Selection & Reconsideration Policy Toolkit for Public, School, & Academic Libraries

Community members will voice concerns or submit formal complaints to library materials. Libraries need to have a policy and procedure in place to handle these objections. This policy should establish the framework for registering a complaint that provides for a review process with appropriate actions while defending the principles of freedom of information, the right of patrons to access materials, and the professional responsibility and integrity of the librarians involved in the selection process. The principles of intellectual freedom are inherent in the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and are expressed in the Library Bill of Rights, adopted by the Council of the American Library Association. If materials are questioned, the principles of intellectual freedom should be defended rather than the materials.


Home | Introduction
Why Do I Need a Policy? | Politics and Timing of Policy Creation | Selection Policies for Non-Public Institutions

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

Reconsideration Procedure
Guiding Principles | Statement of Policy | Informal Complaints | Request for Formal Reconsideration | Sample Reconsideration Form | Sample Letter to Complainant | Reconsideration Committees

Intellectual Freedom Core Documents | Challenge Support and Reporting Censorship | Bibliography of Additional Selection and Reconsideration Policy Resources

Updated January 2018 by ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom