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Philosophy of Selection
Collection development is the systematic and cost effective building and evaluation of the library collection. Its goal is to support the mission of the library and involves both selection and deselection. Collection development balances the forces driving collection building such as usage trends, patron requests, staff input, media reviews and technology against the limitations of space, human resources, budget and availability.
Fundamental to the philosophy governing collection development are the principles expressed in the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights and Freedom to Read and Freedom to View Statements (Appendices C, D and E). In a democratic society that depends on the free flow of information, the Dayton Metro Library is the key public institution and most visible symbol of democracy and the importance of education, lifelong learning, and intellectual freedom in the region.
Freedom of speech and of the press are not the only ingredients of free communication. Freedom of expression is meaningless if the ideas so expressed are not readily available to all. The library plays an essential role in the process of free communication by making easily accessible the whole spectrum of recorded thought. The Board commits itself to the concept of freedom to read, to view, and to listen and resists vigorously any and all efforts to censor its collections. No library materials will be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval. Nor are materials excluded from the library because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
Materials within the library's collections will not be suppressed because they are objectionable to some. The Board holds the restricting of access to certain materials and labeling of materials as potentially offensive to be suppression. It holds suppression to be censorship, albeit in a subtler form than total exclusion of materials from the collections. Representation of an idea, opinion, or school of thought within the library's collections does not in any fashion constitute endorsement by the Board. The Board is specifically committed to the inclusion of conflicting and minority ideas, opinions, and philosophies so that patrons can draw their own conclusions in an informed manner. The Library Board considers all materials selected under this policy to be constitutionally protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and the Ohio State Constitution. If a court having jurisdiction over the Dayton Metro Library decides that any material in the collection is not constitutionally protected, such material will be removed. Material under court consideration will remain available to patrons until a final court ruling is made after all appeals are exhausted.
Librarians have a professional responsibility to be inclusive, not exclusive, in collection development. 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 should be done according to professional standards and established selection and review procedures.
By the library's purpose, role, and design, its collections will contain materials which are controversial, even offensive to some. The library has a responsibility to protect, perhaps even to seek out, works that are controversial because these works are a reflection of our free and pluralistic society, a microcosm of social conscience past, present, and future.
As expressed in the Freedom to Read Statement, the Board supports the belief "that ideas can be dangerous; but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society. Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours."
It is the responsibility of the library to provide alternatives. Patrons are free to make their own choices.
Ideally, parents who are concerned about material their children borrow should accompany their children to the library. That's not always possible so the library offers parents the option of restricting the borrowing privileges of their own children. They may limit their children to only juvenile videos until the child is 18 years of age and/or to books in the children's collection until the child completes sixth grade. Parents wishing to place these restrictions must fill out the "Request for Restriction of Juvenile Borrowing Privileges" (Appendix F), available at all Dayton Metro Library libraries. This approach is consistent with the Library Bill of Rights interpretation which states that parents and only parents have the right and responsibility to restrict the access of their children - and only their children - to library resources".
The Library recognizes that from time to time there will be citizen complaints or concerns about a specific title or type of material selected for or deselected from the collection. When a Request for Reconsideration of Library Material (Appendix G) is made, the Library must ensure that the request is handled seriously and, equally important, that the fundamental principles of intellectual freedom are upheld. This policy provides the systematic approach to be followed.
Steps in the Request for Reconsideration of Library Material Procedure (Appendix H) must be followed by citizens and by the Executive Director and Board of Trustees when reconsidering challenged materials and rendering a decision.