Windsor Public Library Internet Use Policy
The mission of the Windsor Public Library is to make available by convenient and free access, collections of expertly selected library materials to meet the public’s informational needs, to promote the enjoyment of reading, to encourage life-long learning and to provide an opportunity for cultural enrichment.
In addition to these traditional library resources the library offers access to the Internet. The Internet is filled with information and resources that can educate, entertain, and expand horizons. However, there is no single authority that controls the millions of contributors to the Internet and the library cannot have complete knowledge of what is on the Internet. Some sites may carry information that a user finds controversial or inappropriate. The library cannot monitor such material and library users access the Internet at their own discretion.
Library staff will not knowingly tolerate children under seventeen accessing sites containing obscene material, as defined by the CT State Statutes, (53a-193). However, as with other library materials, restriction of a child’s access to the Internet is the responsibility of the parent/guardian. The library accepts the ALA resolution which supports constitutionally protected free speech and “does not endorse blocking or filtering Internet content in libraries because there is no proven technology that both blocks out illegal content and allows access to all constitutionally protected material” (see attached).
All online resources at the Library are provided equally to all library users. With any public resource, availability may not always match demand. The Library may set use limits so that all patrons seeking Internet access will have an appropriate opportunity. The Library reserves the right to end an Internet session when time limits are exceeded and/or to designate computer terminals for specific purposes. If Internet use results in disruption of library services or if patron behavior when using the Internet becomes inappropriate for a library setting, including viewing pornographic content, the library reserves the right to end a patron’s session. Repeated offenses may result in permanent loss of privileges
Patrons should be aware that electronic communications and files could become public. The Library adheres to ALA policies and state and federal laws. We will not share or provide any information unless required by court order or legal subpoena. However, due to the nature of the Internet, all users who release personal information, including personal identifying information, credit card or bank account numbers etc. do so at their own risk. The library will not be responsible for loss or damage resulting to a user from (such) a breach of privacy or confidentiality.
To aid patrons the staff will use the Internet as a reference tool when appropriate to retrieve information for users.
The Windsor Public Library and the Windsor Library Advisory Board reserve the right to modify this policy at any time.
Internet Policy 12/02, 3/13, 3/19
Kidspace Internet Use Policy
Kidspace Internet computers are intended for use by children age 12 and under. Computers for adults and teens are located on the lower floor of the library.
Parents and guardians are encouraged to read Child Safety on the Information Highway, jointly produced by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Interactive Services Association. A copy of this brochure is available at the Kidspace Desk. Parents and guardians of children under 18 years are responsible for their children’s use of the Internet and are strongly advised to supervise their children’s Internet sessions. Children under age 8 must have an adult with them while using the Internet. The Windsor Public Library is not able to monitor or control the content of material available through the Internet.
All patrons accessing the Internet computers are expected to have a working knowledge of computer operations.
Users may not install or download software programs onto the Library computer’s hard drive. Files downloaded from the Internet can contain viruses. The library will in no way be responsible for any materials or information downloaded from the Internet.
Users may not access pornographic materials or other materials that are inconsistent with the mission of Kidspace to provide a safe, enjoyable and educational environment for children.
Users shall not attempt to violate the computer security systems or attempt to access the hard drive, other files, networks, or computer systems of the Library.
The Library reserves the right to interrupt patrons if access is required due to Library business purposes, periodic maintenance, or technical difficulties.
Internet security is technically difficult to achieve, and electronic communications and files could become public. The Library will not be responsible for loss or damage resulting to a user from such a breach of privacy or confidentiality. All users who release their personal information, including personal identifying information, credit card or bank account numbers, etc. do so at their own risk.
Not all sources on the Internet provide information that is accurate, complete, current, or legal. The Windsor Public Library staff is unable to monitor or control the content of materials on the Internet, which change rapidly and unpredictably.
Any user who is found to have violated this policy may be subject to having his or her computer and library privileges suspended or revoked. All users shall be required to compensate the Library or others for any and all damage caused by the violation of this policy.
