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Special Topics Courses

Special Topics CoursesTeaching the standards that have kept library collections and archives valid and valuable will always matter to a reputable program of library and information science. We also take seriously our job of keeping our students up-to-date on the continuous changes taking place in the gathering and delivery of information.

To address this, the Palmer School of Library and Information Science offers special topics courses that reflect the very latest and most pertinent ideas and technologies. These three-credit graduate courses are open to students pursuing the Master of Science in Library and Information Science as well as the Rare Books and Special Collections specialization program, as determined by the program director. The courses are offered at various locations as appropriate and as needed by students.

The following is a sampling of recently offered Special Topics courses:

The Joy of Ephemera

The course will cover an overview of the different types of ephemera: postcards, advertisements, ballad sheets, broadsides, cartes-de-visite, valentines, programs, invitations, menus, trade cards, perfume samples, credit cards, and phone cards. Discussion of how ephemera is acquired; a cataloging practicum; and an overview of how ephemera collections are managed in libraries, including preservation and access issues will be covered. Afternoon field trips will include: New-York Historical Society, the Grolier Club, special libraries and private collectors' homes when possible.

The Modern Fine Press

This course is an historical survey of the history of the book with emphasis on the 20th century with comparison of fine press and the artist’s book movements, and their relevance to public library acquisitions and university book collections.

Special Collections of NYC

This course investigates a broad spectrum of special collections issues: how special collections are built and managed; how private collections move to institutions; what makes special collections “special”; where they fit in the larger institution’s mission; how they are represented to the rest of the world; who uses them; how libraries secure and preserve the collections; how they utilize Internet technologies to display their riches; the role of professional organizations in supporting special collections; collecting as an elite activity; and the place of tangible artifacts in an increasingly virtual information environment. Class time will be split between in-class discussions and visits to outstanding special collections in New York City.

The Antiquarian Book Trade

This course is intended to acquaint students with myriad aspects of the past and present antiquarian book trade. Among aspects covered are dealers, businesses, institutions and organizations, reference sources, methods of description and pricing, marketing and technology. The course is designed for students who intend to become curators of rare books and special collections and will need to interact with the book trade; it is also designed for students who wish to work in the antiquarian book trade. Methods include readings, guest speakers from the rare book trade, visits to bookstores and auction houses, class discussion, online exercises, the making of purchase decisions, and the preparation of business plans.

Web 2.0

With the advent of Web 2.0, an explosion of new social software tools has emerged enabling users to create, organize, share and collaborate in an online space. Today’s Web users are organizing their favorite bookmarks, collaborating on shared documents, cataloging their personal collections and sharing their information with others. This course will explore the features and functionality of Web 2.0 technologies such as blogs, wikis, RSS, social bookmarking, media sharing, tagging, folksonomies and more. We will explore how libraries are implementing these various tools as well as their potential uses.

Competitive Intelligence

Systematically and ethically programming for gathering, analyzing and managing information about the external business environment that can affect a company’s plans, decisions and operations.

Human Computer Interaction

How will you, as the information professional, help decide what new library services or information systems your library/organization should provide? How do you determine your patron or user’s needs? Do you know which information system works best for your organization and why? First, you will need to understand people how they perceive, remember, process and communicate information. Second, you must learn how to best evaluate both the systems’ design and process. These two themes are the focus of this course. You will look at and learn how interaction technologies can take human and social issues into account – all critical for deciding upon and the making best use of the user-centered services in your workplace.

Library Architecture and Space Planning

This course addresses the assessment of design and construction personnel needed for a particular project. You will gain an understanding of building systems, and awareness of additional services necessary during a construction project to ensure responsible design; consciousness of the built environment and of the particular nature of the typology of libraries.

Planning Tomorrow’s Library

This course focuses on the strategic planning librarians must engage in to successfully deliver tomorrow’s library – the new concepts and offerings advanced by community and investor relations that can achieve renewal and ensure future fiscal stability and further growth and development. Special emphasis will be placed on library planning that addresses significant change, when values and traditions, existing operations and staff roles all come under increased scrutiny as strategic planning considerations.

Children’s Literature and Emotional Intelligence

Explore different literary genres and story formats in their relation to emotional IQ and character. Address issues such as: violence, conflict resolution, cooperation and tolerance as well as specific character traits including: courage, integrity, playfulness, empathy, generosity, honesty and responsibility.

Creative Arts Librarianship

Students will be introduced to the information-seeking behaviors of artists and scholars of art; music, and the performing arts; specialized formats (scores, scripts, images and more); reference sources; databases and other digital sources.