PRAIRIE CREEK PUBLIC LIBRARY DISTRICT
COLLECTION MANAGEMENT POLICY
Prairie Creek Public Library District links life-long learners with quality materials to promote community involvement, enhance child and adult literacy, and prepare for a progressive future.
The residents of the Prairie Creek Public Library District represent individuals of all ages and also represent a multiplicity of racial and ethnic backgrounds, economic and educational levels, as well as physical and mental abilities. The collections should therefore mirror and support this diversity.
The purpose of the Prairie Creek Public Library District’s Collection Management Policy is as follows:
- To make available books, materials and technology that will meet the educational, informational, and recreational needs of its patrons, and is done within the limitations of the current budget and availability.
- To develop a children’s collection that will stimulate imagination, mental growth, and will develop an appreciation for reading.
- To anticipate the diverse interest of those within the district and to select materials accordingly.
TYPES OF MATERIALS:
- Books on CD
- Compact Discs
- Computer Software
- Large Print Books
- Patron Computers
- Reference Books
The authority and responsibility for the selection of library materials are delegated to the library director and, under his or her direction, to additional staff members who are qualified for this activity. No employee may be disciplined or dismissed for the selection of library materials when the selection is made in good faith and in accordance with the written policy required to be established pursuant to Illinois Library Law. Suggestions from patrons are welcome and will be considered using the same criteria as all other selections.
The Prairie Creek Public Library District subscribes to the selection principles contained in the following:
- Library Bill of Rights (adopted and amended by the American Library Association) Appendix A
- Freedom to Read Statement – Appendix B
- Freedom to View – Appendix C
Materials are selected with attention to variety, value and interest to the library patrons. In order to obtain a balanced collection, materials may be considered based on the needs and the degree of interest expressed.
In accordance with the recommendations of Serving Our Public: Standards for Illinois Public Libraries, the Prairie Creek Public Library District allocates not less than 14% of its operating budget for materials for patrons every year. Each type of material must be considered in terms of its own excellence and the audience for whom it is intended. No single standard can be applied in all humanity; others are selected to satisfy the informational, recreational, or educational interest of the community. Reviews in professionally recognized periodicals are a primary source for materials selection. Standard bibliographies, book lists by recognized authorities, including bestseller lists, and the advice of competent people in specific subject areas also will be used. Books may be previewed when sent from publishers on approval and when shown by sales representatives. Patrons, as well, are always welcome to recommend materials.
In order to be considered and/or included in the library collection, whether purchased or donated, all materials are influenced by the following:
- Professional judgement
- Appeal to the interest and need of the community
- Current and historical significance
- Attention of critics and review
- Price and format
- Relationship to existing collection
- Patron demand
- Award winners
- Spatial constraints
The Prairie Creek Public Library District endeavors to build a collection representing varying points of view. The choice of reading materials by users is an individual matter. Responsibility for the reading materials of children and adolescents rests with their parents or legal guardians.
Videos and DVD’s are rated by the Motion Picture Association of America and will circulate accordingly. All other library materials will not be labeled or otherwise identified to show approval or disapproval of their contents. (See copy of LABELS AND RATING SYSTEM – Appendix D).
GIFTS, MEMORIALS AND SPECIAL COLLECTIONS:
The library welcomes gifts of books and other materials donated with the understanding that they will be added to the collection if needed.
- All donated materials become the property of the Prairie Creek Public Library District.
- Donated materials are not accepted if they do not meet the library’s standard or they are in poor physical condition.
- Donated items that are deemed not suitable for the library’s collection may be handled in the following ways.
- Sold at a library book sale
- Offered to another library
- Disposed of in some other manner
The library welcomes memorials, bequests, and other monetary gifts as long as their use is not restricted by conditions that would conflict with the standard practices and policies of the library. Every effort will be made to respect the intent of the donor’s wishes. Gift books will be shelved with the regular collection. Special provision will be made to label gifts, memorials, or bequests. Special collections, such as historical materials, books having more than literary value, or manuscripts, will be accepted by the library only if provision can be made for them. The library shall make no attempt to place a monetary value on any kind of donation.
