The Sacramento Public Library’s Collection Development Policy supports the direction, goals, and objectives of the Library as a whole. The primary mission of the Library is to be an asset for reading, learning, and community for the diverse populations in the Library’s service area.
The Sacramento Public Library Authority is the fourth largest library system in California serving the public in the City and County of Sacramento, as well as the cities of Citrus Heights, Elk Grove, Galt, Isleton and Rancho Cordova. The Sacramento Public Library operates 28 libraries, including a Central Library in downtown Sacramento, and serves a total population of 1,373,874. The collection of nearly two million items is used by more than 675,000 library card holding residents, and 7.7 million items circulated in 2010.
The library selects materials in a variety of formats and languages that best serve the needs of the community. Selections are made by library staff to provide a broad and relevant collection, while being good stewards of the community’s tax dollars. Material selection is based on awareness of community interests and concerns, national and international issues and events, publishing trends, new insights, societal trends, and the professional judgment of selectors regarding the material’s value to the Library’s collection. It is the Library’s intention that the collection addresses the needs and interests of its communities and, as much as possible, reflects the diversity of the entire Sacramento Public Library service area. Sacramento Public Library participates in regional, state and national cooperative networks, facilitates interlibrary loan, and is partnered with four contract libraries including Folsom Public Library, Woodland Public Library, Sutter County Public Library and Colusa County Public Library.
The Library will uphold the freedom to read as expressed in the Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read Statement and the Freedom to View Statement adopted by the American Library Association (Attachments A-C). While anyone is free to select or reject materials for themselves or their own minor children, the freedom of others to read or inquire will not be restricted. The Library does not stand in loco parentis (in the place of parents). Parents and guardians, not the Library or staff, have the responsibility to guide and direct the reading, listening, and viewing choices of their own minor children.
Responsibility for Selection
Objectives of the Collection
The responsibility for the selection of library materials rests ultimately with the Library Director. Under the Director’s guidance, the professional staff has responsibility for the selection of materials. All staff members and the general public are encouraged to recommend materials for consideration. The library collection shall be an unbiased and diverse source of information, representing as many viewpoints as possible.
The Sacramento Public Library selects materials for its collection for audiences of all ages in whatever format is most appropriate in accordance with professionally accepted guidelines. No material will be excluded because of the race, nationality, religion, gender, sexual orientation, political or social views of the author. Selection of materials does not imply agreement with, approval or endorsement of the content, viewpoint, implication, or expression of the material.
A. General criteria for selecting material include but are not limited to:
· Patron interest
· Relevance of subject matter
· Historical significance of author or subject
· Timeliness of material
· Value of maintaining already established collection depth
· Local emphasis
· Suitability of subject and style for the intended audience
· Diversity of viewpoint
· Price and format
· Reputation of publisher
· Budgetary constraints
B. Additional criteria for the evaluation of Nonfiction material:
· Comprehensiveness and depth of treatment
· Demand within a subject area
C. Additional criteria for the evaluation of Fiction material:
· Representation of significant literary or social trends
· Literary merit
· Vitality and originality
· Author’s popularity and reputation within the world of literature
D. Additional criteria for the evaluation of video, audio, music and other non-print formats:
· Technical quality of production
· Appropriateness to the interests and skills of the intended users
· Artistic merit
Electronic resources such as e-books, e-serials (including journals), government documents, databases (including locally mounted, full text or not), electronic files, reference tools, scores, maps, or pictures in electronic or digital format, including materials digitized by the library, are subject to the same general selection criteria as other materials.
Individual items, which in and of themselves may be controversial or offensive to some patrons or staff, may be selected if their inclusion will contribute to the range of viewpoints in the collection as a whole and the effectiveness of the library’s ability to serve its community.
Reconsideration of Materials
Persons raising an objection to a book or other material in the library collection will be offered the Request for Reconsideration of Materials form and asked to provide a written explanation of their objections, citing specifics from the material in question. Library staff will respond to the request in accordance with the Reconsideration of Materials Procedure (Attachment D).
Library Bill of Rights
The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
4. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
5. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
6. Libraries that make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.
Adopted June 19, 1939, by the ALA Council; amended October 14, 1944; June 18, 1948; February 2, 1961; June 27, 1967; January 23, 1980; inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996.
The Freedom to Read Statement
The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack. Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label "controversial" views, to distribute lists of "objectionable" books or authors, and to purge libraries. These actions apparently rise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to counter threats to safety or national security, as well as to avoid the subversion of politics and the corruption of morals. We, as individuals devoted to reading and as librarians and publishers responsible for disseminating ideas, wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of the freedom to read.
