The public library plays a unique role in our democracy by providing a place where individuals can pursue their interests. Every citizen in a democracy has the right of equal access to public library resources. Adequate, free and impartial public library service is an indispensable part of every community.
Guiding Principles for the Arlington Heights Memorial Library
The Board of Library Trustees recognizes that within Arlington Heights there are groups and individuals with disparate interests, backgrounds, cultural heritages, social values and needs. The Board further recognizes that the Library was created to serve all of the people of Arlington Heights regardless of age, race, gender, creed, sexual orientation, national origin, political or social views.
The Board of Library Trustees understands that some items and resources are controversial and could be offensive, shocking or boring to some individuals, but may be meaningful and significant to others. It is in the public interest for the Arlington Heights Memorial Library to make available diverse views and expressions, including those which may seem unorthodox or unpopular with the majority. While everyone is free to reject titles of which they do not approve for themselves and their children, they cannot restrict the freedom of others to choose what to read, hear or view.
The public library does not advocate the ideas found in its collection; rather, the public library provides a safe haven for those ideas. The selection of any item or resource does not constitute an endorsement of its contents by the Library.
The Board of Library Trustees endorses principles in the following documents:
Who Makes the Selections
Selection of materials for the Library is done by librarians who have subject or format area specializations. Designated managers and administrators share responsibility for selection decisions. Ultimate responsibility for the Library’s collection resides with the Executive Director.
Since thousands of titles are published every year in print, audiovisual, and electronic formats, the staff is selective in what they choose for the Library’s collection. Selectors consider factors such as customer interest, collection scope and size, budget and space. They also take into account anticipated or existing demand, local interest, reputation and skill of the author, performer, or artist, existing holdings in the subject area, published reviews, current media attention, availability of titles from other sources, and the physical durability of the item.
To maintain a vital, current collection which meets the needs of the community, continuous review is necessary. Withdrawn library titles may not be reserved for specific individuals. Withdrawn items are given to the Friends of the Library to sell, discard or donate.
Protection of Public Interest
The Library is a tax-supported institution. Any resident has the opportunity to suggest the purchase of a title for the Library’s collection. A resident may also request the reconsideration of an item already in the Library’s collection. Procedures have been established which ensure the serious review of a resident’s request for reconsideration. Until a decision is reached, an item will remain in the collection.
Frankness of language and/or graphic content is never considered sufficient justification in itself to remove or restrict Library items or formats. Titles with viewpoints or content deemed objectionable by a resident are judged as entire works, not on isolated passages or sections.
Library items are not marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of the contents, and titles are not isolated except for the purpose of protecting them from damage or theft.
The same criteria of selection are applied to gifts as are applied to purchased items based on the collection development plan. Gifts made to the Library, but not accepted for the collection, are not returned to the donor but are given to the Friends of the Library to sell, discard or donate.