Customer concerns about library materials

Auburn Public Library has an obligation to its users to provide resources which reflect differing points of view. The First Amendment of the Constitution protects the free expression of ideas, even those of a controversial nature which may offend some library users.

Materials on controversial subjects or issues may be selected for the Library’s collection when:

  • they display significant artistic or literary achievement
  • they give evidence of a sincere desire to contribute to or provoke responsible debate
  • they give evidence of a sincere desire to get at the facts
  • they are effective resources for helping members of the community meet their information needs.

Selections will not be made on the basis of any anticipated approval or disapproval, but on the merit of the work in relation to the library’s objectives in serving the interests of its public. A serious work that illuminates some problem or aspect of life will not be excluded because its language or subject matter may be offensive to some library users.

Auburn Public Library subscribes to the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, as well as its Freedom to Read Statement and its Freedom to View Statement. All library users, regardless of age, are entitled to equal access to library resources. Parents and legal guardians assume the responsibility for the reading, listening, and viewing of library materials by their children and young adults. Selection of materials for the Library’s collection will not be inhibited by the possibility that adult materials may come into the possession of minors.

Customer Concerns

A library user may express concern to a staff member about the inclusion of an item in the Library’s collection. In such a case, the patron will be encouraged to discuss the matter with a department head, who may provide information about the item’s merit in relation to patron needs and/or the Library’s Collection Development Policy. If the library user still has concerns about the item, he or she will be asked to complete a Statement of Concern about Library Materials Form.

The completed form will be given to the library director and the librarian in charge of collection services. The Library will gather information about and reviews of the challenged item from as many sources as possible as evidence of its generally perceived qualities.

The Library’s Materials Selection Committee will meet with the director to review the complaint and the challenged item in relation to the reviews gathered and the Library’s Collection Development Policy. The committee will make a recommendation to the director, who will take all factors under advisement and come to a decision. The decision will be communicated in writing to the person initiating the concern. A copy of the patron’s statement of concern and the director’s decision will be kept on file.

If a satisfactory resolution can not be reached between the individual and the library director, an appeal may be filed with the Library’s Board of Trustees, which will have the ultimate authority to resolve the matter.