School of Library and Information Studies

LIS 541: LIS Service(s) in Culturally Diverse Society

Course Outline 
Fall 2018
Room ED 315, Wednesdays 6:00-8:50pm

Instructor: Danielle Allard
(780) 492-2605
Office Hours:
5-166 Education Centre North, Tuesdays 12-1pm (or by appointment)

Calendar Description:

Examines the central concepts of diversity and inclusion and a range of related issues and contributions with respect to specific populations and traditionally underrepresented groups, and their support systems, in library and information settings.

Course Objectives:

  1. To develop an understanding of basic concepts and terminology relating to diversity and equity in the context of library and information settings in culturally diverse society, situating these concepts in relation to a range of themes and critical theoretical frameworks (e.g., critical race theory; feminist theory and praxis; intersectionality; anti-colonial theory and decolonization; global citizenship; universal access to information; radical social justice librarianship).
  2. To introduce students to advocacy, activism, and leadership perspectives supporting diversity, equity, and social justice in library, archives, and information settings and discourses.
  3. To develop an understanding of both theoretical and practical service-oriented issues, challenges, concerns, and opportunities regarding library, archives, and information use by traditionally underrepresented or marginalized groups.
  4. To introduce students to information professionals’ roles in the promotion and advocacy of diversity, equity, and social justice in culturally diverse society as well as a range of critical and progressive understandings of principles and ethics associated with the information professions.

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs):

  • Through in-class activities (e.g., participation in class discussions, interaction with guest lecturers, and class readings) and assignments, students will be able to articulate basic concept and terminology, theoretical frameworks, major issues, and emergent trends relating to diversity, inclusion, and equity in the context of library, archives, and information settings in culturally diverse society.
  • Through paired projects, class discussions and readings, students will increase their shared communication and problem-solving skills to gain a greater understanding of the challenges and benefits of collaborative work, both within the classroom and as a means to facilitate community based collaborations and partnerships.
  • Through exposure to advocacy and leadership perspectives identified in class readings and by guest lectures that support a place for specific populations and traditionally underrepresented groups in library and information settings and discourses, students will become familiar with both theoretical and practical service-oriented issues and concerns, including evaluation of policies, collections, programs, and services.
  • Through written paper(s) and assignments, students will demonstrate awareness of opportunities, interventions, and threats to the development of a diverse and inclusive profession and discipline.

Program Learning Outcomes(PLOs):

  • PLO 1: Be familiar with the history, the philosophy, and the service orientation of libraries, librarianship, and related information environments; and understand the value of teaching, service, and research to the advancement of the field of library and information studies.
  • PLO 2: Evince complex and ethical awareness of major issues, research, trends, and dilemmas in library and information studies.
  • PLO 3: Demonstrate critical thinking, analytical capacities, and problem-solving skills.


History of diversity and inclusion issues in LIS ad LIS education, Library policies and strategies for serving LGBTQ* persons, race and ethnicity on the Internet, feminist and community based description and classification, access to information for marginalized communities, global citizenship, and Indigenous knowledges and archiving. 


Lectures, readings, in class discussions, small group discussions, in class activities, guest speakers and assignments

Course Relationships:

Pre-requisite – LIS 501 (or permission of instructor)

Tools and Technology:

Learning how to track and cite references is an important skill to learn early at Library School. There is tremendous value in tracking the readings you’ve done as you progress through the rest of your degree, and it will become imperative as you move into professional practice. For that reason, I recommend that you look into free online citation tools – for example, Refworks (available free through University of Alberta Libraries), Zotero or Mendeley – in order to help you manage your reference lists.

Required Texts:

The University Book Store has ordered copies of the following required book.

  • Lee, D. & Mahalakshmi, K. (Eds). (2014). Aboriginal and Visible Minority Librarians: Oral Histories from Canada.Lanham: R&L Publishers.

In addition, there will be a variety of required readings throughout the semester. Readings are drawn from recent monographs and periodicals in the field and are available electronically through University of Alberta Libraries or for download through e-class.

Assignments and Weighting:



Reader response discussion & paper (individual).


Discussion starter and facilitation (group). Due Sept 26 - Nov 7.


Major presentation proposal. Due Nov 2.


Major presentation (paired) Due Nov 21 – Dec 5.


Book review (individual). Due Dec 10th


Participation, attendance, & creating a supportive class room environment. Ongoing




Late Assignment Policy:

Late assignments will be subject to a penalty of 5% per day (including weekends).

School of Library and Information Studies Grading Statement:

Grades reflect professional judgements of student achievement made by instructors. These judgements are based on a combination of absolute achievement and relative performance in class. The instructor should mark in terms of raw scores, rank the assignments in order of merit, and with due attention to the verbal descriptions of the various grades, assign an appropriate final letter grade. Grades are calculated in accordance with the SLIS Grading Procedure.

Academic Integrity: The University of Alberta is committed to the highest standards of academic integrity and honesty.  Students are expected to be familiar with these stands regarding academic honesty and to uphold the policies of the University in this respect.  Students are particularly urged to familiarize themselves with the provisions of the Code of Student Behavior (online at and avoid any behaviour which could potentially result in suspicions of cheating, plagiarism, misrepresntation of facts an/or participation in an offence. Academic dishonesty is a serious offense and can result in suspension or expulsion from the University.

Students should also be mindful of the SLIS Copyright Policy (

Inclusive Language and Equity:

The Faculty of Education is committed to providing an environment of respect for all people within the university community and to educating faculty, staff and students in developing teaching and learning contexts that are welcoming to all. The Faculty recommends that students and staff use inclusive language to create a classroom atmosphere in which students’ experiences and views are treated with equal respect and value in relation to their gender, racial background, sexual orientation and ethnic background. Students who require accommodations in this course due to a disability or chronic health condition affecting mobility, vision, hearing, learning, or mental or physical health are advised to discuss their needs with Student Accessibility Services.

Recording of Lectures:

Audio or video recording, digital or otherwise, of lectures, labs, seminars or any other teaching environment by students is allowed only with the prior written consent of the instructor or as a part of an approved accommodation plan. Student or instructor content, digital or otherwise, created and/or used within the context of the course is to be used solely for personal study, and is not to be used or distributed for any other purpose without prior written consent from the content author(s).

Policy about academic regulations can be found in Section 23.4(2) of the University Calendar.