EAST GREENWICH SCHOOL DEPARTMENT SCHOOL LIBRARY MEDIA CENTER SELECTION POLICY
The policy set forth is officially that of the East Greenwich Public School System, and is followed by all who are concerned with the selection of the school library media center materials. The purpose of this policy is to:
Provide a statement of philosophy and objectives for the guidance of those involved in the procedures for selection;
Clarify for the community the philosophy and procedure used in evaluating and selecting the materials;
Define the roles of those who share in the responsibility for the selection of the materials;
Set forth criteria for the selection and evaluation of the materials;
Outline the techniques for the application of the criteria; and
Provide a procedure for the consideration of objections to the selection of particular materials.
Philosophy and Objectives of Selection
The East Greenwich School library media centers support the Library Bill of Rights, the School LIbrary Bill of Rights for School Library Media Center Programs, and the Students’ Right to Read, three philosophical statements prepared by professional library and education associations.
It is the responsibility of each of the five school library media centers to implement, enrich, and support the overall educational program of the school. To carry out this responsibility, each library media center must begin by making available a carefully selected, well-maintained collection of books and related materials that 1) supports the curriculum and 2) serves the individual information, recreation, and cultural reading needs and interests of the students.
Selection of materials for each library media center is a cooperative process. The Library Media Specialist, school committee, administrators, faculty, and students all play a part in creating an adequate and workable collection. In fact, the East Greenwich community itself -- its industries, geographic location, recreational facilities, cultural background -- is influential in the selection of suitable titles.
While the school committee of the East Greenwich Public Schools is legally responsible for all matters relating to the operation of the schools, the responsibility for the final decision on selection is delegated to the professionally trained Library Media Specialists employed by the school system.
Each library media center is set up to provide as broad a selection of excellent materials covering both fact and fiction and at as many levels of difficulty as possible in order to best serve each student. Materials are evaluated prior to purchase by the use of reliable evaluative selection tools, and by firsthand examination whenever possible. Examples of selection aids used:
Cooperative Children’s Book Review
New York Times Book Review
School Library Journal
General Selection Criteria
Appeal to students
Excellence of format*
Authenticity, validity, accuracy, objectivity, currency of content
Suitability for the range of reading abilities
Appropriateness to curriculum
Immediate appeal/long-range appeal
Value commensurate with cost
Superiority in treatment of possible controversial issues
Appropriateness considering circumstances of use
* Excellence of format, for example, is based upon characteristics that include the following:
Appearance Type of style (books)
Size Spacing between lines (books)
Durability Photograph, illustration, or plate
Quality of paper/recording/reproduction quality
Width of margins (books) Appropriateness of photo/illustrations/plate to text
Specific Selection Criteria (Examples)
Books/multi-media kids in a series: Individual titles are evaluated apart from the series as a whole and are added to the collection when they meet the standards of literary quality, appeal, interest, appropriateness to the program and authenticity
Duplicate copies: Multiple copies of titles are selected when needed to meet demand, as are replacements for lost or worn materials
Fiction is selected to meet the needs of students varying in reading ability, social background, and tastes. Fiction is selected not only to represent literary merit but to also provide books that are competent and successful in all categories of fiction and to provide enjoyable experiences for readers of all ability levels. Although it is impossible to set up a single standard of literary excellence, it is the policy to select fiction which is well written and based on authentic human experience, and to exclude fiction which is incompetent, cheaply sentimental, intentionally sensational, morbid, or erotic, and false in its representation of human experience
Gifts presented to a library media center must meet the standards of selection. Final decision on placing an item in the collection rests with the library media specialist.
Materials obtained free of charge should be free from excessive amounts of advertising, distortion of fact or misleading statements, with the exception of propaganda pamphlets
Notebook materials are selected by the same general principles applied to the selection of books, with the addition of consideration of the value of the particular medium in conveying the subject matter
Paperbacks may be selected to add visual appeal to the library media centers and when hardcover copies are not available or their cost determined prohibitive
Periodicals, newspapers, and pamphlets shall be selected on the basis of accurate presentation of factual information, matter of timely or current interest, divergent points of view, value in reference and accessibility of contents through indexing
Professional materials- The library media centers must also serve students indirectly through the provision of professional materials for teachers, administrators and parents
Propaganda pamphlets are expected to be one-sided, but only those whose publisher’s name and statement of purpose are clearly indicated will be selected
Recommend titles - When someone recommends an item for selection, the LIbrary Media Specialist checks to see if similar items or the exact item are in the collection, tries to locate reviews, and may check with the other librarians in the system before purchasing the item.
Criteria Concerning Elements or Subjects of Possible Controversy (examples)
Elements of sexual incident, violence, or profanity do not automatically disqualify a work, provided that it meets the rigorous standards outlined in this policy
Human relations - Titles considered for selection are those which contribute positively and consistently to sound understanding of the common characteristics and needs of people of many different national, religious, and ethnic backgrounds, and which emphasize through both text and illustration attitudes of mutual respect and understanding among all people
Religion- Materials on customs and traditions of all the major religious faiths, stories from the Bible, lives of religious heroes and materials on religious holidays are selected when they meet the standards of quality of value to the curriculum and to students’ interests
Sex education- Materials on this topic are selected when they meet criteria of scientific and medical authority, and as needed to enrich the curriculum and to answer demands by faculty and students
Policy for Review of Existing Materials
Items in the collection containing obsolete information, information no longer relevant to the curriculum, and items beyond repair may be discarded at the discretion of the Library Media Specialist.
Here is a great PDF document from the California Department of Education outlining the importance and appropriateness of weeding a library collection regularly. At Eldredge, both formal and informal weeding is done each year. Damaged books are recycled, other books are offered first to teachers, then students, then either donated or recycled, depending on the content and quality.