INFO 265-10
Materials for Young Adults
Spring 2021 Syllabus

Lisa Houde

Mobile: Locate this in our Canvas course site
Office Hours: Contact through email, text, or mobile from 6 am to 6 pm Pacific; optional Zoom sessions for questions and discussion will be held most weekends.

Syllabus Links

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Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning January 27, 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.

Week #1 (Intro Week) for this class is Wednesday, January 27, 2021, to Friday, January 29. Weekly units end on Fridays at 11:59 PM Pacific when assignments and discussion post responses will be due.

You will be enrolled in the Canvas site automatically.

Course Description

Prepare for a wondrous, delight-filled, and informative journey into the world of young adult** materials!  Students will examine fiction, nonfiction, graphic novels, movies, TV series, and more. This course will engage students in multiple formats of self-selected young adult materials as they read, view, and listen to a diverse variety of genres.  If you’re not already, by the end of this class, you’ll likely be a fan of YA materials!  You’ll also gain a deeper comprehension of young adult information-seeking behaviors and developmental needs and how those materials meet their needs. Five assignments build to culminate in a 40-item mini-library blog collection of young adult materials, and while this is a lot of reading, tell me, what’s better than choosing your own books and movies to read and watch for a class?

As with any worthwhile endeavor, the effort students put into the course will directly impact the benefits.  Please note that this course requires a lot of reading; there's no way around it in a materials course!  As such, a carefully created schedule and strong discipline are required; I’ll be offering suggested reading plans at the beginning of the course to help students manage the workload. I cannot stress enough that this course requires extensive reading of young adult materials, and while it is enjoyable, it is a lot of work. In addition to working on the final assignment, other reading will include weekly topic articles as well as selections from Cart's Young Adult Literature: From Romance to Realism, and Brock's Young Adult Literature in Action: A Librarian's Guide.

There will be three guest presentations; the first, a panel of experienced and wise YA librarians; the second, graphic novel specialist Robin Brenner of; and the third, intellectual freedom expert James LaRue. It's recommended that students attend these live events, but recordings will be available. Presentations subject to change due to presenter’s schedules.

**The term young adult as used in this course refers to adolescents in grades 9 - 12; other terms used include teensYAadolescents, or older teens.  Materials for younger grades, including middle school, are not part of this course's focus.

Course Requirements and Information

How to Reach Me

Please e-mail me as a first option. I will respond quite quickly - likely by the evening of the day you contact me, and certainly within 24 hours of your email unless I've otherwise noted the need to extend that timeframe. If you have an urgent situation, please text or call me; my mobile number will be available in our course site. If you require an extension for an unforeseen emergency, you must text or call my mobile number prior to the due date; email extension requests will not be considered.  Preferred contact times are 6 AM to 6 PM Pacific - thank you!

Course Format

This course is offered on the iSchool Canvas site and all interactions for the class will be through that site and will include links to journal articles and other web-based offerings; most will be easily accessed in the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library. Assignments will be uploaded in the Canvas site, and class discussions will take place using the Canvas discussion forum. Detailed assignment and discussion post information, formatting requirements, and rubrics will be available in Canvas.

Class Discussions

Due Dates: Initial posts to be completed by 11:59 PM Pacific on Tuesdays unless otherwise noted, and responses must be posted by 11:59 PM on Fridays; there will be 9 weeks of discussion questions.  Weight = 20% CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 / COMPS A, F, J, M

Students will be expected to contribute to the class discussion, providing substantive and thoughtful responses to discussion topics.  These topics, weekly readings, and activities will cover a wide range of subjects pertinent to young adult development and materials outlined in the calendar below. In order to enhance discussions, students are required to create a unique post and also respond to at least two other students.  The original substantive post will be valued up to four points and will be due on Tuesdays by 11:59 PM Pacific; two responses will each be valued at two points totaling eight points, and responses will be due by Friday at 11:59 PM Pacific.  Discussions are richer when students post early and have time to respond.

