Full Policy Manual

Table of Contents

1.0         THE LIBRARY FUNCTION AND MISSION                                                       5

1.1         Function                                                                                                               

1.2         Mission

1.3         Equality of Service to Users Statement


    2.1    Purpose of Policy

    2.2    The Library Collection Objectives

    2.3     Non-Book Collection                                                                             

    2.4    Periodicals and Newspapers

    2.5    Reference Collection                                                                                          

    2.6    Children’s Collection

    2.7    Young Adult Collection                                                                                      

    2.8    Labeling of Library Materials                                                                            

3.0       SELECTION CRITERIA AMD REVIEW SOURCES                                        11-13

   3.1     Responsibility for Selection

   3.2     Selection Policies

   3.3     Public Recommendations

   3.4     Controversial Subjects/Items                                                               

   3.5     General Selection Criteria

   3.6     Duplicates

   3.7     Review Sources                                                                                                  

   3.8     Self-Published Materials

   3.9     Formats

4.0       GIFTS, MEMORIALS AND TAX DEDUCTIONS                                               14

   4.1     Gifts

   4.2     Tax Deductions

5.0       INTERLIBRARY LOAN AND COOPERATION                                                 15

6.0       ACCESS TO MATERIALS                                                                                                16-19

   6.1     Precepts of Freedom

   6.2      Access

   6.3     Confidentiality of Records                                                                                

   6.4     Process for Reconsideration of materials                                                    

7.0       MAINTENANCE OF COLLECTION                                                                    20-22

   7.1     Evaluation

   7.2     Benefits of Weeding

   7.3     Material Withdrawal Policy (Weeding)                                                           

   7.4     Weeding Goals

   7.5     Weeding Formula                                                                                    

   7.6     Final Decision

   7.7     Disposition

   7.8     Replacements

8.0       BORROWING PRIVILEGES                                                                                 23

   8.1      Residents

   8.2      Non-residents

   8.3      Overdue Materials or Unpaid Fines at another Library

9.0       CIRCULATION POLICIES                                                                                    24-25

   9.1      Loans, Length, and Renewal

   9.2      Number of Items Loaned

   9.3      Reserves

   9.4      Lost or Damaged Materials

   9.5     Responsibilities of Borrowers                                                                         

   9.6      Fines and Fees

10.0    LIBRARY BEHAVIOR                                                                                            26-28

  10.1     Restrict Privileges

  10.2     Disruptive Behavior                                                                                          

  10.3     Failure to Comply with Rules and Regulations

  10.4     Theft of Materials                                                                                                

  10.5    Communications of Threats

  10.6     Trespassers

11.0    UNATTENDED CHILDREN POLICY                                                                 29-30

  11.1     Staff does not Act in Loco Parentis

  11.2    Safety of Children

  11.3    Children Taught Appropriate Use of Library

  11.4     Children Under Age of 12

  11.5     Staff not Responsible for Unattended Child

  11.6     Staff Will Not Provide Transportation

  11.7     Unattended Child Emergency                                                                        

  11.8     Notification Concerning Unattended Child

12.0    PROCTORING OF EXAMINATIONS                                                                  31

  12.1     Staff May Proctor Exams

  12.2     Proctor By Appointment Only

  12.3     Cancel Appointment

  12.4     Deposit Fee Forfeited

  12.5     Cost of Faxed Exam

  12.6     Cost of E-mailed Exams

13.0    INTERNET ACCESS POLICY                                                                             32-34

   13.1     Internet Access Availability

   13.2     Access for Patrons with and without a Library Card

   13.3     Priority of Use

   13.4     Illegal Activity Prohibited

   13.5     Disclaimer

   13.6     Children’s Room Computers

   13.7     Teen Area Computers

   13.8     Reference Room

   13.9     Accuracy of Internet Information

   13.10  Equipment and Software

   13.11  Unauthorized Entry to Any Computer or Network

   13.12  Intentional Disruption of Operation

  13.13   Library Staff Availability

  13.14   Computer Access Time Limits

  13.15   Policy Violation

14.0    INFORMATION FROM THE CITY DIRECTORY                                              35

  14.1     Telephone Requests

  14.2    Freedom of Information Act Requests

15.0    DISPLAYS AND EXHIBITS                                                                                  36

  15.1     Boards and Display Cases for Library Use

  15.2     Library Director Responsible for Displays and Exhibits

16.0    MEETING ROOM USE                                                                                           37-39

  16.1     Meeting Room Available

  16.2     Subject to Rules and Regulations

  16.3     Meeting Room Priority

  16.4     Fee Schedule

  16.5     Maximum Capacity

  16.6     Food and Drink

  16.7     Room to be Cleaned

  16.8     Use Restrictions

  16.9   Admission or Request for Donation Prohibited                               

  16.10   Use Only During Library Hours

  16.11   Youth Groups Must Have an Adult

  16.12   Use of Audio/Visual Equipment

  16.13   Library Not Responsible for Equipment or Damage

  16.14   Responsibility for Damage

  16.15   Rental Not Considered an Endorsement

APPENDICES                                                                                                 40

            Appendix  A             Freedom to Read Statement                                           40-44

            Appendix  B             Freedom to View Statement                                            45

            Appendix  C             Library Bill of Rights                                                         46

            Appendix  D             Free Access to Libraries for Minors                              47-48

            Appendix  E             Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials    49

            Appendix  F             Meeting Room Social Event Application                     50

            Appendix  G             Plan for Excellence                                                            51-58


1.1         Function

1.1.1 The Lewis Cooper Memorial Library has been established as a free public library and is maintained in accordance with the provisions of Title11, Chapter 90 of the Code of Alabama, 1975, as amended.

1.1.2 The Library is administered by a five member Board of Directors. Board members are appointed by the City Council of the City of Opelika.


1.2         Mission

The mission of the Lewis Cooper Memorial Library is to provide free programs, activities, information, and technological access to the citizens of Opelika. These services include, but are not limited to, educational searches, leisure reading, computer access, and various classes and programs meeting the needs of our diverse community.


1.3         Equality of Service to Users Statement

Library users shall be served equally according to need regardless of age, gender, race, creed, or religion; physical disability, educational background, or intellectual capacity; physical or mental disability; economic or occupational status.

Adopted 6/11/2007

Modified 4/11/2016



2.1 Purpose of a Material Selection and Collection development Policy.

The purpose of this document is to further public understanding of the purpose and nature of the Library’s collection and to provide guidance and direction to the Library staff for the development and maintenance of the Library’s collection.

2.2  The Library Collection Objectives

2.2.1   Selection of materials for the Library’s collection is based on knowledge of the community, the existing collection and its use, and the mission and goals of the Library. Selections are made to reach as many of the people within the Library’s service area as possible, including individuals of every age, educational background, personal belief system, occupation, economic level, and ethnic background, and to reflect the diversity of interests and viewpoints found among the community.

