LIBR 280-01
LIBR 280-10
History of Books and Libraries
Spring 2012 Greensheet

Linda Main
Clark Hall 420B (San Jose)
Phone: (408) 924-2494
Office Hours:
Virtually by e-mail

Debbie Hansen
PLS 275( CSU Fullerton)
Phone: 657 278-7288
Office Hours:
Virtually, by e-mail

Course Links
iSchool eBookstore

Textbooks and Readings | Course Requirements

This course will be available via D2L beginning Wednesday, January 25th. You will be enrolled into the site automatically.

Course Description

The purpose of this class is to lead students to a greater awareness of the roles of (1) the book and (2) the library in expressing and fostering culture throughout history.

The "book" is taken to mean all forms of records, e.g., cuneiform fragments, manuscripts, printed books, periodicals, and newspapers.

Expressing culture refers in this context primarily to the appearance of books; the arts of writing, lettering, and illustration involved in the production of manuscripts; and the technical developments of papermaking and of printing, engraving, and lithography involved in creating books.

Fostering culture refers to the content of books, the preservation of sacred and secular knowledge through carefully supervised copying of ancient texts during the manuscript period, and the dissemination of contemporary as well as traditional ideas through the ability to multiply copies by printing.

The development of libraries has naturally followed the historical course of the book, first as conservators of relatively rare and precious repositories of knowledge and imagination for the few who could afford and read books; later as retreats for scholars under the patronage of wealthy and cultured rulers; and finally as information resources for a large and literate public. Buildings, facilities, organization, and staffing have accommodated themselves to this development, and to the changing forms of the book itself—tablet, scroll, folio, codex, octavo, fiche, or data bank.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will become aware of the evolution of graphic communication symbols, and be able to identify alphabetic and ideographic systems in use in various parts of the world;
  2. Students will become familiar with the material and methods of book production in various parts of the world from the manuscript era to the present;
  3. Students will be able to analyze aspects of external forces—social, economic, political, religious, and artistic—that have affected the content and appearance of books in several specific parts of the world;
  4. Students will understand the economic problems that have shaped methods of publishing and distributing books;
  5. Students will be able to attribute major technical and artistic developments in typography, book design, and book production to persons and nations originating these developments;
  6. Students will understand the institutional development of libraries and how libraries have evolved in response to economic, social, and technological change;
  7. Students will be able to analyze the social functions of the library and understand how, why, and when library service evolved from a collection-centered to a client-centered institution;
  8. Students will appreciate the development of librarianship as a profession and be able to identify seminal theorists and practitioners in the field.

LIBR 280 supports the following SLIS Core Competencies:

  • recognize the social, cultural and economic dimensions of information use
  • use the basic concepts and principles related to the creation, evaluation, selection, acquisition, preservation and organization of specific items or collections of information

In addition, this section supports the following SLIS Core Competencies:

  • contribute to the cultural, economic, educational, and social well-being of our communities

Class Format and Technology Requirements

This class is team taught by Linda Main and Debbie Hansen. Linda Main will be solely responsible for the first half of the class covering the history of books and early libraries; Debbie Hansen will be solely responsible for the second half of the class which focuses on American library history.

This class makes use of a variety of technologies, and you should not take the class if your computer and Internet access is not fast and you are not comfortable with Web 2.0 tools. The Manuscript and Printed Books Assignments will be submitted as web sites using pass worded software running on the School's servers. Passwords will be sent to those enrolled in the class by the first day of the semester. No Web programming skills are required but you will be expected to be comfortable with Web 2.0 tools that have easy to use user interfaces.

All work will be of graduate standard. This means:

  • No assignments submitted after the due date and time
  • Spelling, grammatical, and syntactical errors will not be allowed
  • All work cited should be in full accordance with the style format selected.

Late assignments will not be accepted. If you have an illness (medical certificate supplied) or a family tragedy please contact the instructor (L. Main for the first half of the class; D. Hansen for the second half of the class.


