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College of Professional and Global Education · School of Information

Seminar in Contemporary Issues - Adult Services
INFO 281

  • Spring 2023
  • Section 21
  • 2 Unit(s)
  • 02/27/2023 to 04/30/2023
  • Modified 05/22/2023

Canvas Information: Courses will be available February 27th, 6 am PT.

You will be enrolled in the Canvas site automatically.

Contact Information

Morgan Pershing
Office Hours: virtual

Course Information

The purpose of this course is to explain how to best serve adults in a public library setting. As adults are the largest contingent of a public library’s patron base, understanding how to fashion programming and services around their needs is an essential competency. Special attention is paid to understanding the local adult community and the many specific populations therein.

Course Description and Requisites

new course update description if necessary

Investigation of major contemporary issues within the information profession; topics range from censorship to the need for a national information policy and change each time the course is offered.


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

INFO 281 supports the following core competencies:

  1. C Articulate the importance of designing programs and services supportive of diversity, inclusion, and equity for clientele and employees.
  2. N Evaluate programs and services using measurable criteria.

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)

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

  1. Identify and understand different adult populations and how to serve them through outreach, programming, and services.
  2. Perform a community assessment/asset mapping and comprehend the tools used to inform this exercise.
  3. Elucidate what Adult Services means in a public library setting.

Course Materials


No Textbooks For This Course.

Course Requirements and Assignments

Module One (February 27 - March 5) - What Is Adult Services
Examine the three core pieces of serving adults: reference, programming, and outreach.

  • Content/Lecture: What is Adult Services?
    • RA, Database Knowledge
    • (r)eference
    • Programming
    • Outreach
  • Assignment - Introduce yourself: Where do you live, do you already work in a library, your experience with Adult Services in Discussion Forum (5 points)

Module Two (March 6 - 12) - What Adult Services Can Look Like in Real Life
Provide varied examples of excellent programs and services in public libraries which serve adults

  • Content/Lecture: Adult Services Symposium, the wide range of what it means to serve Adults
  • Assignment:
    • Watch the Adult Services Symposium
    • Post your three takeaways in the Adult Services Symposium Discussion Forum (5 points)

Module Three (March 13 - 19) - Understanding Your Community Is Key
An examination of how to identify resources available to adults in the respective community, as well as how to identify relevant demographics and resources to do so.

  • Content/Lecture: Conducting a Community Scan/Asset Mapping
  • Assignment: Conduct a community scan/asset map of your community in regards to adults: demographics, service organizations (15 points)

Module Four (March 20 - 26) - Assess How Your Local Library Serves Adults
Every library system serves adults differently; some robustly, some hardly at all. This week students take a look in their own backyard or at the library they already work in.

  • Content/Lecture - Interview with a star AS librarian
  • Assignment: Write up an assessment of how your local public library serves adults (programming, partnerships, dedicated Adult Services staff, is it serving populations identified in the community scan assignment or partnering with service providers) (20 points)

Module Five (April 3 - 9) - Targeting Special Populations
Adults 18-100+ contain many specific populations. From veterans to new arrivals, from seniors to new adults. Library services can meet the unique information needs of each population in a thoughtful manner.

  • Content/Lecture: Opportunities abound to Tailor Library Services to Specific Populations
  • Assignment
    • Complete the survey to identify which special population to target for your final paper
    • Identify a service in your area to a specific adult population and post to Discussion Forum (5 points)

Module Six (April 10 - 16) Outreach/Marketing
Study what makes a successful outreach/marketing strategy and what pitfalls to avoid.

  • Content/Lecture: Lecture on outreach and marketing strategies, provide examples of successful case studies
  • Assignment: Identify and share a project serving adults using successful marketing/outreach (Discussion Forum) (5 points)

Module Seven (April 17 - 23) - Evaluation/Assessment/Surveying
Public libraries exist for the public. Thus, services should adequately reflect community needs and interests. In addition, services provided need to be evaluated in order to assess room for improvement and efficacy.

  • Content/Lecture - Strategies to get the word out and how to survey success/room for improvement
  • Assignment:
    • Progress report on your final project (Discussion Forum) (5 points)
    • Work on the final project

Module Eight (April 24 - 30) - Wrap Up
A reflection on the class and highlighting or going into more detail on a facet that students are most interested in.

  • Content/Lecture - TBD based on what the student input
  • Assignment:
    • Turn in the final project (30 points)
    • Post in Discussion Forum: Wrap up and Comments (5 points)

Grading Details: Grading Assessments

Discussion Forum - All Discussion Forum assignments can earn up to 5 points. To earn five points, students are expected to not only post their content, but to interact with other students in a meaningful way at least once. Total possible Discussion Forum points: 30
March 5, 12, April 9, 16, 23, 30 

Assignment 1 – Asset Map - 20 possible points - 3-5 pages
Grading: 10 points if the student provides information on all asked for details, i.e. demographics, service organizations, local economy, and institutions. 5 points for correct grammar, syntax and citation. 5 points for cogent analysis.
March 19 

Assignment 2 – Local Library Assessment - 20 possible points - 3-5 pages
Grading: 10 points if the student submits an assessment answering all asked for questions, i.e. Is there dedicated Adult Services Staff and What kinds of programming is on offer for adults. 5 points for correct grammar, syntax and citation. 5 points for cogent analysis.
March 26 

Assignment 3 – Programming and Services Plan - 30 possible points - 4-6 pages
Grading: 20 points if the student addresses all asked for facets in their plan, including programming, outreach, and services for their chosen specific adult population. 5 points for correct grammar, syntax, and citation. 5 points for detailed and thoughtful ideas.
April 30 

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.