2.2.2  In general, collections emphasize up-to-date information that reflects a balance of viewpoints; older materials are retained or replaced if they are considered standard works, are useful, or are in demand. General treatments that support informal study are preferred over those that are specified, scholarly, or intended for professional use. Textbooks are not generally selected. The Library is committed to adding materials in new formats as they

            become commonly used among the community.

2.2.3  Nonfiction Collection.

The nonfiction collection emphasizes timely, accurate and useful informational materials to support residents in their pursuit of job-related, personal, and community interests. As well, current and high-demand materials are heavily emphasized. Materials are available for all ages and reading levels and in a variety of formats. The nonfiction collection is also developed to assist students of all ages in meeting educational objectives established during the formal courses of study, particularly elementary and secondary school students. Materials are selected to represent a continuum of opinions and viewpoints when available. Titles with continued value and those of current accepted authority are part of the library collection. Textbooks are included when they are the only source available on a subject or when they give an overview of a subject, but are not added in support of a specific curriculum. As a new field emerges, the library attempts to respond with timely additions. While most nonfiction materials are selected for their utility, others are acquired for their capacity to enrich and entertain. When choice exists, selection is based on readability, clarity and appeal. Requests from library users are given high priority.

2.2.4  Fiction Collection

The Fiction Collection focuses on the contemporary literature. The fiction collection also includes classic and standard titles, diverse genres, and special interests. An effort is made to maintain a collection of pre-twentieth century fiction. There is no single standard for inclusion in the fiction collection. Each work is evaluated in comparison with other fiction works or authors of similar type. Because of the large volume of fiction published, it is possible to purchase only a representative selection with an emphasis on major authors and the most popular examples of a genre. Library user requests for material of this type influence the addition of more copies. An effort is made to insure access to variety of titles on school summer reading lists. Books included within the mystery genre are collected at the intermediate level. First novels receiving favorable reviews or publicity, experimental works, and translations of non-English authors are collected at the basic level.

2.3  Non-Book Collection

2.3.1   All non-book materials are collected at the basic level.

2.3.2   Sound Recordings: sound recordings are made available in CD formats that are in demand by users, reflect current technology, and conserve space.

2.3.3  Spoken recordings, e.g. recorded novels, foreign language tapes, plays, how-to’s, etc., commonly referred to as books-on-tape or audiobooks are selected to parallel most areas of the general collection. Efforts are made to select a variety of topics and to appeal to a range of interests. Quality of recording and suitability of the subject for aural interpretation are among the selection criteria. Packaging may also affect selection decisions, particularly for multi-part sets. Necessary purchases are made; however, regardless of how material is packaged.

2.4  Periodicals and Newspapers: The same philosophy and standard of  selection adhered to for other material also applies to periodicals and newspapers.

2.4.1 Newspapers: Newspapers are selected to meet reference and research needs of the library users, to provide current information and to satisfy casual interest in current events. The library seeks to provide adequate coverage locally, statewide, and nationally.

2.4.2Periodicals: The selection of periodicals will be made using the same criteria as with other materials. Generally, the library seeks to provide periodicals of popular interest, to cover current events, and to satisfy the recreational, cultural, educational, informational, and intellectual needs of its users. Most periodicals selected should fit under the realm of “General Interest.”

2.5  Reference Collection: Reference materials are collected in accordance with corresponding collection levels so designated for nonfiction.

2.5.1   Reference materials are for use in the library. They provide quick, concise and up-to-date information and index other material in the collection. Inclusion in the reference collection is determined by factors such as cost, complexity, format, authoritativeness, frequency of use, and indexing. Reference works include such standards as encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, directories, bibliographies, etc. as well as more specialized materials which directly support the various information needs of the library users. When demand dictates and cost permits, additional copies are purchased for lending.

2.5.2   Material in electronic format will be selected based on: demand for information contained on product; ease of the use, including instruction for users; costs; and space considerations.

2.6  Children’s Collection: Materials in the children’s collection are selected in response to the needs and interests of young people, recognizing their diverse tastes, backgrounds, abilities, and potentials.

2.6.1   In choosing materials for children, age is a determining selection principle. Materials are evaluated for reading level, and treatment of the subject for the age of the intended audience.

2.6.2   When picture books for pre-school ages are considered, aesthetics (illustration, format) and developmental significance (language, vocabulary, and theme) are evaluated. Books for beginning readers are included. For transitional readers, those reading at grade levels two to four, motivational and appealing material is selected. For children through age twelve, the emphasis is on material for voluntary use and for personal satisfaction. Timeliness and accuracy are additional criteria for non-fiction materials. The collection supplements the school media centers. Textbooks are not purchased unless they contain better subject coverage than other books. Some duplication of adult materials is found when they are appropriate for children and young adults.

2.6.3   Audio-visual materials (CD’s, DVD’s, etc.) are selected based on the same criteria as books.

2.6.4   Magazines are selected for their recreational and informational content and often reflect popular trends.

2.6.5   Paperback books supplement the collection and are often duplicates of hardcover editors. This collection primarily contains fiction for middle readers through young adults. Visual is also a consideration in selection.

2.6.6   Multiple copies of Newberry and Caldecott award books may be purchased, depending on use.

2.7  Young Adult Collection

2.7.1  The library makes available materials in a variety of formats that are aimed at addressing the needs and concerns of young adult library users. In general, young adult service is geared to the Middle School, Junior High and High School age, overlapping somewhat with children’s services at one end of the range and those adults at the other. There are, however, many potential users for this material and this factor is given consideration when developing this collection.

2.7.2   Needs of young adults differ in kind and intensity from those of adult users. These users often look to the library for materials and resources to meet academic demands. Young adult materials are selected from the same criteria used in the selection of adult materials but with the focus on the experience, maturity, and interests of young people.

2.7.3 The general reference, audio-visual, and periodical collections include material for young adults. The resources of the entire library are available to users in this age group.

2.8  Labeling of Library Materials

The Lewis Cooper Jr. Memorial Library does not attach labels to indicate suitability of materials, except for the following reasons.

2.8.1 To indicate the appropriate shelving location in the collection.

(1)          Fiction, Adult (F)

(2)          Fiction, Young Adult ( YAF)

(3)          Fiction, Juvenile (JF)

(4)          Easy (E)

(5)          Large Print (LARGE PRINT)

(6)          Compact Disc (MCD)

(7)          Christian Fiction (CF)

(8)          Biography (B)

(9)          Westerns (W)

(10)       Science Fiction (SF)

(11)       Audio Books (BCD)

2.9  Community Service Workers (Volunteers)

2.9.1 Must be a minimum of 16 years old

2.9.2 Possible Tasks

(1)          Covering books.

(2)          Moving boxes, tables, and chairs.

(3)          Dusting shelves.

(4)          Sweeping the loading dock.

(5)          Taking care of recycling.

