USM School of Library & Information Science
LIS 631: History of Libraries
Online, Spring Mini-Session 2012

"Libraries are the memory of mankind" - Goethe

Teresa S. Welsh, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Southern Miss School of Library & Information Science
Cook Library, Room 206H
Office hours by appointment
Phone: 601.296.0528 or

This 3-hour course focuses on the development of libraries from ancient times to the present with special reference to the relationship of libraries to sociocultural, economic, and political trends. In addition to participating in class discussions online and posted on the discussion board, students will complete a relevant book review and an historical research paper related to library history.

Online class discussions are scheduled each weekday evening and first Saturday, 6:30-8:30pm Central time.

Drop Dates
The last day to drop mini-session classes with full refund is January 4th.
The last day to drop mini-session classes without academic penalty is January 5th.

Required Text

History of Libraries in the Western World
by Michael H. Harris
Scarecrow Press, 1999.

Course Objectives

After completion of the course students should be able to demonstrate a basic knowledge of:

Weekly Schedule (subject to revision)

Week 1
Oral Tradition, Development of Alphabet, Origin of Libraries
Earliest Libraries and Archives
Classical Libraries
Medieval Libraries & Scriptoria
Early University Libraries, Renaissance Libraries

Week 2
Early European Libraries
Early American Libraries
Carnegie Libraries
Modern European & American Libraries
Future Trends

Course Requirements

  1. Midterm Book Review (30%) (list of approved books available on Library Thing; obtain instructor approval to review a relevant book that is not on the list)

  2. Historical Research Paper (50%)

  3. Class Participation (20%)
    • Students are expected to read the online material and required texts in order to participate in discussion board postings and chats.
    • Students are expected to attend each chat for the entire time of the session. All absences from chats will be recorded. Points will be deducted from the final grade for missed chats or failure to post responses to questions on the Discussion Board.



Course Policies

Students are responsible for reading syllabus content and becoming familiar with course policies and procedures.

Students will not be granted an Incomplete for this course for failing to complete assignments. A student who receives an Incomplete will have only ONE semester in which to complete the work.

If a student stops attending class and does not complete the appropriate withdrawal papers or procedures with the registrar, that student will be assigned an F. If this is the only class a student is taking then the student must call the USM graduate school to properly withdraw.

If a student commits plagiarism, that student will receive an F in the course.

A student may not self-plagiarize or submit work done in another course unless receiving prior permission from the instructor. Any assignment that is self plagiarized without prior permission from the instructor will receive zero points.

Virtual classroom attendance and participation is expected. Participation is a large part of the grade and consists of the virtual classroom participation and discussion.

Students are required to subscribe to listnews, the LIS listserv. Subscribe to lisnews by completing the online form available at

All assignments should be saved in .doc or .rtf format and posted to the Digital Drop Box. Work not turned in on time will be assessed a penalty of 10% per week without prior approval from the instructor.

Failure to follow specific instructions for content and formatting of assignments will result in lower grades.

Writing skills: All work must be in Standard English; inappropriate grammar, punctuation, and/or spelling will result in lower grades.

Academic Code of Conduct

Students are expected to follow the Academic Code of Conduct, which includes mutual respect and academic honesty.

"When cheating is discovered, the faculty member may give the student an F on the work involved or in the course. If further disciplinary action is deemed appropriate, the student should be reported to the dean of students. In addition to being a violation of academic honesty, cheating violates the Code of Student Conduct and may be grounds for probation, suspension, and/or expulsion. Students on disciplinary suspension may not enroll in any courses offered by The University of Southern Mississippi." USM Graduate Bulletin, p. 37.

"Plagiarism is scholarly theft, and it is defined as the unacknowledged use of secondary sources. More specifically, any written or oral presentation in which the writer or speaker does not distinguish clearly between original and borrowed material constitutes plagiarism. Because students, as scholars, must make frequent use of the concepts and facts developed by other scholars, plagiarism is not the mere use of another's facts and ideas. However, it is plagiarism when students present the work of other scholars as if it were their own work. Plagiarism is committed in a number of ways:

  1. Reproducing another author's writing as if it were one's own.
  2. Paraphrasing another author's work without citing the original.
  3. Borrowing from another author's ideas, even though those ideas are reworded, without giving credit.
  4. Copying another author's organization without giving credit.
Plagiarism is a serious offense. An act of plagiarism may lead to a failing grade on the paper and in the course, as well as sanctions that may be imposed by the student judicial system." USM Graduate Bulletin, p. 37.

Disability Statement

If a student has a disability that qualifies under the Americans with Disabilities Act and requires accommodations, he/she should contact the Office for Disability Accommodations (ODA) for information on appropriate policies and procedures. Disabilities covered by ADA may include learning, psychiatric, physical disabilities, or chronic health disorders. Students can contact ODA if they are not certain whether a medical condition/disability qualifies. Mailing address: 118 College Drive, # 8586; Telephone: 601- 266-5024; TTY: 601-266-6837; FAX: 601-266-6035.

Note: This is an abbreviated version of the course syllabus. The complete syllabus is posted on the Blackboard LIS631 course site.

Web Page Design
Teresa S. Welsh
Updated 11/21/2011