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Challenged Materials Policy

Overview

The library believes in freedom of information for all, and does not practice censorship. The selection of library materials is predicated on the patron's right to read and similarly, his freedom from censorship by others. Many books are controversial and any given item may offend some person. Selections for the library will not, however, be made on the basis of anticipated approval or disapproval, but solely on the merits of the material in relation to the building of the collection and to serving the interests of the reader.

The library holds censorship to be a purely individual matter and declares that while anyone is free to reject books and other materials of which he/she does not approve, he/she may not exercise censorship to restrict the freedom of others.

Responsibility for materials selected and read by children and adolescents rests with their parents or legal guardians. Selection decisions are not influenced by the possibility that materials may be accessible to minors. Materials are not labeled to show approval or disapproval or to indicate certain philosophies. No items are sequestered except to protect them from damage or theft.

The Board of Trustees recognizes that the collection of diverse materials may result in some complaints or requests for reconsideration. Procedures have been developed to assure that complaints are handled in an attentive and consistent manner.

Procedures for Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials- 09/99

Reconsideration forms are available from Public Services staff at all Pikes Peak Library District facilities.

When a patron wishes the library to discard or reclassify a book or item of non-book material, he or she fills out the "Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials" form.

  1. The form is sent to the office of the Associate Director of Public Services who then requests that Collection Management Librarian who orders materials in the area in which the challenge falls and an Adult Services or Children’s Services, librarian chosen in rotation, review the material to determine if the material meets the selection criteria established by the Board of Trustees and the guidelines for collection development. Staff reviewers do not receive a copy of the Request for Reconsideration and do not know the name of the patron requesting reconsideration.
  2. One copy of the material is checked out to the Public Services staff card for review.
  3. Holdings and circulation history of the material is completed.
  4. The material, and blank review form – with deadlines for completion - are delivered to reviewers (one at a time).
  5. The Director and the Collection Management Section Head receive an "FYI" copy of the request for reconsideration.
  6. The Board of Trustees will have a copy of the complaint in their packet at the next meeting after the reconsideration form has been received.
  7. The Collection Management Librarian and Adult Services or Children’s Services Librarian review the material and send their recommendation as well as professional reviews of the material to the Associate Director of Public Services.
  8. The Associate Director of Public Services will review the material, consider the recommendations, reviews, circulation history of the material and make a decision regarding the disposition of the challenged item.
  9. The Director will be advised of the material and the recommendations, reviews, and circulation history and make the decision regarding the disposition of the challenged item.

If the Associate Director’s decision is to retain the material

  1. The Director and the Board of Trustees will be notified of the decision at the next meeting after the decision is made.
  2. The Associate Director will notify the patron of the decision in writing.
  3. If the patron is not satisfied with the decision to retain the material, the patron may request in writing that the Director and the Board of Trustees review the material.
  4. The President of the Board of Trustees will request a subcommittee of at least three Board members to review the material. Any Board member may serve on the review committee upon request. The President of the Board will set a deadline for completion of the subcommittee’s review.
  5. The members of the Board subcommittee will report to and make a recommendation to the full Board of Trustees.
  6. The Board of Trustees will make a decision following the subcommittee’s report and recommendation.
  7. The Director will notify the patron in writing.
  8. The decision of the Board of Trustees is final.

If the Associate Director’s decision is to remove the material.

  1. The Director and the Board of Trustees will receive all items related to the decision in the Board packet prior to the removal of the material.
  2. If the Director and the Board of Trustees agree with the decision, the Director will notify the patron of the decision in writing.
  3. If the Director and the Board of Trustees disagree with the decision, the material will be retained.
  4. The Director will notify the patron of the decision in writing.
  5. If the decision is to remove the material, the Director will notify the Collection Development Librarian who will collect and discard all copies of the material.

The Library does not indicate through the use of labels or other devices, particular philosophies outlined in a book. Labeling establishes in a reader’s mind a judgement before the reader has had the opportunity to examine the book thoroughly.

The Associate Director of Public Services will keep a file five years, plus current, of challenged materials. Items recommended for discard should not be replaced through purchase or gift. This file should be re-accessed every 5 years.