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Materials Selection

Adopted 1/10/2012
In any institution, it is imperative that the public be able to identify and comprehend the workings of the institution. Within that institution, it is also necessary that all individuals clearly understand the whys, hows and wherefores of its inner workings. For quality, cooperation and future continuity of that institution, it is desirable to have written guidelines as they protect and help assure its stability. Therefore, it is the purpose of this written policy to formulate and clarify the materials collection and development procedures of the Hustisford Community Library for its internal and community’s use.
The Hustisford Community Library Board has selected the primary role of the library to be a popular materials center. Therefore the library shall provide materials and service to community patrons of all ages and backgrounds for educational, informational, recreational, creative and cultural pursuits within the scope of that role. To meet that goal a wide range of materials, formats, and quantities shall be provided within the space and budget restrictions of the library.
Because it is of vital importance to assure free access to information and materials, the Hustisford Community Library Board has formally endorsed the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read Statement and the Freedom to View Statement(see appendices A, B, and C).
All materials will be chosen within the framework of this policy. While the library will cooperate with schools and institutional libraries, it shall not perform their functions that are designated to meet specific needs.
The purpose of this document is to provide an optimum balanced collection, guide the librarian’s decision, inform the community about selection principles and insure the orderly progression of the Hustisford Community Library. No policy can replace the judgment of librarians, but written goals and guidelines will assist in the clarification and development of a solid collection to meet the community’s needs.
Ultimately, the Hustisford Community Library Board is legally responsible for all matters of operation of the Hustisford Community Library. However, the library director, within the selection policy guidelines, shall have the primary and final responsibility to select and deselect the library material.
Since it is desirable to have maximum participation, the library director shall welcome and encourage the staff and public to recommend materials to be considered for purchase. All materials shall be chosen in accord with the selection policy guidelines established within the framework of this document.
Points to be considered in selection shall include:
1. Individual merit of each item
2. Popular appeal/demand
3. Suitability of material for the clientele
4. Existing holdings
5. Cost and budgetary constraints
The library acknowledges that many materials may be of a controversial nature but recognizes that it has the responsibility to provide more than one point of view to an issue. The selection of materials does not constitute the library’s endorsement of the contents or viewpoints of those materials. All materials shall be examined as a whole and no one of the criteria shall necessarily have more importance than the other.
The library welcomes gifts in the form of money or actual materials. Acceptances of donated materials are judged by the same
standards as those used for the acquisition of new library materials. Monetary gifts for new or specific materials shall be made
in consultation with the donor and the director. Final approval is the right of the director. No monetary value shall be placed
on gifts and the library retains unconditional ownership of all gifts.
To remain a vital part of the community, the library has to maintain an up-to-date, attractive and useful collection. This
shall be achieved by a continual process of discarding and replacing, repairing or rebinding of materials. The director
shall be the final authority in the weeding of materials.
The library recognizes that although materials are carefully selected, there may arise an issue with the selection of
specific items and welcomes the expression of opinions. Following is the procedure established by the Hustisford
Community Library for handling patron complaints.
1. The director shall meet with the patron and discuss the objectionable material. At this time, the patron shall
be offered a copy of the library’s Materials Selection Policy including the Reevaluation Request Form (appendix
2. If the discussion does not satisfy the patron, he/she may complete the Reevaluation Request Form in its
entirety and submit it to the library director. The director shall then reevaluate the material, and explain to the
patron his/her decision.
3. If the patron is still not satisfied, the completed Reevaluation Form shall be submitted to the Hustisford
Community Library Board. Then the board shall examine the complaint and the questioned material. At this
time, the director shall prepare an explanation for the board on the library’s position. The Hustisford
Community Library Board shall then render a decision and it shall be final.
Appendix A
Library Bill of Rights
The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.
