Selection & Reconsideration Policy Toolkit for Public, School, & Academic Libraries
As government-owned and government-funded institutions, public libraries, public schools, and public universities and colleges are state actors whose activities are governed by the First Amendment, which protects the intellectual freedom of the library user and bars censorship of library materials. The selection policies adopted by public institutions look to and rely upon First Amendment principles to establish standards and procedures that protect the individual’s right to receive information and assure the development of a collection that serves the needs of the library's users.
Libraries operated by private entities, including privately funded schools, universities, and colleges, are considered private actors and are not subject to the First Amendment. Libraries operated by private institutions must therefore rely on library ethical principles to create selection policies that establish sound standards for collection development and support the freedom to read. Because the Library Bill of Rights “affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas,” libraries that are not publicly supported are encouraged to observe its guidelines as they develop their selection policies.
Basic Components of a Selection Policy
Library Mission | Support for Intellectual Freedom | Objectives | Responsibility for Selection | Selection Criteria | Acquisitions Procedures | Special Collections | Selecting Controversial Materials | Gifts and Donations | Collection Maintenance and Weeding | Policy Revision | Reconsideration
Guiding Principles | Statement of Policy | Informal Complaints | Request for Formal Reconsideration | Sample Reconsideration Form | Sample Letter to Complainant | Reconsideration Committees