LIBR 232-10
Issues in Public Libraries
Fall 2013 Greensheet

Dr. Ruphina N Ozoh
Other contact information:(678-860-4730)
Office location:
(Suwanee, GA and virtual)
Office Hours: (By appointment)

Greensheet Links
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D2L Information: This course will be available on D2L on August 21. You will be enrolled into the site automatically.

Course Description

LIBR 232 will investigate issues that impact the functioning of public libraries. Topics covered include a historical background of public libraries in the United States, issues related to social and political environments, standards, planning, administration and staffing, problem patrons, adult and youth services, collections, physical settings, budgets and financing, technology, marketing and outreach, advocacy groups and future trends in the public library sector.

Course Requirements

Students will be required to submit four (4) papers for this course. Specifically, there will be a total of two (2) site visit reports and two (2) research papers. 

  • Site Visits
    The purpose of the site visits is to offer students practical experience on some of the important concepts that will be learned in class.  The library visits will lead to a better understanding of the operations, services and general management of the public library.
    • Site Visit #1:
      LIBRARY OBSERVATION AND INTERVIEW: This will be a general observation of a public library with an interview of one management staff and at least one other staff member in any department of that library. The focus of the interview will be on the daily operations and the challenges that those staff members face in their libraries.
    • Site Visit #2:
      FRESH EYES EXERCISE: This will be an observation and critical analysis of a particular service, program or department of a public library.  Students will be expected to analyze their findings and offer constructive positive and/or negative feedback in a report. 
  • Research Papers
    • Research paper #1:
      Students will write a paper on the title 'CHALLENGES FACING PUBLIC LIBRARIES IN THE 21st CENTURY.' (supports SLO #2, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11)
    • Research paper #2:
      Students will select and write a paper on one of the many topics that will be covered in class, such as:
      • Finances and Budgets (supports SLO #2)
      • Planning (supports SLO #3)
      • Standards (supports SLO #4)
      • Administration and Staffing(supports SLO #8)
      • Adult Services (supports SLO #10)
      • Youth Services (supports SLO #10)
      • Advocacy Groups (supports SLO #2)
      • Governance (supports SLO #2)
      • Structures/Designs (supports SLO #9)
      • Marketing and Outreach (supports SLO #5)
      • Technology (supports SLO #7)
      • Historical Development (supports SLO #1)
      • Board of Trustees (supports SLO #2)
      • Problem Patrons (supports SLO #8)

Public library experiences, observations, as well as, books and academically reputable journals should be used when writing these papers. Other specific details will be provided on D2L for the site visits and research papers.

The assignments will be graded based on the depth, quality and presentation of your work.  A bibliography of sources consulted should be included for all four (4) assignments.

Discussion Forum
LIBR 232 will consist of weekly lectures and discussions, as comparable to the ones held in a traditional classroom. Lecture notes and discussion topics will be provided every week.  Participation in the discussion board is mandatory, as it is a platform designed for all to exchange information gained from the textbook, scholarly materials, videos, as well as personal library experiences and observations. Sources utilized for addressing the discussion topics should be posted for each unit using the APA format.

Students are required to respond to the weekly discussion topics with a minimum of 200 words.  Responses should be posted by the deadline noted. Also, students will be required to respond to at least two students for each unit.  While a specific length requirement when commenting on the postings made by other students will not be enforced, such responses must go beyond the "good job" or "I agree with that" type of messages. 

Comments made by students to each discussion topic will stimulate a classroom discussion and provide students the opportunity to interact and learn from one another.

Course Calendar
Subject to change with fair notice

  • Week 1: Introduction
  • Week 2: Public Libraries: An Overview
  • Week 3: Historical Background-United States
  • Week 4: Statistics, Standards, Planning
  • Week 5:Governance-Organizational, Legal and Funding Systems
  • Week 6: Administration and Staffing, Guest Speaker
  • Week 7: Problem Patrons
  • Week 8: Adult Services
  • Week 9: Youth Services
  • Week 10: Structures/Designs
  • Week 11: Technology
  • Week 12: Marketing and Outreach
  • Week 13: Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA)
  • Week 14: Professional Associations and Networks
  • Week 15: Current and Future Trends
  • Week 16: Course Feedback


"Subject to change with fair notice"


Discussion Board 25% Weekly Aug. 21-Dec. 9
Site Visit 1 20% Friday, September 20
Research Paper 1 20% Friday, October 18
Site Visit 2 20% Friday, November 8
Research Paper 2 15% Wednesday, December 4


  • Discussions: Weekly discussion posts should be made within the assigned period only.  
  • Assignments: One point will be deducted each day that an assignment is submitted late.  Assignments submitted after 7 days will not be accepted. 

If there is any reason why you cannot meet a specific deadline noted for the weekly discussions and assignments, please let me know, so that you can be accommodated. This is a graduate program and students are expected to be responsible with regards to deadlines. Incompletes will be assigned for documented family or medical emergencies only. 

Course Workload Expectations

Success in this course is based on the expectation that students will spend, for each unit of credit, a minimum of forty-five hours over the length of the course (normally 3 hours per unit per week with 1 of the hours used for lecture) for instruction or preparation/studying or course related activities including but not limited to internships, labs, clinical practica. Other course structures will have equivalent workload expectations as described in the syllabus.

Instructional time may include but is not limited to:
Working on posted modules or lessons prepared by the instructor; discussion forum interactions with the instructor and/or other students; making presentations and getting feedback from the instructor; attending office hours or other synchronous sessions with the instructor.

Student time outside of class:
In any seven-day period, a student is expected to be academically engaged through submitting an academic assignment; taking an exam or an interactive tutorial, or computer-assisted instruction; building websites, blogs, databases, social media presentations; attending a study group;contributing to an academic online discussion; writing papers; reading articles; conducting research; engaging in small group work.

Course Prerequisites

LIBR 200, LIBR 202, LIBR 204

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Discuss factors influencing the historical development of public libraries, and consider their current and possible future roles.
  2. Describe public library governance: organizational and legal structures, political relationships, funding, and library board functions and responsibilities.
  3. Identify the reasons for and enumerate the steps involved in the planning process for public libraries.
  4. Create a model for evaluating public library effectiveness.
  5. Demonstrate an appreciation of the importance of marketing public library services and materials.
  6. Discuss basic concepts of fiscal management in public libraries.
  7. Examine and analyze technological issues related to public libraries.
  8. Describe ways to appropriately and legally deal with personnel and patron issues in a diverse society, and recognize the importance of training and written policies and procedures.
  9. Define key planning elements in constructing a new facility.
  10. Discuss various types of programming, outreach, services, and volunteer programs.
  11. Identify the unique challenges of working as a library professional in a public library setting.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

LIBR 232 supports the following core competencies:

  1. A Articulate the ethics, values, and foundational principles of library and information professionals and their role in the promotion of intellectual freedom.
  2. C Recognize and describe cultural and economic diversity in the clientele of libraries or information organizations.
  3. I Use service concepts, principles, and techniques to connect individuals or groups with accurate, relevant, and appropriate information.


Required Textbooks:

  • McCook, K. (2011). Introduction to public librarianship. Neal-Schuman. Available through Amazon: 1555706975arrow 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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