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College of Professional and Global Education · School of Information

Seminar in Contemporary Issues - Fostering Accessibility in the Library
INFO 281

  • Spring 2023
  • Section 19
  • 1 Unit(s)
  • 04/03/2023 to 05/01/2023
  • Modified 05/22/2023

Canvas Information: Courses will be available April 3rd, 6 am PT.

You will be enrolled in the Canvas site automatically.

Contact Information

Kimberli Buckley MA, MLIS
Office: Virtual: Can meet on Zoom or Teams

Course Information

This 1-unit course runs from April 3rd - May 1st. It will open on Canvas on April 3rd.

Course Description and Requisites

The library profession is a strong and vocal proponent of increased information access for people with disabilities. This 1-unit course will cover long standing issues for library patrons with disabilities, the current models and types of disabilities, how the library can promote accessibility, disability justice and how it applies to the library, how library and information science (LIS) professionals perceive accessibility, and the importance of creating a safe and inclusive space and equitable access for all.


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. A Demonstrate awareness of the ethics, values, and foundational principles of one of the information professions, and discuss the importance of those principles within that profession.
  2. C Articulate the importance of designing programs and services supportive of diversity, inclusion, and equity for clientele and employees.
  3. N Evaluate programs and services using measurable criteria.

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)

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

  1. Develop strategies for best serving and accommodating the needs of individuals with disabilities.
  2. Expand empathy for people living with disabilities.
  3. Appreciate the need for fostering accessibility.
  4. Critically engage with disability issues.
  5. Identify best practices and available resources.

Course Materials


Recommended Textbooks:

  • Klipper, B., & Banks, C. S. (2021). Library programming for adults with developmental disabilities. ALA. Available through Amazon: 0838948669.
  • Kowalsky, M., & Woodruff, J. (2017). Creating inclusive library environments: A planning guide for serving patrons with disabilities. ALA Editions. Available through Amazon: 0838914853
  • Ladau, E. (2021). Demystifying disability: What to know, what to say, and how to be an ally. Ten Speed Press. Available through Amazon: 1984858971.
  • Vincent, J. (2014). Making the library accessible for all: A practical guide for librarians (volume 5) (practical guides for librarians, 5). Rowman & Littlefield. Available through Amazon: 0810891468
  • Wong, A. (Ed.). (2020). Disability visibility: First person stories from the twenty-first century. Vintage. Available through Amazon: B082ZQBL98

Course Requirements and Assignments

There are no required textbooks for this course. The books that are mentioned in the textbook section are recommended only. Students do not have to purchase these books for the class and they are essentially not used in the course, just for additional reference on the course topic. There will be a total of 6 discussions and one will be to watch a full-length movie, there is 1 research assignment and a final project with 2 options to choose from. The instructor will provide a recorded lecture each week and there will be several readings and short videos assigned to watch as well.

Discussions - This course requires weekly reflective discussions based on various topics related to accessibility and inclusivity and will be supported by course materials, lectures, and readings. Each discussion entails reading all the posts in the discussion, answering the topic questions and will usually be a 150-250 word minimum, some discussions may require students to reply to another student's posts (no word minimum on this) Points will be awarded based on the quality and extent of participation.

Final Project - Students will create a slideshow presentation on an inclusive library program OR create an accessible collection that will include 10 books or materials for patrons with developmental disabilities. After researching what other libraries have done regarding inclusive programs, students will create a slideshow presentation for either option and must include no less than 10 slides. Students can base their presentation on a program that another library has done and look at other libraries' inclusive collections to get ideas. Students will also be encouraged to create their own models as well. Student work can be done on PowerPoint, Canva, or Prezi. The instructor will provide more information and guidance on the Canvas course.


Assignments: Movie/Video Viewings, Readings, and Discussions: 50 points (50% of grade)

Participation in weekly activities is vital for this course; Students are required to participate in all activities listed in the course calendar.

Final Project: 50 points (50% of grade)

Students will create a slideshow presentation on an inclusive library program OR create an accessible collection that will include 10 books or materials for patrons with developmental disabilities. The instructor will provide more information and guidance on the Canvas course.

