INFO 267-11
Seminar in Youth Services
Topic: The Value of Controversial Literature for Youth 
Spring 2020 Syllabus

Joni Richards Bodart
Phone: (408) 924-2728

Syllabus Links

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Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning January 23rd at 6 am PT 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 Rationale

Because YA literature is, by definition, controversial, because that literature is a rapidly-expanding genre, extending the limits of subject, language, and format into areas previously considered taboo, it is frequently challenged, and young adult librarians need to be equipped to defend it, to protect the intellectual freedom of their customers, and the integrity of their collections. 

Course Description

An analysis of novels that are considered ground-breaking or controversial because of their format, content, or treatment of difficult issues facing teens.  Coursework will focus primarily on young adult novels by authors of frequently-challenged materials, and will feature information on the current trends on horror/monster books and realistic novels featuring “human monsters” or toxic adults and/or teens, and why they are currently popular with teens.  Also included will be information on helpful resources for libraries facing challenges, and the processes and procedures that should be in place before the challenge occurs, including, but not limited to, selection policies, reconsideration procedures, and strategies and techniques useful to the YA librarian under attack.

Office Hours:

I will be in my office by appointment, Clark Hall, 418H, and will be on campus some weekdays, however, without an appointment, there’s no guarantee I will actually be IN my office.

I will answer e-mail on a daily basis or as quickly as I can. I will also be posting email responses to the FAQs section of the discussion board when questions are asked that are of interest to the whole class.

Please use Canvas or Zoom chat to contact me.  I will respond immediately if I am at the computer, and as quickly as possible if I am not.  If I am writing or in the middle of something, my response may be quite brief.  Such brevity is not intended to be construed as rudeness or lack of willingness to help you.  Complex questions may be more efficiently handled via the FAQs or email.

If you need to speak to me by phone, I will do all I can to be available to you, but scheduling that call in advance to make it convenient for both of us, and ensure that I have enough time cleared to respond to your questions or problems.

I make every effort to proofread the Syllabus and the Canvas website, but errors can occur. Please contact me with any errors you see or any questions or may have so I can correct or explain them.

Instructional Philosophy
I want each of you in this course to succeed, and I will do everything I can to help you do so, but this is a partnership. Please make sure that communication is your top priority during the semester. Ask questions when you have them, seek clarifications when you need them, and take responsibility for understanding all expectations, content, and assignments for the course. You are responsible for your own learning experience. I do not make you succeed. YOU make you succeed. You also make you fail. Understanding the contents and expectations explained in the Syllabus is critical for a student’s success in the class.

The Canvas Site
Please check the site regularly for announcements, discussion board questions, and so on. As soon as you are enrolled, go to the site, read my welcome message, then go to the discussion board and introduce yourself, both professionally and personally. I will give you a format for each part of your introduction.

Zoom sessions  SIX SESSIONS

Six Zoom sessions have been scheduled, but probably not all of them will be used.  Once the semester has begun, and all class members have signed up for their challenge presentations (including the challenged librarians, the person making the challenge, and the library reconsideration committee members) any Zoom sessions without presentations will be canceled.

Student presentations

Students will do their topical/author presentations asynchronously, and post the links to the presentations on the appropriate discussion forum.  Students will watch the recordings of all presentations, discuss them on the appropriate discussion forums, and submit evaluations in the appropriate dropbox. 


The six sessions are currently scheduled for 1/30, 2/26, 3/18, 4/8, 4/29, 5/6 (6:30-9:00 pm PT).  The first session will be an intro to the class, and I will go over the syllabus and answer questions about assignments and other things as needed.  There may also be a guest speaker from NoveList to show you how to use this valuable tool.  The other classes will be used for censorship presentations. 

Class Requirements


All assignments are designed to help you gain knowledge that will allow you to achieve competency in one or more of the competencies listed above.  They are not busywork, and I have designed them carefully to give you both knowledge and skills that will help you promote the controversial and valuable titles written for teens.  If you don’t understand how a particular assignment will help you do this, please ask me.  I will be happy to explain.



