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School Library System: Reconsideration

Articles & Resources

Read Jennifer LaGarde's blog post:

A Proactive Approach to Book Challenges

This article from EdWeek gives background on how the courts have ruled in the past:

Yanking Books from School Libraries: What the Supreme Court has Said and Why it's Murky

 

Sharon Fox's Infographic - www.ala.org/oif

Stephanie Cole Adams

This webinar by attorney, Stephanie "Cole" Adams was held on December 2, 2021 and addresses the tactics that libraries (of all types) can take when facing book challenges and collection-based protests.

ALA Resources

Timeline

If a complaint is made, follow these steps:

  1. Have a conversation with the person making the complaint and listen carefully to the person's objections. Be kind and understanding, explain your selection process, but make no commitments for any actions. 
  2. If this conversation does not diffuse the situation, ask the person making the complaints to file his or her objections in writing. You should have a form for this, which will then be submitted to an administrator (likely your principal) for deliberation by a reconsideration committee.
  3. Alert your principal of the possibility of a challenge.

If a written reconsideration form is submitted, follow these steps:

  1. Principal should inform the School Librarian, and convene the rest of the reconsideration committee. This committee should be composed of: School Librarian, Building Administrator, Teachers, Parents, Students (when appropriate)
  2. No materials should be removed from use in the collection until a decision has been determined by the committee.
  3. Within two weeks, the committee should:
    1. Examine the objection
    2. Examine the material in question
    3. Read reviews of the materials
    4. Convene to discuss the item, the objection, and prepare a report
    5. File a copy of the report with the school and central office
    6. Send a copy of the report to the complainant
  4. Implement the committee's recommendations
  5. This decision may be appealed

Other Resources

Reconsideration

Shared Foundation IV. Curate

B. Create: The school library promotes selection of appropriate resources and tools for information use by:

4. Implementing an administratively approved and endorsed policy that clearly addresses procedures for handling material challenges.

Occasionally you may find that someone objects to a resource or item in your collection, despite the efforts you take in the selection process. You may feel as though someone is challenging your hard work and professionalism. Before something like this occurs, you should have a board-approved policy in place, and well-known procedures that should be adhered to by everyone involved. On top of this, these policies and procedures should be reviewed periodically to ensure that everyone involved in the procedure is aware of them, and that they are still timely.

We've compiled some resources to help you work through this process. All schools and districts are different and what works for one may not work for your school. However, there are some standard elements that should be addressed or considered when adopting your procedures. Keep in mind, when preparing your guidelines, the curriculum, age level of your students, and the culture of your community.