(6)          Clearing litter from the grounds.

(7)          Others as needed.

            2.9.3 Up to 40 hours a week, on the weekend and/or during the


2.9.4 Only one worker at a time is allowed for adequate supervision.

2.9.5  Community service volunteer workers shall work directly with and under the supervision of one primary staff member or designated contact who will guide them in their work.  Volunteers are expected to act in accordance with all Library directives and policies, follow all directions and instructions by the supervising staff member and reflect positive customer service attitudes to all Library patrons and staff.  The Library does not compensate volunteers through wages, benefits, reimbursement of expenses or any other form of compensation.  Library volunteers are not considered to be employees of the Library.  The Library reserves the right to discontinue volunteer opportunities or terminate the services of any individual volunteer or volunteer group without prior notice at the discretion of the Library Director or the Director’s designee.

Adopted 6/11/2007

Modified 4/11/2016


3.1      Responsibility for Selection

The responsibility for materials selection rests in the hands of the library’s governing body – the Lewis Cooper Jr Memorial LibraryBoard of Directors. The board delegates the selection of materials and development of the collection on a day – to- day basis to the Library Director and other staff members who have expertise in collection development and/or a particular subject area or media format.

3.2     Selection Policies

The Board of Directors of the Lewis Cooper Jr. Memorial Library has established that:

3.2.1   The Library shall establish collections of merit and significance. Each item shall be considered in terms of value to the collection and the audience for whom it is intended.

3.2.2   Materials to be evaluated shall include a variety of books for young people and adults, in hardcover and paperback editions; large print books; electronic books; periodicals; electronic periodicals; newspapers; compact discs, cassette recordings; digital video discs; Bluray discs; videocassettes; etc.

3.2.3   Materials will be evaluated according to objective standards. Flexibility and open-mindedness are required in this process. Consideration will be given to recognizing that knowledge is expanding, that social values are changing, that technology is advancing, that cultural differences exist, and that people have individual needs and concerns.

3.2.4   Some materials may be judged primarily in terms of artistic merit or scholarship. Other materials may be selected to satisfy recreational or entertainment needs.

3.2.5   All collections will be accessible to borrowers.

3.2.6   The Library acknowledges the right of any user to question the purchase of an item in the library collection. Procedures are established for the reconsideration of an item.

3.3       Recommendations from the Public

Requests or suggestions from the public concerning possible purchases for materials are given serious consideration. These request or suggestions are considered by the same criteria as any other materials purchased for the library.

3.4       Controversial Subjects/Items

3.4.1   The Library chooses representative material espousing all points of view, so that the free individual may examine many points of view and make his or her own decisions. The Library does not promulgate particular beliefs or views, nor is the selection of any given material equivalent to endorsement of the creator’s views. The Library tries to provide materials representing all approaches to issues of a controversial nature.

3.4.2   Selection decisions are not made on the basis of any anticipated approval or disapproval, but on the merits of the work in relation to building the collection and serving the diverse needs and interests of the community.

3.5       General Selection Criteria

The following general criteria are used in selecting materials.

3.5.1   Current appeal and popular demand.

3.5.2   Relevance to community needs.

3.5.3   Professional reviews.

3.5.4   Suitability of subject, writing or artistic style, and reading level for the intended audience.

3.5.5   Authority, reputation and competence of the author, artist, publisher, producer, or filmmaker.

3.5.6   Relationship to the existing collection.

3.5.7   Representative of a minority point of view.

3.5.8   Value of material inrelation to cost.

3.5.9   Availability from established library vendors.

3.5.10 Suitability of format and technical characteristics of the item, such as physical quality such as design, illustrations, and production.

3.5.11 Budgetary considerations.

3.5.12 Availability and accessibility of the same materials through interlibrary loan.

3.5.13 Physical limitations of building.

3.5.14 Professional judgment.

3.6       Duplicates

To meet user demand, the Library may purchase materials in quantity for mass use and limited retention. Multiple copies of items anticipated to be in high demand are purchased in the initial order.

3.7      Review Sources

Reviews in professionally recognized publications are a primary source for materials selection. Standard bibliographies, booklists by recognized authorities, and the advice of experts in specific subject area are used


                        Booklist. Chicago: American Library Association, 1905 – present


                        Horn Book Magazine. Boston, 1924 – present. (bi-monthly)


                        Library Journal. New York; Bowker, 1876 – present.


                        New York Times Book Review, 1896 – present. (weekly)

                        Publishers weekly. New York; Bowker, 1872 – present. (weekly)

School Library Journal. New York; Bowker, 1847 – present.


3.8      Self-Published Materials

Self-published materials are generally not selected unless they meet the same criteria as other materials purchased for the collection, have received positive professional reviews, or are in particularly high demand.

3.9       Formats

The Library collects a number of print and non-print formats. Among the formats are books, magazines, newspapers audio and video recordings, and electronic resources. New formats will be considered for the collection when industry reports, national survey results, and local requests indicate that a significant portion of the community has the necessary technology to make use of the new format. The availability of items in the format, cost, maintenance needs, and the Library’s ability to acquire, process, and circulate the items must be considered when adopting or discontinuing formats.

Adopted 6/11/2007

Modified 4/11/2016


4.1      Gifts

The Lewis Cooper Jr. Memorial Library is pleased to accept gifts and/or memorial gifts from patrons. Gifts are gratefully and willingly accepted as long as no restriction is placed upon their use. Acceptance of gifts (of books and other library materials) will be determined by the Library Director on the basis of their suitability to the Library’s purposes and needs in accordance with the Library’s materials selection policy. Use or disposal of all gift materials will be determined by the Library Director or designated agent. Most gifts that are not added to the collection will be given to the Friends of the Lewis Cooper Jr. Memorial Library for sale.

4.2 Tax Deduction

Under existing law, gifts to libraries may be deductible; the deductibility is governed by the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 as amended. Library staff shall not provide appraisals or establish value. Valuation of the gift is the responsibility of the donor. The Library will only provide a letter listing the number of items donated, if requested by the donor.

Adopted 6/11/2007

Modified 4/11/2016


                        5.1       The Library supports interlibrary loan for local patrons as a

                                    basic service to supplement the local collection.

5.1.1   Due to the increased cost of postage, patrons will be limited to 3 Interlibrary Loans per month. If the patron chooses to have more than 3, they can do so at a cost of $3.00 for each additional item.

Adopted 6/11/2007

Modified 4/11/2016


6.1      Precepts of Freedom

The Lewis Cooper Jr. Memorial Library Board of Directors and staff believe that the right to read and view is an important part of the intellectual freedom that is basic to democracy. Therefore, in its selection of Library materials, the Lewis Cooper Jr. Memorial Library  subscribes to the American Library Association’s Freedom to Read Statement (Appendix A) and Freedom to View Statement (Appendix B), which are attached to, and part of, this policy.

