LIBR 231-01
Issues in Special Libraries and Information Centers
Fall 2014 Greensheet

Crystal Megaridis

Phone: 630-850-9809
Office Hours:  While I have no official office hours or location, I am readily available by phone or e-mail. My preferred method of contact is by e-mail, and we can always set up a telephone call. I will normally respond within 24 hours. There will be a few occasions when I am traveling and unavailable. You will be notified in advance of those days.

I would like to talk with each student individually at least once or twice this semester. I will contact each of you to coordinate a date and time. This is completely voluntary.

Greensheet Links
iSchool eBookstore
Canvas Link

Canvas Information: This course will be available beginning August 25, 2014. You will be enrolled into the Canvas site automatically.

Course Description

This course will investigate current issues that impact the functioning of special libraries/information centers. Topics covered will include issues related to social and political environments, clientele, services, collections, physical settings, financing and staffing, and future trends in the special library/information center sector. We will explore the different kinds of special libraries and the advantages and disadvantages of working in this part of the field.

Course Requirements

All students must join an appropriate professional association for special librarians, such as SLA. The class assignments are listed below.

Fieldwork and report or Paper: (total of 40 points possible). All reports must be posted to Canvas.

  • Each student will be expected to complete either a project at the fieldwork site or a research paper.
  • For the fieldwork, the student will negotiate the project content with the supervisor they are working with at the site, as well as your instructor. Assistance is available for finding / selecting fieldwork opportunities. Fieldwork should be about 30 hours. Upon completion of the project, the student will prepare a written project review. This assignment will be evaluated according to the following criteria:
    • Purpose and scope
    • Explanation of the approach to and design of the project, along with the rationale for the approach taken
    • Description of specific methods and techniques used and why
    • Discussion of any problems encountered and how they were handled
    • Summary of the results of the project and how the project will benefit the fieldwork site
    • Evaluation of what you learned/accomplished by doing the project
    • Completeness of the report
    • Organizational ability
    • Your site supervisor's feedback
  • If you choose to write a research paper, these are the requirements:
    • Choose a topic that pertains to Special Libraries. You must get your instructor's approval of this topic.
    • Your paper must be double-spaced, 20-25 pages
    • Include your bibliography of sources
    • Suggested topics include: knowledge management, social networking, content management, the role of the special library in the future.

Interview Paper: (6 points possible).

  • Interview a special librarian. Discuss the major issues of our field. Write a 5+ page paper describing the interview. Post it to Canvas. These papers may be submitted to the local SLA newsletter for publication (with everyone's permission, of course).

Professional Event Papers: (14 points possible, 7 points each)

  • Attend two professional events during the course of the semester. Your assignment is to introduce yourself to at least one stranger. Write a one-page, double-spaced summary of the event. Post it to Canvas. These papers may be submitted to the local SLA newsletter for publication (with everyone's permission, of course).

Unit Discussion Papers: (5 points each, 40 points possible)

  • Eight different topics have been posted to the Canvas site. For each topic, read the suggested reading(s) and other sources on the same topic. Write a 1-2 page paper on the topic posted. Include at least two additional sources per topic.
  • In order to receive full credit for the assignment, you must reply to at least two of your classmates' discussion papers by the comments due date. Your replies must be substantive in nature - at least two paragraphs in length.
  • You do not need to reply to the getting acquainted message, the interview, the professional event summaries, or the fieldwork report or paper.

Course Calendar
This calendar is subject to change with fair notice. The first column indicates the day the work is due to be posted on Canvas. A lecture corresponding to the topic of the discussion will precede the discussion paper due date. Arrangements will be made individually for telephone conversations.

Due Assignment
8/30 Getting acquainted
9/3 What is a Special Library? What types are there? (5 possible points) - Supports SLO #1
9/17 Management (5 possible points) - Supports SLO #2
10/1 Marketing (5 possible points) - Supports SLO #2
10/15 Measurement (5 possible points) - Supports SLO #2
10/22 Knowledge Management (KM) (5 possible points) - Supports SLO #2
 10/29  Content (5 possible points) - Supports SLO #1
11/5 Library 2.0 (5 possible points) - Supports SLO #3
11/12 Risk Management (5 possible points) Supports SLO #2
11/19 Interview Due (6 points possible) Supports SLO #3
11/26 Professional Event summary (7 possible points) Supports SLO #4
12/3 Professional Event summary (7 possible points) Supports SLO #4
12/10 Final paper - Fieldwork report or Research paper (40 points possible);  Supports SLO #1SLO #2

The following is a breakdown of the assignments and the grading scale. A full explanation of each assignment will appear on Canvas.

Assignment Possible Points
Fieldwork or Research paper 40 points
Canvas discussions on readings 5 points each for a total of 40 points
Interview paper 6 points
Professional Event papers 7 points each for a total of 14 points
Total points 100 points

Extra credit
There is no extra credit for this class.

Late Work
Late work will only be accepted with prior approval of instructor.

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. Describe the characteristics of special libraries and information centers and the variety of environments in which they are found.
  2. Identify the organizational and operational issues associated with special libraries and information centers and related types of information services.
  3. Analyze and evaluate issues and trends within the special library environments.
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of the value of and opportunities for professional networking within the special library community.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

LIBR 231 supports the following core competencies:

  1. B Describe and compare the organizational settings in which library and information professionals practice.
  2. C Recognize and describe cultural and economic diversity in the clientele of libraries or information organizations.


Recommended Textbooks:

  • Kelsey, S. E., & Porter, M. J. (Eds.). (2011). Best practices for corporate libraries. Libraries Unlimited. Available through Amazon: 1598847376 arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Matthews, J.R. (2002). The bottom line: Determining and communicating the value of the special library. Libraries Unlimited. Available through Amazon: 159150048. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Mount, E., & Massoud, R. (1999). Special libraries and information centers: An introductory text (4th ed). Special Libraries Association. Available through Amazon: 0871115018. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Siess, J.A. (2003). The visible librarian: Asserting your value with marketing and advocacy. American Library Association Available through Amazon: 0838908489. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Yu, H., & Breivold, S. (2008). Electronic resource management in libraries. Information Science Reference. Available through Amazon: 1599048914. 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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