Core Competencies


Special Project



Professor Arlene Bielefield, J.D.
Catalog Description
Organization, administration, and services of municipal, county, and regional libraries. Basic developments and trends are considered. The role of public libraries as educational institutions is examined.
Learning Goals/Outcomes

Upon completion of the course, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate their knowledge of the historical development of the public library and the objectives of the early public library as shaped by the social and political times, along with the various trends and issues confronting American public libraries today;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of public libraries; their roles, environments and the communities they serve; and how to assess the needs and requirements of the communities using community analysis techniques;
  • Demonstrate their ability to identify and understand the library's many publics: who uses the public library, how and why; changing patterns of use; characteristics of readers and non-readers, library users and non-users; aspects of community as presented by urban/metropolitan, suburban and rural populations; and the special cultural and nontraditional groups;
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the complexity of planning and establishing programs, collections, facilities and services for diverse cultural, socio-economic populations and be able to give examples of such programs/services; (Back to the top)
  • Demonstrate an understanding of specific services of the public library to individuals and community groups through central libraries, branches and regional operations, as well as mobile and other extension agencies to various age groups, as well as be able to explain some of barriers to public library use and how these barriers may be addressed;
  • Demonstrate their knowledge of the governance, operations and management of public libraries, including their organizational culture and the role of state library agencies, the federal government, professional associations, trustees, and others in developing, maintaining and enforcing public library standards;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of public and private sources of funding, resource allocation and budgeting, and the political environment in which public libraries exist;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the evolution of technology in libraries and other factors affecting library services;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of current trends and issues in library services; and demonstrate their ability to remain current as professionals and life-long learners;
  • Demonstrate the ability to survey and analyze existing service standards for public libraries (including public library systems); Identify methods of and approaches to goal-setting for services and their evaluation.

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Highlights/Sample of Course Work: The course touched upon the many variables that influence the role that a public library takes within its community. From the State Statue Report which illustrated one of the governmental influences to the supplemental resource (PDF File) assignment that highlighted demographical influences, it quickly became apparent that program planning is not a cut and dry procedure. Add to this the challenges presented by defending intellectual freedom, dealing with managerial issues, and financial issues (PDF File), I gained a new insight and respect for public library administration.

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