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Collection Development, An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights
CHAPTER 4: Library
COMPUTER ID: LS-5
Title: Collection Development, An Interpretation of the Library Bill of
Effective Date: 11-24-86
Authorized By: Library Board of Trustees
Date of Last Review: 7-2013
Throughout history, the focus of censorship has fluctuated from generation to generation.
Books and other materials have not been selected or have been removed from library
collections for many reasons, among which are prejudicial language and ideas, political
content, economic theory, social philosophies, religious beliefs, sexual forms of expression,
and other topics of a potentially controversial nature.
Some examples of censorship may include removing or not selecting materials because
they are considered by some as racist or sexist; not purchasing conservative religious
materials; not selecting materials about or by minorities because it is thought these groups
or interests are not represented in a community; or not providing information on or
materials from non-mainstream political entities.
Librarians may seek to increase user awareness of materials on various social concerns by
many means, including, but not limited to, issuing bibliographies and presenting exhibits
Librarians have a professional responsibility to be inclusive, not exclusive, in collection
development and in the provision of interlibrary loan. Access to all materials legally
obtainable should be assured to the user, and policies should not unjustly exclude materials
even if they are offensive to the librarian or the user. Collection development should reflect
the philosophy inherent in Article II of the LIBRARY BILL OF RIGHTS: "Libraries should
provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical
issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal
disapproval." A balanced collection reflects a diversity of materials, not an equality of
numbers. Collection development responsibilities include selecting materials in the
languages in common use in the community which the library serves. Collection
development and the selection of materials should be done according to professional
standards and established selection and review procedures.
ITEM NUMBER: 4.05 b
There are many complex facets to any issue, and variations of context in which issues may
be expressed, discussed, or interpreted. Librarians have a professional responsibility to be
fair, just, and equitable and to give all library users equal protection in guarding against
violation of the library patrons' right to read, view, or listen to materials and resources
protected by the First Amendment, no matter what the viewpoint of the author, creator, or
selector. Librarians have an obligation to protect library collections from removal of
materials based on personal bias or prejudice, and to select and support the access to
materials on all subjects that meet, as closely as possible, the needs and interests of all
persons in the community which the library serves. This includes materials that reflect
political, economic, religious, social, minority, and sexual issues.
Intellectual freedom, the essence of equitable library services, provides for free access to
all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause, or movement
may be explored. Toleration is meaningless without tolerance for what some may consider
detestable. Librarians cannot justly permit their own preferences to limit their degree of
tolerance in collection development, because freedom is indivisible.
Adopted July 14, 1982; amended January 10, 1990, by the ALA Council.
- Marathon County Public Library
300 North First Street Wausau WI 54403 USA
Account Status: 715-261-7209 (24/7)