Read texts, attend Zoom meetings, participate in class discussions on discussion boards, and participate in challenge presentations as assigned.  Participating on discussion boards is defined as posting 1-2 times weekly, both in response to the questions, topics, or titles that I post, and to others’ reactions to them.  (This is an averaged figure—some weeks you will have more to say, some weeks less.)   Comments should be thoughtful and insightful, adding to our mutual learning process.  Questions will be posted approximately weekly, depending on how the discussion is going.  Answering a discussion question that has been answered previously, and repeating the same information in your own words is not appropriate.  Do not repeat information, be comment on it and elaborate on it, responding to the information rather than starting from scratch.

You will also evaluate your classmates’ topical and challenge presentations.  Detailed information on how to do this is on the class website.


Many of the titles you will be reading are quite dark and bleak, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by them.  But not all controversial books are difficult or depressing.  Consider reading some that are more humorous—Boy meets Boy or Will Grayson, Will Grayson, for example—in between the darker titles, so you will have some respite from them.  

In addition to the ten required authors/titles (listed at the end of this document), read at least 25 titles by other controversial authors and prepare a database of all of the titles, both required and self-selected.  This should be a searchable database and created as a blog or a website.  My rationale for this assignment is that doing the work now to create a searchable database will make it easier for you to add titles to it in the future.  Please limit your selections to literature written for teens, rather than adult titles enjoyed by teens, such as those by Jodi Picoult.  You can tell what’s written for teens by looking at Amazon, and under Product Details, you’ll find a reading level.  If it is a YA title, it will say so.  You can also look at where it was reviewed, and the reading level the review recommended.  You can also select titles from the Book and Media Awards given by YALSA, available on the ALA/YALSA website.

Please include ONLY titles that you would recommend.  If you start a title (other than the required ones), and decide it is not of high enough quality to include in a general YA collection, DO NOT INCLUDE IT IN YOUR COLLECTION FOR THIS ASSIGNMENT.  Stop reading it and go on to a more worthy title.

YOU MUST SUBMIT ORIGINAL WORK ONLY.  DO NOT DO CUT AND PASTE FROM REVIEWS OR OTHER RESOURCES.  Using titles you have read for other classes will result in a less rich and educational experience for you, and is not recommended.  If I learn that you have used titles presented in assignments in other classes, they will not count for this assignment.

You may use any format and design you choose to, but you must include the following information in each entry: 

  • cover image or images
  • complete bibliographic information, including price and number of pages, ISBN, etc.
  • summary of the plot and content of the title
  • reading level and interest level—these may be two different levels  (Cormier’s Tenderness is written at a fifth-grade level, but is far too dark and complex for a reader that young)
  • evaluation, how well-written, effective, valuable it is and why—this is your review of the title
  • readers’ 1-2 sentence annotation (25 words or less) designed to intrigue the reader and make him/her want to read the book
  • bibliotherapeutic usefulness (what issues or situations or problems does it include, and how could it be used to help a teen work through similar situations or problems?)
  • issues present—why it might be challenged or controversial
  • defenses for the issues in the book—brief ideas on how they might be countered
  • booktalk ideas—what character/scene/plotline would you focus on?  List page numbers as appropriate
  • genre or subject—the main theme/issue of the book
  • readalikes—similar titles or authors
  • link to author’s website, or group’s website if it is jointly authored
  • awards won and lists appeared on
  • links to reviews in professional review sources
  • why you chose it—as in why you were intrigued enough to pick it up—the HOOK in the book.  (It looked interesting is NOT a sufficient reason, nor is that it was required or on a list—what hook did it have that made you want to read it?)

Do not combine elements, i.e., combine plot summary and evaluation.  Each section should be distinct. 

You may also want to include other information to help you remember the book for class discussion and for the future.

Please have a list of your titles posted in a column on one side of each screen, so I can jump from one title to another.

I have arranged for this class to have a free subscription to NoveList, and information on how to access it will be given during the first class.  

IF YOU ARE UNSURE THAT YOU ARE INCLUDING THE RIGHT AMOUNT AND TYPE OF INFORMATION, YOU MAY SUBMIT ONE TYPICAL ENTRY TO ME FOR FEEDBACK.  Please do this as soon as possible after the semester starts, so you don’t have to redo a number of entries.