The Lewis Cooper Jr. Memorial Library adheres to and wholly supports the Library Bill of Rights (Appendix C) and the Free Access to Libraries for Minors Interpretation (Appendix D) which are considered part of this selection policy.

The Library is a unique institution and is charged with being an unbiased repository of recorded expression. Any attempt by a group or individual to remove items from the collection, or to add items not meeting standards set by this policy, shall be treated with the utmost seriousness by the staff and the Library Board of Directors. The Lewis Cooper Jr. Memorial Library believes that censorship is an individual matter and that – while anyone is free to reject books or materials of which they disapprove – they cannot censor or restrict the freedom of others. The Library Board of Directors has a legal responsibility for the collection and its protection under the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution.

6.2      Access

6.2.1   The Lewis Cooper Jr. Memorial Library assures free and open access to its holdings. All patrons are free to select or reject any item in the collection. Individual or group prejudice about a particular item or type of material in the collection may not preclude its use by others.

6.2.2   The Library dose not limit youth to using material from the Juvenile and Young Adult collections. Responsibility for a youth’s use of the Library’s materials must rest with the parent or guardian, not the Library.

6.2.3   Processing and shelving of materials does not reflect a value judgment. There will be no labeling of any item or of its catalog entries to indicate its point of view or bias. All materials will be shelved in their proper order on open shelves freely and easily accessible to the public, with the exception of a limited number of materials used for ready reference or programming.

6.3      Confidentiality of Library Records

6.3.1   The Board of Directors of the Lewis Cooper Jr. Memorial Library specifically recognizes its circulation records and other records identifying the name of the library users to be confidential in nature.

6.3.2   Further, the Board subscribes to the American Library Code of Ethics, which says in part that “We protect each library user’s right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and materials consulted, borrowed acquired, or transmitted.”

6.3.3   All library employees are advised that such records shall not be made available to any agency of the state, federal, or local government except pursuant to such process, order, or subpoena as may be authorized under the authority of, and pursuant to, federal, state, or local law relating to civil, criminal, or administrative discovery procedures or legislative investigative power.

6.3.4   Upon receipt of such process, order or subpoena, the library’s officers will consult with their legal counsel to determine if such process, order or subpoena is in proper form and if there is a showing of good cause for the issuance; if the process, order or subpoena is not in proper form or if good cause has not been shown, they will insist that such defects be cured.

Based on recommendations of the American Library Association; adopted

January 20, 1971; revised July 2, 1986, by the ALA Council

6.4    Process for Reconsideration of Library Materials

6.4.1   In case of a complaint about or challenge of material, a staff member, and/or the Director may discuss the material in question with the patron. The staff member will explain the general criteria of the Library’s selection policy to the complainant. It will be made clear that the Library Board of Directors subscribes to the Freedom to Read Statement and Freedom to View Statement attached to this policy.

6.4.2   If the complainant wishes to continue the procedure for reconsideration of materials after discussion, the complainant will be requested to complete the Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials Form (Appendix E). The complaint form must be filled out in its entirety. Upon receipt of the completed form, the Department Librarian and Library Director will review the complaint, and the Director will send a written response to the patron.

6.4.3   If the complainant is not satisfied with the decision, he or she may appeal to the Lewis Cooper Jr. Memorial Library Board of Directors within three weeks of the written decision. If the decision is appealed to the Library Board, the material in question will be forwarded to the Library Board for their consideration.

6.4.4   Upon receipt by the Library of the Request for Reconsideration form, the item (book, audio, video, etc.) will be placed on reserve in the Library for review by the public.

6.4.5   The Request for Reconsideration form will be given to the Chairman of the Library Board of Directors, who will convene a public meeting of the Board to consider the matter as soon as is practical.

6.4.6   In order to conduct a fair and orderly meeting, the Board Chairman will preside over the hearing, which will be conducted as follows:

6.4.7   Opposing viewpoints will be allotted an equal number of speakers.

6.4.8   Those representing opposing viewpoints will speak alternatively for a specifically allotted time.

6.4.9   An impartial timekeeper will monitor the length of the speeches.

6.4.10 No one may speak a second time until each has spoken once.

6.4.11 On entering the meeting, the speakers will sign a list indicating their intention to speak.

6.4.12 Only those signed up to speak may do so.

6.4.13 After all views have been heard, the Chairman will adjourn the meeting.

6.4.14 The Board Chairman will convene a second meeting at which the Board will take all view points under consideration and reach a decision. This decision will be conveyed in writing to the Library Director and to the person initiating the request for reconsideration. In the event of such action, the Library Board’s sole responsibility will be to determine whether the Library Director’s decision was in compliance with this policy. The decision will be considered final.

6.4.15 During the process of the reconsideration, questioned materials will remain in the collection until an official decision is made.

Adopted 6/11/2007

Modified 4/11/2016


7.1       Evaluation

The Library evaluates the materials in its collection on a regular basis to determine if they are meeting the needs of its patrons. Methods used may include: analysis of turnover rates by subject, availability and usage checks of titles, checks of holdings of titles from selected bibliographies, patron satisfaction questionnaires or other means.

7.2       Benefits of Weeding

According to the CREW (Continuous Review, Evaluation, and Weeding) method of evaluating and weeding collections in small and medium-sized public libraries, which was originally developed by the Texas State Library, librarians periodically weed and discard material in order:

7.2.1   To save space. Discarded materials no longer take the space needed for other acquisitions. Materials withdrawn from the collection no longer require library funds to provide for their physical maintenance (cleaning, binding, mending, etc.) or other hidden costs.

7.2.2   To save the time of users and the staff. Worn and outdated materials that crowd shelves impede the efficient search for information. Library housekeeping is also impeded by an overload of useless books.

7.2.3   To make the library more appealing by replacing books and rebounds in poor physical condition with attractive new books. Circulation can be increased by simply making the shelves look nicer, even if there are fewer books.

7.2.4   To enhance our collection’s reputation for reliability and up-to-datedness and public trust.

7.3       Material Withdrawal Policy (Weeding)

Weeding is an integral part of the collection development cycle. The Board of Directors of the Lewis Cooper Jr. Memorial Library has adopted the CREW Method* of weeding as the general method of weeding for the Library. The Library shall use the manual: The Crew Manual as revised and updated by Belinda Boon as the official guide for weeding.

*The Crew Method: Expanded Guidelines for Collection Evaluation and Weeding for Small and Medium-sized Public Libraries. Revised and updated by Belinda Boon, Austin, Texas: Texas State Library and Archives Commission, 1995.

7.4      Weeding Goals

The ultimate goal of the library is to weed 3% - 5% of the entire collection each year in order to meet the standards as set out in the Plan for Excellence for Alabama Public Libraries. (See Appendix G)


7.5      Weeding Formula

The CREW method recommends a formula for withdrawal of specific types of material based on a combination of copyright date (age of material), usage, and the following negative factors called MUSTIE factors:

M         Misleading or Inaccurate

U         Ugly, worn, beyond repair

S         Superseded by a newer edition or different work

T         Trivial or little merit

I           Irrelevant to community needs

E         Easily available elsewhere

7.6      Final Decision

The final weeding decision is left to the professional judgment of the Library Director.

