The Morristown Centennial Library's mission is to foster lifelong learning and personal fulfillment, encourage an enlightened citizenry, and promote personal enrichment and enjoyment within our community. The Library is committed to offering services and programs that respond to our community's wants and needs with the highest level of quality and responsiveness.
Selection of books, periodicals, and other media are made in such a way as to further this mission to the greatest extent practicable within budgetary and space constraints.
The Morristown Centennial Library subscribes to the principles of intellectual freedom as stated in the American Library Association's Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read and Freedom to View statements (see below).
Selections should be made with an eye to serving a diverse community of patrons with a wide variety of backgrounds, educational levels, and interests.
Nonfiction materials will be selected on the basis of:
Fiction materials will be selected on the basis of:
Audio and Video Materials:
The purpose of the Library's audio and video collections is to provide educational and recreational value to the community. To this end, our goal is to provide better-quality contemporary feature films and television series, classics, foreign or independent films, cultural programming (e.g., music, dance and dramatic theatre), and a wide variety of documentary (e.g., history, science, nature) and instructional releases. Videos are selected through reviews, catalogs, recommendations, personal viewing and a sense of their popular appeal.
The Library recognizes patrons have a diverse background, interests, and social values. So all patrons are free to reject for themselves any materials which do not meet their approval (freedom to choose). The Library does not select, retain or remove materials on the basis of anticipated approval or disapproval of any group of patrons, but solely on the basis of the standards stated in the policy. All patrons will have free access to materials (this covers all ages and type of material) and will not be inhibited by the possibility that the items may be utilized by minors.
The Library recognizes that full, confidential, and unrestricted access to information is essential for patrons to exercise their rights as citizens. The Library believes that reading, listening, and viewing are individual, private matters. While anyone is free to select or reject materials for themselves or their own minor children, the freedom of others to read or inquire cannot be restricted. The Library strives to maintain materials representing all sides of an issue in a neutral, unbiased manner. Selection of materials by the Library does not mean endorsement of the contents of views expressed in those materials. The existence of a particular viewpoint in the collection is a reflection of the Library's policy of intellectual freedom, not an endorsement of that particular point of view.
The Library does not stand in loco parentis. Parents and guardians, not the library, have the responsibility of guiding and directing the reading, listening and viewing choices of their minor children.
Culling of Library Material
The deliberate, measured, regular evaluation of library materials in relation to the collection as a whole and the community at large is part of the library's standard procedure.
The same criteria used in selecting materials apply to the systematic removal or replacement of outdated, inaccurate, no longer useful, seldom used or worn items. Each withdrawal or replacement should be judged by standard library tools to determine its retention value as a "classic," as part of the overall collection, or its current usefulness.
The authority for final withdrawal of materials rests with the Library Director and the Children's Librarian.
Materials withdrawn from the collection may be given to other libraries, sold for the benefit of the Library, or discarded.
Challenges to Library Materials
If a challenge is made to inclusion of an item in the collection, the Director will discuss the challenge and this policy with the person requesting withdrawal. If the complainant is not satisfied with the Library Director's explanation, he/she must make a written request using the “Statement of Concern about Library Resources” form, stating in detail the basis for his/her objection to inclusion of the item in the Library's collection. The Library Director will bring the request to the attention of the Board of Trustees for consideration at its next regularly scheduled meeting, and the complainant shall be given notice of that meeting.
At that meeting, the Library Director will present the basis for inclusion of the item in the collection vis-a-vis this policy, as well as information concerning general acceptance of the material as reflected in reviews and professional recommendation lists. The Board of Trustees will have an opportunity to review the written request for withdrawal and either the specific portions deemed objectionable or the entire work, as appropriate; the request may be tabled until the next regularly scheduled meeting of the board if necessary to provide an adequate opportunity. The Library Director and any Trustees who have viewed relevant portions of the work in question will then vote on inclusion of the item in the Library's collection in accordance with this policy and the American Library Association's Bill of Rights and Freedom to Read statement (incorporated by reference above). The item will remain in circulation pending the Board of Trustees' decision. The Board of Trustees' decision will be final.
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.
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 theses propositions:
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.
The Freedom to View Statement
This statement was originally drafted by the Freedom to View Committee of the American Film and Video Association (formerly the Educational Film Library Association) and was adopted by the AFVA Board of Directors in February 1979. This statement was updated and approved by the AFVA Board of Directors in 1989.
Endorsed January 10, 1990, but he ALA Council
Policy approved 7/8/10