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Library board adopts material selection policy

 
June 17, 2022

By Mike Weland

The Boundary County Library Board of Trustees on Thursday adopted a Materials Selection and Collection Development Chapter to its policy manual, one designed to balance the mores of some in the community concerned over exposing youth to sexually explicit or inappropriate materials with the right of the community to access a rich variety of materials even though some might find those materials offensive.

"The Boundary County Library Board of Trustees recognizes that given the increasing emphasis on frankness and realism of materials including those that explore social, sexual and ethical issues, some members of the community may consider some materials to be controversial and/or offensive," the policy reads. "Selection of materials will not be affected by any such potential disapproval, and the Boundary County Library will not place materials on 'closed shelves' or label items to protect the public from their content. In the case of controversial issues or views, the Boundary County Library will not advance one
perspective without regard for the other(s).

"Within the constraints of budget and space, the Boundary County Library will provide, to the extent practical, materials that present varied perspectives. Materials that are written in a sensational or inflammatory manner or that do not meet other selection criteria, especially with regard to accuracy of factual content, will typically not be selected."

The policy does not ignore or discount any of the diverse views of the community served by the public library, but recognizes that groups or individuals may find Boundary County Library materials that do not support their
opinions, beliefs, or views.but establishes procedures open to all patrons through which individual concerns can be addressed, beginning with discussion, to written complaint through ajudication in a court of law.

"Relying on the principles of intellectual freedom and equal access for all, the Boundary County Library makes available a diversity of ideas and information to support an informed citizenry and a democratic society. The Boundary County Library upholds the right of the individual to access information, even though the content may be controversial, unorthodox, or unacceptable to others."

Despite potential conflicts, the board and library personnel are appreciative of gifts of books and other Boundary County Library materials in good condition are gratefully accepted with the understanding that they will not necessarily be added to the collection," the policy reads. "The same selection criteria used for the purchase of materials are applied to gifts."

The full policy is available here.

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