Susquehanna Township School District
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17109
Collection Development Policy for School Libraries
Selection of Learning Resources
I. Statement of Policy:
The Susquehanna Township School District Libraries are responsible for providing information and services to all students and faculty that will insure intellectual freedom and growth in a pluralistic society.
II. Objectives of Selection:
A. The main objective of the selection procedure is to provide the students and staff with a wide range of learning resources at varying levels of difficulty and in a variety of formats with diversity of appeal, allowing for the presentation of many points of view.
B. The objective of the library program is to make available to faculty and students a collection of materials that will serve as an integral part of the curriculum and meet the needs and interests of the students and staff served.
C. To this end, the Susquehanna Township School Board (hereinafter "School Board") affirms that it is the responsibility of its professional staff:
1. To provide materials that will enrich and support the curriculum, taking into consideration the varied interests, abilities, learning styles, and maturity levels of the students served;
2. To provide materials to support the state standards in all content areas.
3. To provide materials that will stimulate growth in factual knowledge, literary appreciation, aesthetic values, and societal standards;
4. To provide materials on various sides of controversial issues so that young citizens may have an opportunity to develop under guidance the practice of critical analysis and to make informed judgments in their daily lives;
5. To provide materials representative of the many religious, ethnic, and cultural groups and their contributions to our national heritage and the world community.
III. Responsibility for Selection:
A. The School Board delegates selection of school library materials to the School Library Media Specialist in consultation with faculty and administration, and, when appropriate, students and parents.
B. The Collection Development Policy for School Libraries will be evaluated for necessary changes on an as needed basis, not to exceed every five years. District librarians will be responsible for the five-year review. Building principals, district administrators, and staff may be consulted in this process with final approval given by the School Board.
IV. Criteria for Selection of Library Resources:
A. The following criteria will be used as they apply:
1. Learning resources shall support and be consistent with the educational standards and goals of the state and the district and the aims and objectives of individual schools and specific courses.
2. Learning resources shall be chosen to enrich and support the curriculum and the personal needs of users.
3. Learning resources shall meet high standards of quality in:
artistic quality and/or literary style
4. Learning resources shall be appropriate for the subject area and for the age, emotional development, ability level, learning styles, and social development of students for whom the materials are selected.
5. Learning resources shall be designed to provide a background of information which will motivate students and staff to examine their own attitudes and behavior, to comprehend their duties, responsibilities, rights and privileges as participating citizens in our society, and to make intelligent judgments in their daily lives.
6. Learning resources shall provide information on opposing sides of controversial issues so users may develop, under guidance, the practice of critical analysis.
B. The selection of learning resources on controversial issues will be directed towards maintaining a balanced collection representing various views.
C. Learning resources shall clarify historical and contemporary forces by presenting
and analyzing intergroup tension and conflict objectively, placing emphasis on recognizing and understanding social and economic problems.
V. Procedures for Selection of Library Resources:
A. The librarian/library media specialist is given the authority to review and select library materials. Sources that may be consulted, but not limited to, are:
ALA’s Guide to Best Reading
The Book Report
Elementary School Library Collection
Junior High School Catalog
New York Times Book Review
Reference Books for Elementary Libraries
Senior High School Library Catalog
School Library Journal
B. Recommendations for acquisition may involve teachers, administration, students, district personnel, and community as appropriate.
C. Gift materials shall be judged by the criteria outlined and shall be accepted or rejected by those criteria.
D. Selection is an ongoing process which should include the removal of materials no longer appropriate and the replacement of lost and worn materials still of educational value.
Procedures For Dealing With Challenged Materials
I. Statement of Policy:
Any resident or employee of the school district may formally challenge learning resources used in the district’s school library program on the basis of appropriateness. This procedure is for the purpose of considering the opinions of those persons in the schools and the community who are not directly involved in the selection process.
II. Request for Informal Reconsideration:
A. The school receiving a challenge regarding a learning resource shall try to resolve the issue informally.
1. The librarian shall explain to the person making the challenge (hereinafter "Questioner") the school’s selection procedure, criteria, and qualifications of those persons selecting the resource.
2. The librarian shall explain the particular place the questioned resource occupies in the educational program, its intended educational usefulness, and additional information regarding its use, or refer the party to someone who can identify and explain the use of the resource.
3. If the Questioner wishes to file a formal challenge, a copy of the district Selection of Library Resources Policy and a Request for Reconsideration of Library Resources form shall be handed or mailed to the party concerned by the librarian or the principal.
III. Request for Formal Reconsideration:
A. Preliminary Procedures
1. Each school will keep on hand and make available Request for Reconsideration of Library Resources forms. All formal objections to library resources must be made on these forms.
2. The Request for Reconsideration of Library Resources form shall be signed by the Questioner and filed with the principal or someone so designated by the principal.
3. The superintendent and the assistant to the superintendent shall be informed of the formal complaint received.
4. The request for reconsideration shall be referred to a reconsideration committee at the school level for reevaluation of the resource.
B. The Reconsideration Committee:
1. Upon receipt of a request for formal reconsideration of a library resource, the principal shall:
a. Appoint a reconsideration committee including the following membership as appropriate:
All district librarians
Two members of the school faculty
A district administrator
In the case that the principal of the challenged library is the Questioner, the Superintendent or his/her designee would act as co-chairman.
b. The committee will be co-chaired by the principal and the building librarian.
c. Arrange for a reconsideration committee meeting within 10 working days after the complaint is received.
2. The reconsideration committee may choose to consult district support staff and/or community persons with related professional knowledge.
3. The reconsideration committee shall review the challenged resource and judge whether it conforms to the principles of selection outlined in the district’s Selection of Library Resources policy.
1. The reconsideration committee shall:
a. Examine the challenged resource;
b. Determine professional acceptance by reading critical reviews of the resource;
c. Weigh values and faults and form opinions based on the material as a whole rather than on passages or sections taken out of context;
d. Discuss the challenged resource in the context of the educational program;
e. Discuss the challenged item with the Questioner when appropriate;
f. Prepare a written report.
2. The written report shall be discussed with the Questioner if requested.
3. The written report shall be retained by the school principal, with copies forwarded to the superintendent and the assistant to the superintendent. A minority report may also be filed.
4. Written reports, once filed, are confidential and available for examination by school board members and appropriate officials only.
5. The decision of the reconsideration committee is binding for the individual school.
6. Notwithstanding any procedure outlined in this policy, the Questioner or any member of the committee shall have the right to appeal any decision of the reconsideration committee to the School Board as the final review panel.
D. Guiding Principles
1. Any resident or employee of the school district may raise objection to library resources used in the school’s library program despite the fact that the individuals selecting such resources were duly qualified to make the selection, followed the proper procedure, and observed the criteria for selecting learning resources.
2. No parent has the right to determine reading, viewing, or listening matter for students other than his/her own children.
3. The School Board supports the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, the Library Bill of Rights, adopted by ALA (American Library Association), and Access to Resources and Services in the School Library Media Program: an Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights, adopted by AASL (American Association of School Librarians). Copies of these documents are attached to this policy. When library resources are challenged, the principles of the freedom to read/listen/view must be defended as well.
4. Access to challenged material shall not be restricted during the reconsideration process.
5. The major criterion for the final decision is the appropriateness of the material for its intended educational use.
Amended by the School Board – November 23, 1998
Amended by the School Board – June 28, 2004