  1. Exams. Students will be required to take 2 exams.
    The midterm will be an exam on the history of books and early libraries to be held on the 11th March. Questions will be drawn from class handouts, class lectures, and talking points. You will answer questions from only one (and only one)of the following areas (selected by you on the day of the exam):
      • Grouping One
        • The Ancient World
        • Ancient and Medieval Libraries
        • Monasteries and Scriptorium
      • Grouping Two
        • Key Illuminated Manuscripts
        • The Incunabula
      • Grouping Three
        • 17th -20th Century Developments
        • Changes in Book Design (to cover paperbacks, dime novels, comics, children's books, and e-books)
    The exam will be held via D2L. The exam will run from 10am-11:15am on the 11th March.

        will be an exam on the history of books, reading, and libraries in America. This exam will be based on the
    assigned readings and websites
        as well as the
    class lectures
        given during the second half of the class only. The final will take place on
    29th April,
        from 10am – 11:15 am.
    It will also be held via D2L.
  2. Manuscript and Printed Book Studies. Each student will select a manuscript and an early printed book to research and study.
  3. Weekly Activities and Discussions. During the history of books section of the class you will be assigned six weekly activities. During the history of American libraries portion of the class you will participate in weekly discussion forums.
  4. Research Paper. During the second half of the semester devoted to the history of American libraries, each student will write a social history of a library of his or her choice. This will be a twenty-page paper, excluding references, based on archival research and in-depth reading in library history. A handout describing the theory and method to be used in this research paper will be provided. This paper will be due on May 6th at 5 p.m.

Note: No rounding up of points

Midterm Exam 14 points
Final Exam 14 points
Manuscript Project 15 points
Printed Book Project 15 points
Weekly Activities 6 points
Weekly Discussions 6 points
History of a Public Library 30 points

Due Dates

Manuscript Project 15th February
Printed Book Project 7th March
Midterm 11th March
Library History 6th May
Final Exam 29th April

Schedule of Weekly Activities/Discussions

  • First Weekly Activity set 25th January; due 1st February by 4pm
  • Second Weekly Activity set 1st February; due 8th February by 4pm
  • Third Weekly Activity set 8th February; due 15th February by 4pm
  • Fourth Weekly Activity set 15th February; due 22nd February by 4pm
  • Fifth Weekly Activity set 22nd February; due 29th February by 4pm
  • Sixth Weekly Activity set 29th February; due 7th March by 4pm

American Library History

  • First Week Discussion: March 14 - March 20
  • Second Week Discussion: March 21- April 3
  • Third Week Discussion: April 4 - April 10
  • Fourth Week Discussion: April 11- April 17
  • Fifth Week Discussion: April 18 - April 24
  • Sixth Week Discussion: April 25 – May 1

Textbooks and Readings

Recommended Textbooks:

  • Learn about the history of your school! Hansen, D.G. (2010). A pioneering and independent spirit. Trafford. Available through Amazon: 1426921098 arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Augst, T., & Carpenter, K. (2007). Institutions of Reading. Univ. of Massachusetts Press. Available through Amazon: 1558495916. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Avrin, L. (2010). Scribes, Script and Books (Reprint of 1991 ed.). ALA. Available through Amazon: 0838910386. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Brown, M. P. (1994). Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts. Getty Publications. Available through Amazon: 0892362170. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Casson, L. (2002). Libraries in the Ancient World. Yale University Press. Available through Amazon: 0300097212. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Diringer, D. (1982). The book before printing. Dover. Available through Amazon: 0486242439. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Febvre. L. (1976). The coming of the book: The impact of printing 1450-1800. Trans. David Gerard. Verso. Available through Amazon: 1859841082. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Finkelstein, D., & McCleery, A. (2006). The Book History Reader (2nd ed.). Routledge. Available through Amazon: 0415359481. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Hall, D. H. (1996). Cultures of Print. Univ. of Massachusetts. Available through Amazon: 1558490493. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Harris, M. H. (1999). History of libraries in the western world (4th ed.). Scarecrow Press. Available through Amazon: 0810837242. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Howard, N. (2005). The book: The life story of a technology. Greenwood Technographies. Available through Amazon: 031333028X. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Katz, B. (1995). Dahl's history of the book. Rowman & Littlefield. Available through Amazon: 0810828529. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Martin, H. J. (1995). History and power of writing. University of Chicago Press. Available through Amazon: 0226508366. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Passet, J. (1994). Cultural Crusaders. University of New Mexico Press. Available through Amazon: 0826315305. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Wright, A. (2007). GLUT: Mastering information through the ages. Joseph Henry Press. Available through Amazon: 0309102383. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain

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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