INF 7060: Academic Libraries

Credits: 3

Prerequisite(s): INF 7040

Rationale for inclusion in curriculum

Academic libraries play a crucial role in education, training, research, and scholarly communication. Their collections and services are developed to promote the goals and objectives of the parent institution. Academic libraries are viewed as an important instructional support unit and participant in the teaching- research process of colleges and universities. Academic libraries also play an important role in the storage and preservation of recorded human knowledge. In recent years, their role in the development and their utilization of electronic information technology has led to significant changes in service to their multiples users. Since academic libraries are serving complex organizations, most are complex organizations themselves. Their staff perform a multitude of tasks and services requiring specialized knowledge and competencies.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will be able to:

  1. Understand, discuss and analyze a variety of complex issues facing academic libraries.
  2. Articulate possible solutions to problems unique to academic libraries.
  3. Demonstrate familiarity with literature of specific interest to academic libraries.
  4. Understand the evolution of higher education in the U.S. and the transformation of scholarly communication in the digital age including how academic libraries have changed to meet these challenges.
  5. Understand the teaching, service, collecting, preservation, and access roles and functions of academic libraries.
  6. Understand the complex status of librarians within the different types of academic libraries.
  7. Demonstrate understanding of administrative issues of academic libraries such as personnel policies, fund-raising, budgeting, balancing support between instruction and research, etc.
  8. Understand the importance of academic library standards and guidelines.
  9. Understand and appreciate the role of professional associations of interest to academic libraries.


  1. History of higher education and academic libraries.
  2. Organizational culture and higher education.
  3. Scholarly communication.
  4. Perceptions of the academy.
  5. Governance.
  6. Organization and management of academic libraries.
  7. Libraries and money.
  8. The collection.
  9. Electronic information and academic libraries.
  10. The communities of the academic library.
  11. The status of academic librarians. 

Course methodology

The class will utilize a lecture-discussion format. Students will be expected to participate in class discussion and group projects and to submit, as determined by the professor, other assignments that may include weekly short papers and a research paper. Practicing visiting librarians will be invited to enrich discussions. Each student will conduct independent research on an approved topic.

Bases for evaluation of student performance

Quality of preparation for each class, completion of reading assignments, quality of participation in class discussions, attendance, quality of papers, demonstrated understanding of academic librarianship, and the ability to articulate the role of academic libraries.


To be determined

Approved: 1/12

Updated: 8/13