N)
  • Understand the role of professional development in the academic library setting (A,B,C,D,M,O)

Course Requirements

There will be a topic of discussion each week with suggested readings, and students will be expected to read at least one of the articles and contribute to a discussion with their classmates about the topic.

***A “Getting to Know You” exercise is being added to the first week’s activities. It doesn’t require much work, just an active imagination. Please do it as an ice-breaker. The first formal assignment due date is being pushed ahead one week to accommodate the activity.

Getting to know you
As an icebreaker – each student will need to participate in this “Getting to know you” exercise. I have not done this virtually before so we’ll see how it goes.

  1. Post (to this student discussion board for this class) a one paragraph summary description of who you are and why you are taking this class. Label the entry with your first name, last initial, and “bio”.
  2. List three things about yourself, two of which are true, and one that is false. This should be done by.
  3. Go ahead and read other’s posting and reply to those you would like to.
  4. Each student will post a response to the “guess” of the fellow student listed before them in the list. They should label the message “Guess at blank (name) of the person’s) false statement”.
  5. Try to be creative and/or amusing – but be somewhat plausible.
  6. Each student will reveal the answer (which statements were true – which one was false), by August 30. The message should be labeled “The truth about your name”

No one will be graded (of course) – but it will hopefully help us begin to know each other better as we will not be meeting face-to-face in this class.

This is more fun than you might think. I participated in an EMBA (Executive MBA) orientation program where they did this and it was fun.

Discussion topics include: General issues; library space issues; building [electronic] collections; recruitment, education, and retention of librarians; emerging personnel issues; team-based organizations vs. hierarchical organizations; copyright issues & scholarly publishing; technological considerations; competition from outside information providers; user-based library public services; reference and instruction services: training, communication, staff and personnel issues; evaluation of personnel; professional issues; strategic planning and future issues. I will post a brief introductory lecture for the week to serve as a “taking off” point for discussion.

**See the Issues in Academic Libraries Reading List to get the discussion topics and readings for each week’s assignment.

Class Schedule
Discussion Topics, Readings and Assignments:

*Keep in mind that each week the student is to read the class lecture and at least one of the articles on the reading list and make a posting to the Discussion List on their reading.

  • Week 1 January 26 Introductions - General Issues - Where are we?
    OCLC Environmental Scan – Academic Libraries in the Larger World Landscape Overview. Talk to an expert?
  • Week 2 January 31 Library budget issues/economic downturn/continue discussion of the OCLC Environmental Scan

    Assignment #1 Academic Library Issue Paper (2-4 pages) (Due Monday February 14)
  • Week 3 February 7 Library space issues/changing collection/formats/use patterns/offsite, compact storage
  • Week 4 February 14 Exchanging library space for electronic collections/copyright issues & scholarly publishing/Open URL initiatives

    Assignment # 2 Librarian Interview/Report (2–4 pages) (Due Monday February 28)
  • Week 5 – February 21 User-based library public services - reference and instruction services: training, mobile reference services, Web 2.0, communication, staffing 24/7; library cafes, etc.
  • Week 6 – February 28 Group Project/Working together for Change

    Lecture and Materials for discussions of proposals for major projects in preparation for the major project assignment. I.e. proposal for a multimedia services room; appointment or mobile-based reference service; mentor and training program for new librarians); plan for a library cafe

    Assignment # [3] (Group Project Proposal/Summary of the proposal with team (group) assignments and a brief project description due Monday March 14 [Major project proposal] (Prepare a major proposal for a project in the area of collections or services that would serve as a blueprint for a real project proposal in a library setting. (This will be a group project – I will select the groups) (1-2 pages for brief summary proposal due Monday March 14) (Final proposal should be 15-20 pages, due the week of May 9)

  • Week 7 March 7 What do Librarians need to know about numbers? Statistics/benchmarks, etc.
  • Week 8 – March 14 Personnel performance evaluation: how to measure performance?

    Assignment # 4 Personnel Performance Evaluation assignment (3-5 pages) (Due Monday March 28)
  • Week 9 – March 21- Education/emerging personnel issues/recruitment, education, and retention of librarians.
  • Week 10 March 28 Spring Break - 
  • Week 11 April 4 – Professional issues/regional/state/local library participation

    Assignment # 5 “Putting together some numbers” – (5-7 pages) (Due Monday April 11)
  • Week 12 – April 11 Where are we? Where are we going?

    Assignment # 6 (Professional association meeting /Listserv participation report (2-4 pages) (Due Monday April 25)
  • Week 13 – April 18 - Total management issues - hierarchical vs. team-based organizations
  • Week 14 April 25 - Strategic planning - future issues

    Assignment #3 Full Group Project Proposal (15-20 pages)(Due May 9)
  • Week 15 May 2 To be determined 
  • Week 16 May 9 No assignments – all work should be turned in by May 13


Assignment #1 Academic library issue (2-4 pages) (Due Monday February 14)

1. Search one of the following databases:

  • Library Literature & Information Science Full Text
  • Library Literature & Information Science Retrospective
  • Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts with Full Text (LISTA)

And find an article on a pressing issue of an academic library. Using the Case Study method describe an approach to addressing the issue through the strategic planning process by taking one aspect of the issue [problem, dilemma] and describing how a particular library strategy would be employed to accomplish a goal. I will post an example of this to the course module page. Post your assignment on the assignment drop box on ANGEL (2-4 pages) – (Due Monday February 14.)

