CRESTVIEW—Citing the American Library Association’s “Library Bill of Rights,” “which affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas,” the Crestview Public Library’s request for passage of its annual Material Selection Policy unanimously passed the city council without discussion.
“It’s just our yearly update,” Library Director Jean Lewis said. “There’s no controversy in it.”
The policy serves as a guideline for library staff and states, in part, “books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background or views of those contributing to their creation.”
Approved as part of the Crestview City Council’s Oct. 8 meeting consent agenda, the policy was implemented just days after Banned Books Week concluded. Library staff had prepared a display of books that had been challenged or banned, including many by well-known authors including J.K. Rowling, Anthony Burgess, Maya Angelou and Kurt Vonnegut.
“Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval,” the policy states, noting the library “should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of (its) responsibilities to provide information and enlightenment.”
The policy prepared by Lewis and her staff “recognizes that some materials may be controversial and that any given item may offend some patrons,” however, under the approved policy, “it is not the responsibility of the library to censor collection materials that adhere to the principles stated in this policy.”
Citizens who object to particular materials in the library’s collection are offered a procedure for challenging the material utilizing the Material Selection Inquiry form available at the library. A challenge would be “critically reviewed” by a five-person committee approved by the city council following the criteria of the material selection policy.