LIBR 286-01
Interpersonal Communication Skills for Librarians
Spring 2009 Greensheet

Dr. Brooke Sheldon

Office: Clark Hall 405
Office Hours: Available each day during residency, by appointment and by telephone and e-mail.
Phone (Cell): 505.231.8423

Course Links
Textbooks and Readings
Course Requirements
Objectives by Topic
Course Calendar
ANGEL Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

Course Description

Surveys and explores the theories and practices of interpersonal communication; small groups and peer relationships in the context of library leadership.

Prerequisites: LIBR 200, 204

Student Learning Objectives

Course Goal

  • Enable professional librarians to improve their ability to work effectively with their peers, supervisors and staffs.

The course will explore three facets of communication, and effective personal relationships:

  • personal preferred styles and their effect on individual relationships and team
  • understanding of group dynamics
  • theory and practice in conflict management, motivation, communication, listening skills and other techniques.

Course Objectives
At the completion of the course students will:

  • develop an understanding of their preferred management/interpersonal style
    and how to utilize these preferences to improve personal relationships and
    ultimately team performance;
  • understand the nature of leadership as it relates to interpersonal communications and group dynamics;
  • Improve skills in listening and motivating
  • understand the nature of leadership as it relates to interpersonal communications and group effectiveness
  • Gain skills in managing conflict

Specific objectives for each content area are appended.

LIBR 286 supports the following SLIS Core Competencies:

  • demonstrate oral and written communication skills necessary for group work, collaborations and professional level presentations.

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

  • developing commitment to service, flexibility,, communication, self motivation, collaboration, mutual respect and trust.

Textbooks and Readings

Required Textbooks

  • Buckingham, M., & Clifton, D. (2001). Now Discover Your Strengths. New York: The Pree Press. Available through Amazon: 0743201140.arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
    You will need your own original copy in order to obtain an access code to take the strengths finder test online.  Please read the book and take the strengths finder profile before the first class meeting in January.  Other recommended readings are listed below.

Recommended Reading List
Among the hundreds of thousands of books, articles, tapes etc dealing with interpersonal communications, it is difficult to single our any that are the essence of the many aspects of IC and leadership. This list is simply a way to get started. By all means, bring to class YOUR favorites. Please read at least one of these items in each topic area before the January residency.


  • Giesecke, Joan and McNeil, B.(2005) Fundamentals of Library Supervision Chicago, American Library Association.
    Like many library publications this is very pragmatic, but see especially chapters l-6 that give an overview of communication skills, motivation, teamwork, inclusiveness and diversity.
  • Lucas, Robert (1994) Effective Interpersonal Relationships New York, Mirror Press
    Also a practical approach

Listening Skills

  • Allen, Madelyn B.(1995) Listening, the Forgotten Skill; a self teaching guide New York Wiley
  • Bone, Diane (l994) The Business of Listening Menlo Park, Ca. Crisp Publications
  • Nichols, Michael P.(1995) The Lost Art of Listening New York, Guilford Press
    Rogers, Carl Much of the theory behind empathic listening is derived from Roger’s work especially in client centered therapy. While Roger’s theories were directed towards the counseling field, they are powerful tools for anyone who wants to become an active listener.

Small Group Dynamics

  • Blair, Gerard M. “Groups that work” (Univ. of Edinburgh) See article #1 under “Basic Management Skills”
  • Peterson, Randall S.(2002) Groups at Work: Theory and Research, Cornell University Press
  • Creighton, James L. (Los Gatos,Inc) “Using Group Process Techniques to Improve Meeting Effectiveness”


  • Bennis, Warren “The Leadership Advantage” Leader to Leader Institute, and
    On Becoming a Leader, New York, Addison, 1989 is (in my view) still the classic
    Book on leadership. Delineates the differences between management and leadership.
  • Quinn, Robert “Moments of Greatness”; Entering the fundamental state of
    Harvard Business Review, July/August 2005
    Emotional Intelligence See articles by Robert Emmerling and Daniel Goleman; also Gary Cherniss


  • Harvard Business Review on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Boston, Harvard Business School, 2000 See especially section 1 “Management of Differences” Schmidt and Tannenbaum
  • Kottler, Jeffrey (1994) Beyond Blame San Francisco, Jossey-Bass
  • McKenna, Patrick J. “Resolving Interpersonal Conflicts” This website also references other online articles

Just read the views of some of the key motivational thinkers. Any articles by Maslov, Mayo, Hertzberg (pioneers) and MacGregor, Likert, McCelland, and ersey/Blanchard’s Situational Leadership Model. All available in various formats at your local library, and often online.

