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Public Service Policy

Section 2: Materials Selection

2.1 Definitions

“Materials” includes books, magazines, newspapers, video recordings, sound recordings, microfilm, computer files, electronic databases, and all other forms of information provided by the library to the community.

“Selection” refers to the decision made either to add a given item to the collection or to retain one already in the collection.

2.2 Statement of Policy

The Board of Trustees of the Chillicothe and Ross County Public Library affirm that our freedom to read, to speak, to hear and to view is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

The library, which is supported by a tax upon the people, is bound to provide materials for all. It is therefore the duty of the library to provide books and information for all segments of the county’s population. The board believes that every person has the right of access to every shade of written opinion on every subject at varying levels of difficulty, complexity and length. It is not the place of the library to exclude any opinion merely because it is unorthodox or unpopular.

The Board also believes that all people have the right to form their own opinions after reading, hearing or viewing materials suiting them for their own purposes, without interference by persons or groups who may wish to ban or prohibit some materials.

The library will provide access to legally obtainable materials, and will not exclude access to materials even if such materials offend a library staff member or some members of the community. When an item is considered for addition or retention, that item is evaluated as a whole, not on the basis of a particular section or sections. An item will not be added to, or barred from, the collection solely because of:

  • an author’s race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, or political or social views.
  • a work’s depictions or descriptions of violence or sexual activity.
  • a work’s controversial content.
  • an author or work’s endorsement or disapproval by any individual or community group

A policy cannot replace the judgment of librarians, but will assist them in choosing from a vast array of materials available. Selection of materials is performed by various library staff members as assigned. Final responsibility for materials selection rests with the director who administers under authority of the board.

2.3 Criteria for Selection

Because its ability to purchase and store materials is limited by the size of both its budget and its buildings, the library has established criteria for the addition and retention of library materials. These criteria may be applied to all formats, and include, but are not limited to:

  • Suitability of subject and style for the intended audience
  • Present and potential relevance to community needs and interests
  • Timeliness or permanent value
  • Relation to existing collection, including the need to balance differing viewpoints of the same subject
  • Reliability, completeness and up-to-dateness of the information
  • Reputation of the author
  • Attention of critics and reviewers
  • Scarcity of information in the subject area
  • Availability of material elsewhere in the community
  • Price
  • Format
  • Demand of library users

2.4 Collection Maintenance

In order to maintain a collection that is current and relevant to the community’s needs, library staff periodically evaluate the collection as a whole, as well as specific items within it. When deciding what items to withdraw from the collection, staff may consider the material’s condition, use, timeliness, and accuracy, among other factors. When withdrawn materials cannot be readily or practically sold by the library, it may offer withdrawn materials to the Friends of the Library or other groups or organizations whose purpose is consistent with, or furthers the library’s mission. These groups may resell these materials, or use them for other purposes consistent with the library’s mission.

2.5 Request for Reconsideration

If an individual, group of persons or organization believes that a specific title or source should not be in the collection, they should first discuss their concerns about the material with  a manager. If following the discussion they still wish the library to reconsider the title or source, they must fill out a “Request for Reconsideration of Library Material” form. Because items are evaluated as a whole, a title will not be reconsidered unless the patron making the request has read/viewed/ heard the entire item. A reconsideration form submitted without the name of the person making the objection will not be considered. Also, if the material has been previously reconsidered, it will not be reconsidered again unless the more recent request is based on substantially different reasons than an earlier request.

The request will be referred to the Executive Director for review. The patron will be informed in writing of (1) the receipt of the request and (2) the decision. If the patron is not satisfied with the decision, they may appeal in writing to the Board. The Board will make a decision and inform the patron in writing, usually following the next regularly scheduled Board meeting.

The title under consideration will remain in the collection throughout the process to support the freedom of other patrons to read, view, or listen.