MAINTENANCE OF THE COLLECTION:
The library collection will be continuously examined for the purpose of discarding, binding or repairing materials so that a balanced, timely and attractive materials collection may be maintained. Materials which are no longer useful in the light of stated objectives will be systematically weeded from the collection according to accepted professional purposes. Lost materials may be replaced or updated. Discarded items will be either sold at the library’s annual book sale or disposed of.
RECONSIDERATION OF LIBRARY MATERIALS:
The library’s philosophy is that censorship is an individual matter. While anyone is free to reject any material which they do not approve of, one cannot use this personal right to restrict the rights of others.
Requests for review of any material in the collection may be made by completing a Request for Evaluation of Library Materials – Appendix E, and submit to the Library Director.
- The request must be filled in completely.
- The complainant must be fully identified, a resident of the Prairie Creek Public Library District, and be a registered borrower in good standing.
- The Library Director will present the complaint to the Board of Trustees. The complainant will be notified in writing of the decision reached.
The Collection Management Policy will be reviewed by the Board of Trustees on a Biannual Basis.
LIBRARY BILL OF RIGHTS (ALA)
The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.
I. 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.
II. 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.
III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
VI. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.
Adopted June 19, 1939, by the ALA Council; amended October 14, 1944; June 18, 1948; February 2, 1961; June 27, 1967; January 23, 1980; inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996.
THE FREEDOM TO READ
The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack. Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label “controversial” views, to distribute lists of “objectionable” books or authors, and to purge libraries. These actions apparently rise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to counter threats to safety or national security, as well as to avoid the subversion of politics and the corruption of morals. We, as individuals devoted to reading and as librarians and publishers responsible for disseminating ideas, wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of the freedom to read.
Most attempts at suppression rest on a denial of the fundamental premise of democracy: that the ordinary individual, by exercising critical judgment, will select the good and reject the bad. We trust Americans to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe. We do not believe they are prepared to sacrifice their heritage of a free press in order to be “protected” against what others think may be bad for them. We believe they still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression.
These efforts at suppression are related to a larger pattern of pressures being brought against education, the press, art and images, films, broadcast media, and the Internet. The problem is not only one of actual censorship. The shadow of fear cast by these pressures leads, we suspect, to an even larger voluntary curtailment of expression by those who seek to avoid controversy or unwelcome scrutiny by government officials.
Such pressure toward conformity is perhaps natural to a time of accelerated change. And yet suppression is never more dangerous than in such a time of social tension. Freedom has given the United States the elasticity to endure strain. Freedom keeps open the path of novel and creative solutions, and enables change to come by choice. Every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of our society and leaves it the less able to deal with controversy and difference.
Now as always in our history, reading is among our greatest freedoms. The freedom to read and write is almost the only means for making generally available ideas or manners of expression that can initially command only a small audience. The written word is the natural medium for the new idea and the untried voice from which come the original contributions to social growth. It is essential to the extended discussion that serious thought requires, and to the accumulation of knowledge and ideas into organized collections.
We believe that free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture. We believe that these pressures toward conformity present the danger of limiting the range and variety of inquiry and expression on which our democracy and our culture depend. We believe that every American community must jealously guard the freedom to publish and to circulate, in order to preserve its own freedom to read. We believe that publishers and librarians have a profound responsibility to give validity to that freedom to read by making it possible for the readers to choose freely from a variety of offerings.
The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution. Those with faith in free people will stand firm on these constitutional guarantees of essential rights and will exercise the responsibilities that accompany these rights.
We therefore affirm these propositions:
- It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those that are unorthodox, unpopular, or considered dangerous by the majority.
Creative thought is by definition new, and what is new is different. The bearer of every new thought is a rebel until that idea is refined and tested. Totalitarian systems attempt to maintain themselves in power by the ruthless suppression of any concept that challenges the established orthodoxy. The power of a democratic system to adapt to change is vastly strengthened by the freedom of its citizens to choose widely from among conflicting opinions offered freely to them. To stifle every nonconformist idea at birth would mark the end of the democratic process. Furthermore, only through the constant activity of weighing and selecting can the democratic mind attain the strength demanded by times like these. We need to know not only what we believe but why we believe it.
- Publishers, librarians, and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea or presentation they make available. It would conflict with the public interest for them to establish their own political, moral, or aesthetic views as a standard for determining what should be published or circulated.
