INFO 281-18 (2-units)
Seminar in Contemporary Issues
Topic: Global Principles - Local Libraries
Spring 2021 Syllabus

Megan Price
Office location: Central European Time (CET)
Office Hours: By appointment

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Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning January 27th, 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.

This 2-unit course runs from January 27th - March 24th. 

You will be enrolled in the Canvas site automatically.

Course Description

This course provides students with a broad overview of library principles in a global context. It examines issues of freedom of access to information and expression, copyright, privacy and open access, and conservation of heritage. The course touches on the practical with a look at the cross-cultural workplace and view into library associations and organizations whose work contributes to the global library field. The course prepares students to think globally, preparing them to pursue career paths as aware information professionals.

Course Requirements


Assignment detail and instructions can be found in the associated Canvas module. Due dates for assignments are midnight, Pacific Time (PT).

Students will begin the course by choosing from one of the available regions to explore:

  • Africa
  • Asia and Oceania
  • Europe, Russia, and the UK
  • Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean
  • The Middle East and North Africa
  • North America (for students living outside of this region)

Assignment #1 - Small group discussion

This assignment is a series of 5 separate weekly discussions held on a Google Document as opposed to the discussion feature of the Canvas platform.

Students will work in small groups of 3 or 4 (depending on class size) to discuss and analyse their selected region. Students will research and explore the week's topics in relation to the region, develop and share their findings, and comment on the findings of their group members. (CLO #2, 4)

  • Initial postings due Fridays by midnight
  • Responses/Comments due Sundays by midnight

Assignment #2 - Reflection Paper - Due 10 February, 2021

Students will identify and explain areas of potential workplace misunderstanding between their own culture and that of a culture from the region they have selected.

Students will reflect on their own culture and its analysis in the Culture Map (see Textbooks section below), explaining how their own workplace behaviors are like/unlike the analysis discussed. (CLO #3, 5)

Assignment #3 - Foundational Principle Deep Dive - Due 10 March, 2021

Students will select and explore one of the foundational principles discussed during weeks 3-5, and choose from one of the following options to illustrate the principle in the student's local and selected regions.

  1. SDG Story
  2. Evidence summary
  3. Conference poster
  4. Ignite talk
  5. Concept paper
  6. Professional association comparison paper
  7. Policy/Advocacy comparison paper
  8. Have another idea?  Please contact me.

(CLO #1, 2, 3)

Assignment #4 - Group paper - Due 21 March, 2021

This paper brings together the efforts made for assignments 1-3, into a comprehensive overview of the group's selected region and its implementation of the foundational principles.

Students will read papers from two other groups and will provide informal feedback on content. Feedback due 24 March, 2021. (CLO #1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Assignment #5 - Collaborative Bibliography - Due 24 March, 2021

Students will contribute the resources found during their study into a class-resourced annotated bibliography, to be used for ongoing professional support and development. (CLO #1, 5)

Course Calendar with Due dates

All modules are available at the course opening. Due dates may be adjusted with fair notice.

Dates Topics

Module 1

1/27/21 - 1/31/21

Principles Overview


Assignment #1.1

  • Initial Post due Friday, 1/29
  • Comment/Response due Sunday, 1/31/21

Module 2

2/1/21 - 2/7/21

Cross-cultural workplace

International professional organisations

Assignment #1.2

  • Initial Post due Friday, 2/5/21
  • Comment/Response due Sunday, 2/7/21

Work on Assignment #2 

Module 3

2/8/21 - 2/14/21

Freedom of access to information and freedom of expression

Assignment #1.3

  • Initial Post due Friday, 2/12/21
  • Comment/Response due Sunday, 2/14/21

Preparation for assignment #3

Assignment #2 - Due February 10, 2021

Module 4

2/15/21 - 2/21/21

Copyright, privacy, and open access

Assignment #1.4

  • Initial Post due Friday, 2/19/21
  • Comment/Response due Sunday, 2/21/21

Preparation for assignment #3

Module 5

2/22/21 - 2/28/21

Preservation and conservation of cultural heritage

Assignment #1.5

  • Initial Post due Friday, 2/26/21
  • Comment/Response due Sunday, 2/28/21

Preparation for assignment #3

Module 6

3/1/21 - 3/7/21

Regional actions in local context

Work on Assignment #3

Module 7

3/8/21 - 3/14/21

Virtual collaboration on regional analysis

Assignment #3  - Due March 10, 2021

Work on Assignment #4

Module 7, continued

3/15/21 - 3/21/21

Virtual collaboration on regional analysis, continued

Assignment #4 - Due March 21, 2021

Module 8

3/22/21 - 3/24/21

Support for the profession/Continuing resources

Assignment #5 - Due March 24, 2021


  • Assignment #1 - Small group discussion - 30% - 30 points
  • Assignment #2 - Reflective paper - 20% - 20 points
  • Assignment #3 - Deep dive - 20% - 20 points
  • Assignment #4 - Group analysis - 20% - 20 points
  • Assignment #5 - Professional resources - 10% - 10 points

Late assignments

Late assignments that impact only the student (i.e. assignments #2 and #3, #5) will be accepted with out penalty if turned in after the due date, but will not be accepted after 17 March, 2021. Late submissions will not receive detailed comments.

Late assignments that impact the work of other students (i.e. assignments #1 and #4) will be discounted by 20% each day received after the due date.

Student support

Due to world and local circumstances, this continues to be a difficult time for many.  San Jose State offers a variety of support services available to students. Please use these resources if you need them.

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, INFO 202, INFO 204, other prerequisites may be added depending on content

Course Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate awareness of core library principles applied both inside and outside of one's own region and/or culture.
  2. Discuss the issues facing libraries, library services and the library profession in international and local contexts.
  3. Identify and critically assess the roles and contributions of professional organizations, intergovernmental organizations, and non-governmental agencies working internationally on foundational library principles.
  4. Analyze library services and systems, successes and challenges of international library environments, within their local contexts.
  5. Apply a critical mindset to international librarianship activities in order to impact their role as future global librarians.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

INFO 281 supports the following core competencies:

  1. B Describe and compare organizational settings in which information professionals practice.
  2. C Articulate the importance of designing programs and services supportive of diversity, inclusion, and equity for clientele and employees.
  3. O (For students entering from Spring 2015 onwards) Understand global perspectives on effective information practices that are supportive of cultural, economic, educational, or social well-being.


Required Textbooks:

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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