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Patron Objection to Material Policy

The Pocahontas County Libraries  acquires materials for public use that encompass a wide spectrum of expression. PCL acknowledges that to serve a diverse population, some materials may have content that disturbs or offends certain library patrons or the community while that same material may be appreciated by others. Furthermore, a library might be charged that it skews its collection such that it leans heavily in certain content and/or omits or slights other views. Therefore it is an important right that members of the public can constructively challenge PCL in its library material. Therefore, the following procedures that implement this policy shall be followed:

Any patron who objects to the presence or absence of any library material will be given a hearing.

All complaints to staff members will be referred to the Director or Branch librarian, who will discuss the matter with the complainant. (If neither is available, the patron should be given the Statement of Concern for Library Materials form, and invited to fill it out.)

The Director or Branch librarian should speak with the patron privately, if at all possible.

The patron should be given the Statement of Concern for Library Materials form and invited to fill it out at that time, or later if they so desire. The goal of the Director/Branch librarian should be to gain as much information about the nature of the objection.

If appropriate, the Director/Branch librarian shall point out the library’s policy for book selection:

“The library shall maintain a collection which presents all sides of controversial issues; this is the librarian’s task. The Board of Trustees shall subscribe to the ALA Library Bill of Rights. No book shall be removed from the shelves because of individual censorship, only because of poor literary quality, or for having outlived its usefulness.”

The Director/Branch librarian should inform complainants that their objections will be discussed at the next Board Meeting, and let them know they are welcome to attend if they so desire.

The Director/Branch librarian shall examine the material in question, read it or view it, and shall check for professional reviews of the material.*

At the next Board Meeting the Director/Branch librarian shall report to the board on the objection and suggest a course of action for the Board to consider.

*Professional reviews are available from many sources, including Library Journal, Booklist, Kirkus, School Library Journal, and Publisher’s Weekly. Book Review Digest, an annual publication, is available at the Mary F. Shipper Library, Potomac State College of WVU.

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