7.7      Disposition of Withdrawn Materials

Withdrawn materials in acceptable condition will be given to the Friends of the Lewis Cooper Jr. Memorial Library for sale.

7.8      Replacements

7.8.1   A replacement is an item purchased to replace a title that has been withdrawn because of loss, damage, or wear. Replacements are not made automatically but are decided based upon general selection criteria.

7.8.2   Damaged books of intrinsic value that are no longer in print or that have high replacement costs are rebound if the physical conditions permit.

Adopted 6/11/2007

Modified 4/11/2016


            8.1       Residents

The Lewis Cooper Jr. Memorial Library extends free borrowing privileges to anyone age three and up who lives, works, or attends school or college within the Opelika City limits. Patrons must provide proof of ID and proof of residency before a Library card is issued.

8.2       Non Residents

Individuals not living, working or attending school in Opelika may get a library card by paying a non-refundable fee of twenty dollars per person per year.


8.2.1   A temporary resident of the City of Opelika may obtain a temporary library card by posting a $25.00 refundable deposit. This card is intended for non-residents who will be living in Opelika on a temporary basis. The $25.00 deposit is refundable upon surrender of the library card and the return of all library materials.

                        8.2.2 Temporary cards are limited to a 4 item checkout.

            8.3       The library will not issue a card to anyone known to have overdue

materials or unpaid fines to another library until the lending library acknowledges that those delinquencies have been cleared.

Adopted 6/11/2007

Modified 4/11/2016


            9.1       Loans; Length, and Renewal

9.1.1   Books, except best sellers, may be checked out for 14 days and may be renewed three times if not reserved by another patron.

9.1.2   Best sellers may be checked out for 7 days with no renewals.

9.1.3   Audios may be checked out for 14 days and may be renewed three times if not reserved by another patron.

9.1.4   Books less than 7 days overdue may be renewed by telephone.

9.1.5   Reference materials may not be checked out.

9.1.6   Newspapers may not be checked out.

9.1.7   Current periodicals may not be checked out. Previous months periodicals may be checked out for 14 days with no renewals.

9.1.8   Nothing may be renewed if another patron has it on reserve.


            9.2       Numbers of Items Loaned

9.2.1   Limit of 25 items per check out per adult card.

9.2.2   Limit of 15 items per check out per child card.

9.2.3   Limit of 5 audio/visual items per type/per card.

9.2.4   Limit of 1 audio visual item per type/per card.


            9.3       Reserves

The Library will place items in circulation on reserve as requested by a patron.

9.4       Lost or Damaged Materials

9.4.1 The full retail price and a $1.00 processing fee will be charged for any lost or damaged item. Damaged items paid for by the borrowing patron are still the property of the library and will be disposed of at the discretion of the library of the library staff.

9.4.2  Additional materials may not be checked out until all charges for lost or damaged items have been cleared.

9.5       Responsibilities of Borrowers

9.5.1   It is the responsibility of all patrons to:

1.)        Return all materials borrowed on time to the Lewis Cooper Jr. Memorial Library.

2.)        Pay all overdue fines.

3.)        Pay for all lost or damaged materials including a processing charge.

4.)        Present library card  or driver’s license for each check-out.


                        9.5.2   Borrowing privileges will be denied to:

                                    1.)        Patrons with unpaid fines of $5.00 or greater

2.)        All adult family members if any child member of the family has unpaid fines.

3.)        All adult family members if any child member of the family has unreturned materials overdue by 7 days or more.

9.6       Fines and Fees

Type of Fine or Fee                           Amount

Overdue items                                                                   25 cents per day.

Maximum fine $5.00/item

Replacement Borrower Card                                          $2.50 per card

CD/DVD/Video case lost or damaged                           $2.00 per case

Non-resident Borrower’s fee                                          $20.00 per year

Temporary Resident Fee                                                 $25.00 refundable deposit

Black and White Copies or Prints                                25 cents per sheet

Color Copies or Prints                                                      50 cents per sheet

Facsimile (FAX) Transmissions                                     $2.00 per seven pages

Lost or Damaged Materials                                             Actual cost of Item

Processing Fee for Lost or Damaged Item                 $1.00 per item

Exam Proctor Fee                                                              $10.00 per exam

Meeting Room Rental Fees                                             See section 16.0

Notary Services (when available)                                  $2.00

The Library accepts cash, check, credit or debit cards. 

The Library accepts credit or debit cards of any purchase of $5 or more, including copies, printouts, notaries or library fines.

Adopted 6/11/2007

Modified 4/11/2016


To better serve all library patrons, the Library Board of Directors has established certain standards of acceptable behavior to maintain an atmosphere which promotes the use and enjoyment of the resources and services of the library and which protects the safety of the general public, the library staff and the equipment and materials of the library.

            10.1    Any activity which interferes with the rights of other

patrons to use the library, which could result in the physical, emotional, or mental injury to oneself or others,  or could result in damage to the facilities, equipment or materials is considered disruptive and unacceptable. The library reserves the right to require anyone who violates these rules of conduct to leave the premises and to restrict library privileges for a specific period of time. Unlawful activities will be reported to the police and, when appropriate, violators will be subject to arrest.

10.2    Library patrons and staff have a right to assume that their time spent in the Library will be free from physical threat or psychological harassment.  In order to maintain a welcoming and safe environment, the following behaviors are prohibited:

10.2.1 Harassing patrons or staff, including but not limited to staring at or following individuals around the Library or impeding the free movement of individuals or groups.

10.2.2  Threatening the safety of an individual, including but not limited to abusive language and violent behavior.

10.2.3  Unreasonable loud conversations, phone calls, laughter, audio equipment or other noise that disturbs others and impedes their use of Library resources.

10.2.4  Displaying other behaviors inappropriate in a public setting, including but not limited to, the use of obscene language, running, horseplay, engaging in sports, etc.

10.2.5  Defacing, destroying or mutilating Library materials, software, hardware, or other Library facilities.

10.2.6  Misusing Library furniture or the Library facility.

10.2.7  Tampering with software or changing equipment settings

10.2.8  Introducing viruses or other malicious code into any computer system.

10.2.9  Creating excessive noise.

10.2.10  Disobeying the reasonable direction or request of any member of the Library staff.

10.2.11  Stealing Library materials, using false identification to obtain a library card or using another person’s library card without permission.

10.2.12  Possessing or consuming alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs in the Library or on the Library grounds.

10.2.13  Using cigarettes, e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco or other tobacco products in the Library or on the Library grounds.