I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
II. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
VI. Libraries that make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.
Appendix B
The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack. Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label “controversial” views, to distribute lists of “objectionable” books or authors, and to purge libraries. These actions apparently rise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to counter threats to safety or national security, as well as to avoid the subversion of politics and the corruption of morals. We, as individuals devoted to reading and as librarians and publishers responsible for disseminating ideas, wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of the freedom to read.
Most attempts at suppression rest on a denial of the fundamental premise of democracy: that the ordinary individual, by exercising critical judgment, will select the good and reject the bad. We trust Americans to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe. We do not believe they are prepared to sacrifice their heritage of a free press in order to be “protected” against what others think may be bad for them. We believe they still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression.
These efforts at suppression are related to a larger pattern of pressures being brought against education, the press, art and images, films, broadcast media, and the Internet. The problem is not only one of actual censorship. The shadow of fear cast by these pressures leads, we suspect, to an even larger voluntary curtailment of expression by those who seek to avoid controversy or unwelcome scrutiny by government officials.
Such pressure toward conformity is perhaps natural to a time of accelerated change. And yet suppression is never more dangerous than in such a time of social tension. Freedom has given the United States the elasticity to endure strain. Freedom keeps open the path of novel and creative solutions, and enables change to come by choice. Every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of our society and leaves it the less able to deal with controversy and difference.
Now as always in our history, reading is among our greatest freedoms. The freedom to read and write is almost the only means for making generally available ideas or manners of expression that can initially command only a small audience. The written word is the natural medium for the new idea and the untried voice from which come the original contributions to social growth. It is essential to the extended discussion that serious thought requires, and to the accumulation of knowledge and ideas into organized collections.
We believe that free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture. We believe that these pressures toward conformity present the danger of limiting the range and variety of inquiry and expression on which our democracy and our culture depend. We believe that every American community must jealously guard the freedom to publish and to circulate, in order to preserve its own freedom to read. We believe that publishers and librarians have a profound responsibility to give validity to that freedom to read by making it possible for the readers to choose freely from a variety of offerings. The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution. Those with
faith in free people will stand firm on these constitutional guarantees of essential rights and will exercise the responsibilities that accompany these rights.
We therefore affirm these propositions:
1. It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those that are unorthodox, unpopular, or considered dangerous by the majority.
Creative thought is by definition new, and what is new is different. The bearer of every new thought is a rebel until that idea is refined and tested. Totalitarian systems attempt to maintain themselves in
power by the ruthless suppression of any concept that challenges the established orthodoxy. The
power of a democratic system to adapt to change is vastly strengthened by the freedom of its citizens
to choose widely from among conflicting opinions offered freely to them. To stifle every
nonconformist idea at birth would mark the end of the democratic process. Furthermore, only through the constant activity of weighing and selecting can the democratic mind attain the strength demanded by times like these. We need to know not only what we believe but why we believe it.
2. Publishers, librarians, and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea or presentation they make available. It would conflict with the public interest for them to establish their own political, moral, or aesthetic views as a standard for determining what should be published or circulated.
Publishers and librarians serve the educational process by helping to make available knowledge and
ideas required for the growth of the mind and the increase of learning. They do not foster education by imposing as mentors the patterns of their own thought. The people should have the freedom to read and consider a broader range of ideas than those that may be held by any single librarian or publisher or government or church. It is wrong that what one can read should be confined to what another thinks proper.
3. It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to bar access to writings on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.
No art or literature can flourish if it is to be measured by the political views or private lives of its
creators. No society of free people can flourish that draws up lists of writers to whom it will not listen, whatever they may have to say.
4. There is no place in our society for efforts to coerce the taste of others, to confine adults to the
reading matter deemed suitable for adolescents, or to inhibit the efforts of writers to achieve artistic
To some, much of modern expression is shocking. But is not much of life itself shocking? We cut off
literature at the source if we prevent writers from dealing with the stuff of life. Parents and teachers
have a responsibility to prepare the young to meet the diversity of experiences in life to which they
will be exposed, as they have a responsibility to help them learn to think critically for themselves.
