For immediate release | March 12, 2021

AASL Releases Position Statement on Labeling Practices

CHICAGO – With its new position statement, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) upholds its position that a learner has the right to access resources freely and without restriction. The publication provides statements on labeling practices related to classification and shelving practices, labeling content, and reading levels, and protecting learners’ privacy and is available for download on the AASL website.

Maintaining the belief that school library collections are places where learners can explore interests safely and without limitations, AASL’s Position Statement on Labeling Practices declares:

  • School librarians’ classification and shelving practices should support learners’ ability to meet their information needs while avoiding reductive classification choices that narrowly define readers and/or books.
  • School librarians should avoid using prejudicial and identity-based labeling practices.
  • School librarians should resist labeling or arranging books by any readability scale and should instead advocate for the development of policies that do not require library staff to restrict access to books based on reading or age levels.
  • School librarians have a responsibility to protect learner privacy and confidentiality when considering any practice that places a label on the outside of a book or on library shelving.

“School librarians have the responsibility to meet the needs of all learners by not only providing a diverse collection of materials but by ensuring the collection is physically and intellectually accessible,” said AASL President Kathy Carroll. “Learners have the right to intellectual freedom and privacy while browsing and reading books that meet their interest. School librarians understand the needs of their school communities and this awareness is reflected in their collections. I am happy to have a statement that acknowledges our expertise and also provides guidelines for our practice."

The statement also contains questions school librarians can use to guide their practice, references, and recommended reading. It replaces and expands on AASL’s earlier position statement “Labeling Books with Reading Levels” and incorporates AASL’s “National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries.”

The American Association of School Librarians,, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), empowers leaders to transform teaching and learning.

Related Links

AASL Position Statements


Jennifer Habley

Manager, Web Communications

American Association of School Librarians (AASL)