10.2.14  Soliciting funds, panhandling, gambling or selling any merchandise unless approved by the Library Director or the Director’s designee.

10.2.15  Engaging in peeping, stalking, indecent exposure or other sexual harassment

10.2.16  Impeding passageways with personal property.

10.2.17  Removing or attempting to remove Library materials or property without formal check-out or other authorization.

10.2.18  Entering or remaining in the Library facility under the influence of alcohol or other illegal drugs.

10.2.19  Distributing leaflets or posting notices without permission of the Library staff.

10.2.20  Consuming food or beverages in the Library except at designated times or in designated rooms.

10.2.21  Sleeping, except for young children under a parent or caregiver’s supervision.

10.2.22  Using audible devices without headphones or using a headphone set at a volume that disturbs others.

10.2.23  Using communication devices in a manner that disturbs others.

10.2.24  Operating bicycles, rollerskates, cycles, skateboards, scooters, or other similar devices in the Library building, walkways, or in the parking lot. Bicycles are permitted if used for transporatation purposes and secured in the library rack.

10.2.25  Engaging in unsanitary habits which create unclean or unsanitary conditions within the Library facility.

10.2.26  Using Library materials, equipment, furniture, fixtures or the facilities in a destructive, abusive or potentially damaging manner or in a manner likely to cause personal injury to a person or in any other manner inconsistent with local customary use.

10.2.27 Engaging in sexual conduct or indecent behavior on Library premises.

10.2.28  Engaging in any activity or behavior that may result in injury or harm to any Library patron or staff member, including challenging another person to a fight or engaging in a fight.

10.2.29  Monopolizing Library space, seating, tables, stairways or equipment to the exclusion of other patrons or staff, or obstructing aisles or doorways with personal belongings.

10.2.30  Bringing animals inside the Library facility, with the exception of service animals.

10.2.31  Using restrooms for bathing, shaving, washing of clothes, changing clothes or other unintended uses.

10.2.32  Dressing improperly, including not wearing shoes or a shirt; clothing must be appropriately buttoned or zipped.

10.2.33  Taking Library materials into restrooms.

10.2.34  Having a strong or offensive odor that disturbs others or engaging in personal hygiene that poses a health risk.

10.2.35  Leaving children under the age of 12 unattended.

10.2.36 Taking photographs or videos of Library patrons without their permission.

10.2.37  Vandalizing the Library building, equipment or materials.

10.2.38  Viewing child pornography.

10.2.39  Trespassing or entering Library property when banned.

10.2.40  Leaving personal property unattended.

10.2.41  Bringing unauthorized weapons on Library premises.

10.2.42  Failing to abide by the computer use policy.

10.2.43  Loitering.

10.2.44  Using profane, obscene or abusive language, including racial, ethnic or other slurs and epithets.

10.2.45  Engaging in any action or activity that violates federal, state or local laws, ordinances and regulations.

            10.3   Enforcement of the Library behavior policy will be conducted in a fair and reasonable manner.  Library staff and/or Opelika Police Officers will intervene to stop prohibited activities and behaviors.  Individuals who fail to observe Library policies may be asked to leave the Library building and Library property, be banned from the Library for a period of time, be subject to permanent exclusion, be subject to arrest, or be subject to other lawful action.   These policies apply to all patrons and/or persons on Library property.

            10.4    Theft of library materials is a serious offense and may result in permanent exclusion from the library and arrest.

10.5      Communication of threats, physical violence, or sexual offenses

will result in permanent exclusion.

10.6    Trespassers will be arrested and prosecuted.

Adopted 6/11/2007

Modified 4/11/2016


11.1The staff of the Lewis Cooper Jr. Memorial Library does not

act in loco parentis.

11.2    Parents, guardians and all caregivers are encouraged to share the library experience with their children and to supervise their selection of all types of materials. Parents who wish to place limits on access to certain library materials, services or facilities should discuss these limits with their children. This is not the library’s responsibility. The Library Board emphasizes that a child’s health, safety, and behavior while in the library are the responsibility of the parent or guardian. While the Library Board is sympathetic to those families who have difficulty finding appropriate child care, the library cannot assume day care responsibility for those children.

11.3   Children and young people are expected to behave in a manner

          appropriate to a public library setting.  Children who are disruptive will             

            be given one warning and will be required to leave the Library if the

behavior does not improve.  Inappropriate behavior includes running,

yelling and all forms of roughhousing.  Parents, guardians or assigned

chaperones are responsible for the behavior of their children while in

the Library.  Library staff will call the child’s parent or guardian to

notify him or her of disruptive behavior.  Library staff members do not

act in place of the parent.

            11.4    Children under the age of 12 shall be supervised by a parent or responsible adult.

            11.4.1 Children 12 and older may be left in the library without a

            parent or responsible adult present.

                        11.4.2 Children ages 8 – 11 may attend a scheduled supervised library function without parent or responsible adult ONLY. Parents should return to pick up the child as soon as the program is scheduled to be over.

11.5Neither the Library nor its staff will assume responsibility

for keeping the unattended child within the library building nor will they assume responsibility for the safety of a child once he/she leaves the library.

11.6Under no condition will a library employee provide transportation

for a child.

11.7In case of an emergency involving an unattended child, the

staff will call 9-1-1 for help and report to the authorities that the child’s parent is not present.

11.8When, in the judgment of the library staff, a child is being

required by his/her parent or guardian to remain at the library on a regular basis in lieu of day care, the staff shall attempt to contact the parent or guardian for correction. Should this situation not be corrected or the parent or guardian cannot be contacted, the appropriate juvenile authorities shall be contacted.

11.9Children who are not picked up at closing time will be given the

opportunity to call a parent or guardian.  In order to provide for the safety and security of the child, children who are not picked up within fifteen (15) minutes after closing will be left in the care of the Opelika Police Department.  Under no circumstances will staff transport children in a vehicle or accompany them home.

Adopted 6/11/2007

Modified 4/11/2016


12.1The Lewis Cooper Jr. Memorial Library staff may proctor

examinations for library patrons in good standing and for

non-patrons who can show proof of residence, employment or school attendance within the city limits of Opelika.

12.2Exams may be proctored during library hours by appointment

only and shall not interfere with the performance of the regular duties of the Library staff.

12.2.1 Appointments require a deposit of $20.00, CASH ONLY.

                        12.2.2 Proctored exams cost $10.00.

                        12.2.3 Patron will be refunded the difference after any additional

            fees have been added to the $10.00 charge. Additional fees include faxes and printed pages.

12.3Should you need to cancel, call 24 hours before your scheduled      

    appointment and your $20.00 deposit will be applied to your re- 

    scheduled appointment.

12.4Should an appointment be missed or cancelled without 24 hours

notice, the $20.00 deposit shall be forfeited.

12.5Faxed exam – if your exam is faxed to the library, you will be

required to pay the fax cost at $2.00 for the first seven pages and

$2.00 for each seven pages or portion thereafter.

