Evaluating Library Collections:
An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights
The continuous review of library materials is necessary as a means of maintaining an active library collection of current interest to users. In the process, materials may be added and physically deteriorated or obsolete materials may be replaced or removed in accordance with the collection maintenance policy of a given library and the needs of the community it serves. Continued evaluation is closely related to the goals and responsibilities of all libraries and is a valuable tool of collection development. This procedure is not to be used as a convenient means to remove materials presumed to be controversial or disapproved of by segments of the community. Such abuse of the evaluation function violates the principles of intellectual freedom and is in opposition to the Preamble and Articles I and II of the Library Bill of Rights, which state:
The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.
- 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.
- 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.
The American Library Association opposes such “silent censorship” and strongly urges that libraries adopt guidelines setting forth the positive purposes and principles of evaluation of materials in library collections.
Adopted February 2, 1973, by the ALA Council; amended July 1, 1981.