LIBR 210-10
Reference and Information Services
Summer 2014 Greensheet

Rosanne Macek
Phone: (408)202-0099
Blackboard IM:
Office location:
 Campbell, California - Pacific Daylight Time
Office Hours:
 Weekends by appointment

Greensheet Links
Canvas Login and Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

Canvas Information: This course will be available beginning June 2, 2014. You will be enrolled into the site automatically. 

Course Description

Catalog Description
A process-oriented examination of how information professionals answer reference questions. The interpersonal skills required for effective question negotiation and the sources with which questions are answered are stressed.

Additional Description
This course will introduce you to the exciting world of reference!  We will learn about the major roles of the reference librarian including answering questions, analyzing information sources, teaching information tools, and assisting users in finding good books to read.  Additional topics will include ethics, managing reference departments, evaluating reference services, reference for children, and we'll look ahead to what the future might hold for reference services.

Course Requirements

Course Structure
This course will be entirely asynchronous, using Canvas for all discussions and assignments.  We will follow the textbook fairly closely, with some additional readings to supplement the material in the book.  The course will consist of 10 weekly units, each starting on Saturday with assignments due the following Friday by midnight.


  1. Practice Questions - To help you learn about many of the standard sources used to answer reference questions, you will practice answering questions using those sources. Supports SLO#1, SLO#2.  15% of grade.
  2. Readers' Advisory - To help you answer the question "Can you help me find a good book to read?" you will become familiar with some of the tools used in readers' advisory, analyze how the tools could be used, and determine strategies for answering this type of question.  Supports SLO#1SLO#3.  15% of grade.
  3. Reference Observation - To introduce you to the reference interview in a real-world setting, you will observe reference transactions from both the user and reference librarian points of view and write a summary of what you learned.  Supports SLO#1, SLO#3, SLO#6.  25% of grade.
  4. Information Literacy - To introduce you to the user instruction aspect of providing reference service, you will develop a short handout that details how to use an electronic resource such as the library catalog, a database, an eBook, or other resource.  Supports SLO#4, SLO#5, SLO#7.  15% of grade.
  5. Future of Reference - To look ahead to the role of reference in a rapidly-changing world, you will read several recent articles about the future of reference and write a short paper describing your personal view of how you think reference service will need to evolve to support users in the future.  Supports SLO#4, SLO#5, SLO#6, SLO#8.  10% of grade.
  6. Weekly Discussions - To help you process each week's unit, share ideas, and support your fellow classmates, you will post one analytical response to a question related to the current unit by Wednesday each week and respond thoughtfully to another posting by Friday.  To allow some flexibility for busy schedules, you will post for 8 of the 10 units.  Supports SLO#8.  20% of grade.

Course Calendar
A detailed calendar with 10 weekly units will be available via Canvas the first day of class. Following is a summary of the basic class structure, which is subject to change.

  • Units 1-6 will cover an introduction to reference services, the reference interview, basic search techniques, and a selection of the major types of reference sources.  You will submit weekly practice questions for each unit.
  • Unit 7 will cover readers' advisory, and the readers' advisory assignment will be due after this unit.
  • Unit 8 will cover reference for children and ethics.  The reference observation assignment will be due after this unit.
  • Unit 9 will cover information literacy and managing reference, and the information literacy assignment will be due after this unit.
  • Unit 10 will cover assessing reference and the future.  The final assignment, the future of reference paper, will be due on the last day of class after this unit.

Other Relevant Information
Each unit will run Saturday through Friday, with assignments and discussion posts due each Friday by midnight.  I appreciate that we are all busy people so you will be posting to 8 of the 10 discussions, allowing you some flexibility when needed.  Also, if you are working in a specialized environment other than a public or academic library and have a suggestion for an alternate assignment, I'm open to considering that as long as it meets the same SLO's and requires the same level of analytical work.

Two Important Notes
Because of the shortened summer schedule, we will be covering 14 weeks of material in 10 weeks.  Due to this compressed schedule, absolutely no late assignments can be accepted.

The textbook for this class is freely available as an ebook via the King Library:

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 202

Student Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Identify and assess the characteristics and functions of various types of reference sources.
  2. Use basic reference tools and searching techniques to answer a wide range of questions.
  3. Conduct effective reference interviews.
  4. Describe the relationships between user needs, information resources, and relevant information technologies.
  5. Describe current issues and trends in reference services, including the impact of technology on user needs and reference interactions.
  6. Evaluate reference services that address the needs of a diverse and changing society.
  7. Understand the relationship between reference service and information literacy instruction.
  8. Begin to develop a personal philosophy of reference service.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

LIBR 210 supports the following core competencies:

  1. I Use service concepts, principles, and techniques to connect individuals or groups with accurate, relevant, and appropriate information.
  2. N Evaluate programs and services based on measurable criteria.


Required Textbooks:

  • Cassell, K. A., & Hiremath, U. (2013). Reference and information services: An introduction (3rd ed.). Neal-Schuman. Available through Amazon: 1555708595arrow 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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