INFO 230-01
INFO 230-10
Issues in Academic Libraries
Fall 2021 Syllabus

Dr. Maria Otero-Boisvert
Other contact information: 630-865-5195
Office location: Tucson, AZ
Office Hours: available by email, text, Zoom

Syllabus Links
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Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning August 19, 2021, at 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 course will open on the first day that the class meets.

You will be enrolled in the Canvas site automatically.

Course Description

This course seeks to prepare students for leadership roles both within academic libraries and in their parent institutions by providing an introduction to the higher education environment and the role of the library and the information professional within it. The course will examine academic libraries within different environments such as the four-year college, the community college, and the research university.  Academic librarianship will be explored through a variety of lenses including: historical context and contemporary challenges; governance; management and planning; funding and budgeting; collection development; instruction and outreach; technical services; assessment and evaluation; along with other topics. 

Course Objectives

By the end of this course, and through their readings, discussions, as well as assignment work, students will have demonstrated knowledge of the role of academic libraries within higher education; services provided by academic libraries; the organization and structure of academic libraries; the user community of academic libraries and their information needs. They will also have a better understanding of larger issues surrounding academic governance, funding, and current challenges and opportunities.

Course Requirements

Primary requirements consist of:

  • Successfully completing assignments related to the objectives listed above.
  • Reading assignments must be completed each week. Readings not in the course books will be provided through Canvas, King Library, or via the open Web.
  • Active and meaningful participation in class discussions.


Discussions (30% of final grade) – 10 Weekly discussions which will either be responses to the week’s readings or activities as directed by the instructor (e.g., case studies, research on best practices, interviews, etc.). CLOs #1 and #3.

White Papers (40% of final grade) – 3 reports on topics covered, must include an abstract, keywords. 3-5 pages in length. (Wikipedia: A white paper is an authoritative report or guide that informs readers concisely about a complex issue and presents the issuing body's philosophy on the matter. It is meant to help readers understand an issue, solve a problem, or make a decision. Retrieved from Wikipedia: White Paper -

White Paper PowerPoint -

How to Write a White Paper -

White Paper FAQ -

All White Papers will be uploaded to Canvas for grading and shared on the class discussion board. CLOs #1, #2, and #3

Students will have the option to improve their grade for this assignment group by submitting a revision of one white paper by Week 15.

Final Assignment (30% of final grade) – Choose one.

Option 1: Proposal for an ALA or ACRL (or other academic library organization) Panel Presentation on a topic of current interest to academic librarians. To include an introduction to the topic, a brief literature review, proposed panelists with their bios (actual practicing librarians), and why they were chosen. Will also include a reflection essay on the exercise.

Option 2: Presentation or Teaching Demonstration. Job candidates for positions in academic libraries are often asked to give a presentation or teaching demonstration as part of the interview process. Choose a relevant and timely topic (tied to a specific job posting) and create a presentation or demonstration. Deliverables would include a recorded presentation in any format along with a reflection essay.

 CLOs #1#2, and #3

Course Calendar

(This course runs weekly modules. Each module opens on a Wednesday and closes on the following Wednesday. The weekly discussions follow the same schedule plus a two day "grace" period before a discussion closes for comments. All assignment due dates will be on the Wednesday indicated in the syllabus by midnight PT.)




Week 1


Historical Context and Contemporary Challenges

Chapter 1

 Discussion 1 -- Introductions

Week 2


College and University Governance: The Role of the Academic Library

Chapter 2

 Discussion 2

Week 3


Organization, Administration, Management, and Planning

Chapter 3

 Discussion 3

Week 4


Funding and Budgeting

Chapter 4


White Paper 1 (topic to be chosen from Part 1 of the course textbook)

Week 5


Faculty Research and Scholarly Communication

Chapter 5

Discussion 4

Week 6


Reference, Instruction & Outreach: Current Methods and Models

Chapter 6

 Discussion 5

Week 7


Collection Development

Chapter 7

Discussion 6

Week 8


Challenges Facing Technical Services

Chapter 8


White Paper 2 (topic to be chosen from Part 2 of the course textbook)

Week 9


Librarians and Services in College and Community College Libraries

Chapter 9

 Discussion 6

Week 10


Reading Break

Reading Break

Week 11


Recruitment, Retention, Diversity, and Professional Development

Chapter 10

 Discussion 7

Week 12


Library as Place

Chapter 11


White Paper 3 (topic to be chosen from Part 3 of the course textbook)

Week 13


Serving Campus and Remote Students and Faculty

Open Access, Institutional Repositories 

Chapters 12 & 13


Discussion 8

Week 14


Assessment and Evaluation, Promotion, and Marketing of Academic Library Services

Chapter 14

 Discussion 9

Week 15


A Vision for the Future: New Roles for Academic Librarians

Chapter 15


Optional White Paper revisions due.

Week 16



Final Assignment Due

Assignment Submissions

All papers must be typed, double-spaced, with a font size of at least 12 points. They must also conform to APA style. You should own a copy of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th edition (2020), available via the iSchool e-Bookstore. For further information, see the iSchool APA Style Resources page. 

Late Assignments

Every effort will be made to notify students at the beginning of the semester about all deadlines. Each weekly module in Canvas will have reminders about upcoming deadlines. Students are expected to plan for and to begin their work in a timely manner so that last-minute emergencies do not impact timely submission. A minimum of 48 hours notification of a request for an extension is the rule. If granted, those extensions may be for up to 5 days. Instructor may request that students submit evidence of work-in-progress for original deadline. Only one extension per student per semester will be allowed. Late submissions for which previous permission has not been granted will not be accepted. Deductions may be applied. No make-up work will be accepted after the fact.

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. Identify strategic issues, trends, challenges, and opportunities that are specific to today's academic library, and explain how these issues will impact the future of libraries in postsecondary institutions.
  2. Analyze and evaluate the information needs of various user populations within the academic community.
  3. Apply critical thinking and analytical methods to the solution of problems related to academic libraries.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

INFO 230 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. J Describe the fundamental concepts of information-seeking behaviors and how they should be considered when connecting individuals or groups with accurate, relevant and appropriate information.


Required Textbooks:

  • Gilman, T. (Ed.). (2017). Academic librarianship today. Rowman & Littlefield. Available as free eBook through King Libraryarrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain

Recommended Textbooks:

  • Evans, G.E., & Greenwell, S. (2018). Academic librarianship (2nd ed.). ALA Neal-Schuman. Available as free eBook through King Libraryarrow 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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