Assignment # 2 Interview with a librarian (preferably an administrator and not in your current department) (2-4 pages) (Due Monday February 28)

2. Visit an academic library and interview an academic librarian (Not in your department if you work in an academic library – and preferably someone at the administrative level (department head, etc.) Ask them to think about a major issue facing academic libraries today. Summarize and report on your visit via the ANGEL Discussion Board to their fellow students. Turn in a summary of the interview along with contact information for the librarian interviewed. Identify one issue mentioned by the librarian interviewed and express a position on that issue. Cite (2) references to support your position. (2-4 pages) (Due Monday February 28)

Assignment # [3] (Group Major Project Proposal/Summary of the proposal with team assignments (2-4 pages) (Due Monday March 14) (Group projects)

3. (Group Project Proposal/Summary of the proposal with team (group) assignments and a brief project description due Monday March 14 [Completed Major project proposal due Monday May 9] (This will be a group project – I will select the groups) You will create a workspace for the group on, Yahoo groups or a similar group work hosting site. Prepare a major proposal for a project in the area of collections or services that would serve as a blueprint for a real project proposal in a library setting. The instructor will provide examples of projects. The project should include the following parts:

  1. Financial estimates of work to be performed
  2. Sample measurements of proposed services, etc.
  3. Proposed new costs or cost savings
  4. Estimated additional staff/ staff savings

(1-2 pages for brief summary proposal due Monday March 14) (Final proposal should be 15-20 pages, due the week of May 9)
With the final project you will also submit a brief evaluation of everyone’s performance in the group project. Final proposal (project), due the week of May 9 (15-20 pages)
(2-4 pages for the summary) – (Due Monday March 14)

Assignment # 4 Personnel evaluation assignment (3-5 pages) (Due Monday March 28)

4. Find a copy of a personnel evaluation form or process.

Evaluate the form or process using the following questions:

  1. Is the form well organized?
  2. Do the categories for evaluation seem applicable to a professional librarian?
  3. Is there some provision for self-appraisal?
  4. Does the form encourage positive development?
  5. Does the form provide opportunity for excessive criticism?
  6. Does it provide opportunity for praise?
  7. Does it provide opportunity for plans for future development?
  8. What is your overall assessment of the form/process?

(3-5 pages) (Due Monday March 28)

Assignment # 5 “Putting together some numbers” (5-7 pages) (Due Monday April 11)

5. The library has been informed that it will lose 12,000 sq feet of shelving space
that is being converted to a coffee shop/café on one floor of the building. Come
up with a viable plan for what to do with the displaced material. You may be able to find an example of such a project and describe the problem, the premise, the action, the results and the conclusion recommendation based on the data.
(5-7 pages) (Due Monday April 11)

Assignment # 6 Listserv monitoring report /Professional Librarians Association Meeting (2-4 pages) (Due Monday April 25)

6. Subscribe to an Academic Library ListServ such as LIBADMIN; LIBPLN-L,
LIBREF- or AQUNETor monitor a Blog for one week on a daily basis and report
on an issue discussed on the ListServ (preferably) in your paper. If you want to create a Blog – please contact me.
During the semester, the student will attend a professional library association
meeting such as a local, state or national librarian’s association meeting. The
student will find and identify a meeting that they can attend. Lists of association meetings can be found for the geographic area of the student’s residence. A summary report of the meeting will be provided by the student. (2-4 pages) (Due Monday April 25)

Final Project (Assignment # 3 – completion of the Project Proposal presented March 14 – see above under Assignment # 3) – (15-20 pages) (Due Monday May 9)


  • 1. Assignment #1 Academic Library/Issue Assignment 10%
    Write a position paper chosen from one of the following topics (2-4 pages)
    (Due Monday February 14)
  • 2. Assignment # 2 Librarian Interview and report (2-4 pages) 10%
    (Due Monday February 28)
  • 3. Assignment [#3] Group Project proposal/Choose groups/
    Outline for project (2-4 pages)
    (Due Monday March 14)
  • 4. Assignment # 4 Personnel Evaluation (3-5 pages) 15%
    (Due Monday Monday March 28)
  • 5. Assignment # 5 “Putting together some numbers” (5-7 pages) 15%
    (Due Monday April 11
  • 6. Assignment # 6 (Professional association meeting /Listserv 10%
    participation report – (2-4 pages)
    (Due Monday April 25)
  • Final Group Project (Assignment #3) – (15-20 pages) 25%
    Proposed March 14 to be completed –
    (Due Monday May 9)
  • Postings/participation on Class Discussion List/ Elluminate 15%

Total: 100% possible

Textbooks and Readings

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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