Approved by Library Advisory Board 9/06; revised 3/12, 4/16
Resolution on the Use of Filtering Software in Libraries
Whereas, on June 26, 1997, the United States Supreme Court issued a sweeping re-affirmation of core First Amendment principles and held that communications over the Internet deserve the highest level of Constitutional protection; and whereas, the Court’s most fundamental holding is that communications on the Internet deserve the same level of Constitutional protection as books, magazines, newspapers and speakers on a street corner soapbox. The Court found that the Internet “constitutes a vast platform from which to address and hear from a world-wide audience of millions of readers, viewers, researchers and buyers”, and that “any person with a phone line can become a town crier with a voice that resonates farther than it could from any soapbox”; and whereas, for libraries, the most critical holding of the Supreme Court is that libraries that make content available on the Internet can continue to do so with the same Constitutional protections that apply to the books on libraries’ shelves; and whereas, the Court’s conclusion that “the vast democratic foray of the Internet” merit full constitutional protection will also serve to protect libraries that provide their patrons with access to the Internet; and whereas, the Court recognized the importance of enabling individuals to receive speech from the entire world and to speak to the entire world. Libraries provide those opportunities to many who would not otherwise have them; and whereas, the Supreme Court’s decision will protect that access; and whereas, the use in libraries of software filters which block Constitutionally protected speech is inconsistent with the United States Constitution and federal law and may lead to legal exposure for the library and its governing authorities; now therefore be it resolved, that the American Library Association affirms that the use of filtering software by libraries to block access to constitutionally protected speech violates the Library Bill of Rights.
Adopted by the American Library Association Council July 2, 1997
Endorsed by the Windsor Library Advisory Board January 28, 1998
Most library materials are available for a 3 week loan. DVDs, videocassettes, magazines and video games may be checked out for 7 days. Quick Pick materials have a 1 week loan period for books and 3 days for DVDs.
Fines and Fees
Please note: Borrowing privileges or access to Internet computers is blocked when fines equal or exceed $10.00
Late fees .20/day
Late video games $1.00/day
Late reference materials $1.00/day
Book maximum fine $10.00
DVD maximum fine $15.00
Lost items: cost of item plus $5.00 processing fee
For more information on fines and fees please see a library staff member.
The Windsor Public Library makes the resources of the library available to the public by developing and implementing procedures and guidelines that provide fair use to the largest number of people possible.
The library director will develop policies for loaning, renewing, and reserving materials as well as policies governing late returns, lost materials, and the need to limit popular items as necessary. These policies will take into consideration the needs of the public, the amount of materials available, state and local mandates, staff recommendations, and general library practice as set forth by professional organizations and other libraries. In some cases policies at the Main Library and the Branch may differ in order to accommodate the relative sizes of their collections and staffs, differing hours of operation and other variables. Specific prices for fines and fees will be submitted to The Town Council for separate approval as part of the Town’s “Price guide to fees and services”.
The library director will modify these policies as the needs of the public and the resources of the library change and evolve. These policies will be communicated to the public by postings in the library, display on the library web page and in other library marketing publications as needed.
Rules of Conduct
Windsor Public Library and the Library Advisory Board have established the following guidelines in order to maintain an atmosphere that is conducive to reading, studying, writing and listening to written or various library materials:
• Noise and other activity including cell phone use, is to be kept at a level which will not inconvenience other people browsing, reading or working in the Library.
• Seating is limited to 1 person per chair.
• Study carrels are for individual silent study.
• Sleeping is not allowed.
• Animals are not allowed in the library building, except when they are part of a library program or if they are trained or are being trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities. “Therapy” dogs are not defined as service animals under ADA or CT State Law and are, therefore, not permitted in the Library.
• Backpacks and other belongings must be taken when owner leaves the building.
• Shoes and shirts must be worn at all times.
• Feet need to remain on the floor; not on the furniture.
• Eating and uncapped beverages are not allowed in the library.
• The smoking of any and all items, including by electronic means is prohibited.
• Children under the age of 9 must be supervised at all times by a responsible adult.
• Children under the age of 12 cannot be left at the Library without a responsible adult present in the Library.
• Patrons with special needs which require individual supervision are to be adequately supervised by a counselor or caregiver during their visit.
• Sports equipment brought to the Library must be left at a staffed desk (i.e. skateboards, basketballs). The Library cannot be responsible for this equipment.
