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College of Professional and Global Education · School of Information

Seminar in Contemporary Issues - Global Principles - Local Libraries
INFO 281

  • Fall 2023
  • Sections 07, 12
  • 2 Unit(s)
  • 08/21/2023 to 10/15/2023
  • Modified 07/31/2023

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

Megan Price
Office location: Central European Summer Time CEST/UTC+2
Office Hours: By appointment.

Course Information


In this course, we will discuss how library principles appear across the globe, in our own communities, and in our work. We will discuss regional barriers and supports to these principles, as well as how the foundational principles of library and information work appear in everyday practice.

We will all bring different perspectives, experiences, and awareness of these global regions to our discussions, and our knowledge of political and social practices of these regions may be varied. My expectation is that you are open to learning about experiences outside of your own and to learning more about environments different from the one in which you currently live and work. Therefore, an absolute requirement is to approach new information, viewpoints, and experiences with curiosity and questions, rather than judgment.

I aim to arrange the environment so everyone feels able to fully participate in the course space. If at any time during the course you have questions, thoughts, ideas, feedback or concerns about the learning environment, please feel free to connect with me over email [email protected] or we can set up a time to meet. If you have concerns that you do not feel comfortable discussing with me, you may like to discuss them with the student support specialist Taryn Reiner who can be reached at [email protected].

Course Success

Knowledge in the course is acquired and accessed through your survey and review of the required course resources, through discussion with your course colleagues and through the application of these resources to your individual and/or local circumstances. Suggested resources are available for deeper exploration as your interest directs you.

Externally, success in this course is measured by your completion of assignments according to their individual criteria. These criteria are delineated in the assignment's description and in the rubric. Revision and resubmission of graded assignments are encouraged, as needed, and may be required to ensure assignment expectations have been met.

Engagement and time spent on the course will vary from person to person, based on their personal interest, circumstances, and "bandwidth." You will each set your own goals about what you want to learn and achieve, so please do let me know how I can support these.

Course Description and Requisites

This course provides students with a broad overview of organizations and work involved with foundational library principles in a global context. It examines issues of freedom of access to information and freedom of expression - including O/open A/access and censorship, copyright, intellectual property and privacy, and preservation, protection, and conservation of cultural heritage.

The course also touches on the practical with a look at the cross-cultural workplace and a view into library associations and organizations whose work contributes regionally and internationally to the library and information field.

The course prepares students to think globally, preparing them to pursue career paths as aware information professionals.


INFO 200, INFO 202, INFO 204, other prerequisites may be added depending on content.

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 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.

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)

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.

Course Materials


Required Textbooks:

Course Requirements and Assignments

Assignment detail and instructions can be found in the associated Canvas module. Due dates for assignments are 11:59 Pacific Time (PT).

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

  • Asia and Oceania
  • The Caribbean, Central and South America, and Mexico
  • Europe, Russia, and the UK
  • The Middle East and North Africa
  • Sub-Saharan Africa

Please note: When the class has fewer than 10 students, some assignments will be altered to be completed either in pairs or independently. 

Assignment #1 - Small group discussion

This assignment is a series of 5 separate weekly discussions held in Google Docs in a Shared SJSU Google Drive as opposed to the discussion feature of the Canvas platform.

Students will work in a small group to analyze and discuss documents from their selected focus region. Students will research and explore the week's topics in relation to the focus region, develop and share their findings, and comment on the findings of others. 

  • Initial postings due Saturdays by 11:59 pm
  • Responses/Comments due Mondays by 11:59 pm

(CLO #2, 4)

Assignment #2 - Reflection Paper

Students will reflect on a local work culture and that of a work culture from their focus region, as discussed in the Culture Map, a text that explores the cross-cultural workplace from a North American perspective. Students will examine how their own workplace behaviors are like/unlike the analysis found in the text and identify and problem-prevent areas of potential workplace misunderstanding between a local work culture and one from their focus region. 

(CLO #3, 5)

Note: Meyer, E. (2014). The culture map. New York: PublicAffairs is offered as a free e-book through the King Library and in the Canvas course via Leganto. If you wish to purchase the book you can do so through You can use either version of the text for this class (yellow cover or white).

Assignment #3 - Principle practical application

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

  1. SDG Story
  2. Conference poster + delivery
  3. Ignite talk
  4. Concept paper/Program proposal
  5. Policy/Advocacy creation
  6. Another idea (let's discuss)

(CLO #1, 2, 3)

Assignment #4 - Survey of Focus Area Group paper and comments

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

Students will read papers from other regions and will provide informal feedback on content.

(CLO #1, 2, 3, 4, 5)


  • Assignment 1 - Series of 5 Document write-ups/Small group discussions - 50% - 50 points
  • Assignment 2 - Reflective paper - 15% - 15 points
  • Assignment 3 - Foundational Principle in Focus - 15% - 15 points
  • Assignment 4 - Survey of Focus Region - 20% - 20 points

Late assignments

  • Assignments that impact only the student (i.e., assignments #2, #3) will be accepted without penalty when turned in after the due date.
  • Assignments that impact the work of other students (i.e., assignments #1 and #4) will be discounted by 1 point each day received after the due date.
  • Assignments submitted after the due date may not receive detailed comments.
  • Assignments needing revision or late assignments will not be accepted after 9 October.

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

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

8/21 - 8/27

Pre-course self-eval


Principles overview + SDGs


  • Pre-Course self-evaluation
  • Introductions
  • Focus region selection

Assignment 1.1

  • Initial Post due Saturday
  • Comment/Response due Monday, 8/28
  • Begin Reading the Culture Map

Module 2

8/28 - 9/3

Cross-cultural workplace

International and Regional professional organizations

Assignment 1.2

  • Initial Post due Saturday
  • Comment/Response due Tuesday 9/5 (Monday 9/4 is the Labor Day holiday in the US)

Work on Assignment 2 - Due Wednesday, 9/13

Module 3

9/5 - 9/10

Freedom of access to information and freedom of expression

Assignment 1.3

  • Initial Post due Saturday
  • Comment/Response due Monday, 9/11

Work on Assignment 2 - Due Wednesday, 9/13

Module 4

9/11 - 9/17

Copyright, intellectual property, privacy, and Open initiatives

Assignment 1.4

  • Assignment 2 due Wednesday, 9/13
  • Initial Post due Saturday
  • Comment/Response due Monday, 9/18

Module 5

9/18 - 9/24

Safeguarding cultural heritage

Assignment 1.5

  • Initial Post due Saturday
  • Comment/Response due Monday, 9/25

Module 6

9/25 - 10/1

Foundational principle in focus

Work on Assignment 3 - Due Monday 10/2

Module 7

10/2 - 10/10

Focus region group paper

Revised or late work due, Sunday, 10/8

Assignment 4 - Due Tuesday 10/10

Module 8

10/11 - 10/15

Closing and Comments

End-of-course self-evaluation

Assignment 4 - Paper Comments due Sunday, 10/15