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

A detailed schedule with dates for submission of the required documents and discussion posts will be posted in Canvas. The schedule is subject to change with fair notice to students by a post in the Canvas Learning Management System. The basic time frame will be as follows.


Main Activity


The course starts on Monday, April 3rd

Our week will run Monday-sunday

Discussions & Assignments are due on Mondays

Week One Topics:

Accessibility & Inclusion

American Disabilities Act (ADA)

Universal Design

Disability justice

Invisible disabilities


Watch instructor’s recorded lecture

Watch these videos:

What Does This Symbol Mean?

Living with an Invisible Disability


Freeing Our People: Updates from the Long Road of Deinstitutionalization

Public Libraries and Access for Children with Disabilities and their Families

Facts About Americans with Disabilities

Disability identity among people with non-apparent or "invisible" disabilities

(CLO 3, 4, 5)

Discussion #1 and #2 are due on April 10th

Discussion #1 (5 points)

Student Introductions


Discussion #2 (5 points)

Post on the discussion board about services that libraries currently offer for patrons with disabilities that you have knowledge of or heard about in the recorded lecture. Discussion prompts will be included.


Week Two



Services that libraries can offer for patrons with disabilities

Assistive technology, Vision assistance

Service Animals

Watch instructor’s recorded lecture

Watch these videos:

Disability & Sensitivity Training

Words Count: People First Language Explained

Training to be Service Dogs


Library Services for Children with Special Needs

Reaching Out: Library Services to the Developmentally Disabled

Libraries for All: Expanding Services to the Developmentally Disabled

(CLO 1, 2, 3)

Discussion #3 and Assignment 1 are due on April 17th 


Discussion #3 (10 points)

Students will watch a movie and report their thoughts on the discussion board. Movies to choose from: Please Stand By, starring Dakota Fanning, Peanut Butter Falcon, starring Shia LeBeouf, or Murderball (documentary)

Assignment 1 (15 points)

Research a disability and report on it. Students will be given a list of disabilities to choose from. Students will relate their research to the services or programs that were discussed last week and link with a program that is already in place at a library.

Week Three


Inclusive library collections

Braille and Talking Book Library

Audio, large print, and Hi/Lo or LITE collections

Sensory-processing needs

Watch instructor’s recorded lecture

Watch these videos:

How Do Visually Impaired People Read?

A Disability Awareness Reading featuring the book Just Ask by Sonia Sotomayor


A Sensory Wonderland

Diverse Collections: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights

Accessible Libraries: A Different Sense of Reading

(CLO 1, 3, 5)

Discussion #4 and #5 are due on April 24th

Discussion #4 (5 points)

After watching the instructor's recorded lecture and two short videos, students will discuss inclusive programs that are offered for patrons with disabilities, which also includes virtual programs offered due to the pandemic. Prompts will be given.

Discussion #5 (5 points)

Students will discuss sensory-processing needs of library patrons and address how this benefits library patrons on the autism spectrum

Week Four


Different types of accessible library programming

Sensory storytime

Programs for Adults with Disabilities (Insider’s, Library Living)

Final Project due on Monday, May 1st


Watch instructor’s recorded lecture

Watch these videos:

Library Living: Programming for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities

Family Learning Disability Book Chat


Sensory Storytime a brief how-to guide

7 Ways to Make Your Virtual Programming More Accessible to Patrons with Disabilities

Welcoming Patrons with Developmental Disabilities

(CLO 1, 2, 5)

Discussion #6 and the Final Project are due on May 1st


Discussion #6,(55 points) Includes final project upload

Please share a snapshot of your final project with the class. Write a short post that includes which option you chose and give details on the inclusive program or the accessible collection you chose to create. Prompts will be given also. Write around 250 words. Upload your final project slideshow presentation on an inclusive library program OR upload your accessible collection that will include 10 books or materials patrons with developmental disabilities.  Must include at least 10 slides.