Library Collection Development
This procedure guides our library media specialists (LMSs) and informs the community about the process for selecting, acquiring, evaluating and maintaining library information and technology program materials. The objective of each program is to implement, support and enrich the educational program of the district. Bellingham Public Schools libraries are also guided by principles set forth in the National Council of Teachers of English statement, The Students’ Right to Read and the American Library Association Library Bill of Rights
To best meet the unique needs of each school, Bellingham Public Schools will strive to create a library collection based upon an assessment of student and staff needs. This will be accomplished by:
A. Providing resource materials, both curricular and personal, for students and faculty;
B. Providing materials that meet the interest, vocabulary, maturity and ability levels of all students;
C. Providing a diversity of materials in the interest of achieving a balance of sources and perspectives;
D. Fostering reading as a lifelong activity through pleasurable exposure to printed and digital materials; and
E. Including materials in the collection because of their academic, literary and/or artistic value and merit.
Library Materials and Electronic Resources
Library materials or digital services are those items accessible through the library information and technology program that provide support for an area of the curriculum, information for independent study, or resources for enrichment and recreational interest. Electronic resources include access to electronic documents, databases and websites.
Suggestions for Acquisition
Suggestions for acquisition or electronic resources may originate from students, parents, community members and teachers. Library information and technology staff will weigh requests, evaluate materials and select those which fulfill the needs of the instructional program. The LMS in each school will determine final selections.
All items selected for placement in the school library will:
A. Support and be consistent with the general educational goals of the state of Washington and Bellingham Public Schools and the aims and objectives of individual schools and specific courses;
B. Support and be consistent with school library media and information literacy standards established by the American Association of School Librarians as well as content area standards established by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of the state of Washington;
C. Meet high standards of quality in factual content and presentation;
D. Contain appropriate subject matter for the age, emotional development, ability level, learning styles and social development of the students for whom they are selected;
E. Serve the intended purpose in both physical format and appearance for library materials;
F. Help students gain an awareness of our pluralistic society;
G. Motivate students and staff to examine their own duties, responsibilities, rights and privileges as participating citizens in our society and to make informed judgments in their daily lives;
H. Withstand scrutiny based on their strengths rather than be rejected for their weakness; and
I. Clarify historical and contemporary forces by presenting and analyzing intergroup tension and conflict objectively, placing emphasis on recognizing and understanding social and economic problems.
Materials donated to the school library will be accepted or declined in accordance with the criteria applied to the purchase of materials.
De-selection (weeding) of outdated and damaged materials is a natural part of the library’s life cycle and maintenance of the quality and integrity of the collection. The LMS will evaluate the library collection on a continuing basis in order to assure that the collection meets the vision, mission and outcomes of The Bellingham Promise, the district’s strategic plan.
Considerations for De-selection
A. The subject matter is out of date or no longer relevant to the instructional program;
B. Physical condition. Item is worn, soiled, missing pages, antiquated in appearance or unattractive;
C. Not circulating for a reasonable amount of time;
D. Superseded by newer editions;
E. Perpetuates cultural, ethnic, or sexual stereotypes;
F. Inappropriate reading level; or
H. Unneeded duplication of materials.
Request for Reconsideration of Library Media Materials
When a concern is expressed about library resources, the LMS will consider both the citizen’s right to express an opinion and the principles of intellectual freedom.
A. Informal Reconsideration
Persons wishing to make a complaint regarding library resources will be asked to direct their complaint to the LMS prior to submitting a formal request for reconsideration. The LMS will attempt to resolve the issue informally by:
- Discussing the request with the complainant and listening carefully to the concerns expressed;
- Explaining why the material was selected, and how its inclusion in the collection was guided by the district collection development policy/procedure; and
- Share review sources for the item in question;
- If the informal process does not resolve the matter, the complainant may submit a formal request for reconsideration of library resources to the school principal or designee. Library materials in question will remain in the collection until the process is completed and a final decision is made.
B. Formal Reconsideration
The building principal will be informed whenever a resident or staff member of the district asks for a Request for Reconsideration of Instructional Materials form (2021F-1).
The Request for Reconsideration of Instructional Materials form, together with a copy of the challenged materials process will be furnished to the complainant by the principal.
The formal process will follow the process required by Procedure 2020 Course Design Selection and Adoption of Instructional Materials, for a written challenge, with the understanding that the criteria and rationale for reconsideration of library materials differs from classroom/district adopted materials. When reviewing a challenge to library materials the Instructional Materials Committee will:
- Examine the Request for Reconsideration of Instructional Materials form (2021F-1);
- Read and evaluate the book/material in question;
- Study thoroughly all materials referred and read available reviews. The general acceptance of the materials should be checked by consulting standard evaluation aids and holdings in other schools;
- Discuss the book/material in the context of the educational program and the audience for which it was selected; Consider the entire work, rather than extracting passages or parts. Weighing the values and faults against each other and weighing the conflicting opinions based on the materials as a whole; and
- Base the final decision upon the appropriateness of the material for its intended educational use.
The decision of the Instructional Materials Committee may be appealed by a concerned party by submitting a written request to the office of the deputy superintendent. The purpose of the deputy superintendent’s review will be to determine whether the committee applied the appropriate criteria and followed the proper process.
The deputy superintendent will notify the concerned parties of the findings of the review.
If the correct criteria and process were followed by the Instructional Materials Committee, the decision of the committee stands. If it is determined they were not followed, the deputy superintendent will determine the outcome of the challenge.
The decision regarding challenged materials will not be subject to reconsideration for a minimum of three years, unless there is a substantive change of circumstances as determined by the superintendent.