INFO 232-01
Issues in Public Libraries
Fall 2016 Syllabus

R. Barefoot
Office Location: Online
Office Hours: Virtually, by appointment via email, chat, Voice Thread, or Blackboard Collaborate.  
Class Days/Time: Online, asynchronous

Syllabus Links
Canvas Login and Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning August 24th, 6 am PDT 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 course will identify and investigate issues that impact how public libraries operate today and how they impact communities. Topics covered will include three (3) categories; Community Development, Operations and Management, and Innovation and Change. Within these categories we will delve further into the library as the hub for civic connection, customers in their environments, digital access to popular collections, operational efficiencies, customer service, technology, creative enterprise and innovation, security, change management challenges, strategic planning, working with partners and stakeholders, and more. Whether in a small rural experience or a large urban setting this course will appeal to you.

Course Requirements

There will be several activities supporting the learning objectives as well as understanding the fundamentals of public library issues, services and operations explored in three groupings as displayed below. In addition to weekly discussions, there will be assignments where you will document and turn in your findings in a group or individually as noted.

There is no required reading Textbook. There are two required reading pdf reports and one book that will be discussed in depth throughout the course as well as other readings:

Community Development

Operations and Management

Innovation and Change

Course Calendar
"subject to change with fair notice"

  • 8/24-9/3 Week 1: Introduction to Section 1: Community Development, and Library as Community
  • 9/4-10 Week 2: Customers, Diversity, and Environments
  • 9/11-17 Week 3: Marketing and Communications
  • 9/18-24 Week 4: Outreach and Partnerships
  • 9/25-10/1 Week 5: Popular Collections and Digital Access
  • 10/2-8 Week 6: Introduction to Section 2: Operations and Management
  • 10/9-15 Week 7: Performance Management
  • 10/16-22 Week 8: Operational Efficiencies
  • 10/23-29 Week 9: Leadership and Project Management
  • 10/30-11/5 Week 10: Service Models and Strategic Planning
  • 11/6-12 Week 11: Funding Support, Security, Copyright, and Right to Access
  • 11/13-19 Week 12: Introduction to Section 3: Innovation and Change
  • 11/20-26 Week 13: Change Management
  • 11/27-12/3 Week 14: Technology Driving Efficiencies
  • 12/4-10 Week 15: Recent Trends and Current Challenges in Society

Assignment Point Breakdown and Due Dates

  1. Weekly Discussions using Canvas (2 points each) Engage in meaningful and thoughtful discourse about the coursework, readings, your own scholarly research, library experiences and observations, and other information about the challenges facing public libraries. Discussions close each Saturday 11:59PM (CLO #11)
  2. Four Quizzes: (3.5 points each) Check your knowledge on content taught during four selected 2-week periods. Quizzes due at the end of each of these 2-week periods on Saturdays 11:59PM (CLO #11)
  3. Walkabout: (10 points) Visit a public library you have never visited before. Using the checklist provided assess the customer service, public environments, programs, popular collections, website and online resources, self-directed spaces, signage and wayfinding in the library. Observe/participate in one program, i.e. storytime, Makerspace program, teen program, senior program, etc. Report on your findings. Due Sept. 10. (CLO #1, CLO #7)
  4. Group Project: Community Profile- (10 points) Select and explore a public library you have never visited before. Analyze their mission statement and community profile that includes community demographics. With your group, use the recommendations from the report by Garmer, "Libraries in the Exponential Age: Moving from the Edge of Innovation to the Center of Community" to design a new and innovative Community Profile form that better captures the intent and effectiveness of the library you are analyzing. Turn in the completed community profile using the new form. Due Oct. 1. (CLO #1, CLO #3)
  5. Group Project: Analytical Investigation #1- (10 points) Using the SJSU library research and select a journal article published 2013 or later that talks about the challenges of homelessness and how they are being addressed. Why and how have they become a priority in public library service efforts. Provide a report on your findings. Due Oct. 29. (CLO #9)
  6. Analytical Investigation #2: (10 points) Read the assigned selections (to be announced) from Transforming Our Image, Building Our Brand: The education advantage. by Valerie Gross. (CLO #5, CLO #9)
  7. Group Project: Final Report- (16 points) You and your group will have a final opportunity to explore and discover in length how various public library efforts are transforming our culture, communities, and civic rights and responsibilities. Please also address how digital literacy is affected our approach to solve these challenges in cultures around the world. Due Dec. 10. (CLO #1, CLO #2, CLO #6, CLO #9, CLO #10, CLO #11)


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, creativity 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;
  • professionalism working within a group or team environment;
  • percentage weight of grade given to each assignment is noted above.
  • extra credit options are unavailable.
  • All assignments must be submitted by 11:59PM (PST) on the day the assignment is due. Late assignments will be reduced by 20% of point value per day late. Please contact Instructor, Ruth Barefoot, if a medical or a family/personal emergency prevents you from submitting an assignment on time. Student participation will be assessed per occurrence where dialog has been requested on discussions, posts and assignments. Attendance and participation is required throughout the course. All students will be expected to participate, support an atmosphere of collegial respect, be prompt when arriving for discussions and turn in course requirements by/before their due date.
Assignment Percentage Points
Weekly Discussions and Bi-Weekly Quizzes 44% 44
Walkabout and Community Profile 20% 20
Analytical Paper and Voice Thread Discussion 20% 20
Final Research Project 16% 16
TOTAL 100% 100

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. 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)

INFO 232 supports the following core competencies:

  1. A Demonstrate awareness of the ethics, values, and foundational principles of one of the information professions, and discuss the importance of intellectual freedom within that profession.
  2. 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.
  3. I Use service concepts, principles, and techniques to connect individuals or groups with accurate, relevant, and appropriate information.


No Textbooks For This Course.

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 or undergraduate (for BS-ISDA);
    For core courses in the MLIS program (not MARA, Informatics, BS-ISDA) — 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 if you wish to stay in the program. 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.

Graduate Students are advised that it is their responsibility to maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA). Undergraduates must maintain a 2.0 Grade Point Average (GPA).

University Policies

Per University Policy S16-9, university-wide policy information relevant to all courses, such as academic integrity, accommodations, etc. will be available on Office of Graduate and Undergraduate Programs' Syllabus Information web page at: Make sure to visit this page, review and be familiar with these university policies and resources.

In order to request an accommodation in a class please contact the Accessible Education Center and register via the MyAEC portal.

icon showing link leads to the PDF file viewer known as Acrobat Reader Download Adobe Acrobat Reader to access PDF files.

More accessibility resources.