LS533: Management of Special Libraries and Information Centers

               Summer II Semester 2005

Instructor:  G. Lynn Berard

Description of LS 533:    

This course has been designed to enable the student to:

  • Understand that special libraries are unique; this course will help differentiate special libraries from other kinds of libraries;
  • To become familiar with approaches to building, maintaining, budgeting, and managing a special library;
  • To learn how to communicate and serve clientele in the specialized environment;
  • To negotiate the purchase and access of both print and electronic resources necessary to providing information service;
  • Techniques for evaluating services and the value of the special library.

Contact Info:

Head, Science Libraries
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
Phone: (412) 268-2428   Fax: (412) 681-1998

Email is the preferred way to reach me but feel free to call if you wish. I will return calls as soon as possible.

Office Hours:

I will hold an office hour each week on Monday's at 2pm - 3pm but am available on email and will do my best to respond as quickly as possible... 

Class Sessions: 
I will be using interactive software called “Camtasia” which will enable me to record class lectures with voice over.  I am new to the software but very excited about its possibilities.  All the student needs to do is click on a URL which I will provide and it will work.  No special software is required at the student end.   I am setting up 9 course sessions for this summer course, roughly 2 a week, a new one each 4 day period.  During each session you should find a textual introduction to the topic (written by me), followed by a PowerPoint presentation/discussion of the topic via Camtasia software, lots of readings and a weekly (4 times) discussion board question to respond to.  I will also be setting up 4 assignments to be completed during the course (due dates will be provided).  There is a main course project, explained further in this syllabus.  

Our text is:   The Bottom Line: Determining and Communicating the Value of the Special Library/ Joseph R. Matthews.  Westport, CT:  Libraries Unlimited, 2002.  ISBN:  1-59158-004-8.   It is available at the Clarion Bookstore.  I will also be creating a reading list which contains articles from the business world as well as library science.  I will endeavor to do my best to provide whenever possible full text electronic copies via Blackboard or through the Clarion E-Reserve system.  Most of the print materials can usually be found at most libraries.  You may wish to ILL copies for your own use.  A complete list will be provided before the start of the course July 11.

Supplemental Texts: On reserve or in the reference collection in the Carlson Library.

  • I have provided lots of additional texts for those who would like to learn more about individual topics and resources from this course.  These readings are not required but are meant to provide guidance and an in-depth view of what we will be covering. 

 I will keep this syllabus updated with detailed information on all of the course readings and projects. They will also be listed on Blackboard at each session.  Twice weekly the Blackboard site will be updated with new course topic sessions.

Syllabus Web Site:

Student Web Site:

The above address will get you to information regarding web courses and how to login to Blackboard, where our class resides.   You will need to enroll in this course.  If you need technical assistance, please try calling the Computing Services Help line at Clarion, 814/393-2640.  There is also a help button available within Blackboard.  I've learned about a few bugs in Blackboard and would like to assist you if I can.  There are some housekeeping rules that we should address at this point:

  • I am always available via email and will endeavor to answer your questions right away.  There will be set office hours and I will be using the Chat room on Blackboard for interactive sessions.
  • When you drop assignments into the digital box on blackboard you need to remember to give your file and extension.  Extensions on files look like this:  SallyFieldAssignment1.doc.    A .doc file is a file created in Word.  A power point file has the extension .ppt and so on.  It all depends on what software package you created your work in.  PC users will recognize this convention; this in not a normal convention with Mac's, so please always remember to add the extension whether you are on a PC or a MAC.  This is critical.  Also, please add your name to make your work your own.  (NO SPACES IN-BETWEEN LETTERS, please.)   If I get 12 Assignment1.doc's without names, I will have a hard time grading them :-}.
  • There will be 9 sessions for this course; basically 2 a week throughout the 5 week Summer II semester.   For many of the sessions, I will be pointing you to articles to read that we will discuss by utilizing the bulletin board section of blackboard. See blackboard for assignments and readings at each session.
  • I have provided lots of additional texts for those who would like to learn more about individual topics and resources from this course.  These readings are not required but are meant to provide guidance and an in-depth view of what we will be covering. 


