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College of Professional and Global Education · School of Information

Seminar in Services to Children and Young Adults - Intellectual Freedom - YA
INFO 267

  • Spring 2023
  • Section 10
  • 3 Unit(s)
  • 01/25/2023 to 05/15/2023
  • Modified 05/22/2023

Canvas Information: Courses will be available January 25th, 6 am PT.

You will be enrolled in the Canvas site automatically.

Contact Information

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

Course Information

Mandatory Zoom Sessions: 3/16 & 4/20 (Both from 6:30-8:30 pm PT)


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

This course will open on CANVAS Wednesday, January 25, 2022

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

Questions, Comments, Concerns- Discussion Thread

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

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

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

Official iSchool Email Policy:

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

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

Crisis or Emergency:

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

Course Description and Requisites

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.


INFO 200, INFO 204, 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 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.

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)

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

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

Course Materials


Required Textbooks:

  • Pekoll, K. (2019). Beyond banned books: Defending intellectual freedom throughout your library. ALA Editions. Available through Amazon: 0838919014

Recommended Textbooks:

  • Auguste, M. (2013). Voya's guide to intellectual freedom for teens. Voya Press. Available through Amazon: 1617510076

Course Requirements and Assignments


Discussion 1 (Week 1) January 25th to January 29th - VIDEO INTRODUCTION

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

Discussion 2 (Week 3) February 6th to February 12th - SELF-CENSORSHIP
Time for self-reflection – self-censorship happens even in our profession since each of us has topics, issues, and situations that we are afraid of or find offense in. However, as a librarian, we are charged with keeping our personal issues out of our professional life. Read through the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read principles and discuss your commitment to the ideas and principles described in both. What self-censorship issues do you think you personally need to address? Are you willing to share one with the group? This discussion thread and the answers you give here will help you see how different you may be thinking by the time you get to discussion thread #6 at the semester’s end, where you describe your reflections on the semester and what you have learned.

Total posts 4 posts /4 points

Discussion 3 (Week 6) February 27th to March 5th - Youth and Access to Information, Freedom of Expression, and more.....

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

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

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

Total posts 4 posts/4 points

Discussion 4 (Week 8) March 13th to March 19th - SELECTION POLICY INSIGHTS

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

Total posts 4 posts/4 points

Discussion 5 (Week 15) May 1st to May 7th- REFLECTIONS ON THE CLASS THIS SEMESTER

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

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

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 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 (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

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

Weekly outlines (appear on Canvas Course Site and will be available when then course opens January 25th and will have more descriptive content that is indicated on the Syllabus including, but not limited, links for discussion threads; articles to read; websites to visit; readings; lectures and overviews, paper and blog/website formatting guidelines and any other information sources the instructor wants students to have.

Assignment Points Due Date
Discussion Threads (CLOs #1, #2, #5, #6) 16 pts Weeks 1,3,6,8,15 (See topics below)

Zoom Session #1 - MANDATORY

Discussion/Guest Speaker(s)-TBD

Reflection Paper on Session

(CLOs #1, #5, #6, #8)

10 pts

2 pts

Thursday, March 16th (Wk 8)- Session 6:30 pm-8:30 pm

Monday, March 20th (Wk 9) Reflection

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

20 pts

Friday, March 17th (Wk 8)

Mind of a Censor Paper (CLOs #1, #3, #7)

10 pts

Friday, April 14th (Week 12)

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

Reflection Paper on Session

(CLOs #1, #5, #6, #8)

10 pts Session


2 pts Reflection


Thursday, April 20th (Wk 13) Session 6:30 pm- 8:30 pm


Monday, April 24th (Wk 14) Reflection



Controversial Authors/Rationales Blog/Website

Evaluations (2 per student )

(CLOs #1, #6, #8)


26 pts

4 pts (2 pts per evaluation)


Friday, May 5th (Wk 15) Blog/Website

Monday, May 8th (Wk 16) Evaluations Due