INFO 280-01
INFO 280-10
History of Books and Libraries
Spring 2016 Greensheet

Dr. Linda Main
Office Hours: Virtual 
Dr. Debbie Hansen
Office Hours: Virtual 

Greensheet Links
iSchool eBookstore

Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning January 28th, 6 am PT unless you are taking an intensive or a one unit or two unit class that starts on a different day. In that case the class will open on the first day that the class meets.

You will be enrolled into the Canvas site automatically.

Course Description

This class examines the role of the book and the library in expressing and fostering culture throughout history. It traces the development of the book through its many stages--cuneiform fragments, illuminated manuscripts, printed books, and electronic journals-and explores how the creation, use, and storage of information are affected by social and technological change. The development of libraries and librarianship and how they have accommodated themselves to the changing form of the book will also be considered.

Course Requirements

: All work will be of graduate standard. This means:

  • No assignments submitted after the due date and time
  • Spelling, grammatical, and syntactical errors will not be allowed
  • All work cited should be in full accordance with the style format selected.

Late assignments will not be accepted. If you have an illness (medical certificate supplied) or a family tragedy please contact the instructor (L. Main for the first half of the class; D. Hansen for the second half of the class).

  • Manuscript Study. Each student will select a manuscript to research and study. Criteria will be provided to guide the research. The results of study will be presented via a Web site built on a Wordpress blog dedicated to the class. It is due by 4pm on the 18th February Pacific time.  CLOs 1-5
  • Printed Book Study. Each student will select a printed book (pre 1900) to research and study. Criteria will be provided to guide the research. The results of study will be presented via a Web site built on a Wordpress blog dedicated to the class. It is due by 4pm on the 10th March Pacific time. CLOs 1-5
  • Library History Paper. During the second half of the semester devoted to the history of American libraries, each student will write a social history of a library of his or her choice. This will be a twenty-page paper, excluding references, based on archival research and in-depth reading in library history. A handout describing the theory and method to be used in this research paper will be provided. It is due by 4pm on May 5th Pacific time. CLOs 6-8
  • Exams. Students will be required to take 2 exams.

    The midterm will be an exam on the history of books and early libraries to be held on the 15th March.  The exam will be held via Canvas. The exam will run from 5:30pm-7pm (Pacific time) on the 15th March.  Questions will be drawn from class handouts, class lectures, and talking points. You will answer questions from one (and only one) of the following areas (selected by you on the day of the exam): CLOs 1-5

    • Grouping One
      • The Ancient World
      • Ancient and Medieval Libraries
      • Monasteries and Scriptorium
    • Grouping Two
      • Key Illuminated Manuscripts
      • The Incunabula
    • Grouping Three
      • 17th -20th Century Developments
      • Changes in Book Design (to cover paperbacks, dime novels, comics, children's books, and e-books)
    The final will be an exam on the history of books, reading, and libraries in America. This exam will be based on the assigned readings and websites as well as the class lectures given during the second half of the class only. The final will take place on the 10th Mayfrom 5:30pm-7pm (Pacific time). It will also be held via Canvas. CLOs 6-8

  • Weekly Activities During the history of books section of the class you will be assigned six weekly activities using Quia web to illustrate your ability to present information in different formats. CLOs 1-5

  • Weekly Discussions.  During the history of American libraries portion of the class you will participate in weekly discussion forums. CLOs 6-8

Course Calendar

History of Books (All times are Pacific)

  • First Weekly Activity set 28th January; due 4th February by 4pm
  • Second Weekly Activity set 4th February; due 11th February by 4pm
  • Third Weekly Activity set 11th February; due 18th February by 4pm
  • Manuscript Project due by 4pm on 18th February
  • Fourth Weekly Activity set 18th February; due 25thth February by 4pm
  • Fifth Weekly Activity set 25th February; due 3rd March by 4pm
  • Sixth Weekly Activity set 3rd March; due 10th March by 4pm
  • Printed book project due by 4pm on 10th March
  • Midterm 15th March 5:30pm-7pm on Canvas

American Library History (All times are Pacific)

  • First Week Discussion: March 17 - March 24
  • Second Week Discussion:  March 24- April 7
  • Third Week Discussion: April 7 - April 14
  • Fourth Week Discussion: April 14-April 21
  • Fifth Week Discussion: April 21 - April 28
  • Sixth Week Discussion: April 28 – May 5
  • Library History Paper due by 5pm May 5th
  • Final exam May 10th 5:30pm-7pm on Canvas

No rounding up of points

MSS Project 15 points
Printed Book Project 15 points
Library History Paper 30 points
Mid-term 14 points
Final 14 points
Weekly Activities 6 points
Weekly Discussions 6 points

Class Format and Technology Requirements
This class is team taught by Linda Main and Debbie Hansen. Linda Main will be solely responsible for the first half of the class covering the history of books and early libraries; Debbie Hansen will be solely responsible for the second half of the class which focuses on American library history.