THIS ASSIGNMENT IS DESIGNED TO BE WORKED ON DURING THE ENTIRE SEMESTER.  PLEASE BEGIN WORKING ON IT IMMEDIATELY.  I also recommend that you read the required titles sooner rather than later.  

The first part of this assignment, at least 18 entries, is due on March 13.  The second half of this assignment, all the other entries, is due on May 15.  You will receive two separate grades, which will be averaged together to get your final grade on this assignment. 

In order to submit this assignment, you will put a document with the link to your blog, and login/password if necessary, in the assignment dropbox.  I will let you know if the link doesn’t work, but you would be wise to test it first.


Create a program for Banned Books Week, or for some other event highlighting controversial fiction, including:

  • the rationale for the program
  • who it is aimed at
  • speakers
  • activities
  • promotion
  • displays and handouts for them
  • anything else that would allow someone else to set up and run this program, based only on your description of it. 

This is to be a one-shot deal, not a series, such as a weekly program, or an SRP.  Take a look at some of the BBW programs online to help you get started.  You will be describing this program in an informal paper, illustrated with pictures of your display on it and promotional materials you create to promote and market it.  If you are doing this program in conjunction with another community group or organization, include information about them, why you are working together, and how you got connected so you could do so.  You need to be specific and detailed in your description, so another librarian could take your program plan and displays and make them real with no other input.

You need to include at least one display.  The information on each display should include:

  • the titles and types of materials you would put in the display
  • how it was created
  • what props you used
  • where in the library it would be located
  • when it would be available 

When planning the display, consider how it will be perceived by teens and by other library customers.  For instance, a display that looks good, but no self-respecting teen would go near, for fear someone would see them checking out that topic or subject, isn’t going to be effective.  This paper probably won’t be more than 5-6 pages long, outside of the pictures and promotional information—flyers/signs/bookmarks, etc. 

Please post your work on the appropriate discussion forum after you have put it in the appropriate assignment dropbox.  Due March 20


This presentation will be done individually, so as many topics as possible are included. 

There are a number of topics and characteristics that cause a book to be challenged.  Select one of these and prepare a presentation on it, including why this topic/situation is controversial, who is likely to object to the material, authors and titles that include this material, why the titles are important and valuable, including reviews and other information that would be valuable in writing rationales on these titles.  You will need to include at least 10 excellent titles featuring this topic that are well written and well-reviewed, written by some of the top YA authors. You need to prepare a slideshow and a handout to accompany your presentation.  Your audience will be a group of public or school librarians (specify) who want material on this topic in their collections but are concerned about how to show its value and appropriateness when someone objects to it, whether formally or informally.

These presentations will be done asynchronously, and recorded so everyone can see them.  The due date for these presentations will be up to you.  You may choose any of these dates:  2/28, 3/27, 4/24.  This way you will be able to choose a date that works with your schedule. YOU WILL EACH DO ONE PRESENTATION, NOT THREE!  ONE-THIRD OF THE PRESENTATIONS WILL BE SCHEDULED FOR EACH DATE.   I also wanted to spread them out as much as possible, in theory making it easier on you since you won’t have to watch a lot of presentations all at once.  YOU WILL SIGN UP FOR ONE OF THESE DATES ON THE GOOGLE SPREADSHEET FOR PRESENTATION SIGNUPS.  YOU WILL SIGN UP FOR YOUR LIVE PRESENTATIONS ON THE SAME SIGNUP SHEET. 

You will post your handouts to the indicated discussion forum 48 hours before your presentation, so your audience will have access to them during the presentation.  This allows you to refer to them as part of your presentation if you choose to do so.  Discussion of the presentations will take place on the discussion forums during the week after the due dates, and all class members will discuss the content of the presentations.  Evaluations of the presentations are due at the end of that week, and should be put in the Topical Presentations Evaluations dropbox.  


All class members will participate in all presentations, once as a librarian, and the other times as part of the reconsideration committee, or as an observer.  THESE ARE LIVE PRESENTATIONS, GIVEN DURING THE ZOOM SESSIONS.  YOU WILL SIGN UP FOR ONE OF THE ZOOM SESSIONS ON THE GOOGLE SIGNUP SHEET FOR PRESENTATIONS.  If all Zoom sessions are not needed, they will be canceled.

