INFO 267-10
Seminar in Services to Children and Young Adults
Intellectual Freedom and Youth
Spring 2022 Syllabus

Elizabeth (Beth) Wrenn-Estes, Instructor
Cellphone: 510-410-1959
Office location: Home
Office Hours: By Appointment

Syllabus Links
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Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning Wednesday, January 26, 2022, unless you are taking an intensive or a one-unit or two-unit class that starts on a different day. In that case, the class will open on the first day that the class meets.

You will be enrolled in the Canvas site automatically.

Course Description

This course will focus on intellectual freedom issues with youth, the value of youth literature to enhance individuals’ lives, the ethics of intellectual freedom, the psychology of censorship and how to combat it, and how to defend materials for youth.

Course Requirements


NOTE: The Instructor uses “I” or “me” throughout the document.

This course will open on CANVAS Wednesday, January 26, 2022

  • Students are responsible to review the Syllabus and the Canvas course site.
  • These two important information sources (Syllabus and Canvas Course site) work in tandem to give students directions, requirements, and information needed to be successful in understanding issues in intellectual freedom for youth. You need to understand both.
  • Questions should be posted to the instructor through the "Ask The Professor" discussion tread on the Canvas site.
  • Each student is expected to check the CANVAS site at least once per day for course updates, additional resources, announcements, and other new information that may be posted by the instructor.
  • The student should read the Syllabus carefully and then visit the website and read through the course website. Ask questions, if needed, after you review the syllabus or Canvas course site. Compile questions or clarifications that you need to ask and post questions to the Questions and Answers Discussion Thread.
  • The instructor makes every effort to proofread the information in both the syllabus and the Canvas course website. However, errors may occur. If you find an error please let the instructor know where on the website you found it (example - give where the error is by section name - Under Module 6 for example).

Questions, Comments, Concerns- Discussion Thread

Please post all questions, concerns, and general comments on the discussion thread "ASK THE PROFESSOR" on the CANVAS class site. If the question or concern is of a personal nature you may send directly to the instructor’s email address ( 

E-mail Subject Lines/Naming of Assignment Files – Mandatory

  • Format for subject line for all email correspondence
  • Format the file name for all assignments:

Official iSchool Email Policy:

  • Instructor will respond to student emails within 24-hours of receipt but instructor makes every effort to answer emails on the same day received. The instructor will inform the class if a longer response time is needed (instructor out of town, illness, etc.).

  • Students are expected to promptly answer emails from the instructor and fellow students.

Crisis or Emergency:

  • Please CALL, TEXT or EMAIL the instructor (in advance if at all possible) if a situation will prevent you from completing assignments or another class activity.
    Please use or 510-410-1959 (call or text).
  • You will receive a zero for any missed coursework unless you have received permission from the instructor for an extension.
  • Extensions are granted for extenuating circumstances only and not for being overwhelmed at work (for example). Extensions need to be requested if at all possible 72 hours before the due date.
  • The instructor reserves the right to deduct points (the number of points is determined by the instructor) for any work not submitted on time or lack of participation in any class activities or assignment.

Course Calendar - Subject to change with fair notice.

Technology Requirements You will need a high-speed connection (DSL, cable, etc.) to successfully participate in this class. Please see the Technology Requirements and Instructions for Success handout.

Grading/Grading Rubric

  • The instructor provides a rubric inside the Canvas Speedgrader and more details on evaluation criteria for all assignments. The instructor grades assignments as quickly as possible but it may take up to three weeks to get an assignment completely graded and returned to the class if class size is large and the instructor has additional classes to teach during the semester. 
  • The instructor will post grading updates on the announcements page to let students know where in the grading process of a certain assignment the instructor is.

Grading: – see scale below
No Rounding Up – The instructor doesn’t round points up to the next whole number. If you receive an 89.6 you will get the grade equivalent for those points.