Grades will be based on active participation in discussions, session assignments, and the completion of the course group project.

Main course project 


Class/Discussion List Participation 


Session assignments 







Session 1:  July 10      Evolution & Development of Special Libraries

Session 2:  July 14       Mission, Vision and Goals & Objectives

Session 3:  July 17       Facilities Management & Budgets

Session 4:  July 21       Marketing and Communicating Value

Session 5:  July 24      Personnel Management

Session 6:  July 28      Online Services and Reference

Session 7:  July 31      Collections & Document Delivery

Session 8:  Aug. 4        Evaluation 

Session 9:  Aug. 7        Career Planning


Main Course Project:  Due August 11. 

Each student will be given a scenario reference question asked by the CEO/CFO/President of your institution.  Your job is to research the topic that your boss needs to learn as much as possible about BEFORE his/her meeting.  The bottom line is that they know next to nothing about the topic and have asked you to pull together an executively written treatise on it.  You need to make them look informed and ready to make on the spot decisions regarding whatever business opportunity this new topic may create.

Executive reports are common in special library reference work.  You may have a few hours or a few weeks to produce one.  Length will vary and is an uncertainty and dependent on your unique environment.  Your report may contain an introduction to the topic (definition), applications for how it is used in industry or its field; if it is a product line, you may need to do a competitive intelligence analysis of the marketplace.  Each scenario will be different and will require a number of specific questions to be asked to clarify exactly what information is needed.  We will go over the kinds of questions to ask first before proceeding to research information in preparing your report.  I will work with each of you on your unique question and our course notes will provide background for pulling this together.

As an exercise relating to learning about setting budgets, you will get to set some of the parameters of the report including the cost of your services to the requesting department.  This will be fun and I hope a reality experience for those interested in pursuing special libraries work.


Session Assignments:
For 4 of the 9 sessions there will be an assignment in the form of a quiz, question set, search, etc.   Cumulatively these assignments count for 40% of your grade.  They are designed to assist you in becoming familiar working within a special library environment and may operate as review material for future reference.  There will be no final for this course



Special Needs: Students with learning disabilities and/or special physical requirements should make their needs known to me. I will make every effort to assist you.

Note: Clarion University of Pennsylvania regards student participation in class as essential to the learning process. Therefore regular classroom attendance is required. It is understood that absence does not excuse the student from course work and the responsibility to complete assignments on time. The instructor should be notified in advance of planned absences and arrangements will be made to complete missed work. The instructor is not required to give make up examinations or accept class work missed as a result of an unexcused absence.

Statement of Scholarly Responsibility: Students are expected to follow normal practice in acknowledging the source of facts, ideas, summaries, quotations, and paraphrases used in their written work. Direct quotations must be enclosed in quotation marks and the exact source acknowledged. The use of another's words without attribution and without enclosing the words in quotation marks is plagiarism. Using facts, ideas and summaries derived from another source without indicating the source is also plagiarism. A close paraphrase may also be considered plagiarism - even if the source is named. Submitting another student's work as though it were your own is always plagiarism - even if the original paper has been paraphrased or otherwise modified. If you are in doubt as to what constitutes plagiarism, you are encouraged to consult with the instructor. Any student suspected of plagiarism will have the suspect passage pointed out to him/her and will be given an opportunity to explain why it should not be regarded as plagiarism. Depending on the severity of the infraction, penalties for plagiarism include 1) receiving a reduced grade for the assignment 2) redoing the assignment on a different topic 3) receiving a failing grade for the assignment, or 4) receiving a failing grade for the course. Students who are dissatisfied with the instructor's decision in such a case may - without prejudice - refer the matter to the attention of the department chair, the college dean, the provost and academic vice president, and/or the university Conduct Board, as described in the Student Rights and Regulations Handbook.


June 28  , 2005
G. Lynn Berard