"The right to read, like all rights embedded in our constitutional traditions, can be used wisely or foolishly. In many ways education is an effort to improve the quality of the choices which are the exercise of this right. But to deny the opportunity of choice in the fear that it may unwisely be used is to destroy the freedom itself. For this reason, we respect the right of individuals and groups to express their views for the guidance of others. But for the same reason, we oppose efforts by individuals or groups to limit the freedom of choice of others or to impose their own standards or tastes upon a community at large."
"...Many works of literature important in our culture contain isolated elements to which some individuals may object...the value and impact of any literary work must be examined as a whole and not in part - the impact of the entire work transcending words, phrases, or incidents out of which it is made."
The above statement from "The Students' Right to Read" published by the National Council of Teachers of English embodies the basic principles on which the book selection policy of the libraries of M.S.A.D. No. 75 is based.
We also accept the responsibility of the school Learning Commons as set forth in the School Library Bill of Rights.
School Library Bill of Rights (approved by the American Association of School Librarians, endorsed by the Council of the American Library Association, 1969):
"The American Association of School Librarians reaffirms its belief in the Library Bill of Rights of the American Library Association. Media personnel are concerned with generating understanding of American freedoms through the development of informed and responsible citizens. To this end the American Association of School Librarians asserts that the responsibility of the school library/media center is:
Responsibility for Selection
The M.S.A.D. No. 75 Board of Directors is legally responsible for all matters relating to the operation of all M.S.A.D. No. 75 schools.
Each of the M.S.A.D. No. 75 school libraries is an integral component of the total district Learning Commons program and is not an entity in and of itself.
All librarians are guided by the educational philosophy and standards of the District; all are guided by the district Learning Commons philosophy, objectives, and procedural plan.
Budget funds are allocated on the basis of a district program of uniform excellence and the role of the individual Learning Commons in that program.
Each Learning Commons collection is considered a segment of the total district Learning Commons collection. All materials are shared; all materials are made available upon request to any school Learning Commons in the District.
The responsibility for the selection of instructional materials is delegated to the professionally-trained personnel employed by the school system.
Selection of materials involves many people: principals, teachers, librarians, and department chairmen. The responsibility for coordinating the selection of instructional materials and making the recommendation for purchase rests with the professionally-trained Learning Commons personnel.
Criteria for Selection
Needs of the individual school based on knowledge of the curriculum and of the existing collection are given first consideration.
Materials for purchase are considered on the basis of:
Requests from faculty and students are given consideration.
Procedures for Selection
In selecting materials for purchase, the media specialist evaluates the existing collection and consults reputable, unbiased, professionally-prepared selection aids as well as specialists from all departments and/or all grade levels. In specific areas the media specialist follows these procedures:
The Library Bill of Rights states in Article I "that materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation," and in Article II "that materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval." Freedom of expression is protected by the Constitution of the United States, but constitutionally protected expression is often separated from unprotected expression only by a dim and uncertain line. The Constitution requires a procedure designed to focus searchingly on challenged expression before it can be suppressed. An adversary hearing is a part of this procedure.
Therefore, any attempt, be it legal or extralegal, to regulate or suppress materials in libraries must be closely scrutinized to the end that protected expression is not abridged.
Criticisms of books that are in the Learning Commons should be submitted in writing to the librarian using the form on the last page of this section. The librarian will send it to the principal who will appoint a committee composed of the librarians and faculty members to review the complaint. If the complainant is not satisfied by the decision of the reviewing committee and desires to carry his request further, he may then submit his complaint to the Superintendent and the Board of Directors of M.S.A.D. NO. 75.
Cooperation will be given to any parent wishing to restrict his or her own child from using materials which are objectionable to the parent. The librarian, with the parent, will try to work out a solution that will keep that family's child or children from checking out the material the parent objects to, while still allowing free access for other children.
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