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Reconsideration of Library Materials Policy

In order to represent diversity of thought, it is important that the Library’s collection contain materials representing differing points of view on public issues of a controversial nature. The Alamosa Public Library does not endorse particular beliefs or views, nor does the selection of an item express or imply an endorsement of the viewpoint expressed by the author. Library staff will not label or identify materials to show approval or disapproval of the contents, nor will they sequester items, except for the purpose of protecting them from theft or damage.

Comments from members of the community about the collection or individual items in the collection are welcome, and frequently provide library staff with useful information about interests or needs that may not be adequately met by the collection. 

All requests for the Library to reconsider materials must be made in writing. Staff will make the Request for Reconsideration of Material form available to anyone who expresses dissatisfaction with Library material.

The following procedures will be followed when a patron or group finds some specific material or author objectionable or unsuitable for circulation:

  1. The patron or group will be asked to submit a Request for Reconsideration of Material form to the Library Director. The patron may leave the completed form at the Library or mail it to the Library Director.
  2. Materials under reconsideration shall remain on the shelves and in circulation until a final decision has been made.
  3.  Upon receipt of the completed form, the Library Director will assign at least three library staff members to read/watch/listen to the material itself, along with reviews of the material from various sources. Board members are also expected to read or review the material under consideration.  The Library will obtain additional copies of the material as needed from appropriate sources for the Board of Trustees. This review committee will evaluate the material based on its:
    1. Literary or artistic merit.
    2. Educational or historical merit.
    3. Representation of diverse groups.
    4. Support of the Library’s mission, goals, and especially its Collection Development Policy.
  4. The Request for Reconsideration form will be presented to the Library Board along with the staff committee’s findings on the material in question at the next regular meeting of the board. The Library Director and the Library Board of Trustees will arrive at a decision that is based on methodical study of the professional reviews of the work in question, the opinions of the Trustees, the opinions of the staff, and the material’s strength and value evaluated with respect to the criteria set forth in paragraph 3, above, as a whole and not in part. A second meeting may be needed if the Board feels more time is needed to reach a decision.
  5.  The material in question will be either: withdrawn as no longer suitable for the library collection development, OR returned to the shelf for accessibility to the general public.
  6. The individual or group will be officially notified in writing of the decision of the Library Board and the Library Director.
  7. As a final recourse, patrons who still feel that their concerns have not been adequately met have the ability to express their issues to City Council.

All Library patrons shall have full access to the Library’s collection. Selection of adult materials will not be limited by the possibility that they may come into the possession of minors. Library personnel may attempt to dissuade a young patron who has chosen a book obviously beyond his or her comprehension, but if that young patron insists on checking out that specific book, the library staff member cannot be held responsible in any way.

Responsibility for the reading of minors rests with their parents or legal guardians.

Items on Display

The Alamosa Public Library maintains several locations for the display and promotion of library materials. The purpose of these displays are:

  • To encourage circulation.
  • To draw attention to different areas of the collection and different types of materials.
  • To offer information and resources related to current events.

As in the general collection, the Library strives for diversity and representation in displayed items – including diversity in viewpoints. The selection of an item for display does not suggest endorsement of beliefs or views expressed by the author. Staff will ensure items on display in Library children’s areas are age-appropriate, but otherwise materials for display will not be restricted based solely on anticipated disagreement regarding their contents.

A patron request that an item be removed from a display will be handled as follows:

  • If the item was included in a display by accident, Library staff will return it to regular shelving.
  • If the item was included in the display intentionally, the patron will be asked to submit a Request for Reconsideration form. If the patron chooses to do so, Library staff and the Board will proceed with the reconsideration process, as outlined above.

eContent and Databases

In order to fulfill our mission of “offer[ing] a broad range of library materials and information services”, the Alamosa Public Library subscribes to various online content providers. Subscription content may include electronic books, articles, audiobooks, music, videos, and instructional materials; and may change from year to year as Library staff seek to best serve the public.

While Library staff carefully select the platforms, consortia, and content providers for subscription; the individual items, articles and programs on those platforms are selected by third parties. The presence of an item among Library-provided eContent does not suggest endorsement of beliefs or views expressed therein.

eContent platforms and providers may categorize their content by age level, and may have ways to restrict user access to child-appropriate material. As all Library patrons have full access to the library’s physical collection, they all have full access to the Library’s electronic collection. Restricting a minor’s access on a library-provided eContent platform is entirely the responsibility of the minor’s parent or guardian. The Alamosa Public Library encourages parents and guardians to be involved in their children’s online activity and can help with account setup, if needed.

Patrons who find an item of Library-provided eContent objectionable will be asked to submit a Request for Reconsideration form. Due to the nature of eContent platforms, removal of a single item a patron finds objectionable may not be possible. The Library Director and Board would then consider whether the request for reconsideration warrants removal of the entire platform and all other associated content. 

Approved by Library Board of Trustees and City Attorney

November 22, 2022

Reconsideration of Library Materials Policy, Including Reconsideration Form (PDF)

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