12.6E-mailed Exam – if your exam is e-mailed to the library, you will

be required to pay the cost of printing the exam at 25 cents per

black and white page and 50 cents per color page.

Adopted November 13, 2006

Affirmed July 9, 2007

Modified 4/11/2016


13.1It is the library’s policy to make as many sources of information

available to the public as possible. The Internet is a valuable source of information for the library users. The concept of Internet access for library patrons is a logical extension of the public library mission for easy and open access to information for all segments of the community through electronic as well as the printed medium.

13.2    Patrons with a library card will have immediate access, with normal applicable wait times. Access is logged by the computer system and will only be provided to law enforcement officials upon requests administered through the appropriate legal channels.

13.2.1 Patrons without a library card must see staff to get a temporary

guest pass. The patron is required to provide a photo id. The patron’s full name and computer used will be logged on a roster. This log will only be provided to law enforcement officials upon requests administered through the appropriate legal channels.

13.3Internet use is available for patrons but there is a need to prioritize

usage. Those patrons using computers for educational purposes or

for job searching will be given a higher priority that those using

computers for recreational use. Patrons may be asked to relinquish

their computer for someone that is needing it for a higher priority use.

13.4Computers cannot be used for illegal purposes such as identity    theft,fraudulent documents, or any other purpose that is considered illegal.

13.4.1  Computers can be monitored by Library staff at any time. The computers are public and there is no right to privacy.

13.4.2  If a patron is suspected of engaging in illegal activities, Library staff will call the police immediately.

13.5The Internet offers access to a wealth of material that is

personally, professionally, and culturally enriching. It is, however, an unregulated medium with a highly diverse user population. The library cannot control nor monitor the vast amount of information accessible via the Internet. Since it is possible that individuals might access sites they personally find offensive or disturbing, users must accept warning if they contain adult contents therefore patrons are PROHIBITED FROM ACCESSING CHAT ROOMS, OR ANY PORNOGRAPHIC OR SEXUALLY EXPLICIT SITES. As with other library materials, any restrictions on a child’s access are the responsibility of the parent/legal guardian, not the library staff. Parents of minor children are responsible for the child’s use of the library’s computers.

13.6There are computers in the children’s room which are only for

children ages 4 to 11. A parent/guardian must be in the library during use. The same Internet Usage rules apply as the adult computers.

13.6.1  The parent/guardian is responsible for monitoring their child’s interaction when accessing email or any other form of direct communication.

13.6.2   The child will not be allowed to access any “hacking” or other illegal websites by the filter set in place by the Library.

13.6.3  The Library will not allow the unauthorized disclosure, use or dissemination of personal information regarding minors.

13.7There are computers allotted only for young adults at least 12

years of age through 18 in the YA area of the library. A minor in possession of a library card will have full and immediate computer access. Minors not in possession of a library card must have a parent or guardian present to get temporary guest access. The parent or guardian is responsible for limiting their minor child’s computer use. The same Internet Usage rules apply as the adult computers.

13.7.1 The Library will not allow the unauthorized disclosure, use or dissemination of personal information regarding minors.

13.8Computers in the reference room are intended for those patrons

19 years of age and older.

13.8.1 Should the age appropriate computers in the Children’s and/or Teen area be full, minors may use the computers in the Computer lab/reference room. All rules regarding minor access to computers still apply in the computer lab/reference room.

13.9Sources on the Internet do not always provide accurate, complete, or

    current information. As with any material provided by the Library, the  

    user must take responsibility in questioning the validity of the

    information found.

13.10   The Internet computer equipment and software must be used as

installed. Users are not permitted to delete, add to, or modify the installed hardware or software.

13.11   Users may not use the Library’s computers to make unauthorized

entry into any other computer or network.

13.12   Intentional disruption of the operation of the computer systems

and networks is a violation and the user will be held responsible.

13.13   The library staff availability to assist users with basic computer

Internet access is limited. Although the staff is able to suggest start up and searching procedures as well as answer some questions, they cannot provide in depth training on internet computer use. Users must possess basic computer skills.


            there be no other patrons waiting, that time may be extended.

13.15  If a patron violates any of the library’s internet policies 

the following will occur: (based on policy 10)

13.15.1  1st offense- 6 months with no computer privilege. 

13.15.2  2nd offense- one year no computer privilege

                        13.15.3  3rd offense- patron will no longer have the privilege of

                                         using the library’s computers. 

Adopted November 13, 2006

Affirmed July 9, 2007

Modified December 14, 2012

Modified 4/11/2016


14.1    Telephone requests for information from the city directory will not be honored.

14.2    Requests for city directory information made through the appropriate legal channels (Freedom of Information Act, etc.) will be honored when the legality of request is verified hrough the City of Opelika legal counsel.

Adopted July 9, 2007

Modified 4/11/2016


15.1      The message board, display cases, and bulletin boards are for  

library use only. Notices, displays, or exhibits for civic or nonprofit groups may be permitted if the space is available.

15.2      Anyone wanting to display notices, displays or exhibits on library

property shall submit a request to the Library Director who shall make the decision to allow or disallow the request.

Adopted July 9, 2007


16.1      The Lewis Cooper Jr. Memorial Library provides a meeting room and tutor rooms for use by the citizens of Opelika and groups with a majority of members as residents of Opelika or others for social use. The primary purpose of Library rooms are to serve the needs of library-sponsored programs and services and such functions shall always have priority and will use the rooms at no cost, including The Friends of the Lewis Cooper, Jr. Memorial Library.

16.2      Use of the meeting room is subject to the rules and regulations as established by the Library Board.

16.3      Priority for the use of the meeting room is in the following order:

16.3.1 Library sponsored meetings and programs.

16.3.2 Friends of the Library sponsored meetings and programs.

16.3.3 Municipal meetings and functions.

16.3.4 Other community groups.

16.4      Fee Schedule:

16.4.1 Library-sponsored programs and activities, Friends of the Library-sponsored programs and activities, and Municipal groups may use the meeting room at no charge.       

16.4.2 Non-profit groups and other charitable organizations: $10.00 per

8 hours, or part thereof.


16.4.2a Non-profit groups and other charitable organizations can

  have fees waived by approval of the Director.

            16.4.2b Cleaning fees of $25.00 or the amount charged to clean

   the facility will be assessed if deemed necessary by   

   Library personnel.

16.4.3 Non-commercial, civic, and educational use: $20.00 per 8 hours, or part thereof.

            16.4.3a Cleaning fees of $25.00 or the amount charged to clean

  the facility will be assessed if deemed necessary by    

  Library personnel.

16.4.4 Social event: $50.00 per 4 hours, or part thereof plus Security Deposit.

            16.4.4a An application for the use of the meeting room for a

                          social event must be made thirty (30) days in advance.