These are affirmative responsibilities, not to be discharged simply by preventing them from reading
works for which they are not yet prepared. In these matters values differ, and values cannot be
legislated; nor can machinery be devised that will suit the demands of one group without limiting the
freedom of others.
5. It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept the prejudgment of a label characterizing any expression or its author as subversive or dangerous.
The ideal of labeling presupposes the existence of individuals or groups with wisdom to determine by authority what is good or bad for others. It presupposes that individuals must be directed in making up their minds about the ideas they examine. But Americans do not need others to do their thinking for them.
6. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians, as guardians of the people’s freedom to read, to contest encroachments upon that freedom by individuals or groups seeking to impose their own
standards or tastes upon the community at large; and by the government whenever it seeks to reduce
or deny public access to public information.
It is inevitable in the give and take of the democratic process that the political, the moral, or the
aesthetic concepts of an individual or group will occasionally collide with those of another individual or group. In a free society individuals are free to determine for themselves what they wish to read, and each group is free to determine what it will recommend to its freely associated members. But no group has the right to take the law into its own hands, and to impose its own concept of politics or morality upon other members of a democratic society. Freedom is no freedom if it is accorded only to the accepted and the inoffensive. Further, democratic societies are more safe, free, and creative when the free flow of public information is not restricted by governmental prerogative or self-censorship.
7. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians to give full meaning to the freedom to read by
providing books that enrich the quality and diversity of thought and expression. By the exercise of this affirmative responsibility, they can demonstrate that the answer to a “bad” book is a good one, the answer to a “bad” idea is a good one.
The freedom to read is of little consequence when the reader cannot obtain matter fit for that reader’s
purpose. What is needed is not only the absence of restraint, but the positive provision of opportunity
for the people to read the best that has been thought and said. Books are the major channel by which
the intellectual inheritance is handed down, and the principal means of its testing and growth. The
defense of the freedom to read requires of all publishers and librarians the utmost of their faculties,
and deserves of all Americans the fullest of their support.
We state these propositions neither lightly nor as easy generalizations. We here stake out a lofty claim for the value of the written word. We do so because we believe that it is possessed of enormous variety and usefulness, worthy of cherishing and keeping free. We realize that the application of these propositions may mean the dissemination of ideas and manners of expression that are repugnant to many persons. We do not state these propositions in the comfortable belief that what people read is unimportant. We believe rather that what people read is deeply important; that ideas can be dangerous; but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society. Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.
Appendix C
The FREEDOM TO VIEW, along with the freedom to speak, to hear, and to read, is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. In a free society, there is no place for censorship of any medium of expression. Therefore these principles are affirmed:
1. To provide the broadest possible access to film, video, and other audiovisual materials because they are a means for the communication of ideas. Liberty of circulation is essential to insure the constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression.
2. To protect the confidentiality of all individuals and institutions using film, video, and other audiovisual materials.
3. To provide film, video, and other audiovisual materials which represent a diversity of views and expression. Selection of a work does not constitute or imply agreement with or approval of the content.
4. To provide a diversity of viewpoints without the constraint of labeling or prejudging film, video and other audiovisual materials on the basis of the moral, religious, or political beliefs of the producer or filmmaker or on the basis of controversial content.
5. To contest vigorously, by all lawful means, every encroachment upon the public’s freedom to view.
Appendix D
Reevaluation Request Form
Name__________________________________________________________________________ Date______________
City_________________________________________________________________ Zip_________________________
Phone _________________________________________________
Resource on which you are commenting
Format □Book □DVD □Music CD □Audiobook □EBook □Content of library program □Other___________________
Title________________________________________________ Author_______________________________________
Publisher, date, other information______________________________________________________________________
Please add additional pages if necessary.
What brought this resource to your attention?
To what do you object? Please be as specific as possible.
Have your read, listened, or viewed the entire work? If not, what parts have you reviewed?