Please read through the entire Canvas course site when it opens on Wednesday, January 26th. You are responsible for knowing all of the content/information included.

Weekly outlines (appear on Canvas Course Site and will be available when then course opens January 26th and will have more descriptive content that is indicated on the Syllabus including, but not limited, links for discussion threads; articles to read; websites to visit; readings; lectures and overviews, paper and blog/website formatting guidelines and any other information sources the instructor wants students to have.

Assignment Points Due Date
Discussion Threads (CLOs #1#2#5#6) 16 pts Weeks 1,3,6,8,16 (See topics below)

Zoom Session #1 - MANDATORY

Discussion/Guest Speaker(s)-TBD

Reflection Paper on Session

(CLOs #1#5#6#8


10 pts 

2 pts 

Thursday, March 17th (Wk 8)- Session 6:30 pm-8:30 pm

Monday, March 21st (Wk 9) Reflection

Selection Policy Paper (CLOs #1, #2, #3)

20 pts

Friday, March 18th (Wk 8)

Mind of a Censor Paper (CLOs #1#3#7)

10 pts

Friday, April 15th (Week 12)

Zoom Session #2 - MANDATORY
Discussion/Guest Speaker(s)-TBD

Reflection Paper on Session

(CLOs #1#5#6#8

10 pts Session


2 pts Reflection


Thursday, April 21st (Wk 13) Session 6:30 pm- 8:30 pm


Monday, April 25th (Wk 14) Reflection



Controversial Authors/Rationales Blog/Website

Evaluations (2 per student )

(CLOs #1#6#8)


26 pts

4 pts (2 pts per evaluation)


Friday, May 6th (Wk 15) Blog/Website

Monday, May 9th (Wk 16) Evaluations Due

TOTAL 100  
  • The instructor reserves the right to deduct points from any assignment not turned in on time.
  • ZOOM sessions are MANDATORY to attend. If you miss a ZOOM session you will lose all points for the session (see extenuating circumstances above).

CONTENT ACCESSIBILITY: All assignments, overviews, and lectures, will be provided in written form, audio, and video formats if possible.

DISCUSSION THREADS – Instructor’s Role

  • The instructor will act as a facilitator for the threads. Instructor may comment from time-to-time but the discussions are student-driven.
  • The instructor will include questions or prompts to get the conversation going, but students are charged with keeping the discussion going throughout the week.

Discussion Posts

  • Do not post before the opening date of the thread. All threads open on Mondays (except the Introduction thread) and close on Sundays at 5:00 pm Pacific.
  • Full points will be awarded to students who write in-depth insights and opinions about the weekly topic and meet the required number of posts in each thread. The definition of “substantial” in relation to the discussion posts means writing an in-depth narrative for each post of at least 75-100 words.

    The post should not just quote the texts/resources for the class but shows you have reached out to other sources to enhance your understanding of the weekly topic. Citations should be put at the bottom of the post in APA format. It is important to include your own thoughts and opinions in the thread as well as from experts in the field.

  • Stay on Track-  Strong suggestion from instructor is to post one substantial post on Tuesday and one substantial post on Thursday of each week and two posts to classmates before Sunday at 5 p.m. Pacific. The introduction and reflection threads only require one post and responses are optional.
  • Points for DT - 2 substantial posts (except for introduction and reflection) and 2 responses are required for each.
  • How points are distributed - The discussion threads Wk 3,6,8 are worth 4 pts - Substantial posts are worth 1.75 pts each and the responses .25 each. The introduction thread Wk 1 is worth 2pts and the reflection thread Wk 16 is worth 2 pts.
  • Doing more than the minimum number of posts is greatly encouraged by the instructor – shows initiative and interest in the topics being discussed on a higher level. No points are lost for not posting more than the minimum.