Weekly Topics



Intro Week

1/27 – 1/29

Introductory Videos

Module 1

1/30 – 2/5

Adolescent Psychology Part I: Defining Older Teens and their Critical Issues

Guest Speakers: Young Adult Librarian Panel - Tuesday, Feb. 2, 5:30 PM Pacific*

Module 2

2/6 – 2/12

Adolescent Psychology Part II: What's Up with the Wired Brain?

Module 3

2/13 – 2/19

Defining Young Adult Literature

Module 4

2/20 – 2/26

Materials Focus: Graphic Novels

Guest Speaker: Robin Brenner on Comics - Tuesday, Feb. 23, 5:30 PM Pacific*

Module 5

2/27 – 3/5

Selection Development

Module 6

 3/6 – 3/12

Materials Focus: Realistic Fiction, Historical Fiction, and Romance

Module 7

3/13 – 3/19

Weeding: It's All About the Real Estate

Module 8

3/20 – 3/26

Materials Focus: Mysteries, Horror, and Thrillers / Mid-Course Feedback 

3/27 – 4/2

Spring Break / Cesar Chavez Day (March 31)

Module 9

4/3 – 4/9

Burning, Banning, and Removal: Intellectual Freedom, Censorship, and Professional Ethics 


Guest Speaker: James LaRue on Intellectual Freedom – Tuesday, Apr. 6, 5:30 PM Pacific*

Module 10

4/10 – 4/16

Materials Focus: Science Fiction and Fantasy

Module 11

4/17 – 4/23

Mirrors and Windows: Taking a Look at Young Adult Award Winners 

Module 12

4/24 – 4/30

Materials Focus: Short Stories and Verse Novels

Module 13

5/1 – 5/7

Diversity in Young Adult Literature 

Module 14

5/8 – 5/14

Materials Focus: Nonfiction, Adventure, and Survival

Module 15

5/15 – 5/17

Materials Focus: Non-Print Items and Technology




*attendance recommended; recordings will be available. Guest speaker dates subject to change due to presenter’s schedules.


Time Management

As mentioned above, it is critical that students create a reading schedule for this course; the final assignment entails reading/viewing, critiquing, annotating, and creating a speed-round book talk (or DVD talk, etc.) on 40 materials for young adults; additional required information for each entry will be provided in our course site. Please note that all books and materials used for other assignments in this course may be applied to the 40-material requirement where indicated. By steadily progressing through the semester using self-imposed benchmarks, students will ensure successful assignment completion.

Class Assignments

Students are expected to work independently on assignments and participate in group discussions as noted above. All materials submitted must be the sole work of the student and must not be copied from other sources unless the assignment explicitly permits inclusion and citation of sources other than a student's own work. Submitted assignments will be APA format and will be graded on content as well as writing quality, grammar, usage, and spelling; graduate-level writing is expected.  An important note:  All blog assignment submissions must include functioning links; if a blog link is submitted and I’m unable to reach portions of your work, that will be considered a late assignment and will be subject to late penalties. Check all links within your blog carefully before submission to be sure they’re published and functioning.

Students will complete six assignments that demonstrate the ability to research carefully, cite appropriately, and show the ability to connect these assignments to practical library applications. Assignments will be uploaded in the Canvas site as Word files or links to external work.


Grade Percentage

Due Dates

9 Discussion Posts and Responses


1/29, 2/5, 2/19, 2/26, 3/5, 3/26, 4/9, 5/7, 5/17

#1 - What's Up with Teens?  Adolescent Behavior and a Timely Issue Facing Teens (Short Paper)



#2 - On the Right Track? Two Entries for Assignment 6's Mini Library Collection (Two Blog Entries)



#3 - Reel to Reel: Exploring Films, Audio, Videogames, and Podcasts (Blog Entries & Reflection Paper on Nine Items)



#4 - Let's Get Real: Building a Tiny Young Adult Nonfiction Collection (One Blog Entry & Reflection Paper on Ten Items)



#5 - Evaluating Award-Winning Young Adult Literature: Literary Merit vs. Popularity (Blog Entries & Short Reflection Paper)



#6 - If You Build It, They Will Read! Mini Young Adult Library Collection & Readers' Advisory Tool (40-Item Culminating Blog Project)