• Patrons are prohibited from entering the library with weapons of any kind. This applies to all individuals, with the exception of law enforcement officers, even if the weapon is registered and they are carrying a permit. Violations may result in temporary or permanent exclusion from the library.
• Any other behavior which interferes with our purpose as stated above is not allowed.
The following are illegal in a public building and therefore violations may result in arrest and/or temporary or permanent exclusion from the library:
• Drinking alcohol
• Drug use/sale of any kind
• Profanity and abusive language
• Engaging in disorderly conduct, fighting, threatening behavior
• Intentionally damaging or vandalizing Library and/or personal property including restrooms
• Soliciting for money or services and/or selling of any product or service
• Harassing any patron or staff member
• Stealing library materials/personal property belonging to patrons and/or staff
Adopted by Windsor Library Advisory Board 9/22/94;revised 9/25/97, 5/30/02, 6/2/04, 4/20/10, 9/22/14, 9/19/17
Windsor Public Library Policy on Meeting Room and Use of Public Space
The Windsor Public Library has meeting rooms available for public use. While first priority is given to events conducted or sponsored by the library or the Town of Windsor, Windsor based community groups or nonprofit/not-for-profit organizations with Windsor members may also use the rooms free of charge.
For-profit groups or non-Windsor groups may rent meeting rooms for an hourly or daily rate, which will be set by the Windsor Town Council.
Rooms will be made available on an equitable basis. If a group is refused permission to use one of the rooms, it may appeal first to the Library Director and then to the Library Advisory Board. Use of the room by a group in no way means the library or Town endorses the particular beliefs or purposes of that group. Windsor Public Library does not permit use of meeting rooms for private parties or receptions, such as, but not limited to, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, showers, religious celebrations, retirements, family reunions, graduations, memorials, sales parties and gaming.
Fundraising activities of nonprofit/not-for-profit organizations will be permitted at the discretion of the Library Director and the Library Advisory Board. Such activities will be restricted to designated areas of the building, and will not be permitted in the lobby or spaces where they would interfere with the daily conduct of library business.
Groups are limited to reserving a room four times per year in order to maintain accessibility. Exceptions may be made only with the permission of the Library Director and Library Advisory Board.
In order to reserve a room, a representative of the group, age 18 or older must fill out and sign a meeting room application form. If applicable, payment is expected at time of booking. The group must comply with the rules stated on the meeting room application form.
Adopted by Windsor Library Advisory Board May 3, 1984.
Last revised by Windsor Library Advisory Board 9/10/19, 6/9/21
COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT POLICY
WINDSOR PUBLIC LIBRARY
I. Purpose of Policy
- Description of Community to be Served
Relationship with Other Agencies
- Library Service Goals
- Objectives for all areas of Collection Development
- Criteria and Responsibility for Selection, Selection Guides
- Priorities and Limitations of the Collection
Donations and Memorials
Withdrawals and Replacements
- Parameters of the Collection
Print Materials – Adult Collection
Local History and Town Documents
- Extending Resources
- Evaluation of the Collection
- Requests for Reconsideration of Materials
- Revisions of Policy
Library Bill of Rights
Freedom to Read Statement
Free Access to Libraries for Minors
Material Selection Policy
Reconsideration of Materials Request Form
Discard and Disposal Policy
Gift Acceptance Policy
I. PURPOSE OF POLICY
The purpose of this Collection Development Policy is twofold: first, to guide staff in selection of materials, including what subject areas and material types to consider buying and how much emphasis each should receive; and second, to inform the public about the principles upon which selections are made.
This statement was approved by the Windsor Library Advisory Board. A “Materials Selection Policy” was approved by the Windsor Town Council in December 1978; a “Donations and Memorial Policy” and a “Discard and Disposal Policy” were approved by the Windsor Town Council in September 1979. These are included in the Appendix.
II. DESCRIPTION OF COMMUNITY TO BE SERVED
RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHER AGENCIES
The Windsor Public Library, which includes the Main Library in Windsor center and a Branch Library in Wilson, serves all citizens of all ages who live or work in the town of Windsor. Through Connecticard, a statewide cooperative program among Connecticut libraries, it also serves any Connecticut resident with a valid library card from another town. (Conversely, Windsor residents may use the services of any other Connecticut library.)
