Participatory Service & Emerging Technologies – Draft Course Greensheet for SJSU SLIS

Course Overview

“The new tools provide powerful options for working with data, text, sound, and images. …. There is, predictably, an increasing departure in information handling from the simple pattern of read, think, then write. Computers are used for so much more than the traditional notion of “computing.’”

–Michael Buckland, Redesigning Library Services, 1992


Library scholars have noted the ongoing impact of technology on libraries and have called for a redesign of services to meet the evolving needs of users. Virtual communities have thrived online since the early 1980s. New media and social sites are part of the next incarnation of the World Wide Web, where digital tools allow users to create, change, and publish dynamic content of all kinds.  The evolving Web and related emerging technologies are signifiers of a broader cultural shift: toward an open, collaborative and participatory society. This course examines emerging technologies within a framework of participatory, “hyperlinked” library service: a model of creating, extending, updating and evaluating libraries via a user-centered approach.


Casey & Savastinuk describe the participatory service model: “It is a model for library service that encourages constant and purposeful change, inviting user participation in the creation of both the physical and the virtual services they want, supported by consistently evaluating services. It also attempts to reach new users and better serve current ones through improved customer-driven offerings.”

This course will examine various theories of library service, the social use of information, the advent of social networking tools, the creation of online collaboration and communities via those tools and their adoption by libraries as well as the rise of Library 2.0 thinking, a service philosophy born out of discussions of Web 2.0 and participatory library services. Students will experience an immersive learning environment via a wide range of tools. We will discuss the definition of participatory service, explore some key trends that impact the model, and examine what this shift means for libraries and information work in the 21st Century.

Course Prerequisites: LIBR 200 required. Other prerequisites may be added depending on content.

Course Objectives

Student Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this course, students will be able to:

  • demonstrate an understanding of the principles, concepts and ideas of participatory library service
  • demonstrate an understanding of emerging technologies and how they relate to information services and environments.
  • articulate a planning strategy for services built within the framework of the participatory service model.
  • synthesize current thinking about cultural and technological change within a framework of libraries and information work.
  • utilize various online tools to monitor the conversations about a particular information organization.
  • utilize various online tools to experience, discuss, and evaluate course concepts as they can be related to library services

LIBR 287 supports the following MLIS Core Competencies:

  • recognize the social, cultural and economic dimensions of information use;
  • apply the fundamental principles of planning, management and marketing/advocacy;
  • demonstrate proficiency in the use of current information and communication technologies, and other related technologies, as they affect the resources and uses of libraries and other types of information providing entities;
  • use service concepts, principles and techniques that facilitate information access, relevance, and accuracy for individuals or groups of users;
  • demonstrate oral and written communication skills necessary for group work, collaborations and professional level presentations;
  • evaluate programs and services on specified criteria; and
  • contribute to the cultural, economic, educational and social well-being of our communities.

Course Requirements

Tentative assignments include weekly reflection on course concepts via course site and other media tools, a paper focused on one aspect of course themes, a monitoring assignment to evaluate the participatory nature of an information organization, a group project devoted to planning a service within the framework of participatory service, a draft planning document for emerging technologies in information environments (libraries, schools, etc) and a reflective evaluation of a recent book in light of course concepts.

Course Calendar

To be announced

Course Grading

Grading will be based on 100 possible points. More information to come as assignments are finalized.

  • Late assignments will lose 10% of point value per day late.

Textbooks and Readings

Readings inlude:

Buckland, Michael. Redesigning Library Services: A Manifesto at

Each student will read a recent book related to course content and report on it. A list will be provided.

Readings for each course concept will be  posted on the course site. Students are encouraged to share articles, blog posts and sites they find with the class via their blogs.