Material Selection and Reconsideration Policy

Library goals for acquiring materials. How to issue a complaint about the inclusion/exclusion of a particular item.

                                                            POLICY:  MATERIAL SELECTION AND RECONSIDERATION
                                                                                NEVADA PUBLIC LIBRARY

    The Nevada Public Library recognizes the need to provide the community with current unbiased and authoritative information and to promote enlightened citizenship, enrich personal lives and encourage self-education.  The library goals are education, recreation and information for all without regard to race, religion, creed, color, sex, marital status, national origin, social or political views, or physical or mental disability.

    The library director is primarily responsible for the selection of books and other materials for the collection, but the final authority rests with the Nevada Library Board of Trustees.  The library director and the library staff select materials on the basis of reviews found in standard library selection aids, advice of recognized experts as needed, and upon direct examination if practical.  Other criteria for selection are the specific needs and interests of the community and the library's existing collection, services, and budget.

    Qualities sought in selection of materials include permanent or timely value, authoritative, clear presentation, readability, and social significance.  The deliberately distorted or sensational is avoided.  Prejudicial materials are not considered appropriate for the public library.  Textbooks are generally not acquired, nor are collector's items as such. Special group or individual interests are balanced with general demand.
    The library accepts suggestions and specific requests from the public and will purchase items appropriate to the collection.

    Gifts are accepted within the constraints of the selection policy with the stipulation that the library shall have complete control over disposition thereof.  Gift materials will be maintained in the collection or disposed of in any other way the library director and the board deem appropriate.  Book plates will be inserted to honor the donor if this is desired.  

    The library supports the "American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights" and "Freedom to Read". (Attached)

    The library collection is a flexible, growing entity that embraces new formats, as well as new ideas, sciences, and arts while maintaining a foundation of historical, traditional and classical material.

    In coverage of current issues, as well as historical patterns of ideology and thought, the library attempts to present high quality works on all sides of controversial issues.

    The library believes strongly that books are vehicles for thought, and that as such, their censorship represents a violation of the freedom of thought which is an implied part of the freedom of speech.  While the library does select its materials in an attempt to maintain a quality collection, it does not censor any book for reasons of religious or political beliefs expressed, but does reserve judgment as to what is political and religious in nature, and what is distorted or sensational.  Judgment is based on a thoughtful review of the whole book or item as well as consideration of reviews found in responsible publications.  In general, an item is not excluded from the collection on the basis of its faults alone; each item is judged in terms of weighing the faults and merits.

        Because it is the library's responsibility to acquire materials with a wide range of topics and treatments, the choice of materials is left to the individual.    

    Complaints about the inclusion or exclusion of a particular item pertaining to the library's collection should be directed to the library director and the Library Board.  

    1. The patron will complete the appropriate “Library Materials Selection Inquiry” form and submit it to the Library Director and Library Board.
    2.  The Library Board will consider the complaint at the next regularly scheduled meeting.
    3.  The Library Board will render a decision to the patron within 5 working days of the meeting.  Such decisions are final.

    The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution.  Those with faith in free men and women will stand firm on these constitutional guarantees of essential rights and will exercise the responsibilities that accompany these rights.  We therefore affirm these propositions:
    1.  It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those which are unorthodox or unpopular with the majority.

    2.  Publishers, librarians and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea or presentation contained in the books 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 books should be published or circulated.

    3.  It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to determine the acceptability of an item on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.

    4.  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.

    5.  It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept with any book the prejudgment of a label characterizing the book or author as subversive or dangerous.

    6.  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.

    7.  It is the responsibility of the 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 exercising of this affirmative responsibility, we can demonstrate that the answer to a bad book is a good one, and answer to a bad idea is a good one.   
Statement of the American Library Association Council related to the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States.
    The Council of the American Library Association reaffirms its belief in the following basic policies which should govern the services of all libraries.

    1.  As a responsibility of library service, books and other library materials should be chosen for values of interest, information and enlightenment of all the people of the community.  In no case should library materials be excluded because of the race, nationality or the social, political, or religious views of the author.
    2.  Libraries should provide books and other materials presenting all points of view concerning the problems and issues of our times; no library materials should be proscribed or removed from libraries because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
    3.  Censorship should be challenged by libraries in the maintenance of their responsibility to provide public information and enlightenment.
    4.  Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgement of free expression and free access to ideas.
    5.  The rights of an individual to the use of a library should not be denied or abridged because of age, race, religion, national origins or social or political views.  (Nor because of creed, color, sex, marital status, or physical or mental disability.)
    6.  As an institution of education for democratic living, the library should welcome the use of its meeting rooms for socially useful and cultural activities and discussion of current public questions.  Such meeting places should be available on equal terms to all groups in the community regardless of the beliefs and affiliations of their members, provided that the meetings are open to the public.