After reading the articles for this week -- I kind of panicked. What the banana boat would I do if I needed to defend a book in my library's collection? Does someone have my back? Does my library have a policy -- a how-to?
In the Atlas article, it is mentioned that "an established collection development policy is the most important tool a library has for handling challenges to the inclusion of controversial items in its collection....The most important aspect of such a policy is its very existence. Such statements let library users know that their libraries do not endorse the materials they collect." p.56
Besides ensuring your library has a clear policy on how to handle challenges, you should also be aware of the following *amazing* (I'd make this word all glittery if I could) resource right here in Madison:
The Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC) (right down the hall from the SLIS Commons) provides "guidelines for maintaining clarity and control in a situation when materials are challenged." They have useful documents highlighting things that could be quite nerve wracking when confronted with, such as Dealing with the Media and Conducting a Challenge Hearing. Being aware of such a great resource is a great first step to defending the freedom to read!
Here is a snippet if you are too lazy to click around:
Immediate Steps to Take
- Review your institution's selection policy, including the selection criteria and the reconsideration process
- Assess what steps have been taken in the reconsideration process and what steps are to be taken
- Review the complaint
- Discuss the situation with your administrator
- Review your profession's policy statements
- Gather resources (such as copies of reviews, information on awards and best-of-the-year list distinctions for the title. If you are a Wisconsin teacher or librarian, the CCBC Intellectual Freedom Information Services can assist you with this)
- Read or re-read the title in question
Additional Steps to TakeNote: These steps may vary, depending on what your policy says and what has happened so far.
- Maintain the material in the collection for the time being
- Be prepared to explain the function of the resource
- Contact the Reconsideration Committee
- Communicate with the Board of Education or Library Board of Trustees