The Fairfield County District Library Board of Trustees recognizes that the United States of America is a Country in which the right to free expression is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution. People may speak, hear, read and view what they choose no matter how popular or unpopular it may be, because democracy functions only when the full range of ideas is available to all people. The public library is the institution in our society which provides material representing all points of view in all fields, including political, social and religious, no matter how controversial or objectionable these ideas may be to some people. Therefore, the Fairfield County District Library, within the limits of selection standards, budget and space offers a collection that is varied, divergent, inclusive and protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, the Constitution of the State of Ohio and the Library Board of Trustees’ endorsement of the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights. In addition, the Board of Trustees endorses the following interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights: Free Access to Libraries for Minors, Diversity in Collection Development, Freedom to Read and Freedom to View.
Objectives of the Collection
The Library collection will be selected and maintained to enable each person to find the library materials and information that she or he wants according to her or his own free choice. No material will be excluded because of the race, nationality, religion, gender, sexual orientation, political or social view of either the author or of the material.
The library will provide collections through which an individual may explore all points of view and issues of interest. The Library will be responsive to public demand for materials of contemporary significance and interest, while balancing this with the need to collect and preserve materials of permanent value.
The Board recognizes that library resources are not unlimited. Selection of materials must adhere to budget allocations. Resource sharing with other libraries, and electronic and other methods of information access, are valid and necessary ways of meeting patron needs.
Selection of materials by the Library does not mean endorsement of the contents or the views expressed in those materials.
The scope of the collection is intended to offer all persons a choice of format, treatment and level of difficulty so that the majority of the cultural, informational, educational and recreational needs of individual user can be met. To satisfy demand for highly specialized materials or materials which are of interest only to the advanced researcher, the library will depend on interlibrary loan service.
Materials selection is conducted by qualified librarians, with the goal of maintaining a well-balanced, vital collection that is useful to the entire community. This requires continuous evaluation and an awareness of current and future trends. Factors affecting the selection of materials include the nature and scope of the intended collections, the availability of funds and space, the continuous availability of new titles and the need to weed collections of outdated and worn out materials.
Final responsibility for materials selection rests with the Director, who administers this policy under the authority of the Board of Trustees.
Suggestions from the public and staff are welcomed and receive serious consideration. A suggestion can be made by completing a Suggestion for Purchase request form. (Sample attached.) The Library is under no obligation to furnish a public platform to anyone with sufficient funds to publish or produce his/her viewpoint. However, it does give access to a variety of opinions on matters of current interest and encourages freedom of expression.
The Board of Trustees recognizes that full, confidential, and unrestricted access to information is essential in order for patrons to exercise their constitutional rights.
The Board believes reading, listening, and viewing are individual private matters. While anyone is free to select or reject materials for themselves or their own minor children, the freedom of others to read or inquire will not be restricted.
The Library does not stand in loco parentis. Parents and guardians, not the Library, have the responsibility to guide and direct the reading, listening and viewing choices of their own minor children.
The Library collection will be organized, marked, and maintained to help people find the materials they want. Materials will not be restricted, sequestered, altered or labeled by the Library because of controversy about the author or the subject matter.
General Selection Criteria
Recognizing the varied informational, cultural, and educational needs of the individual in a diverse community, all acquisitions, whether purchased or donated, are considered in terms of the criteria listed below. Not every item is subjected to each criterion, nor does an item have to meet a certain number of criteria for inclusion in the collection. Rather, these are general parameters within which selection decisions are made.
- Contribution to a collection of classics and contemporary works.
- Competence, popularity and reputation of author, illustrator, creator, producer, performer and/or publisher.
- Qualities conducive to critical thought and understanding.
- Timeliness and importance for contemporary society.
- Suitability of subject and method of presentation for intended audience.
- Relationship to existing collection and other media in the same subject field.
- Relevance to present and projected community needs.
- Reference and research value for the community.
- Originality and/or artistic and/or literary presentation.
- Attention of critics and reviewers.
- Representative expression of controversial or minority points of view.
- Suitability and durability of physical format for library purposes.