The Windsor Library cooperates with public and private schools, agencies which serve children, nursing homes, community groups, and other municipal departments in the town of Windsor to enhance the services these groups provide.
III. LIBRARY SERVICE GOALS
PURPOSE OF THE COLLECTION
The mission of the Windsor Public Library is “To inform, enlighten and inspire through current materials, equal access to information and enriching programs, in an environment that fosters community gathering.”
The purpose of the library materials collection at the Main Library is to make available library materials for the educational, informational, and recreational needs of the community. The subjects and formats of the Branch Library collection vary with the needs and demands of its immediate neighborhood.
IV. OBJECTIVES FOR ALL AREAS OF COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT
The Library subscribes to the Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read Statement, and the Free Access to Libraries for Minors Statement, which have been approved by the American Library Association and are appended to this policy. In accordance with these statements, no library material shall be rejected solely because of the subject it treats; the degree of orthodoxy with which the subject is treated; the race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, or the political, social, or religious views of the author; or because the material does not happen to be in accord with the beliefs and opinions of librarians or library users. The selection and display of any given material is not a library endorsement of the viewpoints expressed. Nor are selections and displays made on the basis of any anticipated approval or disapproval, but solely on the merits of the work in relation to the building of the collection and serving the needs of the readers. The Library will try to provide materials representing diverse viewpoints on public issues of a controversial nature.
While the Library is aware that one or more persons may take issue with the selection of any items, the Library does not have to remove from shelves or displays items purchased in accordance with policy outlined here. Nor will library materials be marked in such a way as to show approval or disapproval, and no cataloged item will be removed from the open shelves except for the purpose of protecting it from theft or mutilation. Guardian(s) are responsible for reading material used by children. Selection will not be inhibited by the possibility that books may come into the possession of children.
V. CRITERIA AND RESPONSIBILITY FOR SELECTION, SELECTION GUIDES
The selection and display of library materials is the responsibility of the Library Director and individuals who have been designated to select and display various materials. One of their main assignments is to continuously strengthen the collection by selecting materials of quality, as well as material in demand. Such factors as readability, accuracy, quality of writing, cost, format, and existing holdings are taken into account. Reviewing media, standard lists of recommended titles, and information provided by publishers are used to make material selections. These include, but are not limited to, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, School Library Journal, The New York Times Book Review and Booklist.
VI. PRIORITIES AND LIMITATIONS OF THE COLLECTION
In order to facilitate access and satisfy patrons’ needs, multiple copies of popular titles have to be purchased in a variety of formats. This occurs in the case of frequently-asked-for standard titles as well as new titles and bestsellers. “Popularity” is judged by the number of reserves, potential longevity and other patron requests.
User recommendations are seriously considered, and are judged using the selection criteria above. If any item is deemed inappropriate for the collection because of cost, format, or degree of technicality, etc., an attempt will be made to borrow it for the patron from another library in our regional consortium.
DONATIONS AND MEMORIALS
The Library accepts donations of materials. These are judged on the same basis as purchased materials. If the individuals responsible for materials selection consider that the donated items will be in demand and will upgrade the collection, they will be cataloged and added to the Library. All donations which are added will be integrated into the existing collection. Donations not added to the collection may be sold to the public at a library book sale.
The Library does not assess the value of materials, and therefore will not provide that information for tax exemption purposes. However, upon donor’s request, the Library will supply a statement listing the number and general type of materials accepted.
The Library welcomes funds to be used for the purchase of memorials. A thank you note will be sent to the donor, and the family of the person honored will be notified. Materials will carry a gift plate showing the name of donor and person honored.
The Library welcomes donated self-published copies in book or music format by authors currently living in Windsor. One copy of each donated item, once accepted, becomes property of the Library. The Library reserves the right to refuse any title, or remove any title without notice, at any time, for any reason. If the item is removed from the collection, it will not be returned to the donor.
Book bindings must be of a quality to withstand at least 20 readings/circulations. Music CDs must be of a professional caliber and packaging should be durable and the standard dimension of similar media.
Date of publication must be no less than three years.
Accepted donations will receive a spine label and book plate indicating it as contributed by a local author.
