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College of Professional and Global Education · School of Information

Materials for Young Adults
INFO 265

  • Fall 2023
  • Section 01
  • 3 Unit(s)
  • 08/21/2023 to 12/06/2023
  • Modified 06/19/2023

Canvas Information

This course will be available on Canvas beginning August 21st, 6 am PT.

You will be enrolled in the Canvas site automatically.

Contact Information

Lisa Houde

Mobile Number: Locate this in our Canvas course site.
Office Hours: Contact via email, text, or mobile from 6 AM to 6 PM Pacific; optional office hours on Zoom will be held on Sundays.

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. Preferred contact times are 6 AM to 6 PM Pacific; I live on the east coast of the US, so keep that time frame in mind—thank you.

Course Information

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; 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 two required texts: 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 are subject to change due to the presenter’s schedules.

Two additional presentations are planned; dates will be announced when the class opens.  They are: a student’s perspective and tips for the final project and a fun booktalking evening around Mysteries, Horror, and Thriller genres.

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

Course Description and Requisites

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 become 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 30-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 homework?

*Young adults are students in grades 9-12 / roughly ages 14 - 18; materials for younger students are not intended for this class.


INFO 200, INFO 260A, or INFO 261A.

Classroom Protocols


Students are expected to participate fully in all class activities. It is expected that students will be open-minded and participate fully in discussions in class and debate in a mature and respectful manner. Use of derogatory, condescending, or offensive language including profanity is prohibited. Disagreement is healthy and perfectly acceptable. Expressing disagreement should always include an explanation of your reasoning and, whenever possible, evidence to support your position. In accordance with San José State University's Policies, the Student Code of Conduct, and applicable state and federal laws, discrimination based on gender, gender identity, gender expression, race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or disability is prohibited in any form.

Program Information

Course Workload

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 Goals

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes) Supported

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.

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)

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.

Course Materials


Required Textbooks:

  • Boulley, A. (2021). Firekeeper's daughter. Henry Holt And Company. Available through Amazon: 1250766567.
  • Brock, R. (2019). Young adult literature in action: A librarian's guide (3rd ed.). Libraries Unlimited. Available through Amazon: 1440866937
  • Cart, M. (2016). Young adult literature: From romance to realism (3rd ed.). Neal-Schuman. Available through Amazon: 0838914624

Course Requirements and 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 in 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 access your work, the assignment will be subject to late penalties. Check all links to and within your blog carefully before submission to be sure they’re published and accessible.

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.

Time Management

As mentioned, 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.) for 30 materials for young adults. Additional required information for each entry will be available in our course site—so along with a lot of reading, there is also considerable writing. Please note that all books and materials used for other assignments in this course may be applied to the 30-material requirement, where indicated. By steadily progressing through the semester using self-imposed benchmarks, students will ensure successful assignment completion.



Grade Percentage

Due Dates

9 Discussion Posts and Responses


8/25, 9/8, 9/22, 9/26, 10/10, 10/17, 10/27, 11/7, 11/28

#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, Audiobooks, Videogames, and Podcasts (Reflection Paper on Nine Items)



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



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



#6 - If You Build It, They Will Read! Mini Young Adult Library Collection & Readers' Advisory Tool (30-Item Culminating Blog Project)



Class Discussions

Initial posts are to be completed by 11:59 PM Pacific on Tuesdays, and two responses must be posted by 11:59 PM on Fridays unless otherwise noted. Each post is valued at 25 points; weight for all discussions = 20% CLOs  1, 23456 / COMPS A, F, J, M

Students will be expected to contribute to the class discussion by providing substantive and thoughtful responses to discussion topics as well as interacting with classmates. Discussion topics, weekly readings, and activities will cover a wide range of subjects pertinent to young adult development and materials.

Assignment #1 - What's Up with Teens? Adolescent Behavior and a Timely Issue Facing Teens
Students will research a timely topic/issue facing adolescents (youth in grades 9 - 12) - examples include but are not limited to, online bullying, puberty, peer pressure, digital connectedness, teen anxiety, dating, or a related topic. Students will write a five to seven-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 APA-formatted assignment.

Completion of this assignment ensures student understanding of adolescent development and issues that teens face. CLOs 1, 3, 6 / 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 media item.

