LIBR 232-01
LIBR 232-02
LIBR 232-11
Issues in Public Libraries
Fall 2009 Greensheet

Dr. Arglenda J. Friday
Office location: Tulsa, OK and cyberspace
Office Hours: 10:00 a.m.-Noon CST - Tuesdays/Thursdays (best times)

Greensheet Links
Textbooks and Readings
Course Requirements
ANGEL Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

Angel information: This course will be available on Angel. The access code for the course site will be sent to those enrolled in the course on August 21, 2009 via the MySJSU messaging system.  The Angel course site will be open for self-enrollment on August 22. 

Course Description

This course will investigate current issues that impact the functioning of public libraries. Topics covered will include issues related to social and political environments, clientele, services, collections, physical settings and facilities, finance, staff, and future trends in the public library sector.      

Course Prerequisites: LIBR 200, 202, 204 required.

Course Objectives

Student Learning Outcomes
At the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • discuss factors influencing the historical development of public libraries and consider their current and possible future roles;
  • understand public library governance:  organizational/legal structures, political relationships, funding, and library board function and responsibilities;
  • identify the reasons for and enumerate the steps involved in the planning process for public libraries;
  • create a competent model for evaluating public library effectiveness;
  • appreciate the importance of marketing public library services and materials;
  • discuss basic concepts of fiscal management in public libraries;
  • examine and analyze technological issues as related to public libraries;
  • understand how to appropriately and legally deal with personnel and patron issues in a diverse society, and to realize the importance of training, and written policies and procedures;
  • recognize key planning elements in constructing a new facility;
  • discuss various types of programming, outreach, services, and volunteer programs;
  • understand the unique challenges of working as a library professional in a public library setting.

LIBR 232 supports the following MLIS Core Competencies:

  • articulate the ethics, values and foundational principles of library and information professionals and their role in the promotion of intellectual freedom;
  • recognize the social, cultural and economic dimensions of information use;
  • use service concepts, principles and techniques that facilitate information access, relevance, and accuracy for individuals or groups of users.

This course also supports the following SLIS Core Competencies:

  • apply the fundamental principles of planning, management and marketing advocacy;
  • compare the environments and organizational settings in which library and information professionals practice.

Course Requirements

Papers and Exercises
Students will submit 3 short papers on 1) marketing or outreach, 2) program analysis, and 3) service analysis, along with a 4) research paper on a hot topic relevant to public libraries.

Discussion Forums
Forums provide opportunities for class members to engage in meaningful cognitive exchanges about their experiences, observations, and information about public library programs, services, collections, and functions. This form of class participation may also include analyzing case studies, role playing, and posting relevant cites to support your opinions about issues.  

Fieldwork Assignments
Students are expected to keep abreast of public library issues through 1) association and interaction with working librarians and library professionals; 2) observations in a public library setting; and 3) by regularly reading professional literature, monitoring relevant listservs, and scanning newspapers and other journals.

Course Calendar
(subject to change with fair notice)

  • Week 1: Aug. 24 - Aug. 30: Introduction & Overview
  • Week 2: Aug. 31 - Sept. 6: Philosophy, history and mission of public libraries
  • Week 3: Sept. 7 - Sept. 13: External governance, structure, and culture
  • Week 4: Sept. 14 - Sept. 20: Internal governance and strategic planning
  • Week 5: Sept. 21 - Sept. 27: Communities and clientele
  • Week 6: Sept. 28 - Oct. 4: Information and services 
  • Week 7: Oct. 5 - Oct. 11: Collections and formats
  • Week 8: Oct. 12 - Oct. 18: Technology
  • Week 9: Oct. 19 - Oct. 25: Programs and activities
  • Week 10: Oct. 26 - Nov. 1: Marketing, outreach and community involvement
  • Week 11: Nov. 2 - Nov. 8: Evaluation and performance measures
  • Week 12: Nov. 9 - Nov. 15: Funding and fiscal management
  • Week 13: Nov. 16 - Nov. 22: Operations, administration, and staffing
  • Week 14: Nov. 23 - Nov. 29: Recruitment, retention, and training
  • Week 15: Nov. 30 - Dec. 6: Future  
  • Week 16: Dec. 7 - Dec. 13: Research paper due

Course Grading

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

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

Grades for class participation will be based on your performance in terms of concrete, cognitive, and relevant contributions to the discussions or issues for analysis. Concrete would include the number of times you participate in class discussions 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.

Late Assignments
Late assignments will not be accepted without prior notification and approval of the instructor, and with the understanding that there may be a reduction in number of points earned for the assignment. Incompletes will be assigned ONLY in cases of documented family or medical emergency.

Textbooks and Readings

The readings will be available through the King Library, the Internet, and/or the course site.

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;
    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.

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

More accessibility resources.