Discussion 1 (Week 1) January 26th to January 30th - VIDEO INTRODUCTION

Introduce yourself to the class by creating a SHORT VIDEO.
This is your opportunity to tell us a few things about you. Please tell us where you live (State of TimeZone).  One of the things I’d like to know if where each of you is in the iSchool program and what are you doing in your professional life right now. Feel free to tell us other things about yourself but only if you are comfortable doing so - post pictures, background, etc. Everyone loves to see and hear about dogs, cats, children, hobbies.
1 post - must be video /2 pts

Discussion 2 (Week 3)  February 7th to February 13th - SELF-CENSORSHIP
Time for self-reflection – self-censorship happens even in our profession since each of us has topics, issues, situations that we are afraid of or find offense in. However, as a librarian, we are charged with keeping our personal issues out of our professional life. Read through the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read principles and discuss your commitment to the ideas and principles described in both. What self-censorship issues do you think you personally need to address. Are you willing to share one with the group? This discussion thread and the answers you give here will help you see how different you may be thinking by the time you get to discussion thread #6 at the semester’s end where you describe your reflections on the semester and what you have learned.

Total posts 4 posts /4 points

Discussion 3 (Week 6)  February 28th to March 6th - Youth and Access to Information, Freedom of Expression and more.....

2020 saw massive protests across the country in support of Black Lives Matter and climate change. Teens are participating in protests as well as adults. 2021 has seen more and more challenges about what can be read and discussed in classrooms across the country. More and more challenges to books is happening. I have created a file of articles, websites to visit which students should read before starting the discussion thread.

Discuss your opinions about what is going on in both intellectual freedom, freedom of speech, etc. as they pertain to youth.  What resources can you find to support your opinion? Did any of the articles cause a reaction from you about the challenges or trends to clamp down on access to certain information? Include anything you find on global reactions to censorship and freedom of expression in other countries as well as the US.

Do some research on your own but here is one site that I'd like to introduce you to that I found when visiting the ALA OIF site: No Left Turn Website

Total posts 4 posts/4 points

Discussion 4 (Week 8)  March 14th to March 20th - SELECTION POLICY INSIGHTS

Speaking from the research you did for the selection policy assignment what insights do you have surrounding the purpose(s) of selection policies and written procedures focused on getting material reconsidered?

Total posts 4 posts/4 points

Discussion 5 (Week 15)  May 2nd to May 8th- REFLECTIONS ON THE CLASS THIS SEMESTER

Reflection – Substantial post - look back at the semester and tell major insights, changes in attitude, best practices for dealing with YA and Youth in either school or public library settings and anything else you’d like to add about your experience this semester.

Total posts 1 substantial post /2 points  (Response to classmates are optional)


It is crucial that you understand expectations for writing, formatting, and elements that are required to be included in both your written and blog assignments. Students are encouraged to read the following section very carefully and to ask questions about any requirement you do not understand.

Part of your grade is Mechanics, Spelling, and Writing Style so be sure to concentrate on making sure you are proofreading and reading your narratives really carefully looking for grammar and poor sentence construction. 

General Writing Standards- ALL ASSIGNMENTS

  • Students must produce assignments that meet writing and research standards appropriate for students in a Master’s program of study. Write clearly!
  • It is critical to proofread your work and then proofread again before turning it in.
  • Graduate-level writing standards do not tolerate grammatical errors of any kind.
  • You will lose points for mechanical, spelling, and grammar errors.
  • Organization of the assignment is also important. Looking at the flow of information throughout the assignment is key to clarity and understanding.
  • Students are encouraged to refer to a style writing handbook of their choice- suggestions are Strunk and White’s Elements of Style. APA is mandated for citations included within the text of the paper and reference/bib page(s) BUT no other parts of the assignments. Useful Link to writing on graduate level.

Spelling and Grammar Grading Clarification
Instructor may not read your entire assignment for spelling and grammar mistakes; if, in the instructor’s opinion, your assignment contains too many errors, the instructor will stop grading the assignment for grammar and spelling, reduce your points for that section of the rubric, and will move on grading content and research, etc.

