Controversial Materials Policy

The Woodbridge Public Library Board of Trustees upholds freedom of information for all as stated in the American Library Association (ALA) Library Bill of Rights, The Freedom to Read Statement, and the Freedom to View Statement

The Woodbridge Public Library provides information reflecting different points of view and strives to represent all sides of controversial issues.  The library encourages the examination of diverse opinions.  It does not advocate specific points of view or take an official stand on any public question.   The library does not exclude materials from the collection only because they are controversial. 

Library materials are selected and retained according to established professional standards and sources such as user requests and suggestions, subject bibliographies, and usage trends reported in library literature.  Materials selection and retention are not determined by pressure from external individuals or groups, nor by the possibility that children or adolescents may be exposed to materials intended for an adult audience.  Children’s parents or legal guardians are entirely responsible for their children’s use of library materials. 

While all are free to reject materials for themselves, they cannot restrict others’ freedom of access to materials.  The library board believes no one in a democracy has a right to prevent another person from using specific materials by demanding the materials’ removal from the library collection.  According to the ALA freedom of information principles cited above, the board directs that whenever censorship is involved, library materials will be removed from the library collection only by order of a court of competent jurisdiction.

Any library user may formally request that the library reconsider an item’s inclusion in or withdrawal from the collection by completing a “Request for Reconsideration of Library Material” form, which is available at any library reference desk or on the library website.  The library materials selection staff, appropriate agency materials coordinator(s), and director will review the request and determine the item’s appropriate status.  The director will notify the user of the decision.  The user may appeal the decision to the board by making a written request to the board president.

Request for reconsideration of library material 

If a user complains about existing library collection material and / or a lack of material, the senior staff member available should determine the specific nature of the patron’s complaint.  If the patron wants material formally reconsidered with respect to its place and purpose in the collection, the staff member should:

  1. Provide the patron with a copy of the Controversial Materials Policy to review
  2. If appropriate, provide the patron with a Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials form to complete
  3. Assure the patron the materials selection staff, appropriate service coordinator, and library director will review the existing or proposed material
  4. Inform the patron he / she will receive a letter from the director describing the result of the review
  5. If requested, give the patron a copy of the completed form
  6. The staff member taking the complaint should forward the following information to the materials selection staff, appropriate service coordinator, and director:
    1. The completed reconsideration form
    2. Available reviews
    3. Any further explanation of the complaint
    4. The material itself when possible

Forms

  • < Approved - Board of Library Trustees - May 21, 2015 >
  • < Revised - Board of Library Trustees - February 21, 2019 >