This class makes use of a variety of technologies, and you should not take the class if your computer and Internet access is not fast and you are not comfortable with Web 2.0 tools. The Manuscript and Printed Books Assignments will be submitted as web sites built on a passworded Wordpress site dedicated to the class.  No Web programming skills are required but you will be expected to be comfortable with Web 2.0 tools that have easy to use user interfaces. The weekly activities in the first half of the class will use Quia web. You will be given access to the software.

There is no requirement to buy any of the textbooks. The list of textbooks is for those who wish to supplement their reading; and to provide a resource for those who may end up working in this field.

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

INFO 200

Course Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Describe the evolution of graphic communication symbols, and identify alphabetic and ideographic systems in use in various parts of the world.
  2. Exhibit familiarity with the materials and methods of book production in various parts of the world from the manuscript era to the present.
  3. Analyze aspects of external forces—social, economic, political, religious, and artistic—that have affected the content and appearance of books in several specific parts of the world.
  4. Identify and discuss economic problems that have shaped methods of publishing and distributing books.
  5. Attribute major technical and artistic developments in typography, book design, and book production to persons and nations originating these developments.
  6. Discuss the institutional development of libraries and how libraries have evolved in response to economic, social, and technological change.
  7. Analyze the social functions of the library and understand how, why, and when library service evolved from a collection-centered to a client-centered institution.
  8. Describe the development of librarianship as a profession and identify seminal theorists and practitioners in the field.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

INFO 280 supports the following core competencies:

  1. C Recognize the diversity (such as cultural and economic) in the clientele and employees of an information organization and be familiar with actions the organization should take to address this diversity.
  2. F Use the basic concepts and principles related to the selection, evaluation, organization, and preservation of physical and digital information items.


Recommended Textbooks:

  • Augst, T., & Carpenter, K. (2007). Institutions of Reading. Univ. of Massachusetts Press. Available through Amazon: 1558495916. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Avrin, L. (2010). Scribes, Script and Books (Reprint of 1991 ed.). ALA. Available through Amazon: 0838910386. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Brown, M. P. (1994). Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts. Getty Publications. Available through Amazon: 0892362170. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Casson, L. (2002). Libraries in the Ancient World. Yale University Press. Available through Amazon: 0300097212. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Clemens, R. (2007). Introduction to manuscript studies. Cornell University Press. Available through Amazon: 0801487080arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Diringer, D. (1982). The book before printing. Dover. Available through Amazon: 0486242439. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Febvre. L. (1976). The coming of the book: The impact of printing 1450-1800. Trans. David Gerard. Verso. Available through Amazon: 1859841082. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Finkelstein, D., & McCleery, A. (2006). The Book History Reader (2nd ed.). Routledge. Available through Amazon: 0415359481. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Hall, D. H. (1996). Cultures of Print. Univ. of Massachusetts. Available through Amazon: 1558490493. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Harris, M. H. (1999). History of libraries in the western world (4th ed.). Scarecrow Press. Available through Amazon: 0810837242. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Howard, N. (2005). The book: The life story of a technology. Greenwood Technographies. Available through Amazon: 031333028X. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Katz, B. (1995). Dahl's history of the book. Rowman & Littlefield. Available through Amazon: 0810828529. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Martin, H. J. (1995). History and power of writing. University of Chicago Press. Available through Amazon: 0226508366. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Passet, J. (1994). Cultural Crusaders. University of New Mexico Press. Available through Amazon: 0826315305. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Van Slyck, A. (1998). Free to all: Carnegie libraries and American culture, 1890-1920. University of Chicago Press. Available through Amazon: 0226850323. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Wiegand, W. (2011).  Main Street public library: Community places and reading spaces in the rural heartland, 1876-1956. University of Iowa Press. Available through Amazon: 1609380673arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Wiegand, W. A. (2015). Part of our lives: A people's history of the American public library. Oxford University Press. Available through Amazon: 0190248009arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Wright, A. (2007). GLUT: Mastering information through the ages. Joseph Henry Press. Available through Amazon: 0309102383. 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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