NEPN/NSBA Code: IJJ
Media Materials Selection and Adoption
The words “media,” “library materials,” or other synonyms as they may occur in the policy have the widest possible meaning. Every form of permanent record is included. Selection refers to the decision that must be made either to add a given item to the collection or to retain one already in it. It does not refer to reader guidance. Although some of the provisions of this section are concerned primarily with the operation of the various media centers, the intent is that all the general guidelines concerning both selection and removal of titles will be applicable to all instructional materials.
Library Mission Statement
The mission of the Yarmouth District school library program is to ensure that students and staff are effective, ethical users of ideas, resources, and information.
Support for Intellectual Freedom
The school library media centers of this district are guided by the principles set forth in the Library Bill of Rights and its interpretative statements, including “Access to Resources and Services in the School Library Program” and The Students’ Right to Read statement of the National Council of Teachers of English. See Appendix (in this policy) for the Library Bill of Rights, “Access to Resources and Services in the School Library Program,” and The Students’ Right to Read statement.
Objectives of Selection
The purpose of the Yarmouth school media selection policy is to guide media and instructional personnel and to inform the public of the print and non-print library materials, as well as textbooks and instructional materials. A policy cannot replace the judgment of library personnel and teachers, but stating goals and indicating boundaries will assist them in choosing from a vast array of available materials. The School Committee delegates to the superintendent the authority and responsibility for selection of library materials in all formats. Responsibility for actual selection rests with professionally trained library and instructional personnel using the board’s adopted selection criteria and procedures. Ultimate legal responsibility rests exclusively with the School Committee.
The Yarmouth School Committee recognizes that it is the primary objective of the library media centers in the schools to implement, enrich and support the educational programs of the schools, as well as to provide recreational reading materials. In addition, it is the responsibility of the library media personnel to provide a wide range of materials on all levels of difficulty, with diversity of appeal and presentation of different points of view.
To this end, the School Committee asserts that the responsibility of the school library media center and classroom libraries is:
1. To provide materials that will enrich and support the curriculum, taking into consideration the varied interests, abilities and maturity levels of the students served;
2. To provide materials that will stimulate growth in factual knowledge, literary appreciation, aesthetic values and ethical standards;
3. To provide a background of information which will enable students to make intelligent judgments in their daily life;
4. To provide materials on opposing sides of controversial issues so that young citizens may develop under guidance the practice of critical analysis of all media;
5. To provide materials representative of the many religious, ethnic and cultural groups; and
6. To place professional integrity above personal opinion and reason above prejudice in selection of materials of the highest quality in order to assure a comprehensive collection appropriate for the users of the library media center.
In addition, the Yarmouth School Committee recognizes that the final authority as to what materials an individual student will be exposed to rests with the student’s parents/guardians. However, at no time will the wishes of one child’s parents/guardians to restrict his/her reading or viewing of a particular item infringe on another parent’s rights to permit their child to read or view the same material.
Criteria for Selection
Selection of materials by media personnel and teachers is based upon knowledge of the curriculum and the existing collection. The primary goal will be support of the educational program. A secondary goal will be the provision of materials for recreational interests. Media personnel will work toward providing a collection which is balanced in all areas.
Materials may be considered on the basis of overall purpose, timeliness or performance, importance of the subject matter, authoritativeness, reputation of publisher/producer, reputation and significance of the author/artist/composer/producer, format and price.
Gifts will be accepted, but the right is reserved to evaluate and dispose of them at the discretion of the media personnel in accordance with the overall policy outlined herein.
Recognizing that maintaining an up-to-date collection is a routine, professional responsibility, media personnel are expected to remove from the collection materials which are out-of-date or no longer serve a need.
Procedure for Selection
In selecting learning resources and with the goal of developing a balanced collection, media personnel will evaluate available resources and curriculum needs and will consult reputable, professionally prepared selection aids. Whenever possible, purchasing of non-print materials shall be made after personal evaluation by the media specialist or faculty member. However, reviewing materials described above may be used in certain circumstances in lieu of personal evaluation. Gift materials shall be judged by the selection criteria and shall be accepted or rejected by those criteria. Selection is an ongoing process that should include removing materials that are no longer used or needed, adding materials, and replacing lost and worn materials that still have educational value.
