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College of Professional and Global Education · School of Information

Issues in Academic Libraries
INFO 230

  • Fall 2023
  • Section 10
  • 3 Unit(s)
  • 08/21/2023 to 12/06/2023
  • Modified 07/13/2023

Canvas Information

This course will be available on Canvas beginning August 21st, 6 am PT.

You will be enrolled in the Canvas site automatically.

Contact Information

Dr. Tracy A. Elliott
Office: Online in Bonita Springs, Florida

Office Hours:Virtual office hours by appointment on Zoom. You can schedule a time through this Calendly link.  I've tried to make myself as available as possible due to multiple time zones. 

Best way to contact me: The Canvas Inbox- Please do not email me, I rarely have a chance to check my SJSU email.  The best way to get ahold of me is through the Canvas Inbox. 

Course Description and Requisites

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.


INFO 200, INFO 202, INFO 204.

Classroom Protocols


Students are expected to participate fully in all class activities. It is expected that students will be open-minded and participate fully in discussions in class and debate in a mature and respectful manner. Use of derogatory, condescending, or offensive language including profanity is prohibited. Disagreement is healthy and perfectly acceptable. Expressing disagreement should always include an explanation of your reasoning and, whenever possible, evidence to support your position. In accordance with San José State University's Policies, the Student Code of Conduct, and applicable state and federal laws, discrimination based on gender, gender identity, gender expression, race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or disability is prohibited in any form.

Program Information

Course Workload

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 Goals

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes) Supported

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.

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)

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.

Course Materials


Required Textbooks:

  • Gilman, T. (Ed.). (2017). Academic librarianship today. Rowman & Littlefield. Available as free eBook through King Library

Recommended Textbooks:

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

Course Requirements and Assignments

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

Grading Information

The standard SJSU School of Information Grading Scale is utilized for all iSchool courses:

97 to 100A
94 to 96A minus
91 to 93B plus
88 to 90B
85 to 87B minus
82 to 84C plus
79 to 81C
76 to 78C minus
73 to 75D plus
70 to 72D
67 to 69D minus
Below 67F

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 or undergraduate (for BS-ISDA) level work;
    For core courses in the MLIS program (not MARA, Informatics, or 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 (PDF), relevant university policy concerning all courses, such as student responsibilities, academic integrity, accommodations, dropping and adding, consent for recording of class, etc. and available student services (e.g. learning assistance, counseling, and other resources) are listed on the Syllabus Information web page. Make sure to visit this page to review and be aware of these university policies and resources.

Course Schedule

(This course runs weekly modules. Each module opens on Monday at 12:01am PST and closes on the following Monday at 11:59pm PST. The weekly discussions follow a similar schedule, but the initial post is due Friday at 11:59pm PST, with all replies with questions due by Monday 11:59pm. All assignment due dates will be on the Monday indicated in the syllabus by 11:59pm PST).




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


Recruitment, Retention, Diversity, and Professional Development

Chapter 10

 Discussion 7

Week 11


Library as Place

Chapter 11


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

Week 12


Serving Campus and Remote Students and Faculty

Open Access, Institutional Repositories 

Chapters 12 & 13

Discussion 8

Week 13


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

Chapter 14

Discussion 9

Week 14


Study Break Week

Thanksgiving holiday break Nov. 23-24

 Study Break Week 

Week 15


A Vision for the Future: New Roles for Academic Librarians

Chapter 15


Optional White Paper revisions due.

Week 16


Final Assignment Due

Last day of class: 12/6/2023

Final Assignment Due Monday 12/4/2023 by 11:59pm

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 and no later than the last day of class. 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 makeup work will be accepted after the fact.