Assignment Descriptions

Assignment #1 - What's Up with Teens? Adolescent Behavior and a Timely Issue Facing Teens
Students will research a timely topic/issue facing adolescents in grades 9 to 12 - examples include, but are not limited to, online bullying, puberty, peer pressure, digital connectedness, gangs, dating, or a related topic subject to instructor approval. Students will write a 5 to 7-page paper including an overview of adolescent development and will provide well-researched information on a current issue that teens face. Students will be assigned foundational readings as a springboard to this assignment. Completion of this assignment ensures student understanding of adolescent development and issues that teens face. CLOs 136 / COMPS A, J

Assignment #2 - On the Right Track? Two Entries for Assignment 6's Mini Library Collection
Utilizing the formatting and writing requirements for assignment #6, students will create their blog and submit two completed entries for the final assignment; one print material entry, and one other media item.  Completion of this assignment ensures that students have the correct formatting, entries, and appropriate writing style for the culminating course assignment. CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 / COMPS A, F, M

Assignment #3 - Reel to Reel: Exploring Films, Audio, Videogames, and Podcasts
Students will select a total of nine media items intended for teens in high school and will create complete blog entries in their final project for each item.  In addition to this, students will write a short paper on their selection process and, based on teen reviews, will formulate an overview of trends in what teens are viewing for entertainment.  The nine items must include three movies (either DVD or streaming), three audio recordings (at least one audiobook, but may also include music or podcasts), and three videogames. Completion of this assignment provides students with an understanding of popular entertainment media for teens, as well as the ability to develop a library collection in these formats to meet teens' informational and entertainment needs. CLOs 134 / COMPS F, J, M

Assignment #4 - Let's Get Real: Building a Tiny Young Adult Nonfiction Collection
Students will select a Dewey Decimal subject area to create a mini-collection of ten items as a collection development exercise. The subject area should be narrowed significantly rather than being too broad. For example, rather than select philosophy and psychology (Dewey number 100) or music (Dewey number 700), students might focus their collection on astrology (Dewey number 133.5) or kinds of music (Dewey number 781.5). The ten items will be currently in publication, relatively recently published, and available for purchase. Due to the pandemic, slightly older materials may be substituted, but students are creating an updated, current nonfiction collection, so ALL materials must be available for purchase. The collection will include books and at least one DVD or other media. Only one item from this assignment may be included in assignment #6, the final blog project, and all criteria for entry components in assignment #6 must be met.  Completion of this assignment indicates the ability to curate a nonfiction collection for young adults. CLOs 2, 3, 4, 5 / COMPS F, M

Assignment #5- Evaluating Award-Winning Young Adult Literature: Literary Merit vs. Popularity
Students will select five young adult literary novels by different authors and in different fiction genres (for example, realistic fiction, romance, mystery, dystopian, etc.) that have either won a Printz, Stonewall, or other award or honor; details on the available range of awards will be available in our course site. After reading each title, students will research the title's book reviews, teen blog reviews, and other online information - any reliable sources that inform their own evaluation of the title - and will create five blog entries for assignment #6, the final blog project, which will include all information required for each entry. Students will then write a short overview of their process of selection, and they will consider the value of award-winning titles and how teens receive these works. Completion of this assignment provides evidence that students have an awareness of award-winning books being published for teens, how to critically evaluate these titles, how teens receive these titles, and the ability to assist caregivers or parents with readers' advisory. CLOs 1356 / COMPS F, J, M

Assignment #6 - If You Build it, They Will Read! Mini Young Adult Library Collection/Readers' Advisory Tool
Students will create a mini-library collection blog of 40 diverse genres and formats and may apply materials from other assignments to the final total as indicated in Assignments 2 - 5. Students will select only materials they have not previously read or viewed; thank you in advance for adhering to this requirement. Materials will include books, movies, audiobooks, music, and other materials that are currently available for a library to purchase, and should be relatively recently published. Due to potential restricted access to libraries during the pandemic, publication dates and other facets of the assignment may be adjusted, but all materials must be currently in publication. Each material's entry will include bibliographic information, student critique, author information, a creative use for a library program, and a speed-round book talk, but additional information and specific details on this will be detailed in our Canvas site. Completion of this assignment provides evidence that students have explored and understand the wide range of genres and formats of young adult materials available and are able to assess each item as well as assist parents or caregivers with readers' advisory. Students will also show the ability to connect young adult materials to library programming and prepare for potential challenges and censorship attempts. CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 / COMPS F, M

