LIBR 267-01
LIBR 267-10
Seminar in Services to Children and Young Adults
Topic: Intellectual Freedom and Young Adults
Fall 2009 Greensheet

Dr. Joni Richards Bodart
Office location: 418H Clark Hall
Office Hours: by arrangement only

Greensheet Links
Textbooks and Readings
Course Requirements
ANGEL Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

This course uses Angel for discussion and assignments.  You will be sent an enroll code by Auguest 19 which will allow you to self enroll.

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 Prerequisites: LIBR 200, 204, and at least two of 262A-265 (or LIBR 260, 261, 262 prior to Fall 2008) required.

Course Objectives

Student Learning Outcomes
At the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Identify characteristics and topics that are frequently associated with challenged materials
  • Write a reconsideration policy for a school or public library
  • Train library staff in reconsideration procedures and how to handle an angry customer
  • Write a rationale for a challenged book
  • State their own philosophy of intellectual freedom
  • Discuss the value of books that present graphic material or controversial subjects
  • Describe the psychology of the censor and their emotions and motivations
  • Discuss the motivations of authors who write material that might be challenged and why they are willing to risk censorship

LIBR 267 supports the following MLIS Core Competencies:

  • articulate the ethics, values and foundational principles of library and information professionals and their role in the promotion of intellectual freedom
  • recognize the social, cultural and economic dimensions of information use
  • apply the fundamental principles of planning, management and marketing/advocacy
  • demonstrate oral and written communication skills necessary for group work, collaborations and professional level presentations
  • evaluate programs and services on specified criteria
  • design training programs based on appropriate learning principles and theories

Course Requirements

This course requires a variety of assignments designed to introduce students to the concepts covered in class and in the text, as well as to practical applications of methods. Students will work individually or in groups and participate in group discussions on Angel. Details for the assignments will be given at the first class meeting and requirements for each will be posted under the Course Documents area on Angel.

  • Author study, week 5, 10 points
    Choose an author whose work has been challenged more than once, read two books by that person (not part of your database), and based on articles by and about that author, discuss why that person writes books that are likely to be challenged, and how s/he has responded to challenges in the past. (Authors’ websites are very helpful for this.) Post your essay on the Angel site in the appropriate forum. (Outcomes A, F, G, H)
  • Selection policy, week 8, 20 points
    Write a selection policy for a youth collection in a public library or for a middle or high school library, including selection philosophy, selection criteria, reconsideration policy and procedures, and statement on privacy and confidentiality (Outcomes B, C, F, G)
  • Rationales for two challenged titles, week 10, 10 points
    Based on the lists available at intellectual freedom websites online and class discussions, write detailed rationales for two titles not included in your database, explaining their value and usefulness, and why they should be included in a public/school library collection. Post them on the Angel site in the appropriate forum. (Outcomes A, D, F, H)
  • Group project/Elluminate presentation, scheduled during weeks 12-14, 20 points
    Analyze one subject or genre that is frequently challenged (see course outline for examples. I will need to approve of topics that are not included there), discuss why it is a “hot button” issue, how to respond to the challenges to it, including its value, important titles, authors, and legal cases that have involved it, and new titles on this subject/genre that might be challenged in the future. Give a class presentation, including a PPT slideshow and any appropriate websites, during one of the class Elluminate sessions. (Presentations will be part of the class on that topic.) (Outcomes A, F, G, H)
  • Database of challenged/controversial titles, week 15, 20 points
    Read 20 titles that have been challenged at least once, and create a database of them, using searchable software such as Excel, Access, or FileMaker Pro. (If you want to use something other than these, please check with me to see if I have access to it.) Information to be included in each entry will be posted to Angel under Course Documents. (Outcomes A, F, H)
  • Philosophy Essay, week 15, 10 points
    Write an essay on your personal philosophy of intellectual freedom, and why IF is important to you as a youth advocate and to the profession as a whole. Include a comparison of your own feelings or philosophy when the course began and the present time. (Outcomes A, E, F)
  • Class participation, week 15, 10 points
    Participate in Angel discussions and Elluminate sessions, and contribute to group project/presentation (Outcomes A, B, D, F, G, H

