School of Library and Information Studies

LIS 598 Issues and Trends in Public Libraries

LIS 598: Issues and Trends in Public Libraries

 Course Outline
Spring/Summer 2018


Instructor: Joanne Rodger
To book an appointment, please contact me by email.


Calendar Description:

This survey course examines public libraries from a community-led framework which emphasizes the collaborative nature of developing and implementing library services. The course focuses on issues and trends in public libraries such as programming, integrating technology into public library services, library governance, various service models, and services for diverse communities.

Course Objectives:

By the end of this course, students will understand

  • and be able to apply a community-led philosophy to public libraries;
  • the context of library governance and its role in providing community-based services;
  • how different service models influence planning and delivery of services in public libraries;
  • the complexities involved in integrating technology into public library services; and,
  • how public libraries provide services to diverse communities, including children, young adults, adults, and marginalized populations

Measurable Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs):

  • Drawing upon course content, students will demonstrate an understanding of the community-led philosophy by assessing and summarizing the community-led literature and sharing their findings with their groups.
  • After critically analyzing the LIS literature on various service delivery models, students will demonstrate their knowledge of planning and delivering services by reporting to their groups their observations of a public library branch and comparing and contrasting the literature with what they found when visiting their local library
  • Through engagement with course readings, discussions, and activities, students will demonstrate their ability to evaluate a service gap, analyze and synthesize the relevant literature, propose a program or service to meet community needs, and deliver a presentation based on their proposal.
  • Through engagement with course readings and other related materials as well as small group discussions and activities, students will identify and analyze major issues and trends in public libraries.


Course content may include the following topics:

  • Community-led practice in public libraries
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Public library governance
  • Facilities
  • Services: Planning, Delivering, Promoting
  • Technology: Digital Literacy, Makerspace, Internet in public spaces
  • Adult & Youth Programming
  • Outreach services


The course content will be delivered in a variety of ways, including (but not limited to) lectures, readings, online discussions, hands-on activities, group projects, and presentations

Course Relationships:

Prerequisite: LIS 501

Required Texts:

There is no required textbook. Weekly readings from a variety of sources will assigned throughout the course.  All readings will be available on eClass at the beginning of the term.

Assignments and Weighting:

  • Initial discussion posts based on readings or activities (3 x 10 points each = 30 points)
  • Public library visit and audit of service point models(30 points)
  • Group project on a topic or issue related to the course content (75 points)
  • Participation (50 points)

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 standards 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 Behaviour (online at and avoid any behaviour which could potentially result in suspicions of cheating, plagiarism, misrepresentation of facts and/or participation in an offence. Academic dishonesty is a serious offence 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 affecting mobility, vision, hearing, learning, or mental or physical health are advised to discuss their needs with Specialized Support and Disability Services.

Recording of Lectures:

Recording of lectures is permitted only with the prior written consent of the professor or if recording is part of an approved accommodation plan.

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