Completion of this assignment ensures that students have the correct formatting, entries, and appropriate writing style for the culminating course project. CLOs 1, 23456 / COMPS A, F, M

Assignment #3 - Reel to Reel: Exploring Films, Audiobooks, Videogames, and Podcasts
Students will select a total of nine media items intended for teens in high school about which they will write a short paper on their selection process, will provide teen, adult, or professional reviews, and will formulate an overview of observed trends in teen entertainment viewing. The nine items will include three movies (either DVD or streaming), three audio recordings (at least one audiobook, but may also include music or podcasts), and three video games. All nine items used for this assignment may be included in the final blog project.

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 1, 34, / 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. The collection will include books and at least one DVD or other media. Only one title (read in full) from this assignment may be included in the final blog project.

Completion of this assignment indicates the ability to curate a nonfiction collection for young adults. CLOs 23, 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 genres (for example, realistic fiction, romance, mystery, dystopian, nonfiction, etc.) that have either won a Printz, Stonewall, or other major award or honor; a list of awards from which to choose will be listed 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 write a short reflection on each title, an overview of their selection process, and will consider the value of award-winning titles and how teens receive these works. All five titles may be included in the final blog project.

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  1, 3, 56 / 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 30 diverse genres and formats and may apply materials from other assignments to the final total as indicated in Assignments 3 - 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 within a specified publication date range. The only exception here is the inclusion of streaming series or movies; more on this in our course. Each material's entry will include bibliographic information, a student critique, author information, a creative use for a library program, and a speed-round book talk, among other specific entry requirements outlined in our course as well as details concerning the landing page, navigation requirements, and thematic expectations. This 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 a title, author, genre, and format index/tab.

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, 23456 / COMPS F, M

Writing Standards

Written assignments must be in APA formatting (The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th Ed.). Sample APA-formatted assignments and exemplars will be available in our course.

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

Extra Credit

There is no extra credit available in this course, though occasional additional points may be awarded for exceptional work.

Late Work Policy / Other Course Guidelines

Please be sure to back up your work as a preventative measure and retain copies of all assignments until the end of the semester.

Assignment due dates are easily viewed in this syllabus and in Canvas. Assignments submitted past the 11:59 PM. deadline on the date due will be reduced by 5% per day. Late discussion posts are not accepted as this would adversely impact your classmates’ performance. Contact me right away by text if a family emergency or medical situation arises to make appropriate arrangements concerning assignment due dates. Communication is key!

As mentioned, initial discussion posts are due on Tuesdays, and unit assignments and discussion post responses are due by 11:59 PM Pacific each Friday unless noted otherwise, so be sure to plan your week accordingly.

You will be given ONE free pass: you may turn in one assignment up to a week late without penalty if you have contacted me BEFORE the assignment due date. All subsequent assignments must be turned in on time. This free pass does not apply to discussion posts or the final blog project.

All work must be submitted by the last official day of the course; this enables the instructor time to meet the grade reporting deadline.

Grading Information

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

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

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 or undergraduate (for BS-ISDA) level work;
    For core courses in the MLIS program (not MARA, Informatics, or 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 (PDF), relevant university policy concerning all courses, such as student responsibilities, academic integrity, accommodations, dropping and adding, consent for recording of class, etc. and available student services (e.g. learning assistance, counseling, and other resources) are listed on the Syllabus Information web page. Make sure to visit this page to review and be aware of these university policies and resources.

Course Schedule

Weekly Topics



Week 1

Introductory Videos, Course Overview, and a Foundational History of Young Adult Literature

Week 2

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

Week 3

Adolescent Psychology Part II: What's Up with the Wired Brain? / Technology and Teens

Guest Speakers: YA Librarian Panel - Monday, Sept. 4, 5:30 PM Pacific*

Week 4 

Defining Young Adult Literature

Week 5

Materials Focus: Graphic Novels

Guest Speaker: Robin Brenner - Monday, Sept. 18, 5:30 PM Pacific*

Week 6

Selection Development

Week 7

Materials Focus: Science Fiction and Fantasy

Week 8

Weeding: It's All About the Real Estate

Week 9

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging in Young Adult Literature

Week 10

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

Guest Speaker: James LaRue – Monday, Oct. 23, 5:30 PM Pacific*

Week 11

Materials Focus: Mysteries, Thrillers, and Horror

Guest Speaker: Sierra Byrd – Monday, Oct. 30, 5:30 PM Pacific*

Week 12

Mirrors, Windows and Sliding Glass Doors: Taking a Look at Young Adult Award-Winning Literature 

Week 13

Materials Focus: Realistic Fiction, Historical Fiction, and Romance

Week 14

Materials Focus: Nonfiction, Adventure, and Survival

Week 15

Materials Focus: Short Stories, Verse Novels, and Nonprint Items


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