            16.4.4b Payment of a $200.00 security deposit shall be made in

  cash, check, or money order at the time reservation is


            16.4.4c Security deposit will be refunded if the facility is found

  to be in satisfactory condition following the event.

16.4.5 Tutor rooms are available on a “first-come, first-served” basis. There is no charge for tutor room use, but tutor rooms may not be used for social use.

16.4.6 No library facilities shall be used for commercial use.

            16.4.6a No revenue shall be generated in library facility.

            16.4.6b No admission or entrance fees shall be charged on

   library property.

16.5      Maximum capacity for the meeting room, per fire code, is no more than 50 occupants.

16.6      Light snacks may be served.

16.6.1 Alcoholic beverages will not be allowed.

16.7      The room must be cleaned after each use and left in functional order. If the facility is found to be in unsatisfactory condition, cleaning fees as listed will be assessed. Unsatisfactory conditions include, but are not limited to: stains, gum and/or burns; damaged walls or ceiling tiles; broken furniture and/or appliances.

16.8      The meeting room is not available for political or religious meetings, or when in judgment of the Library Director any disorder may occur.

16.9      Groups may not charge admission or request donations for attendance or participation.

16.10   Meeting can only be scheduled during Library hours of operation and the meeting room must be empty and cleaned 15 minutes prior to closing.

16.11   All youth groups must have an adult sponsor reserve the room as well as being present when using the meeting room.

16.12   The Library may provide audio/visual equipment for facilitating your meetings.

16.13   The Library shall not be responsible for any equipment or damage to any equipment owned or used by renting group or organization.

16.14   The organization or group renting meeting space shall be responsible for any damages to the meeting room, or library equipment or furnishings while the room is in use.

16.15   The rental of library meeting space to any group or organization does not constitute an endorsement by the Library Board of the City of Opelika.

Adopted November 13, 2006

Affirmed July 9, 2007

Modified 4/11/2016


                        Appendix A                                                  Freedom to Read

                        Appendix B                                                  Freedom to View

                        Appendix C                                                  Library Bill of Rights

                        Appendix D                                                  Free Access to Libraries

                                                                                                For Minors

Appendix E                                                  Request for

Reconsideration Of Library Material


Appendix F                                                  Meeting Room Social Event Application

Appendix G                                                  Plan for Excellence


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 action apparently rise from a view that ur 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 pressure lead, 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 communications 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 ots 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 the 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 and 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.

6.    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, 1992; 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

Re-affirmed June 11, 2007



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

Re-affirmed June 11, 2007



The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basis 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 which 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 18, 1948, by the ALA Council; amended February 2, 1961; amended June 28, 1967; amended January 23, 1980; inclusion of “age” reaffirmed

January 24, 1996.

Re-affirmed June 11, 2007

Appendix D

Free Access to Libraries for Minors

An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights

Library policies and procedures that effectively deny minors equal and equitable access to all library resources available to other users violate the Library Bill of Rights. The American Library Association opposes all attempts to restrict access to library services, materials, and facilities based on the age of library users.

Article V of the Library Bill of Rights states, “A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridges because of origin, age, background, or views.” The “right to use a library” includes free access to, and unrestricted use of, all the services, materials, and facilities the library has to offer. Every restriction on access to, and use of, library resources, based solely on the chronological age, educational level, literacy skills, or legal emancipation of users violates Article V.

Libraries are charges with the mission of developing resources to meet the diverse information needs and interests of the communities they serve. Services, materials, and facilities that fulfill the needs and interests of library users at different stages in their personal development are a necessary part of the library resources. The needs and interests of each library user, and resources appropriate to meet those needs and interests, must be determined on an individual basis. Librarians cannot predict what resources will best fulfill the needs and interests of any individual user based on a single criterion such as chronological age, educational level, literacy skills, or legal emancipation.

Libraries should not limit the selection and development of library resources simply because minors will have access to them. Institutional self-censorship diminishes the credibility of the library in the community, and restricts access for all library users.

Children and young adults unquestionably possess First Amendment rights, including the right to receive information in the library. Constitutionally protected speech cannot be suppressed solely to protect children or young adults from ideas or images a legislative body believes to be unsuitable for them (1). Librarians and library governing bodies should not resort to age restrictions in an effort to avoid actual or anticipated objections, because only a court of law can determine whether material is not constitutionally protected.

The mission, goals, and objectives of libraries cannot authorize librarians or library governing bodies to assume, abrogate, or overrule the rights and responsibilities of the parents. As “Libraries: An American Value  states, “ We affirm the responsibilities and the right of all parents and guardians to guide their own children’s use if the library and its resources and services.” Librarians and governing bodies should maintain that parents – and only parents – have the right and the responsibility to restrict the access of their children – and only their children – to library resources. Parents who do not want their children to have access to certain library services, materials, or facilities should so advise their children. Librarians and library governing bodies cannot assume the role of parents or the functions of parental authority in the private relationship between parent and child.

Lack of access to information can be harmful to minors. Librarians and library governing bodies have a public and professional obligation to ensure that all members of the community they serve have free, equal, and equitable access to the entire range of library resources regardless of content, approach, format, or amount of detail. This principle of library service applies equally to all users, minors as well as adults. Librarians and library governing bodies must uphold this principle in order to provide adequate and effective service to minors.

(1)  See Erznoznik v. City of Jacksonville, 4211 U>S>205 (1975) – “ Speech that is neither obscene as to youths nor subject to some other legitimate proscription cannot be suppressed solely to protect the young from ideas or images that a legislative body thinks unsuitable [422 U>S> 205, 214] for them. In most circumstances, the values protected by the First Amendment are no less applicable when government seeks to control the flow of information to minors. See Tinker v Des Moines School Dist., supra Cf. West Virginia Bd of Ed v Barnette. 319 U>S> 524 (1943).”

Adopted June 30,1972, by the ALA Council; amended July 1, 1981; July 3, 1991,

              June 30, 2004.

Re-affirmed June 11, 2007

Appendix E

Request for Reconsideration of Library Material



Publisher (if known)___________________________________________________

Request initiated by ___________________________________________________



Complainant represents:    _______Himself

                                                _______Organization (Name)_____________________

                                                _______Other group (Identify)_____________________

(If objection is to material other than a book, change wording of the following questions, so they apply.)

1 .To what in the book do you object. Please be specific and site pages.)

2. What do you feel might be the result of reading this book?_______________________

3. For what age group would you recommend this book?__________________________

4. Is there anything good about this book?___________

5. Did you read the entire book?_______ What parts?____________________________

6. Are you aware of the judgment of this book by literacy critics?__________________

7. What do you believe is the theme of this book?_______________________________

8. What would you like your Library to do about this book?_______________________

      ________Withdraw it

      ________ Send it back to the staff selection officials for re-evaluation.

9.In its place, what book of equal literary quality would you recommend that would convey as valuable a picture and perspective of our civilization?

Signature of