Writing Standards

All written assignments will be created in Word, and will be double-spaced using 12-point Arial or Calibri font. Written assignments must include:

  • Title Page - Assignment title, course title/number, instructor name, university name, assignment due date
  • Headers with page numbers, your last name, and first initial (no numbering on title page)
  • APA format: abstract / introduction, properly sectioned body of paper, conclusion, and reference page; refer to The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th Ed., for formatting requirements.
  • Please create file names as follows:


  • All assignments should be carefully proofread (consider reading your work aloud; you'll be surprised how much more you catch!), are the sole product of the student, include others' images and ideas which are properly cited in text and listed on the reference page, meet APA standards for citations, etc., and are within the page limit established by the instructor.

Final Project Blog: Details will be available in Canvas concerning the landing page and each entry along with navigation and thematic expectations.  Within the blog, students must utilize the writing standards for written assignments as noted above. The final project is not intended as a journal assignment; written entries should use a moderate academic approach that will appeal to peers, colleagues, parents or caregivers, and teens. The blog content should have a professional appearance and should include creativity in color, theme, and images. It will contain user-friendly site navigation, and APA formatted references are required either within each entry or on a separate reference page.  Additionally, and very importantly, each blog must contain title, author, genre, and format indexes.

Extra Credit

There is no extra credit available in this course.

Late Work Policy / Other Course Guidelines

Assignment due dates are easily viewed in this syllabus and in Canvas. Please be sure to back up your work as a preventative measure, and retain copies of all assignments until the end of the semester.

Late, incomplete assignments or inaccessible blog links will be penalized 20% for the first day, and 10% will be deducted per day thereafter; you may, however, have ONE free pass, meaning that you may turn in one assignment up to a week late without any penalty (this free pass does not extend to discussion forum requirements or to the final blog project). To use the free pass, you must inform me that you will be using this pass BEFORE the assignment due date by text or a call on my mobile.

Also, please contact me as soon as possible if a family emergency or medical situation arises to make appropriate arrangements concerning assignment due dates; again, you must contact me by text or phone to receive an extension. Staying in constant communication throughout the semester ensures success!

All work must be submitted by Monday, May 17, 2021; this enables the instructor time to meet the grade reporting deadline.

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 200INFO 260Aor INFO 261A

Course Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the external (societal) and internal (developmental) forces that influence teens' choices of recreational and informational sources and materials.
  2. Evaluate selection tools, and use appropriate resources to develop a collection of materials for older teens, including all appropriate formats (print, nonprint, computer software, music, etc.).
  3. Critically examine representative materials designed for older teens, including print and nonprint formats, books, graphic novels, television, movies, music, and a wide variety of computer software, including social networking software; apply criteria to evaluate materials in relation to developmental needs, multicultural concerns, and meeting the informational and recreational needs of this age group.
  4. Create an appropriate materials collection for older teens, including print and nonprint materials and a variety of the digital resources currently available for this age group.
  5. Exhibit knowledge of published resources about print and nonprint materials for older teens, such as reference materials, selection tools, and Web sites.
  6. Assist parents and caregivers with questions about appropriate materials for their older teen children.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

INFO 265 supports the following core competencies:

  1. A Demonstrate awareness of the ethics, values, and foundational principles of one of the information professions, and discuss the importance of those principles within that profession.
  2. F Use the basic concepts and principles related to the selection, evaluation, organization, and preservation of physical and digital information items.
  3. 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.
  4. M Demonstrate professional leadership and communication skills.


Required Textbooks:

  • Brock, R. (2019). Young adult literature in action: A librarian's guide (3rd ed.). Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited. Available through Amazon: 1440866937arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Cart, M. (2016). Young adult literature: From romance to realism (3rd ed.). Chicago, IL: Neal-Schuman Publishers. Available through Amazon: 0838914624arrow 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 or Informatics) — 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.

Students are advised that it is their responsibility to maintain a 3.0 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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