Selection of Material

The Ellicottville Memorial Library (EML) supports the American Library Association (ALA) Council Library Bill Of Rights and the Freedom to Read, View and Hear Statements

Library materials (print and non-print) shall be chosen on the basis of their value of interest, information and enlightenment of all people of the community. No library materials shall be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.  Efforts must be made to avoid censorship of materials that have prejudicial language and content, political content, economic theory, social philosophies, religious beliefs and other controversial topics.  Examples of censorship can include removing or not selecting materials because they are considered by some as sexist or racist; not purchasing conservative religious materials; not selecting materials about minorities because it is thought that these groups are not represented in the community; or not providing information or materials from non-mainstream political entities. Library Directors have an obligation to resist efforts to systematically exclude materials dealing with any subject matter, including sex, gender identity or sexual orientation.  The library has the responsibility to be inclusive, not exclusive in collection development.  Expurgating library materials is also a violation of the Library Bill of Rights.   Expurgation is defined as any deletion, excision, alteration, editing or obliteration of any part(s) of books or other library resources.  By doing so, the library is denying access to the complete work and the entire spectrum of the ideas that the work intended to express.   When a work is expurgated under the assumption that certain portions of that work would be harmful to others, that is censorship.

Library materials should be of sound factual authority and represent all points of view concerning the problems and issues of our times – international, national and local.  A “complete” collection of library materials should not be the goal, but the best and most useful materials should be selected. Some materials may be acquired primarily on the basis of their artistic merit, scholarship or value to humanity, while others are selected to satisfy the informational, recreational or educational interests of the community.  Materials for individuals of varying ages, educational levels and interest should be acquired.

The right to use a library includes access to and unrestricted use of all the services, materials and facilities that the library has to offer.  Every restriction on access to and use of library resources based solely on the chronological age, education level, literacy skills or legal emancipation of minors violates the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights.”  Libraries should not limit the selection and development of library resources simply because minors will have access to them.  Responsibility for the reading, viewing and listening material of children and adolescents rests with their parent(s) or legal guardian(s).  Parents and only parents have the right and responsibility to restrict the access of their children to library resources.  Parents who do not want their children to have access to certain library services or materials should advise their children.  The library does not stand in loco parentis.  Library Directors and governing bodies cannot assume the role of parents or the functions of parental authority in the private relationship between parent and child.

The Director shall accept or reject the gift of library materials. Gifts shall be accepted only with the stipulation that the library will use them as it sees fit.  Gift materials will be judged by the same standards that apply to the selection of library materials (see EML “Gifts” Policy).

The library should provide a wide range of materials in a variety of formats according to their suitability for public library use and their cost effectiveness. Each type of material should be considered in terms of its own merit and its intended audience.  Wherever possible, the Library will provide materials to anticipate the needs and interests of potential users.  The collection should include subjects of permanent value and current general interest on international, national and local levels.

The responsibility for selection of materials rests with the Library Director.  The selection of library materials should be based on a comprehensive knowledge of the nature and special characteristics of the local community.   Overall responsibility for the collection rests with the Library Board.  The Board of trustees shall offer guidance on the quality of the books to be selected, the scope, emphasis and limits of the collection.

The collection is maintained by retaining or replacing essential materials and removing, on a systematic and continuous basis, those works that are worn, outdated, or no longer in demand.   No library materials shall be excluded based on expressions of race, religion, nationality, or political or social views.  This policy defends the principles of freedom to read, view or hear, and no material shall be removed from the collection save under the procedures for Challenged Materials (see EML “Weeding Materials Policy”).

The Library Board of Trustees will adhere to and support: the Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read Statement adopted by the American Library Association, the Restricted Access to Library Materials Statement and the Free Access to Libraries for Minors Statement, all of which are made a part hereof. This policy is determined by the Library Board of Trustees and is subject to periodic review and/or revision at the discretion of the Board. Appeals may be submitted to the Board in writing (see EML “Challenge of Library Materials” Policy).

Revised 3/08.

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