Faculty members are urged to play a significant professional role in the continuing growth of the school system’s library resources by suggesting items in their area of expertise to their media specialists for possible acquisition. However, faculty members will be expected to have personally evaluated or checked the professional reviews of specific materials which they request be purchased for the media center collection.
Selection will not be made on the basis of any anticipated approval or disapproval by various interest groups, but solely on the merits of the work in relation to the collection, correlation with curriculum, and interests of students and teachers. No cataloged material will be sequestered except to protect it from harm.
Despite the care taken to select materials for student and teacher use and the qualifications of the persons who select the materials, it is recognized that occasional objections may occur. Any resident, employee, or student of the school district may express an informal concern or formal request for reconsideration of a library resource. In the event a complaint is made, the following procedures will apply:
1. No materials shall be removed from school use pending a final decision.
2. Whenever feasible, it is strongly recommended that an informal discussion take place between the staff member involved, the building principal, and the person questioning the suitability of the materials (complainant) in an attempt to clear up misunderstanding and eliminate the complaint before any formal steps become necessary. However, notwithstanding this, the building principal should be informed as soon as a faculty member is aware of any complaint;
3. If the complaint is not resolved during the informal session, the building principal will ask that the complainant to fill out the “Media Reconsideration Request Form.” The complainant will be offered a packet of materials which includes the library’s mission statement, selection policy, “Media Reconsideration Request Form”, and the Library Bill of Rights. The complainant is required to complete and submit the reconsideration form to the principal within ten business days. If a completed reconsideration form is not submitted within ten business days, the matter is considered closed;
4. If the complaint is still not resolved, then an ad hoc Reconsideration Committee will be convened to review the material. It shall consist of the Superintendent, Director of Teaching and Learning, the building principal, a certified school librarian, the faculty involved, a student from the level in which the challenged material resides (middle or high school level only), and any other staff member, if their addition seems appropriate, at the discretion of the Superintendent;
5. The Reconsideration Committee should follow the procedures listed below:
1. Through interlibrary loan or other means, the certified school librarian will secure copies of the resource for the committee to review.
2. The certified school librarian will provide the reviewing committee with a short formal Intellectual Freedom training that explains a packet of materials, which includes the library’s mission statement, selection policy, the Library Bill of Rights, the completed reconsideration form, reviews of the resource being reconsidered, and a list of awards or honors, if any. This packet should be created with assistance from the Maine Association of School Libraries and the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom.
3. The Reconsideration Committee should schedule a formal reconsideration meeting within 10 school days after the receipt of the written request for reconsideration. The superintendent should notify the Reconsideration Committee as to this schedule.
4. At the initial meeting, the superintendent and committee will review reconsideration committee guidelines and procedures. A school administrator should fully participate in the reconsideration process.
i. A member of the committee should keep minutes.
ii. All committee members should fully review the resource (read or view the entire work) before voting.
iii. The committee reserves the right to use outside expertise if necessary to help in its decision-making process.
iv. The complainant may make an initial verbal presentation about the resource under reconsideration or may choose to share the written form. The complainant is asked to provide sources for quotes used during this presentation.
v. The complainant may not participate in or observe the committee’s deliberations unless invited to do so by the committee. The committee chair may choose to give committee members time to ask questions.
vi. During the initial or subsequent meetings, the committee will make its decision determined by the simple majority to retain, move the resources to a different level, or remove the resource. This will be a secret ballot vote.
vii. The committee's written decision (including a minority report if needed) shall be presented to the complainant, the superintendent of schools, and the school library department director within five school days after the decision is made.
6. If no solution is reached, a hearing before the School Committee will be scheduled
;. The procedures for an appeal to the School Committee will be as follows:
1. An appeal of the decision made by the District-Level Reconsideration Committee must be made in writing to the superintendent within 10 days of the system-level committee decision.
2. A decision on the complaint will be made at the next regular meeting or special meeting within 30 days of the written request to the superintendent.
3. The board reserves the right to use outside expertise if necessary to help in its decision making.
4. The chairperson for the District-Level Reconsideration Committee will present the committee's decision to the board.
5. The complainant or designee will present the petitioner’s position.
6. The board decision will be final, and the superintendent will implement the decision. Decisions on reconsidered materials will stand for five years before new requests for reconsideration of those items will be entertained.
Adopted: Prior to 1982
Revised: June 1992, July 12, 2018, April 14, 2022