I WILL ASSIGN ALL TITLES TO BE USED IN THESE PRESENTATIONS.  Three weeks before the date of the presentation, each librarian will get a reconsideration form from a “customer” about what is being objected to and why.  Once you have gotten your form, you may begin work on your defense of the title. The other class members will be copied on this form, so you can start reading the title, and plan how to play your assigned role.  

LIBRARIANS:  You are a librarian in a medium-sized community, either in a middle &/or high school, or in the public library.  A group or individual in the community has submitted a formal challenge to a book (or other material) in your library.  You have been asked as the librarian in charge of this collection to do an introductory presentation for the reconsideration committee, which includes: 

  • librarians
  • library administrators
  • paraprofessionals
  • community members (may include youth workers, parents of teens or parents with children of different ages, or other adults)
  • students from the school or teens and tweens who use the public library (have active library cards)
  • local experts in YA literature or with the subject of the titles being challenged
  • other members as needed or preferred

Please specify the makeup of your committee (members from the above groups and their number.  For example:  2 students who are teens, 3 librarians, 3 community members, including 1 school counselor or youth minister, or other role that includes regular contact with teens, etc.).  Once you have done so, I will appoint students to the various roles so they can begin preparing for them.  Each presentation group will be made up of 1 librarian, 1 observer, and the rest of the class will be committee members.  Everyone MUST read the challenged title before the presentation on it, no matter what role you play.  You will able to use the challenged titles in your collection assignment.  This is an exception to the rule about using titles for only one assignment.  The librarians will make their presentation and the other members will respond to it, either positively or negatively.  (Yes, this is one of those hated roleplaying exercises, but the experience could be valuable to you in the future, when you are actually in this kind of a situation.)  The observer will not participate in the discussion, but will evaluate how well or how poorly each of the others play their roles, and comment on how effective the exercise was overall. 

You will need to create a slideshow and you will also need to have some handouts for the reconsideration committee, which should include a copy of the reconsideration form. 


  • A YA selection policy designed for your department, including specific statements about why controversial materials are important.  (However, you don’t need to do anything for the rest of the library collection.) 1-page limit
  • A reconsideration procedure which would be appropriate for challenges to materials for youth—children as well as YAs 1 page limit
  • Statements from ALA and other organizations that you support in your library policies (Library Bill of Rights, etc.)
  • A copy of the complaint, information on who filed it and if it involves a group, information on that group--2-page limit  (This will have already been distributed when titles were assigned.)
  • The report from the person who took the complaint and filed the reconsideration form, stating what happened during that interview--1-page limit 
  • Biographical data on the author, his/her importance and major titles (this is to be brief, you will expand on it in your presentation)--1-page limit
  • Brief summary of title’s value and importance (expand in presentation)--1-page limit
  • Excerpts from reviews on the title—from the most authoritative sources--1-page limit
  • Brief summary of other challenges to title and how they were handled and resolved (expand in presentation)--2 pages limit 
  • Bibliography of articles on the title and articles on the author that are relevant to this title (include at least some of these in the presentation)--2 pages limit 
  • Other information you deem appropriate and important--2 pages limit

Remember you will be giving them this information in two ways:  your presentation and your handouts.  They should complement each other.  Please note that you are talking to people who probably don’t know much if anything about the library, the YA collection, and the principles of intellectual freedom.  In your presentation, you need to have a reason for each part of the handout, briefly explain why each is included, and refer to each of them with a slide.  More handouts does not necessarily mean a better package or a better presentation.  It is not a good idea to overwhelm your committee at this time.

You also have a finite amount of time—15-30 minutes for your presentation and 15-30 for Q&A afterward.  Your presentation needs to be informative, but not dull—it’s supposed to show your point of view, and support the library’s policies.  It should be polished and persuasive—you are talking to one of the most important and diverse committees your library has.  (This means practice.)   

Handouts should be posted a week before the presentation so other students can access them.  In addition, handouts, slideshow, script for your presentation need to be submitted to the appropriate assignment Dropbox no more than one week after your presentation. 

Each student will evaluate the presentation and each of the students who participated, and submit their evaluations to the appropriate dropbox no more than a week of the presentation.  Due as scheduled—see Zoom session dates above. 