WITHDRAWALS AND REPLACEMENTS
The American Library Association recommends that annual withdrawals should average about 5% of the total collection so that the Library can maintain an up-to-date and inviting collection. Lack of demand, obsolete or erroneous information, and poor condition are the main reasons for discarding. Standard titles of lasting value (unless they are replaced by newer copies) and materials of special local interest will not be discarded.
Discarded materials will be marked “discarded” and will not be given to library employees. Discarded materials of possible interest may be offered to charitable, historical, and educational as well as public institutions, or may be sold to the public at a library book sale or through a vendor sponsored buy-back program. Proceeds will go toward the purchase of new materials. Discarded materials or unwanted donations of little or no interest will be disposed of.
The Library does not necessarily replace materials which have been discarded due to loss or damage. Demand, number of duplicate copies, adequate subject coverage in the field with remaining materials, and availability of copies elsewhere in the library system are all taken into account when making decisions as to whether or not to replace a given title.
VII. PARAMETERS OF THE COLLECTION
PRINT MATERIALS – ADULT COLLECTION
The print collection consists of books and periodicals. Selection of these materials requires a knowledge of several factors: awareness of current social and political issues, knowledge of the book trade and scope of materials available, knowledge of the needs and desires of the community, and budget considerations.
The library serves a variety of ages, ethnic and educational backgrounds and therefore attempts to provide a broad range of recreational and educational materials on several levels and subjects. Particular emphasis is placed on providing books useful to Windsor citizens: information on childcare, family life, education, careers, health needs, home and automobile maintenance, money management and leisure activities, as well as materials which discuss current social and political issues. As the Library is heavily used by school-age children and teenagers to complement materials available in school libraries, attention is given to books on subjects included in the school curriculum. Textbooks for specific courses are not purchased, however, unless they happen to be the most appropriate available source of information in that field.
The Library purchases a broad range of popular magazines as well. An effort is made to acquire periodicals which are indexed so that information in them is easily accessible. Scholarly, professional, and technical journals are not purchased. Many of these, however, may be accessed through the library’s online resources.
LOCAL HISTORY AND TOWN DOCUMENTS
Local history will be defined as those happenings of special interest to the town of Windsor. Materials and artifacts relating to the history of Windsor will be reviewed to determine appropriateness to the collection. Items not deemed appropriate will be offered to the Windsor Historical Society.
The Library also maintains a collection of town documents including town and school budgets, minutes of boards and commissions, annual reports, and various special town reports. Withdrawal of any material from this collection will be made in cooperation with town officials.
The library maintains a collection of nonprint materials in various formats such as compact discs, DVDs, audiobooks, downloadable books and licensed databases. Subject areas for development are:
- Music – popular recordings in genres such as classical, children’s, rock and jazz recordings;
- Spoken word – adult and young adult fiction, popular nonfiction, language study and self-help recordings;
- Movies- popular feature films, television programs, documentaries and “how-to” instructional films;
- Games –Young adult educational and recreational games and activities.
The Library does not acquire curriculum-oriented nonprint media because it is considered the responsibility of the schools and a duplication of their collection. The librarians responsible for adult print material also select the adult nonprint media. Review sources, standardized lists, patron requests, and use patterns are used to aid in selection. Children’s staff selects nonprint media for the Children’s collection.
Weeding of the nonprint media collection is based upon the physical condition of the material, its use, and its availability for replacement.
The children’s materials collection serves children from birth to approximately age 12, as well as their caretakers. Children’s materials represent all cultures and reading levels for children through age 12 and consist of books, magazines, audiovisual material such as music, compact discs, DVDs and toys. Children’s staff is responsible for selecting children’s materials. Materials collected are accessible to the entire community without restrictions.
The collection is selected in order to meet the diverse needs and interest of children of all ability levels. The children’s collection duplicates materials from the adult collection if interest and reading level are appropriate, and if demand calls for duplication. Materials will be purchased on topics that will help children learn about their development and various life issues such as puberty, babies, divorce, and death.
Guardian(s) are responsible for reading material used by children.
Multiple copies of titles in high demand will be purchased. Materials which become damaged or lost are replaced if they are in demand and are still available.
