INFO 282-02 [1-Unit]
INFO 282-15 [1-Unit]
Seminar in Library Management
Topic: Political Advocacy
Spring 2018 Syllabus

Patrick. C. Sweeney
Other contact information: You can find online through social media as PC Sweeney, feel free to contact me through the media that works best for you.
Office Location & Hours: Via email or via phone as needed.

Syllabus Links
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Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning January 24th, 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 one-unit, four-week (January 24 - February 27) course, provides an overview of best practices in political advocacy for librarians. Having knowledge of the function of local politics important because 95% of funding for libraries comes from the will of the local voters or the will of the local politicians. Understanding the political ecosystem through which libraries are funded is crucial to continued support for libraries in the United States.

Throughout the course, we will explore strategies used by some of the best community organizers, political action committees, and politicians and adapt these strategies to librarianship. We will explore the resources that libraries need to develop in order to have the political and community support that they need in order to be able to continue to serve the public. There will be a strong emphasis on building data-driven advocacy campaigns that return real and measurable results to libraries. We will analyze methods for advocacy strategizing, message creation and delivery, goal setting, fundraising and budgeting, email, social media, outreach, understanding and handling opposition, building and understanding data-sets, managing volunteers, and organizing events.  At the end of the course, students should be able to create a comprehensive and actionable advocacy plan for a library or library system.

Course Requirements

Schedule and Assignments

Topic Overview Readings & Lectures Assignment
Week oneMessage Understanding our own calls to action and why we choose to fight for the causes that we believe in is the first step to being able to communicate to others about why they should support your cause. That is why module one will focus on developing an understanding of the student’s own call to action. It will answer the question, “Why I choose to take action for libraries and why the public should take action for libraries.” In order to communicate our own calls to action, the students will also learn the tools they need to shape more specific messages that resonate with library supporters.
  • Reading – Chapter 1, pages 1-16 of Winning Elections. (required)
  • Reading - Chapter 12, Theme and Messaging (required)
  • Reading - Chapter 13, Responding to Opposition (required)
  • Lecture – Message Box, creating the message. (required)
  • Take the Public Service Fitness Test (5 points)
  • Create a sample message box (5 points)
  • Draft a 27-9-3 message (5 points)
  • Blackboard entry posting your 27-9-3 message and justifying the message while answering the question, who will this message resonate with and why? (5 Points)
Week Two
In order to successfully navigate a community’s political and power structure we must first understand our own and how power structures influence the politics of communities and the support of causes. Module two will focus on the building the student’s skills for managing an advocacy program by building a leadership team, coalitions, and through an understanding of their communities and their own power structures in the profession and the public.
  • Reading – Chapter 2, Surfacing (required)
  • Reading – “The Growing Necessity of Radicalism in Library Advocacy and Political Outreach.” (required)
  • Reading – Chapter 5, Power mapping (required)
  • Reading, Chapter 6 and 7, building your committee
  • Draft a power map of your influence and discuss the results on blackboard (10 points)
  • Worksheet - Understanding your people and your community. (5 points)
  • Worksheet - Mapping your political geography. Build your leadership teams. (5 points)
Week Three
You simply can’t fight for a cause without money. In fact, political causes and activism are requiring more money than ever before. In order to stay competitive with outside influencers and local causes and politics, module three will focus on fundraising for successful advocacy and political activism campaigns.
  • Reading – Chapter 9, Campaign Budget. (required)
  • Reading – Chapter 10, Fundraising. (required)
  • Reading- The Permanent Disruption of Social media
  • Lecture – Finding donors and building relationships that make money (required)
  • Upload a list of political donors in your community to blackboard and explain how you created that list. (10 Points)
  • Worksheet – Prepare a Fundraising Plan (10 Points)
Week Four
While you need money for the daily tasks of a campaign, you also need people. In fact, there are only two things that influence politics and advocacy initiatives and those are people and money. In the previous module, students learned how to develop your money, in this chapter students will learn how to organize people around an initiative.
  • Reading – Chapter 4, Early Work and Political Landscape Memo (required)
  • Reading- Chapter 18-22, tactics (required)
  • Reading- Networked Change Report
  • Reading- Chapter 11, volunteers (required)
  • Draft a mixed media plan and post to blackboard (10 Points)
  • Discuss one key topic from the course that you will put into action in your library (10 Points)
  • Turn in a 1-2 page Political Landscape Memo (Final Project) (20 points)


  • Week 1 assignments 1 – 20 possible points (CLO 2)
    • Grading: 20 total points possible for completion of the assignments
  • Week 2 – 20 possible points (CLOs 1, 3)
    • Grading: 20 total points possible for completion of the assignments
  • Week 3 – 20 possible points (CLOs 13)
    • Grading: 20 total points possible for completion of the assignments
  • Week 4 – 20 possible points (CLO 2)
    • Grading: 20 total points possible for completion of the assignments
  • Final Project- 20 possible points (CLO 4)
    • Grading: 20 points for the completion of a 2-page Political Action Memo of a fictitious campaign for an existing library

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 282 has no prequisite requirements.

Course Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of complex political advocacy strategies and tactics and adapt them to librarianship in a meaningful and effective way.
  2. Understand the influence of politics and political support on the funding structures of libraries and how to work within that influence to increase the political standing of the library in the community.
  3. Understand the role of the librarian in the development of political and social capital of the library.
  4. Create a robust political advocacy memo for a library that includes the implementation of a wide range of tactics and good data to achieve a goal.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

INFO 282 supports the following core competencies:

  1. D Apply the fundamental principles of planning, management, marketing, and advocacy.


Required Textbooks:

  • Sweeney, P., & Chraskta, J. (2017). Winning elections and influencing politicians for library funding. ALA. Available through Amazon: 0838915566arrow 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 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.

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