- Relation to other resources in the community.
- Importance as a document of the times.
- Scarcity of materials on the subject.
The Library has a responsibility to select and offer a representative collection of materials on varied subjects of interest to its customers, including controversial matters. The Library makes an effort to supply information that provides balanced coverage of diverse opinions so individuals can examine all sides of an issue. A balanced collection reflects a diversity of materials, not necessarily an equality of numbers. Materials are chosen on the basis of content as a whole and are not excluded because of the origin, background or views of those contributing to their creation.
Materials in any format that contain frank treatments of certain situations, language, or illustrations which may be objectionable to some individuals are included if they meet general selection criteria. Each work must be judged on its own merits, considering the audience for whom it is intended. The Library has a responsibility to protect the rights of mature or sophisticated users by providing materials that are well balanced, authoritative and up-to-date.
The Library Board considers all materials selected under this policy to be constitutionally protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Ohio. If a patron claims that a particular item is not constitutionally protected, the burden of proof rests with that patron.
If a court having jurisdiction over the Fairfield County District Library decides that any material in the collection is unprotected by these constitutions, such material will be removed immediately. Material under court consideration will remain available to patrons until a court ruling is made.
Request for Reconsideration of Library Material
Just as they have the right to make recommendations for additions to the Library’s collections, patrons may request materials be reconsidered. If possible, requests should be referred immediately to the supervisor on duty. Patrons requesting reconsideration of material should be afforded every opportunity to express their concerns.
The patron should be informed that a “Request for Reconsideration of Library Material” form may be completed and sent to the Director. This form may be used by a patron to question the item’s appropriateness for inclusion in the public library collection. A copy of the Fairfield County District Library Materials Selection Policy will be given to the patron as well. If a patron decides to take this action, the following procedure will be followed:
- A Request for Reconsideration is filed with the Director. If the request is filed on behalf of another individual or an organization, that person’s name or organization must be included on the form.
- The Director takes the following action:
- Responds to the patron by phone if possible and reviews the process to be followed.
- Refers the material to the appropriate staff for reconsideration.
- Upon receipt of the staff recommendation, informs the complainant in writing. If the recommendation is to retain the challenged material, informs the complainant of the right to appeal the recommendation to the Board of Library Trustees, either in writing or in person.
- The following procedure will be followed in a formal complaint to the Board of Library Trustees:
- The request to appear before the Board must be submitted to the Director at least ten days in advance of the board meeting. If an appearance before the Board is requested, all persons named on a complaint are requested to attend.
- Written appeals must be submitted to the Director at least ten days in advance of the Board meeting for duplication and insertion in the Board’s meeting packet.
- The Board will request an oral presentation from the complainant at the Board meeting during the appropriate agenda item or discuss the written complaint appeal at the Board meeting.
- Whenever censorship is involved, no materials shall be removed from the library except by a majority vote of the entire Board of Trustees.
- The Director will inform the complainant in writing of the Board’s action on the appeal.
Gifts of books and other materials are accepted by the Library with the explicit understanding that the Library reserves the right to handle or dispose of them in the best interest of the institution. Materials to be added to the collection must meet the Library’s selection criteria. Limitations of space and funds for staff handling and processing of gifts make it necessary to be selective in the acceptance of donations.
The Library encourages memorial gifts of money which will be used for the purchase of books and other materials.
To maintain the effectiveness of the library’s total collection, the library will attempt to systematically remove materials no longer useful.
Library collections should contain current materials that are in good condition and are in demand. The Main Library’s collection contains a greater variety of materials because it serves as a resource for further information and as a storehouse for materials for the entire Library system. Use is of paramount importance in deciding whether to retain a title. Space, the cost of replacement, and the appearance of the collection are additional factors in making weeding decisions.
All collections need to be weeded on a continuing and scheduled basis. Regardless of use, materials should be removed if they are duplicate copies no longer in demand; have been replaced by a newer edition; are worn, damaged, or have pages missing; or contain out-of-date, obsolete or inaccurate information.
Passed by Resolution Number: 57-06
Date: September 19, 2006