Paper and Blog or Website Formatting Requirements
Located on the Module link on the Canvas site at the top of the page.

Course Workload Expectations

Success in this course is based on the expectation that students will spend, for each unit of credit, a minimum of forty-five hours over the length of the course (normally 3 hours per unit per week with 1 of the hours used for lecture) for instruction or preparation/studying or course related activities including but not limited to internships, labs, clinical practica. Other course structures will have equivalent workload expectations as described in the syllabus.

Instructional time may include but is not limited to:
Working on posted modules or lessons prepared by the instructor; discussion forum interactions with the instructor and/or other students; making presentations and getting feedback from the instructor; attending office hours or other synchronous sessions with the instructor.

Student time outside of class:
In any seven-day period, a student is expected to be academically engaged through submitting an academic assignment; taking an exam or an interactive tutorial, or computer-assisted instruction; building websites, blogs, databases, social media presentations; attending a study group;contributing to an academic online discussion; writing papers; reading articles; conducting research; engaging in small group work.

Course Prerequisites

INFO 267 has no prequisite requirements.

Course Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Identify characteristics and topics that are frequently associated with challenged materials for children and young adults.
  2. Identify the elements needed to write a reconsideration policy for a school or public library.
  3. Demonstrate familiarity with how to train library staff in reconsideration procedures and handling angry customers
  4. Write a rationale for a challenged book.
  5. State a personal philosophy of intellectual freedom.
  6. Discuss the value of books that present graphic material or controversial subjects.
  7. Describe the psychology of the censor, including emotions and motivations.
  8. Discuss the motivations of authors who write material that might be challenged, and why they are willing to risk censorship.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

INFO 267 supports the following core competencies:

  1. D Apply the fundamental principles of planning, management, marketing, and advocacy.
  2. J Describe the fundamental concepts of information-seeking behaviors and how they should be considered when connecting individuals or groups with accurate, relevant and appropriate information.
  3. M Demonstrate professional leadership and communication skills.
  4. N Evaluate programs and services using measurable criteria.


Required Textbooks:

  • Pekoll, K. (2019). Beyond banned books: Defending intellectual freedom throughout your library. ALA Editions. Available through Amazon: 0838919014arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain

Grading Scale

The standard SJSU School of Information Grading Scale is utilized for all iSchool courses:

97 to 100 A
94 to 96 A minus
91 to 93 B plus
88 to 90 B
85 to 87 B minus
82 to 84 C plus
79 to 81 C
76 to 78 C minus
73 to 75 D plus
70 to 72 D
67 to 69 D minus
Below 67 F


In order to provide consistent guidelines for assessment for graduate level work in the School, these terms are applied to letter grades:

  • C represents Adequate work; a grade of "C" counts for credit for the course;
  • B represents Good work; a grade of "B" clearly meets the standards for graduate level work or undergraduate (for BS-ISDA);
    For core courses in the MLIS program (not MARA, Informatics, BS-ISDA) — INFO 200, INFO 202, INFO 204 — the iSchool requires that students earn a B in the course. If the grade is less than B (B- or lower) after the first attempt you will be placed on administrative probation. You must repeat the class if you wish to stay in the program. If - on the second attempt - you do not pass the class with a grade of B or better (not B- but B) you will be disqualified.
  • A represents Exceptional work; a grade of "A" will be assigned for outstanding work only.

Graduate Students are advised that it is their responsibility to maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA). Undergraduates must maintain a 2.0 Grade Point Average (GPA).

University Policies

Per University Policy S16-9, university-wide policy information relevant to all courses, such as academic integrity, accommodations, etc. will be available on Office of Graduate and Undergraduate Programs' Syllabus Information web page at: Make sure to visit this page, review and be familiar with these university policies and resources.

In order to request an accommodation in a class please contact the Accessible Education Center and register via the MyAEC portal.

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