Most attempts at suppression rest on a denial of the fundamental premise of democracy: that the ordinary individual, by exercising critical judgment, will select the good and reject the bad. We trust Americans to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe. We do not believe they are prepared to sacrifice their heritage of a free press in order to be "protected" against what others think may be bad for them. We believe they still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression.
These efforts at suppression are related to a larger pattern of pressures being brought against education, the press, art and images, films, broadcast media, and the Internet. The problem is not only one of actual censorship. The shadow of fear cast by these pressures leads, we suspect, to an even larger voluntary curtailment of expression by those who seek to avoid controversy or unwelcome scrutiny by government officials.
Such pressure toward conformity is perhaps natural to a time of accelerated change. And yet suppression is never more dangerous than in such a time of social tension. Freedom has given the United States the elasticity to endure strain. Freedom keeps open the path of novel and creative solutions, and enables change to come by choice. Every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of our society and leaves it the less able to deal with controversy and difference.
Now as always in our history, reading is among our greatest freedoms. The freedom to read and write is almost the only means for making generally available ideas or manners of expression that can initially command only a small audience. The written word is the natural medium for the new idea and the untried voice from which come the original contributions to social growth. It is essential to the extended discussion that serious thought requires, and to the accumulation of knowledge and ideas into organized collections.
We believe that free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture. We believe that these pressures toward conformity present the danger of limiting the range and variety of inquiry and expression on which our democracy and our culture depend. We believe that every American community must jealously guard the freedom to publish and to circulate, in order to preserve its own freedom to read. We believe that publishers and librarians have a profound responsibility to give validity to that freedom to read by making it possible for the readers to choose freely from a variety of offerings.
The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution. Those with faith in free people will stand firm on these constitutional guarantees of essential rights and will exercise the responsibilities that accompany these rights.
We therefore affirm these propositions:
1. It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those that are unorthodox, unpopular, or considered dangerous by the majority.
Creative thought is by definition new, and what is new is different. The bearer of every new thought is a rebel until that idea is refined and tested. Totalitarian systems attempt to maintain themselves in power by the ruthless suppression of any concept that challenges the established orthodoxy. The power of a democratic system to adapt to change is vastly strengthened by the freedom of its citizens to choose widely from among conflicting opinions offered freely to them. To stifle every nonconformist idea at birth would mark the end of the democratic process. Furthermore, only through the constant activity of weighing and selecting can the democratic mind attain the strength demanded by times like these. We need to know not only what we believe but why we believe it.
2. Publishers, librarians, and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea or presentation they make available. It would conflict with the public interest for them to establish their own political, moral, or aesthetic views as a standard for determining what should be published or circulated.
Publishers and librarians serve the educational process by helping to make available knowledge and ideas required for the growth of the mind and the increase of learning. They do not foster education by imposing as mentors the patterns of their own thought. The people should have the freedom to read and consider a broader range of ideas than those that may be held by any single librarian or publisher or government or church. It is wrong that what one can read should be confined to what another thinks proper.
3. It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to bar access to writings on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.
No art or literature can flourish if it is to be measured by the political views or private lives of its creators. No society of free people can flourish that draws up lists of writers to whom it will not listen, whatever they may have to say.
4. There is no place in our society for efforts to coerce the taste of others, to confine adults to the reading matter deemed suitable for adolescents, or to inhibit the efforts of writers to achieve artistic expression.
To some, much of modern expression is shocking. But is not much of life itself shocking? We cut off literature at the source if we prevent writers from dealing with the stuff of life. Parents and teachers have a responsibility to prepare the young to meet the diversity of experiences in life to which they will be exposed, as they have a responsibility to help them learn to think critically for themselves. These are affirmative responsibilities, not to be discharged simply by preventing them from reading works for which they are not yet prepared. In these matters values differ, and values cannot be legislated; nor can machinery be devised that will suit the demands of one group without limiting the freedom of others.
5. It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept the prejudgment of a label characterizing any expression or its author as subversive or dangerous.
The ideal of labeling presupposes the existence of individuals or groups with wisdom to determine by authority what is good or bad for others. It presupposes that individuals must be directed in making up their minds about the ideas they examine. But Americans do not need others to do their thinking for them.
6. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians, as guardians of the people's freedom to read, to contest encroachments upon that freedom by individuals or groups seeking to impose their own standards or tastes upon the community at large; and by the government whenever it seeks to reduce or deny public access to public information.
