School of Library and Information Studies

LIS 598 Library Governance

Course Outline
Winter 2016

Instructor: Dr. Cherie Givens
Office hours
: by email appointment

Calendar Description:
An examination of the role of stakeholders in governance and administration. Students will develop an understanding of information policy, legal and economic issues, and community standards in publicly-funded libraries and information agencies.

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

  1. Articulate fundamental concepts of library governance.
  2. Discuss the library governance structures and identify laws and policies that shape and   impact library governance.
  3. Discuss common library governance issues and practices in public libraries.
  4. Critically analyze governance issues and evaluate a governance structure currently in practice in a Canadian library.

Measurable Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs):
Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Evince an understanding of fundamental concepts of library governance as documented in class discussions, presentations, and assignments.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of library governance structures and familiarity with laws and policies that shape and impact library governance through discussion postings, assignments, and class presentations.
  3. Identify and discuss common library issues and practices in public libraries based on course readings, discussions, assignments, and presentations.
  4. Building on course readings, discussions, assignments, and presentations,students will be able to critically analyze governance issues and evaluate a governance structure currently in practice in a Canadian library.

Governance Principles, Roles, and Structure (History, Stakeholders, Roles and Obligations, Oversight)

Governance Practices (Building a Board, Relationships, Agreements, Fiduciary Responsibilities)

Canadian Models (Regional Library Systems, Joint Ventures, Partnerships; Centralized/ Decentralized)

Governance Issues (Funding and Budgets, Library Board, Strategic Planning, Community Standards, Conflicts of Interest, Documentation)

Laws and Policies Impacting Library Governance (Legal and Ethical Compliance, Legislation - Library/Libraries Act, Copyright, Privacy Laws, Audits, Financial oversight, Bylaws and Policies, Services for People with Disabilities)

Information Governance  (Managing Information, Information Policy, Strategies)

Lectures, course readings, discussions, individual and group assignments/presentations.

Course Relationships:

Required Texts:
BoardSource. (2010). The handbook of nonprofit governance. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Additional course readings are available through the university library and online.

Assignments and Weighting:
Assignment 1: Position Paper on a Canadian Public Library Governance Model Type (15%)
Assignment 2: Governance Issue Presentation and Handout  (10%)
Assignment 3: Critical Evaluation of Public Library Governance: Governance structure, practice, issues, and policies. Group Assignment (3-5 Students) - Presentation and Handout (35%)
Assignment 4: Evaluations of Group Presentations and Peers (10%)

Course Discussions and Participation: (Total 30%)

a. Introduction Discussion

b. Group Interest Forum - Group Selection 

c. Unit 1 Discussion: Governance Principles, Roles, Structure

d. Unit 2 Discussion: Governance Practices

e. Unit 3 Discussion: Library Governance Issues 

f.  Unit 4 Discussion: Laws and Policies Impacting Library Governance

g. Unit 5 Discussion: Information Governance

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.