Course Outline

  • Week 1
    Learning Outcomes A, E, F
    OIF, Parts One through Five, “Intellectual Freedom and Libraries” “Library Bill of Rights” “Protecting the Freedom to Read” “Intellectual Freedom and the Law” “Preparing to Preserve and Protect Intellectual Freedom”
    Introduction to the course
    Share definitions of censorship, challenge and intellectual freedom
    Contributions of the ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom, the Library Bill of Rights, and the Freedom to Read/View/Access Statements
    Subjects likely to be censored or challenged
    Authors who are frequently challenged
  • Week 2
    Learning Outcomes A, D, F, H
    Bodart, “Introduction”, Appendix One, “Censorship: What it Is, Why it Is, and How to Deal with It,” Appendix Two, “How to Write a Rationale”; Reichman, Chapters One through Three, “Censorship in the Schools” “Arenas of Conflict” “Issues in Dispute”; Readings from Angel on The Value of Controversial Materials for Teens
    Value of controversial materials
    Bibliotherapeutic uses of controversial materials
    Writing a rationale to defend controversial materials in school and public libraries
  • Weeks 3-4
    Learning Outcomes B, D, E, F
    Bodart, Appendix Three, “Sources of Support for Resisting Censorship”; Reichman, Chapters Five and Six, “What do we do If?” “What is the Law?”; Readings from Angel on Selection Policies
    Purpose of selection policies and reconsideration procedures
    Writing a selection philosophy statement
    Privacy and confidentiality statements
    Access policies, to the internet and to the library collection
    Filtering software and restricted access based on age
    Silent censorship and our own “hot button” issues
  • Week 5
    Learning Outcomes C, E, G, H
    Rubin, Chapters 1-4, 6, “A Primer on Anger” “Preventive Measures” “How to Do It: Twenty Basic Strategies for Defusing Anger” “Listening Skills” “Coping with Your own Anger” Readings from Angel on The Psychology of Censorship
    Psychology of the censor
    Handling an angry customer
    Rights of the parent
    Rights of the minor
  • In weeks 6-13, the focus will be on the various reasons why materials are censored or challenged, or have access to them restricted. Discussions and lectures will include information on why these topics are “hot button issues,” how to defend libraries that include materials on these topics in their collections, and what some of the important authors, titles, and cases are. Attention will be paid not only to minor/minor interactions, but also to minor/adult interactions. Graphic novels in be included in all areas when available. Students will do their group presentations as part of these classes.
    Subject indices of Herald and Bodart will be used to help students begin to create bibliographies of appropriate titles in each of the following areas, in addition to readings on Angel for each of them.
    Learning Outcomes A, D, E, F, H
  • Week 6
    Sex and sexuality in youth literature, including GLBTQ materials
  • Week 7
    Vulgar language in youth literature
  • Week 8
    Horror, the occult and the supernatural in youth literature
  • Week 9
    Racism in youth literature
  • Week 10
    Physical abuse in youth literature
  • Week 11
    Sexual abuse in youth literature
  • Week 12
    Substance abuse in youth literature
  • Week 13
    Violence in youth literature
  • Week 14
    Bullying and school shootings
  • Week 15
    Looking back, looking forward
    Attitude changes
    Behavioral changes
    Where do we go from here?

Textbooks and Readings

Required Textbook:

  • Bodart, J. R. (2002). Radical Reads: 101 YA Novels on the Edge. Scarecrow Press. Available through Amazon: 0810842874. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • LaRue, James (2007). The New Inquisition. Libraries Unlimited. Available through Amazon: 1591582857. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Reichman, H. (2001). Censorship and selection: Issues and answers for school (3rd ed.). ALA. Available through Amazon: 0838907989. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Rubin, R. J. (2000). Defusing the angry patron. Neal-Schuman. Available through Amazon: 1555703720. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain

Recommended Textbook:

  • Reichman, H. (2001). Censorship and selection: Issues and answers for school (3rd ed.). ALA. Available through Amazon: 0838907989. arrow 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;
    For core courses in the MLIS program (not MARA) — 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 the following semester. 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.

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

University Policies

General Expectations, Rights and Responsibilities of the Student

As members of the academic community, students accept both the rights and responsibilities incumbent upon all members of the institution. Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with SJSU's policies and practices pertaining to the procedures to follow if and when questions or concerns about a class arises. See University Policy S90-5 at More detailed information on a variety of related topics is available in the SJSU catalog at In general, it is recommended that students begin by seeking clarification or discussing concerns with their instructor. If such conversation is not possible, or if it does not serve to address the issue, it is recommended that the student contact the Department Chair as a next step.

Dropping and Adding

Students are responsible for understanding the policies and procedures about add/drop, grade forgiveness, etc. Refer to the current semester's Catalog Policies section at Add/drop deadlines can be found on the current academic year calendars document on the Academic Calendars webpage at The Late Drop Policy is available at Students should be aware of the current deadlines and penalties for dropping classes.

Information about the latest changes and news is available at the Advising Hub at

Consent for Recording of Class and Public Sharing of Instructor Material

University Policy S12-7,, requires students to obtain instructor's permission to record the course and the following items to be included in the syllabus:

  • "Common courtesy and professional behavior dictate that you notify someone when you are recording him/her. You must obtain the instructor's permission to make audio or video recordings in this class. Such permission allows the recordings to be used for your private, study purposes only. The recordings are the intellectual property of the instructor; you have not been given any rights to reproduce or distribute the material."
    • It is suggested that the syllabus include the instructor's process for granting permission, whether in writing or orally and whether for the whole semester or on a class by class basis.
    • In classes where active participation of students or guests may be on the recording, permission of those students or guests should be obtained as well.
  • "Course material developed by the instructor is the intellectual property of the instructor and cannot be shared publicly without his/her approval. You may not publicly share or upload instructor generated material for this course such as exam questions, lecture notes, or homework solutions without instructor consent."

Academic integrity

Your commitment, as a student, to learning is evidenced by your enrollment at San Jose State University. The University Academic Integrity Policy F15-7 at requires you to be honest in all your academic course work. Faculty members are required to report all infractions to the office of Student Conduct and Ethical Development. The Student Conduct and Ethical Development website is available at

Campus Policy in Compliance with the American Disabilities Act

If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, or if you need to make special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible, or see me during office hours. Presidential Directive 97-03 at requires that students with disabilities requesting accommodations must register with the Accessible Education Center (AEC) at to establish a record of their disability.

icon showing link leads to the PDF file viewer known as Acrobat Reader Download Adobe Acrobat Reader to access PDF files.

More accessibility resources.