Libraries Uphold Your Freedom
by Darcy Acord, CCPL Youth Services Librarian
Every year, libraries across the United States commemorate Banned Books Week the last week in September; this year, Campbell County Libraries will offer an online Banned Book Reading Challenge, as well as displays of books that have been challenged or banned in communities across the country. According to the Office for Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association, this week “draws attention to the harms of censorship and the benefits of unrestricted reading.” In that light, this month seems an appropriate time to review Campbell County Public Library System’s (CCPLS) collection development policy, as well as its underlying principles:
- The role of libraries is to uphold intellectual freedom, a right embedded in the First Amendment of the US Constitution. According to the Association of Library Services to Children, intellectual freedom “is a protection of … rights to read, to listen, to write, and to speak” about any topic, and this freedom is not restricted by age. In order for democracy to work, all citizens have to be able to learn about all sides of an issue. Libraries uphold democracy by “owning and circulating materials that express all sorts of opinions, for all sorts of interests, and for many different information needs.”
- Children and teens, while guided by their parents, have their own rights to intellectual freedom.
- CCPLS’ collection development policy, found at www.ccpls.org, states: “The selection of any material for the library’s collection does not constitute an endorsement of its contents. … The library strives to provide a balanced view on controversial subjects by selecting sources that portray all sides of an issue.”
- The collection development policy details the guiding framework for selection and retention of materials in our library system. Important factors in deciding which materials to purchase include patron demand, circulation statistics, currency and accuracy of information, author credibility, durability of materials, availability, relevance to the collection, and space and budget constraints.
- If patrons are unable to find information objects to meet their needs, they can request purchases. The library strives to fulfill these requests, as long as they fit within the parameters of the collection.
- As CCPLS’ libraries are public, materials are not collected in some intellectual areas; some materials are more appropriate for academic or school libraries, for example.
- Collections are regularly weeded to remove materials that are outdated, inaccurate, in poor condition, or non-circulating. This process is called deselection.
- Patrons who object to a particular information object have the option of implementing a request for reconsideration. The full reconsideration process is found on page 15 of the CCPLS collection development policy.
- Programs and services are guided by the same principles underlying the collection development policy. CCPLS strives to provide diverse opportunities for reading, learning and entertainment for all citizens of our community.
Exercise your right to intellectual freedom! See democracy in action! Visit YOUR Library!