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Selection of Library Materials

School libraries serve a diverse range of students with varying reading levels, interests, and needs. As such, media specialists curate and maintain library collections that are well-balanced, diverse, and align with the needs of the campus.  

School board policy EFB(LOCAL) is the guiding document when it comes to selection of instructional resources which includes library acquisitions. Per this policy, the criteria for library selections are as follows:

  • Enrich and support the curriculum, taking into consideration students' varied interests, abilities, learning styles, and maturity levels.

  • Stimulate growth in factual knowledge, enjoyment of reading, literary appreciation, aesthetic values, and societal standards.

  • Develop a balanced collection presenting multiple viewpoints related to controversial issues to foster critical thinking skills and encourage discussion based on rational analysis [see EMB regarding instruction about controversial issues].

  • Represent many ethnic, religious, and cultural groups and their contributions to the national heritage and world community.

  • Provide a wide range of background information that will enable students to make intelligent decisions in their daily lives.

  • Demonstrate literary merit, quality, value, and significance.

  • Have received favorable professional library reviews from state- and nationally recognized review publications.

  • Have received state or national awards or are included on recommended reading lists developed by library professionals and educators.

  • Cover topics, authors, series, or genres that fill gaps in the school library collection.

  • Include accurate and authentic factual content from authoritative sources.

  • Have a high degree of potential user appeal and interest.

  • Offer a global perspective that promotes equity of access, including print and nonprint materials such as electronic and multimedia, to meet the needs of individual learners.

  • Are requested or recommended by students and teachers.

  • Mirror selections found in neighboring districts or libraries in the region.

  • Represent diverse viewpoints and cultures appropriate to each campus to ensure the collection embodies the unique background of its student population.

  • Promote literacy.

To help guide in the selection of library materials, media specialists first consult professional reviews from sources such as Booklist, School Library Media Connection, and School Library Journal. Professional reviews are written by librarians across the country and give insight into the book’s storyline as well as recommended age/grade level ranges. In NCISD, we recommend that library books being considered for purchase have at least two professional reviews and that those reviews include at least one grade level served by the purchasing campus. 

When two reviews cannot be found, the following additional factors may be considered by the media specialist:  

  • Author’s reputation

  • Needs of the curriculum

  • Endorsement by professional association and/or inclusion in a state/national award program or recommended reading list

  • Literary merit, quality, value and significance

  • Known gaps in topics, authors, series, or genres in the school library collection

  • High degree of potential user appeal and interest

  • Incorporates accurate and authentic factual content from authoritative sources

  • Provides a global perspective and promote diversity by including materials by authors and illustrators of all cultures

  • Popularity across other school libraries

  • Represents diverse viewpoints and culture of each campus to insure the collection embodies the unique backgrounds of its student population

With a wide range of ability, maturity, and backgrounds among students, not all materials will appeal to, or be appropriate for, all students. Parents reserve the right to guide what their child reads and to select alternative reading or instructional materials to support each family’s unique set of views and opinions. No student will ever be required to choose a library item that conflicts with their personal values and beliefs.

District policy states, “a parent’s ability to exercise control over reading, listening, or viewing matter extends only to his or her own child” [EFB(LOCAL)]. We encourage parents and children to talk together about the materials students are reading, and we welcome parents to talk with their campus principal to discuss any specific needs for their family.