VIII. EXTENDING RESOURCES
The Library cannot purchase every item of value or all materials which may be requested, but will extend its resources through cooperation with other libraries in Library Connection, Inc., a non-profit cooperative regional consortium of which we are a member. As an LCI member, we share an automated library system and our patrons have access to holdings of other member libraries within the LCI consortium.
- EVALUATION OF THE COLLECTION
The process of collection development requires that staff be aware of the demands of the community and that it identify strengths and weaknesses of the collection, so that weaknesses can be corrected and strengths maintained. In order to do this, library staff re-evaluates continuously. Methods of evaluation include: analysis of circulation statistics to determine most-used subject areas and material types, analysis of unanswered reference questions, reserves and requests from other libraries to determine areas of weakness, and analysis of demographic data to determine changes in the composition of the community. After compiling and analyzing data, staff can formulate a plan of systematic collection development.
- REQUESTS FOR RECONSIDERATION OF MATERIAL
If a patron seriously objects to a particular item in the collection, the following procedure should be followed:
1) The patron will be asked to fill out a form (see Appendix) detailing objections to the material.
2) The form will be referred to the Library Director and staff member(s) responsible for the selection of the material type in question, who will investigate and recommend action.
- If the issue remains unresolved, it will be presented to the Windsor
Library Advisory Board for a decision.
- REVISIONS OF POLICY
This policy will be revised every three years by the Library Director and staff members as assigned. Recommendations for revision will be brought to the Windsor Library Advisory Board.
Adopted by Library Advisory Board 9/24/07; revised 6/21/11, 9/22/14
12/9/19, 6/1/22, 6/1/23
Library Bill of Rights
Freedom to Read Statement
Free Access to Libraries for Minors
Materials Selection Policy
Reconsideration of Materials Request Form
Discard and Disposal Policy
Gift Acceptance Policy
Library Bill of Rights
The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.
- 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.
- 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.
III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
- Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
- A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
- 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
The Freedom to Read Statement
The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack. Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label “controversial” views, to distribute lists of “objectionable” books or authors, and to purge libraries. These actions apparently rise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to counter threats to safety or national security, as well as to avoid the subversion of politics and the corruption of morals. We, as individuals devoted to reading and as librarians and publishers responsible for disseminating ideas, wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of the freedom to read.
Most attempts at suppression rest on a denial of the fundamental premise of democracy: that the ordinary individual, by exercising critical judgment, will select the good and reject the bad. We trust Americans to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe. We do not believe they are prepared to sacrifice their heritage of a free press in order to be “protected” against what others think may be bad for them. We believe they still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression.
These efforts at suppression are related to a larger pattern of pressures being brought against education, the press, art and images, films, broadcast media, and the Internet. The problem is not only one of actual censorship. The shadow of fear cast by these pressures leads, we suspect, to an even larger voluntary curtailment of expression by those who seek to avoid controversy or unwelcome scrutiny by government officials.
Such pressure toward conformity is perhaps natural to a time of accelerated change. And yet suppression is never more dangerous than in such a time of social tension. Freedom has given the United States the elasticity to endure strain. Freedom keeps open the path of novel and creative solutions, and enables change to come by choice. Every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of our society and leaves it the less able to deal with controversy and difference.
Now as always in our history, reading is among our greatest freedoms. The freedom to read and write is almost the only means for making generally available ideas or manners of expression that can initially command only a small audience. The written word is the natural medium for the new idea and the untried voice from which come the original contributions to social growth. It is essential to the extended discussion that serious thought requires, and to the accumulation of knowledge and ideas into organized collections.
We believe that free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture. We believe that these pressures toward conformity present the danger of limiting the range and variety of inquiry and expression on which our democracy and our culture depend. We believe that every American community must jealously guard the freedom to publish and to circulate, in order to preserve its own freedom to read. We believe that publishers and librarians have a profound responsibility to give validity to that freedom to read by making it possible for the readers to choose freely from a variety of offerings.
The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution. Those with faith in free people will stand firm on these constitutional guarantees of essential rights and will exercise the responsibilities that accompany these rights.
We therefore affirm these propositions:
- It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those that are unorthodox, unpopular, or considered dangerous by the majority.