Publishers and librarians serve the educational process by helping to make available knowledge and ideas required for the growth of the mind and the increase of learning. They do not foster education by imposing as mentors the patterns of their own thought. The people should have the freedom to read and consider a broader range of ideas than those that may be held by any single librarian or publisher or government or church. It is wrong that what one can read should be confined to what another thinks proper.
- It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to bar access to writings on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.
No art or literature can flourish if it is to be measured by the political views or private lives of its creators. No society of free people can flourish that draws up lists of writers to whom it will not listen, whatever they may have to say.
- There is no place in our society for efforts to coerce the taste of others, to confine adults to the reading matter deemed suitable for adolescents, or to inhibit the efforts of writers to achieve artistic expression.
To some, much of modern expression is shocking. But is not much of life itself shocking? We cut off literature at the source if we prevent writers from dealing with the stuff of life. Parents and teachers have a responsibility to prepare the young to meet the diversity of experiences in life to which they will be exposed, as they have a responsibility to help them learn to think critically for themselves. These are affirmative responsibilities, not to be discharged simply by preventing them from reading works for which they are not yet prepared. In these matters values differ, and values cannot be legislated; nor can machinery be devised that will suit the demands of one group without limiting the freedom of others.
- It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept the prejudgment of a label characterizing any expression or its author as subversive or dangerous.
- The ideal of labeling presupposes the existence of individuals or groups with wisdom to determine by authority what is good or bad for others. It presupposes that individuals must be directed in making up their minds about the ideas they examine. But Americans do not need others to do their thinking for them.
- It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians, as guardians of the people’s freedom to read, to contest encroachments upon that freedom by individuals or groups seeking to impose their own standards or tastes upon the community at large; and by the government whenever it seeks to reduce or deny public access to public information.
It is inevitable in the give and take of the democratic process that the political, the moral, or the aesthetic concepts of an individual or group will occasionally collide with those of another individual or group. In a free society individuals are free to determine for themselves what they wish to read, and each group is free to determine what it will recommend to its freely associated members. But no group has the right to take the law into its own hands, and to impose its own concept of politics or morality upon other members of a democratic society. Freedom is no freedom if it is accorded only to the accepted and the inoffensive. Further, democratic societies are more safe, free, and creative when the free flow of public information is not restricted by governmental prerogative or self-censorship.
- It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians to give full meaning to the freedom to read by providing books that enrich the quality and diversity of thought and expression. By the exercise of this affirmative responsibility, they can demonstrate that the answer to a “bad” book is a good one, the answer to a “bad” idea is a good one.
The freedom to read is of little consequence when the reader cannot obtain matter fit for that reader’s purpose. What is needed is not only the absence of restraint, but the positive provision of opportunity for the people to read the best that has been thought and said. Books are the major channel by which the intellectual inheritance is handed down, and the principal means of its testing and growth. The defense of the freedom to read requires of all publishers and librarians the utmost of their faculties, and deserves of all Americans the fullest of their support.
We state these propositions neither lightly nor as easy generalizations. We here stake out a lofty claim for the value of the written word. We do so because we believe that it is possessed of enormous variety and usefulness, worthy of cherishing and keeping free. We realize that the application of these propositions may mean the dissemination of ideas and manners of expression that are repugnant to many persons. We do not state these propositions in the comfortable belief that what people read is unimportant. We believe rather that what people read is deeply important; that ideas can be dangerous; but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society. Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.
This statement was originally issued in May of 1953 by the Westchester Conference of the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers Council, which in 1970 consolidated with the American Educational Publishers Institute to become the Association of American Publishers.
Adopted June 25, 1953, by the ALA Council and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee; amended January 28, 1972; January 16, 1991; July 12, 2000; June 30, 2004.
