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College of Professional and Global Education · School of Information

Seminar in Library Management - Political Advocacy
INFO 282

  • Spring 2023
  • Sections 02, 15
  • 1 Unit(s)
  • 01/30/2023 to 02/24/2023
  • Modified 05/22/2023

Canvas Information: Courses will be available January 30th, 6 am PT.

You will be enrolled in the Canvas site automatically.

Contact Information

Patrick. C. Sweeney
Want to talk?
Please feel free to put a call on my calendar -

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.

Course Description and Requisites

This one-unit, four-week (Jan 30 to Feb 24) course, provides an overview of best practices in political advocacy for librarians. Having knowledge of the function of local politics is 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.


INFO 200, 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 282 supports the following core competencies:

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

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)

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.

Course Materials


Required Textbooks:

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

Course Requirements and Assignments


  • 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 1, 3)
    • 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

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 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 (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

Schedule and Assignments

Topic Overview Readings & Lectures Assignment
Week one Message 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 with 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 navigate a community’s political and power structure successfully, 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 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 require 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)