First reading

And here’s the Democrat-News report on the first reading of the materials selection policy at yesterday’s meeting of the Marshall Public Library Board. A final vote will follow at the next meeting of the board scheduled for March 17.

Two Marshall citizens contributed their views on the policy. One wore an “I Read Banned Books” button, and the other suggested that library patrons could “find these types of trash along I-70.” Ah, nuanced public discourse.

And here, for anyone curious, are the selection criteria that the library system uses:

“The factors are: constraints of budget; contemporary/social significance; critical acclaim; format and durability of material suitable for library use; local interest; patron requests; popular demand; reputation and significance of author, illustrator, editor, artist, performer, etc.; reputation/authority of author; scarcity of material on the subject and availability elsewhere; and/or timeliness and/or permanence or subject matter.”

Anyone care to play a round of Count the Applicable Criteria? I think Fun Home meets at least five, but I could never make it all the way through Blankets.

7 Responses to First reading

  1. […] Closer to home, Marshall, MO’s Public Library Board met on Wednesday, where the proposed policy for the handling of public complaints about shelved materials was read. The policy, you’ll recall, was drawn up after public complaints over two graphic novels: Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, and Craig Thompson’s Blankets. Rachel Harper of the Marshall Democrat-News was at the meeting and has the report. (Link via David Welsh.) […]

  2. […] to all of us: What do libraries do about books that some patrons deem offensive? David has the latest news, which may be the end of the affair: The library has come up with a materials selection policy to […]

  3. […] David Welsh, who’s been covering the heck out of this thing Posted by Chris Mautner in News & […]

  4. RobinB says:

    Speaking as a librarian, this is a very standard collection development policy, and from what I see here, I’m glad they (finally) have it in place.

    As a larger issue, I still wonder at the fact that so many libraries still don’t have collecton development policies. They are vital to any library, especially as libraries keep changing to adapt to public demand.

    It will be interesting to see how they apply it in this particular, “the eyes of the (at least comics reading) nation are on you” situation.

  5. davidpwelsh says:

    Robin, have you ever seen one that addresses “common community values” or anything of that nature? I was kind of relieved not to see it here, though I suppose it could be viewed as the flip side of “popular demand.”

  6. RobinB says:

    Personally, I have not seen a collection development policy that uses those terms, but library collections are in general a reflection of their community. The problem might be the idea of a “common” community value — libraries by their nature represent the community, but most would argue they represent it by including all points of view rather than one judged to be a consensus. If that makes sense.

  7. Amy Crump says:

    The Marshall Public Library Board of Trustees voted to return both ”Fun Home” and ”Blankets” to the library’s shelves on Wednesday, March 14, 2007.

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