A Joint Statement by:
American Library Association Association of American Publishers
Subsequently endorsed by:
American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression The Association of American University Presses, Inc. The Children’s Book Council Freedom to Read Foundation National Association of College Stores National Coalition Against Censorship National Council of Teachers of English The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression
FREEDOM TO VIEW
The FREEDOM TO VIEW, along with the freedom to speak, to hear, and to read, is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. In a free society, there is no place for censorship of any medium of expression. Therefore these principles are affirmed:
- To provide the broadest access to film, video, and other audiovisual materials because they are a means for the communication of ideas. Liberty of circulation is essential to insure the constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression. 2. To protect the confidentiality of all individuals and institutions using film, video, and other audiovisual materials. 3. To provide film, video, and other audiovisual materials which represent a diversity of views and expression. Selection of a work does not constitute or imply agreement with or approval of the content. 4. To provide a diversity of viewpoints without the constraint of labeling or prejudging film, video, or other audiovisual materials on the basis of the moral, religious, or political beliefs of the producer or filmmaker or on the basis of controversial content. 5. To contest vigorously, by all lawful means, every encroachment upon the public’s freedom to view.
This statement was originally drafted by the Freedom to View Committee of the American Film and Video Association (formerly the Educational Film Library Association) and was adopted by the AFVA Board of Directors in February 1979. This statement was updated and approved by the AFVA Board of Directors in 1989.
LABELING AND RATING SYSTEMS
** An Interpretation of the LIBRARY BILL OF RIGHTS **
Libraries do not advocate the ideas found in their collections or in resources accessible through the library. The presence of books and other resources in a library does not indicate endorsement of their contents by the library. Likewise, providing access to digital information does not indicate endorsement or approval of that information by the library. Labeling and rating systems present distinct challenges to these intellectual freedom principles.
Many organizations use or devise rating systems as a means of advising either their members or the general public regarding the organization’s opinions of the contents and suitability or appropriate age for use of certain books, films, recordings, websites, games, or other materials. The adoption, enforcement, or endorsement of any of these rating systems by a library violates the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights and may be unconstitutional. If enforcement of labeling or rating systems is mandated by law, the library should seek legal advice regarding the law’s applicability to library operations.
Viewpoint-neutral directional labels are a convenience designed to save time. These are different in intent from attempts to prejudice or discourage users or restrict their access to resources. Labeling as an attempt to prejudice attitudes is a censor’s tool. The American Library Association opposes labeling as a means of predisposing people’s attitudes toward library resources.
Prejudicial labels are designed to restrict access, based on a value judgment that the content, language, or themes of the resource, or the background or views of the creator(s) of the resource, render it inappropriate or offensive for all or certain groups of users. The prejudicial label is used to warn, discourage, or prohibit users or certain groups of users from accessing the resource. Such labels sometimes are used to place materials in restricted locations where access depends on staff intervention.
Viewpoint-neutral directional aids facilitate access by making it easier for users to locate resources. Users may choose to consult or ignore the directional aids at their own discretion.
Directional aids can have the effect of prejudicial labels when their implementation becomes proscriptive rather than descriptive. When directional aids are used to forbid access or to suggest moral or doctrinal endorsement, the effect is the same as prejudicial labeling.
Libraries sometimes acquire resources that include ratings as part of their packaging. Librarians should not endorse the inclusion of such rating systems; however, removing or destroying the ratings—if placed there by, or with permission of, the copyright holder—could constitute expurgation (see “Expurgation of Library Materials: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights”). In addition, the inclusion of ratings on bibliographic records in library catalogs is a violation of the Library Bill of Rights.
Prejudicial labeling and ratings presuppose the existence of individuals or groups with wisdom to determine by authority what is appropriate or inappropriate for others. They presuppose that individuals must be directed in making up their minds about the ideas they examine. The fact that libraries do not advocate or use proscriptive labels and rating systems does not preclude them from answering questions about them. The American Library Association affirms the rights of individuals to form their own opinions about resources they choose to read or view.
Adopted July 13, 1951, by the ALA Council; amended June 25, 1971; July 1, 1981; June 26, 1990; January 19, 2005; July 15, 2009; July 1, 2014.
REQUEST FOR EVALUATION OF LIBRARY RESOURCES
Do you represent self? ____ Organization? ____
- Resource on which you are commenting:
____ Book ____ Textbook ____ Video ____ Display ____ Magazine
____ Library Program
____ Audio Recording ____ Newspaper ____ Electronic
information/network (please specify)
____ Other __________________________
- What brought this resource to your attention?
- Have you examined the entire resource?
- What concerns you about the resource? (use other side or additional pages if necessary)
- Are there resource(s) you suggest to provide additional information and/or other viewpoints on this topic?
Revised by the American Library Association Intellectual Freedom Committee
June 27, 1995