Creative thought is by definition new, and what is new is different. The bearer of every new thought is a rebel until that idea is refined and tested. Totalitarian systems attempt to maintain themselves in power by the ruthless suppression of any concept that challenges the established orthodoxy. The power of a democratic system to adapt to change is vastly strengthened by the freedom of its citizens to choose widely from among conflicting opinions offered freely to them. To stifle every nonconformist idea at birth would mark the end of the democratic process. Furthermore, only through the constant activity of weighing and selecting can the democratic mind attain the strength demanded by times like these. We need to know not only what we believe but why we believe it.
- 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.
- It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to bar access to writings on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.
No art or literature can flourish if it is to be measured by the political views or private lives of its creators. No society of free people can flourish that draws up lists of writers to whom it will not listen, whatever they may have to say.
- 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.
- It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept the prejudgment of a label characterizing any expression or its author as subversive or dangerous.
The ideal of labeling presupposes the existence of individuals or groups with wisdom to determine by authority what is good or bad for others. It presupposes that individuals must be directed in making up their minds about the ideas they examine. But Americans do not need others to do their thinking for them.
- 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.
- It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians to give full meaning to the freedom to read by providing books that enrich the quality and diversity of thought and expression. By the exercise of this affirmative responsibility, they can demonstrate that the answer to a “bad” book is a good one, the answer to a “bad” idea is a good one.
The freedom to read is of little consequence when the reader cannot obtain matter fit for that reader’s purpose. What is needed is not only the absence of restraint, but the positive provision of opportunity for the people to read the best that has been thought and said. Books are the major channel by which the intellectual inheritance is handed down, and the principal means of its testing and growth. The defense of the freedom to read requires of all publishers and librarians the utmost of their faculties, and deserves of all Americans the fullest of their support.
We state these propositions neither lightly nor as easy generalizations. We here stake out a lofty claim for the value of the written word. We do so because we believe that it is possessed of enormous variety and usefulness, worthy of cherishing and keeping free. We realize that the application of these propositions may mean the dissemination of ideas and manners of expression that are repugnant to many persons. We do not state these propositions in the comfortable belief that what people read is unimportant. We believe rather that what people read is deeply important; that ideas can be dangerous; but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society. Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.
This statement was originally issued in May of 1953 by the Westchester Conference of the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers Council, which in 1970 consolidated with the American Educational Publishers Institute to become the Association of American Publishers.
Adopted June 25, 1953, by the ALA Council and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee; amended January 28, 1972; January 16, 1991; July 12, 2000; June 30, 2004.
A Joint Statement by:
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
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 abridged 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 charged 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 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 parents. As “Libraries: An American Value” states, “We affirm the responsibility and the right of all parents and guardians to guide their own children’s use of 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.
1See Erznoznik v. City of Jacksonville, 422 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. 624 (1943).” Adopted June 30, 1972; amended July 1, 1981; July 3, 1991, June 30, 2004, by the ALA Council.
WINDSOR PUBLIC LIBRARY
MATERIALS SELECTION POLICY
WHEREAS, the Windsor Public Library seeks to provide its users with a lively, balanced,
strong collection of books and other forms of communication, which will serve
their educational, cultural, informational, and recreational needs; and
WHEREAS, tastes, opinions, moral views, reading interests and needs differ from person to
person, respect for these differences is one of the basic tenets of democracy,
and the library must select books and other library materials with these
differences in mind; and
WHEREAS, it is necessary to establish a selection policy which will accomplish these goals;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE WINDSOR LIBRARY ADVISORY BOARD:
That selection of library materials is the responsibility of the library director and staff members designated to select various materials. One of their main assignments is to continuously strengthen the collection by selecting materials of quality as well as materials in demand. Such factors as readability, accuracy, quality of writing and/or production, cost, format, and existing holdings are taken into account. Reviewing media such as “Kirkus Reviews”, Library Journal”, “School Library Journal”, “Booklist”, and the “New York Times Book Review” are consulted. Users’ recommendations are seriously considered.
That in order to facilitate access and satisfy patrons’ needs, multiple copies of popular titles have to be purchased. This occurs in the case of frequently asked for standard titles as well as new titles and best sellers. “Popularity” is judged by the number of reserves and other patrons’ requests.
That no material shall be rejected solely because of the subject it treats; the degree of orthodoxy with which the subject is treated; the race, sex, or nationality or the political, social, or religious views of the author; or because the material does not happen to be in accord with the beliefs and opinions of librarians or library users.
