I - Instruction

Media Materials Selection and Adoption


The words “media,” “library materials,” or other synonyms as they may occur in the policy have the widest possible meaning. Every form of permanent record is included. Selection refers to the decision that must be made either to add a given item to the collection or to retain one already in it. It does not refer to reader guidance. Although some of the provisions of this section are concerned primarily with the operation of the various media centers, the intent is that all the general guidelines concerning both selection and removal of titles will be applicable to all instructional materials.

Objectives of Selection

The purpose of the Yarmouth school media selection policy is to guide instructional personnel and to inform the public of the non-print library materials, as well as textbooks and instructional materials. A policy cannot replace the judgment of media personnel and teachers, but stating goals and indicating boundaries will assist them in choosing from a vast array of available materials. And although the School Committee places the highest confidence in staff judgment in such sensitive matters, it does recognize that ultimate legal responsibility rests exclusively with the School Committee.

The Yarmouth School Committee recognizes that it is the primary objective of the library media centers in the schools to implement, enrich and support the educational programs of the schools, as well as to provide recreational reading materials. In addition, it is the responsibility of the library media personnel to provide a wide range of materials on all levels of difficulty, with diversity of appeal and presentation of different points of view.

To this end, the School Committee asserts that the responsibility of the school library media center is:

1.  To provide materials that will enrich and support the curriculum, taking into consideration the varied interests, abilities and maturity levels of the students served;

2.  To provide materials that will stimulate growth in factual knowledge, literary appreciation, aesthetic values and ethical standards;

3.  To provide a background of information which will enable students to make intelligent judgments in their daily life;

4.  To provide materials on opposing sides of controversial issues so that young citizens may develop under guidance the practice of critical analysis of all media;

5.  To provide materials representative of the many religious, ethnic and cultural groups and their contribution to our American heritage; and

6.  To place principle above personal opinion and reason above prejudice in selection of materials of the highest quality in order to assure a comprehensive collection appropriate for the users of the library media center.

In addition, the Yarmouth School Committee recognizes that the final authority as to what materials an individual student will be exposed to rests with the student’s parents/guardians. However, at no time will the wishes of one child’s parents/guardians to restrict his/her reading or viewing of a particular item infringe on another parent’s rights to permit their child to read or view the same material.

Criteria for Selection

Selection of materials by media personnel and teachers is based upon knowledge of the curriculum and the existing collection. The primary goal will be support of the educational program. A secondary goal will be the provision of materials for recreational interests. Media personnel will work toward providing a collection which is balanced in all areas.

Materials may be considered on the basis of overall purpose, timeliness or performance, importance of the subject matter, authoritativeness, reputation of publisher/producer, reputation and significance of the author/artist/composer/producer, format and price.

Gifts will be accepted, but the right is reserved to evaluate and dispose of them at the discretion of the media specialist in accordance with the overall policy outlined herein.

Recognizing that maintaining an up-to-date collection is a routine, professional responsibility, media personnel are expected to remove from the collection materials which are out-of-date or no longer serve a need.

Procedure for Selection

In pursuit of the goal of developing a balanced collection which serves the school’s needs, reputable, unbiased, professionally prepared selection aids will be consulted by media personnel, e.g., children’s catalog, senior high catalog, ALS booklist.

Whenever possible, purchasing of non-print materials shall be made after personal evaluation by the media specialist or faculty member. However, reviewing materials described above may be used in certain circumstances in lieu of personal evaluation.

Faculty members are urged to play a significant professional role in the continuing growth of the school system’s library resources by suggesting items in their area of expertise to their media specialists for possible acquisition. However, faculty members will be expected to have personally evaluated or checked the professional reviews of specific materials which they request be purchased for the media center collection.

Selection will not be made on the basis of any anticipated approval or disapproval by various interest groups, but solely on the merits of the work in relation to the collection, correlation with curriculum, and interests of students and teachers. No catalogued material will be sequestered except to protect it from harm. All materials should be purchased only if favorably reviewed or personally evaluated.

Challenged Materials

Despite the care taken to select materials for student and teacher use and the qualifications of the persons who select the materials, it is recognized that occasional objections may be raised by community members, students or school staff. In the event a complaint is made, the following procedures will apply:

1.  Whenever feasible, it is strongly recommended that an informal discussion take place between the staff member involved and the person questioning the suitability of the materials (complainant) in an attempt to clear up misunderstanding and eliminate the complaint before any formal steps become necessary. However, notwithstanding this, the building principal should be informed as soon as a faculty member is aware of any complaint;

2.  If the complaint is not “worked out” during the informal session, the staff member receiving the complaint will ask that the complainant immediately fill out the “Media Reconsideration Request Form.” This form should be returned by the staff member to the building principal who shall, within one week, call a meeting consisting of an administrator, the complainant and the faculty member involved;

3.  If the complaint is still not satisfactorily reconciled, then an ad hoc media selection committee will be convened to review the material. It shall consist of the Superintendent, the building principal, the faculty involved, any other staff member deemed appropriate and/or the town librarian and layperson, if their addition seems appropriate, at the discretion of the Superintendent;

4.  If no solution is reached, a hearing before the School Committee will be scheduled; and

5.  No materials shall be removed from school use pending a final decision.

Legal Reference: 20-A MRSA§1001

Adopted: Prior to 1982

Revised:  June 1992, July 12, 2018