It is inevitable in the give and take of the democratic process that the political, the moral, or the aesthetic concepts of an individual or group will occasionally collide with those of another individual or group. In a free society individuals are free to determine for themselves what they wish to read, and each group is free to determine what it will recommend to its freely associated members. But no group has the right to take the law into its own hands, and to impose its own concept of politics or morality upon other members of a democratic society. Freedom is no freedom if it is accorded only to the accepted and the inoffensive. Further, democratic societies are more safe, free, and creative when the free flow of public information is not restricted by governmental prerogative or self-censorship.
7. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians to give full meaning to the freedom to read by providing books that enrich the quality and diversity of thought and expression. By the exercise of this affirmative responsibility, they can demonstrate that the answer to a "bad" book is a good one, the answer to a "bad" idea is a good one.
The freedom to read is of little consequence when the reader cannot obtain matter fit for that reader's purpose. What is needed is not only the absence of restraint, but the positive provision of opportunity for the people to read the best that has been thought and said. Books are the major channel by which the intellectual inheritance is handed down, and the principal means of its testing and growth. The defense of the freedom to read requires of all publishers and librarians the utmost of their faculties, and deserves of all Americans the fullest of their support.
We state these propositions neither lightly nor as easy generalizations. We here stake out a lofty claim for the value of the written word. We do so because we believe that it is possessed of enormous variety and usefulness, worthy of cherishing and keeping free. We realize that the application of these propositions may mean the dissemination of ideas and manners of expression that are repugnant to many persons. We do not state these propositions in the comfortable belief that what people read is unimportant. We believe rather that what people read is deeply important; 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.
This statement was originally issued in May of 1953 by the Westchester Conference of the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers Council, which in 1970 consolidated with the American Educational Publishers Institute to become the Association of American Publishers.
Adopted June 25, 1953, by the ALA Council and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee; amended January 28, 1972; January 16, 1991; July 12, 2000; June 30, 2004.
A Joint Statement by:
American Library Association
Association of American Publishers
Subsequently endorsed by:
American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression
The Association of American University Presses, Inc.
The Children's Book Council
Freedom to Read Foundation
National Association of College Stores
National Coalition Against Censorship
National Council of Teachers of English
The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression
Freedom to View Statement
The FREEDOM TO VIEW
, along with the freedom to speak, to hear, and to read, is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States
. In a free society, there is no place for censorship of any medium of expression. Therefore these principles are affirmed:
1. To provide the broadest access to film, video, and other audiovisual materials because they are a means for the communication of ideas. Liberty of circulation is essential to insure the constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression.
2. To protect the confidentiality of all individuals and institutions using film, video, and other audiovisual materials.
3. To provide film, video, and other audiovisual materials which represent a diversity of views and expression. Selection of a work does not constitute or imply agreement with or approval of the content.
4. To provide a diversity of viewpoints without the constraint of labeling or prejudging film, video, or other audiovisual materials on the basis of the moral, religious, or political beliefs of the producer or filmmaker or on the basis of controversial content.
5. To contest vigorously, by all lawful means, every encroachment upon the public's freedom to view.
This statement was originally drafted by the Freedom to View Committee of the American Film and Video Association (formerly the Educational Film Library Association) and was adopted by the AFVA Board of Directors in February 1979. This statement was updated and approved by the AFVA Board of Directors in 1989.
Endorsed January 10, 1990, by the ALA Council
Reconsideration of Materials - Procedure
Persons raising an objection to a book or other materials in the library collection will be offered the Request for Reconsideration of Materials form and asked to provide a written explanation of their objections, citing specifics from the material in question. The following actions will be taken:
1. A copy of the form and the material in question will be sent to the Library Materials Manager in Collection Services.
2. A form letter shall be sent to the patron acknowledging receipt of the Request for Reconsideration within five business days of receipt by the Library Materials Manager.
3. A team of four Library staff will convene and consider the request, evaluating the material based on circulation, awards and reviews, and make a decision about the work.
4. The Library Materials Manager will write a response letter to the patron and submit it to the Library Director for review.
5. A letter of determination in response to the Request for Reconsideration shall be provided to the patron within 30 days of submission, during which time the material in question shall remain in the active collection.
6. A copy of all Requests for Reconsideration, and associated correspondence shall be retained in the Library’s Public Services Department and Collection Services Department.
Collection Development Policy
Board Approved – January 27, 2011 (RES #11-08)