That the collection will provide opposing views on controversial topics of interest to the people of the community.
Adopted by Windsor Town Council 1978
Revised by Library Advisory Board 5/13/99
WINDSOR PUBLIC LIBRARY
RECONSIDERATION OF MATERIALS REQUEST
Type of material (book, periodical, film, etc.) __________________________________
Publisher _________________________________________ Date ________________
Complaint initiated by ____________________________________________________
City _____________________________ State ____________________ Zip ________
Do you represent an organization or group? _______________ Please identify.
- How was this material brought to your attention?
- To what in the work do you object? Please be specific, cite pages.
- Did you read the entire work? What parts?
- What do you feel might be the result of reading this work?
- For what age group would you recommend this work?
- What do you believe to be the theme of this work?
- Are you aware of judgments of this work by literary critics?
- What would you like the library to do about this work?
_________ Do not lend to my child
_________ Return it to staff selection committee for reevaluation
_________ Other. Please explain. ____________________________________________
- What work would you recommend that would convey as valuable a picture and perspective on the subject treated?
- Other comments.
WINDSOR PUBLIC LIBRARY
DISCARD AND DISPOSAL POLICY
WHEREAS, the Library strives to maintain an inviting, up-to-date collection because
studies have shown that the use of library materials drops off significantly
and rapidly the older the material becomes; and
WHEREAS, the American Library Association recommends that annual withdrawals from
the collection should average about 5% of the total collection; and
WHEREAS, it is necessary to establish criteria which will be used for discarding and
disposal of materials;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE WINDSOR LIBRARY ADVISORY BOARD:
That lack of demand, obsolete or erroneous information, and poor condition are the main reasons for discarding.
That standard titles of lasting value and materials of special local interest will not be discarded.
That discarded materials will be marked “discarded” and will not be given to library employees and/or persons in or out of the Town.
That discarded materials of possible interest will be offered to charitable, historical, and educational as well as public institutions or sold to the public daily at the Library or once or twice a year at a well advertised book sale. Proceeds will go into the Town’s general fund or towards the purchase of new materials.
That discarded materials or unwanted donations of little or no interest will be disposed of by the Public Works Department.
Adopted by Windsor Town Council 1979
Revised by Library Advisory Board 5/13/99, 6/21/11
Windsor Public Library
Gift Acceptance Policy
The Windsor Public Library welcomes gifts of money and materials, consistent with its policies. The Library Director has the discretion to determine the disposition of donated materials. Unless specified in writing, all gifts are considered unconditional and unrestricted. Unrestricted gifts may be sold and the proceeds used to benefit the library. Upon request, the library will provide a receipt for donations but will not assess the value of any item.
Decisions on the acceptance of special gifts may be referred to the Library Advisory Board. Any gifts which are offered with conditions or restrictions must be accepted subject to approval of the Library Advisory Board or conform to guidelines established by the Board.
Books and Other Materials
The library may accept donations of books, audio-visual, computer and other materials in good condition. Such donations will be judged on the same basis as purchased materials, according to the established Collection Development Policy. Acceptance and utilization of donated materials is at the discretion of the library. The library reserves the right to dispose of donations, which will not enhance the collection in accordance with the established discard and disposal policy. The library does not accept donations of used magazines.
Gifts of art, furnishings and other decorative objects may be accepted if such gifts are compatible with the library’s needs and facilities. The acceptance of a gift does not imply that the object will be retained or displayed at the library.
The following points will be considered:
Is the gift appropriate for a public library?
Will the gift benefit the library or community?
Is there space to accommodate the gift?
Are there maintenance or insurance issues to be considered? If so, how will they be funded?
The library is pleased to receive monetary contributions, which will be used to further the purposes of the library. Specific desires of donors will be honored to the maximum extent possible. Materials purchased as memorial or honorary gifts will contain a gift plaque naming the donor and honoree, if desired. Acknowledgements will be sent to the honoree or family of the deceased.
Annuities, Securities and Bequests
The library will accept gifts of securities and annuities as well as charitable bequests.
Adopted on Dec. 8, 2005.
The Library Advisory Board reserves the right to amend this policy at any time