LIBR 232-01
Issues in Public Libraries
Fall 2014 Greensheet

Dr. Arglenda J. Friday
Other contact information: 918-378-2609
Office location:
Tulsa, OK and virtual
Office Hours: By appointment

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Enrollment Information:  You will be automatically enrolled in this course on the first day of the semester.  More information about course access will be sent as we approach this date, through MySJSU.

Course Description

This course will investigate issues that influence and impact the functioning of public libraries. Topics to be covered include issues related to social and political environments, clientele, services, collections, physical settings and facilities, budgets and finances, staffing, programming, marketing and outreach, and future trends in the public library sector.

Course Requirements

There will be several activities to support learning objectives and assess understanding of fundamentals of public library issues, services and operations.  In addition to the weekly discussion forums, there will be papers based on site visits and related research to provide input for the following assignments:

There will be a total of four (4) papers exploring different aspects of public librarianship, as follows:

1. Library Visit and Assessment.  The first paper is a site visit of your local public library to assess the programs, activities, collections, and services currently being offered. You will also review their mission statement and community demographics. This purpose of this site visit is to help you see what the library is doing well (or not as well as they could). You will also be able to get ideas about areas that might be improved. The options for improvements will be examined in the two (2) analytical reports that follow.  This first paper supports SLO #11

2. & 3. Analytical Reports.  Based on the findings from the Library Visit and Assessment, students will select, research and submit two (2) short analytical or research papers on any two (2) of the following topics:

  • Collections (Supports SLO #6)
  • Users and environments -including diversity of users (Supports SLO #8)
  • Evaluation and effectiveness (Supports SLO #4)
  • Facilities, maintenance and construction (Supports SLO #9)
  • Governance (Supports SLO #2)
  • Historical development of libraries (Supports SLO #1)
  • Human Resources - policies, procedures, and training (Supports SLO #8)
  • Marketing and Outreach (Supports SLO #5)
  • Planning Processes (Supports SLO #3)
  • Programs and Activities (Supports SLO #10)
  • Services (Supports SLO #10)
  • Technology and Digitization (Supports SLO #7)
  • Other appropriate topic (with prior instructor approval) (Supports SLO #11)

4. Hot Topics Research Report.  The last paper will be a longer, research report on a hot topic that is relevant to public libraries.  This assignment supports SLO #11

Note:  Public library experiences, observations, and research from scholarly sources should be used when writing these papers. 

Weekly Discussion Forums
Forums provide opportunities for class members to engage in meaningful cognitive exchanges about the readings, their own scholarly research, their library experiences and observations, and other information about the history of libraries, public library programs, services, collections, and functions. Participation in the discussion forum is mandatory, as it is a platform designed to stimulate meaningful interaction and shared learning, and is comparable to discussion held in a traditional classroom setting.

Students are required to post substantive responses to discussion questions about the weekly topics, and to at least one other student. While there is not a specific length requirement for responses to other students, such responses must go beyond the "good job" or "I agree with that" type of messages.

This form of class participation may also include analyzing case studies or issues, and posting relevant citations to support positions and/or opinions about issues.

Fieldwork Assignments
Students are expected to keep abreast of public library issues through:

  1. Association and interaction with professional practitioners, and other library professionals; 
  2. Observations and/or employment in a public library setting; and 
  3. Regularly reading professional literature, monitoring relevant listservs, and scanning websites, newspapers and other journals.

Course Calendar
"subject to change with fair notice"

  • Week 1:     Introduction & Overview (Philosophy, history, and mission)
  • Week 2:     Governance & Organizational Structure - External & Internal
  • Week 3:     Demographics, Communities & User Groups
  • Week 4:     Special Populations (Problem Patrons, Underserved Groups)
  • Week 5:     Services (Adults, Teens, and Children)
  • Week 6      Collections (Print - Books, Serials)
  • Week 7:     Collections (Digital, Games, Government Information)
  • Week 8:     Programs & Activities
  • Week 9:     Technology & Computers
  • Week 10:   Marketing & Outreach
  • Week 11:   Evaluation, Statistics & Performance Measures
  • Week 12:   Facilities, Structures & Space Usage
  • Week 13:   Funding & Fiscal Management
  • Week 14:   Human Resources, Professional Associations, & Personnel Training
  • Week 15:   Leadership, Strategic Planning, & Future Issues

Course Grading

Evaluation Criteria
Grades will be assigned based on how well students demonstrate:

  • understanding of public library operations and issues in discussion forums and comments;
  • critical, reflective, and innovative thinking skills;
  • depth, quality, and presentation of work;
  • ability to articulate the ways that philosophical perspectives influence our understanding of public library operations and issues in research and critical analyses

Grades for class participation will be based on your performance in terms of concrete, cognitive, and relevant contributions to the discussions and issues being addressed or analyzed. Substantive contributions would include the number of times you participate in class discussions, the quality of the comments, and/or the number of times you provide links to outside sources of interest. Cognitive activities include the depth of your posts, providing new ways of looking at an idea or suggesting new sources or leads for the class, and bringing up new ideas or questions.

Assignment Percentage/Points
Weekly Discussions 30%/30
Library Observation/Site Visit 25%/25
Analytical Papers (2 short research papers) 20%/20
Hot Topic Research /Issue Report 25%/25
TOTAL 100%/100

Late Submissions

  • Discussions: Weekly discussion posts should be made within the assigned period. There will be no credit for late postings.
  • Assignments: One point will be deducted each day as assignment is submitted late.  Assignments submitted after 7 days will not be accepted.  

If you cannot meet a deadline, please notify me immediately - for approval of the late submission and with the understanding that there may be a reduction in the number of points earned for the assignment. Incompletes will be assigned ONLY in cases of documented family or medical emergency.

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:

  • Evans, G., & Carter, T. (2009). Introduction to library public services. Libraries Unlimited. Available through Amazon: 1591585953arrow 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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