COMMITTEE MEMBERS:  Please read the title as soon as you find out what it is.  You should study the handouts ahead of time and be ready with questions based on them.  Formulate other questions based on the presentation, just as a real committee would.  When the presentation is over, play your role as assigned, asking questions and responding to the content of the presentation.

However, the assignment does include several other requirements for committee members:  they need to have read the book, they need to have decided how to play their role, and whether or not they are going to be conservative or liberal in their views--a little conflict never hurt anyone--and may or may not decide ahead of time to contact each other to see how their roles fit together.  Some may decide to work together, others to confront each other or the librarian. 

OBSERVERS:  You will watch the participants carefully, taking notes on what they do and say and how effective they are in their roles.  Because you are not participating but observing, you may see more details of roles and interactions that those playing those roles.  Be sure to comment on all your observations.  How effective is the librarian’s presentation, and how appropriate are his/her answers to committee members’ questions?  Rate the success or failure of the presentation as a whole, explaining your opinion in detail.  Your comments should be about 2-3 pages long and include as much detail as possible.  Taking notes during the presentation will be helpful, as will reviewing the recording as well.

I’d like us to have fun with these presentations, and make them as realistic as possible.  While I would like you to pose difficult questions for the librarians, be aware when you do so, that you will be in that role at some point, and don’t go overboard with mean, although enthusiasm is great.  If you do so, retaliation may be your reward.

Committee members and observers will be given points toward their participation grade based on their performance.  Leaders will be given points based on their presentation and on their responses to questions during the discussion afterward. 

6.  REFLECTION PAPER (CLOs 12345678910111213141516)

You will also do a separate summary/self-evaluation/reflection paper will be about two-four pages, and will include an overview and comparison of your thinking about controversial YA literature at the beginning and at the end of the class, showing how you have changed in your thinking, or how you haven’t, and why.  How has your participation in this class affected your thinking and perceptions?  What is your own philosophy of intellectual freedom and how you will exhibit it as a part of your career in librarianship?  What do you think are the most important things you will take away from this class?  How and why has this class been valuable?   Due May 15


Database, topic presentation, challenge presentation (as a librarian):  25% EACH

Participation (discussion boards, committee membership for challenge presentations), program/display, reflection paper:  25% COMBINED



These titles are ones that are widely available, so you shouldn’t have to buy them unless you choose to do so. READ AT LEAST ONE TITLE (NO MORE THAN THREE) FROM EACH AUTHOR. Each of these authors is required, but you can choose which of the titles listed you would like to read.  IF YOU WANT TO READ ANOTHER TITLE BY ONE OF THESE AUTHORS, PLEASE GET MY OKAY FIRST—NOT ALL OF THEIR TITLES ARE REALLY CONTROVERSIAL.


Sarah Dessen—Once and for All, The Rest of the Story, Saint Anything, *Someone Like You, The Truth about Forever—family discord, sexual predators, self-knowledge

Laurie Halse Anderson—*Speak, *Shout, The Impossible Knife of Memory, Wintergirls—rape, anorexia, aftermath of violence and war

Robert Cormier—*The Chocolate War, I am the Cheese, Rag and Bone Shop—psychological manipulation, bullying

Chris Crutcher—*Whale Talk, Losers Bracket, Chinese Handcuffs, Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes--bullies, anger, death, toxic parents

Nancy Garden—Annie on my Mind, *Good Moon Rising, Endgame—lesbian, school shooter

Gail Giles—*Shattering Glass, What Happened to Cass McBride?  Girls Like Us, Right Behind You—bullying, manipulation, revenge 

Ellen Hopkins—*People Kill People, Identical, Tricks, Crank--multiple family-related problems, drugs, guns, violence

David Levithan—*You Know Me Well, Will Grayson, Will Grayson, Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist, Boy Meets Boy—homosexuality, vulgar language, friendship 

Walter Dean Myers—Fallen Angels (teen soldier in VN), Sunrise over Fallujah (teen nephew of protagonist in Fallen Angels, fighting in Afghan War), *Monster—vulgar language, realistic view of war, guilt and criminals

Todd Strasser--*Price of Duty, Boot Camp, The Wave, OR  Give a Boy a Gun—physical and psychological manipulation, school shootings, war 


Feel free to go beyond these titles—these are major trends, and many books have been written about each. 