Course Requirements

Assignment Due Date Weighting
Completion Strengths-Finder Profile January 12, 2009 5%
Presentation January 15, 2009 10%
Participation/Contributions January 12-15, 2009 30%
Interpersonal skills self analysis essay and Plan for enhancement May 1, 2009 30%
Research Paper on an aspect of one of the major topics of the class April 20, 2009 25%

Written & Spoken English Requirement
Written and spoken work may receive a lower mark if it is, in the opinion of the instructor, deficient in English.

Regular attendance is expected of students in all their classes (including lectures, laboratories, tutorials, seminars, etc. Please be present and on time for class or inform the instructor in advance (cell: 505-231-8423) as you would any supervisor in a workplace; as there is no final examination, absence from two or more classes may result in failure.

Other Course Policies

  1. submit assignments on time according to instructions; written assignments will not be accepted after the stated deadline without prior approval, and may be subject to a grade penalty;
  2. contribute positively and productively to the understanding of others in class;
  3. complete readings and assignments to increase understanding of interpersonal and leadership issues;
  4. complete assigned tasks with demonstrated understanding of process and competence in products;
  5. submit assignments using word processing software.

Specific Objectives by Topic

  • Introduction to Interpersonal Communications
    You should:
    1. know the instructor and the course organization and expectations;
    2. have had answered any initial concerns and questions regarding course content, schedules and assignments.
  • Management and Leadership Styles
    You should:
    1. have an understanding of your preferred management style/personality type;
    2. know how to utilize these preferences to improve personal relationships.
  • Effective Presentations
    You should:

    • have an understanding of the effective components of presentations;
    • know specific strategies for improving presentations;
    • feel more comfortable about making presentations and facilitating group discussion.
  • Small Group Dynamics
    You should:
    1. understand the theories of group dynamics and group development and be able to apply them in two main areas: group management, and interpersonal skills;
    2. know the stages of development of work teams and other groups;
    3. recognize the behaviors that enhance or impair team performance.
  • Leadership
    You should:
    1. understand the differences between management and leadership
    2. be familiar with the various theories of leadership that have evolved through the years, and recognize their deficiencies as well as their efficacy when applied in practice;
    3. understand the central role interpersonal skills will play in your leadership development
  • Listening Skills
    You should:
    1. understand the key role that listening plays in work and other environments;
    2. understand the common failures in listening
    3. know the essential characteristics of active or empathic “Rogerian” listening;
    4. be able to employ the techniques of reflection and summarization;
    5. understand that non-verbal cues often express emotion/values that are easily misinterpreted.
    6. evaluate your own listening habits, and as/if needed, devise a short range plan for improvement.
  • Conflict
    You should:
    1. understand the basic kinds/sources of conflict, and the five potential forms of conflict in organizations;
    2. know a variety of strategies to manage and resolve conflict;
  • Motivation
    You should:
    1. have an understanding of the theories of key motivational thinkers (ie Maslov, Mayo, McGregor, Hertzberg, McClelland, Likert);
    2. understand that individuals vary greatly in how they are motivated;
    3. attain skills in analyzing different scenarios and applying motivational techniques

Tentative Course Calendar

  • Day 1 - January 12, 2009
  • 9:00am
    • Introduction to the class. 
      Approach/Content and Deliverables.
    • Now Lets Discover our Strengths…and other ways to assess our Personality and Leadership styles. Mini-lecture: "why interpersonal Communication begins with self awareness"
  • Lunch
  • 2:00pm
    • Leadership Styles vs. Management Styles
    • Presentation and facilitation skills.
  • Day 2 - January 13, 2009
  • 9:00am
    • Listening skills
      Lecture, Theories, Exercises, Discussion
  • Lunch
  • 2:00pm
    • Small Group Dynamics...Group think
      Lecture, Exercises
    • Working in Teams
  • Day 3 - January 14, 2009
  • 9:00am
    • Motivation
      Lecture, Theories, Exercises, Discussion
  • Lunch
  • 2:00pm
    • Conflict Management
      Lecture, Exercises, Role Plays
    • Stereotypes
  • Day 4 - January 15, 2009
  • 9:00am
    • Issues in Human Resource Management: Traning, Staffing, Interviewing.
    • Presentations, feedback and discussion
  • Lunch
  • 2:00pm
    • Presentations, feedback and discussion
  • 4:30pm
    • Remaining asingments; summary and conclusions.


Required Textbooks:

  • Buckingham, M., & Clifton, D. (2001). Now discover your strengths. The Free Press. Available through Amazon: 0743201140. 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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