TITLES BELOW ARE SUGGESTIONS ONLY AND NOT REQUIRED TITLES.  Additional titles for each trend/issue will be posted on the class website. 

Serial killers—I Hunt Killers


Name of the Star



I am not a Serial Killer

Wish You were Dead

In the Path of Falling Objects

I Hunt Killers series

Project Cain

My Friend Dahmer

School shootings—Hate List


Give a Boy a Gun



Last Domino



Whale Talk

Chronicles of Vlad Tod series

Geography Club



By the Time You Read This, I’ll be Dead

13 Reasons Why



GLBTQ—Boy meets Boy

She Loves You, She Loves You Not

Rainbow Boys

Boyfriends with Girlfriends

I am J

Absolutely, Positively Not

Personal Effects

The Difference Between You and Me

Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Toxic parents and teachers—Hope in Patience

Rules of Survival

Breathing Underwater

Wild Roses

Boy Toy



Chocolate War

How to Save a Life


Tap Out

Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes

The Compound

Raiders Night

Boot Camp

The Chosen One

Rapists and Manipulators—This Gorgeous Game

Asking for It

Cut me Free

Rag and Bone Shop


Supernatural monsters—vampires, zombies, shapeshifters, witches, demons, elves, angels, etc.  Lots of titles in They Suck….

Prejudice and hatred—all the “isms”

If I Ever get out of Here

Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

All we have Left


My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece


Out of Salem

Drug and alcohol addiction/abuse—The Girl in Between

Recovery Road

The Homecoming (Ramey)

Last Night I Sang to the Monster

The Prince of Denial


Scars (Rainfield)

Joseph (Moses)

Lunch with Lenin and other stories

Before, After, and Somebody in Between


Sexually active teens—Jack of Hearts and other parts

A Small Madness

Ask me Anything

The Truth about Alice

Our Own Private Universe

A Fighting Chance

Full Disclosure

Our Year in Love and Parties

Another Day

Everything Grows

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 reasons why YA literature is inherently controversial.
  2. Identify the characteristics that make a book controversial.
  3. List the reasons why controversial titles are important.
  4. Explain why controversial literature can be a positive influence on the social, intellectual, and ethical development of teens.
  5. Develop strategies for explaining the value of edgy and difficult YA literature to teachers, parents, and other interested adults.
  6. Present their own philosophy of intellectual freedom.
  7. Recognize, evaluate, and take into account self censorship tendencies in order to objectively evaluate materials in the light of community standards.
  8. Explain why novels currently being published for teens are more graphic and intense than those of previous generations.
  9. Explain the bibliotherapeutic value of controversial titles.
  10. Identify print and online resources that will be helpful before and during a challenge situation.
  11. Prepare bibliographies on a variety of controversial subjects or situations.
  12. Write a YA selection policy and reconsideration procedure.
  13. Write a rationale for a challenged title.
  14. Explain the steps to take to defend library materials before and after a challenge occurs.
  15. Demonstrate familiarity with the steps to take when interacting with an angry customer making a challenge.
  16. Identify organizations and the services that they offer that can be of assistance in a challenge situation.

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:

  • Auguste, M. (2013). Voya's guide to intellectual freedom for teens. Voya Press. Available through Amazon: 1617510076arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Office for Intellectual Freedom (2015). Intellectual freedom manual (9th ed.). (Magi T., & Garnar M., Eds.). ALA. Available through Amazon: 0838912923arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain

Recommended Textbooks:

  • Aronson, M. (2001). Exploding the Myths. Scarecrow Press. Available through Amazon: 0810839040. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Bodart, J. R. (2012). They suck, they bite, they eat, they kill: The psychological meaning of supernatural monsters in young adult literature. Scarecrow Press. Available through Amazon: 0810882272arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Bodart, J.R. (2016). They hurt, they scar, they shoot, they kill: Toxic characters in young adult fiction. Rowman & Littlefield. Available through Amazon: 1442230819arrow 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

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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More accessibility resources.