Hopkinton School District Libraries
Instructional materials are selected by the school district to implement, enrich, and support the educational program for the student. Materials must serve both the breadth of the curriculum and the needs and interests of individual students. The district is obligated to provide for a wide range of abilities and to respect the diversity of many differing points of view. To this end, principles must be placed above personal opinion and reason above prejudice in the selection of materials of the highest quality and appropriateness.
The Hopkinton School Board delegates the authority and responsibility for the selection of all instructional materials to the superintendent of schools. Materials for school classrooms and school libraries shall be initially selected by the appropriate professional personnel in consultation with administration and faculty. Decisions on purchases will be the responsibility of the building Principal and, if necessary, can be reviewed by the superintendent. The superintendent's review may be for the purpose of ensuring that an age appropriate balance of materials is selected.
Internet resources are not subject to this policy. The internet is largely unregulated, and not all of the information it carries is suitable for schoolchildren. Although the district subscribes to a filtering service that blocks much inappropriate material, the Technology Use Policy and the Guidelines for Acceptable Use of the Internet represent an understanding on the part of the student and his/her parent(s) or guardian(s) that the Hopkinton School District does not control the contents of the internet.
Any resident or employee of the Hopkinton School District may formally challenge library resources on the basis of appropriateness. This shall also be done through administrative procedure.
The School Board affirms the right of parents to restrict their child's access to material they deem inappropriate. The Board further affirms that no parent has the right to make that decision on behalf of other children.
Any resident or employee of the Hopkinton School District may formally challenge instructional materials on the basis of appropriateness. This shall be done through the district's Reconsideration of Instructional Materials procedure, which includes:
- The identity of the complainant shall remain confidential during the informal process (only).
- Commitments should not be made until the issue has been thoroughly explored.
- The complaint should be treated in a courteous, objective and unemotional manner.
- The principal or librarian will listen to all concerns, and try to resolve the issue informally. This might include explaining the library's selection procedures and criteria, the intended audience and educational uses of the item in question, or relevant sections of the American Library Association's Access to Resources and Services in the School Library Media Program.
- If the complainant then wishes to proceed with a formal request for reconsideration, the principal will follow up the discussion with a letter. The letter will include:
- the district's Selection of Instructional Materials and Reconsideration of Instructional Materials Policies
- the Guidelines for the Selection of Library Resources and Collection Development Plan for the appropriate school library
- the ALA's Access to Resources and Services in the School Library Media Program
- the Guidelines for the Reconsideration of Library Materials and the Request for Reconsideration of Library Resources form
- In the event that the complainant is the principal, the superintendent of schools will perform the role of the principal in the above process.
a. Appoint a reconsideration committee, to include the following members:
- building level administrator
- one member of the school teaching staff of the appropriate subject or grade level
- the school's certified librarian
- one member of the community
- one member of the student body (if challenged material is at the Middle or High school level)
b. Name a chairperson of the consideration committee.
c. Arrange for a meeting of the reconsideration committee to take place within 10 working days after the complaint is received by the principal.
2. The reconsideration committee is charged with a thorough review of the challenged resource, and will decide whether or not it conforms to the principles of selection as outlined in the Guidelines for the Selection of Library Resources and other applicable policies and guidelines.
3. The reconsideration committee may also consult other district staff and/or community members who have relevant expertise.
C. Guiding principles
a. Examine the district's Reconsideration of Instructional Materials policy and the Selection of Instructional Materials Philosophy, and the Guidelines for the Selection of Library Resources
b. Examine the Request for Reconsideration of Library Resources form
c. Read and evaluate the item(s) in question
d. Read reviews of the item(s) in question
e. Discuss the challenged material in the context of the educational program and intended audience for which it was selected
f. Form opinions based on the resource as a whole, not on passages or selections taken out of context
g. Discuss the challenged item(s) with the complainant as needed
h. Reach a decision:
- to retain the item,
- to retain the item with specific restrictions, or
- to remove the item
i. Complete the Report on the Reconsideration of Library Resource form within 15 working days of the first meeting
2. The chairperson of the Reconsideration Committee will discuss and file the report with the principal, who will forward a copy to the superintendent of schools.
3. The principal will send a copy of the report to the complainant, and will discuss the report further, if requested.
4. The principal will also send copies of the report to members of the Reconsideration Committee.
5. The complainant shall have the right to appeal the decision of the Reconsideration Committee first to the superintendent of schools and then to the School Board.
The school library media program plays a unique role in promoting intellectual freedom. It serves as a point of voluntary access to information and ideas and as a learning laboratory for students as they acquire critical thinking and problem-solvin skills needed in a pluralistic society. Although the educational level and program of the school necessarily shape the resources and services of a school library media program, the principles of the Library Bill of Rights apply equally to all libraries, including school library media programs. Under these principles, all students have equitable access to library facilities, resources, and instructional programs.
School library media specialists assume a leadership role in promoting the principles of intellectual freedom within the school by providing resources and services that create and sustain an atmosphere of free inquiry. School library media specialists work closely with teachers to integrate instructional activities in classroom units designed to equip students to locate, evaluate, and use a broad range of ideas effectively. Intellectual freedom is fostered by educating students in the use of critical thinking skills to empower them to pursue free inquiry responsibly and independently. Through resources, programming, and educational processes, students and teachers experience the free and robust debate characteristic of a democratic society.
School library media specialists cooperate with other individuals in building collections of resources that meet the needs as well as the developmental and maturity levels of students. These collections provide resources that support the mission of the school district and are consistent with its philosophy, goals, and objectives. Resources in school library media collections are an integral component of the curriculum and represent diverse points of view on both current and historical issues. These resources include materials that support the intellectual growth, personal development, individual interests, and recreational needs of students.
While English is, by history and tradition, the customary language of the United States, the languages in use in any given community may vary. Schools serving communities in which other languages are used make efforts to accommodate the needs of students for whom English is a second language. To support these efforts, and to ensure equitable access to resources and services, the school library media program provides resources that reflect the linguistic pluralism of the community.
Members of the school community involved in the collection development process employ educational criteria to select resources unfettered by their personal, political, social, or religious views. Students and educators served by the school library media program have access to resources and services free of constraints resulting from personal, partisan, or doctrinal disapproval. School library media specialists resist efforts by individuals or groups to define what is appropriate for all students or teachers to read, view, hear, or access via electronic means.
Major barriers between students and resources include but are not limited to imposing age, grade-level, or reading-level restrictions on the use of resources; limiting the use of interlibrary loan and access to electronic information; charging fees for information in specific formats; requiring permission from parents or teachers; establishing restricted shelves or closed collections; and labeling. Policies, procedures, and rules related to the use of resources and services support free and open access to information.
It is the responsibility of the governing board to adopt policies that guarantee students access to a broad range of ideas. These include policies on collection development and procedures for the review of resources about which concerns have been raised. Such policies, developed by persons in the school community, provide for a timely and fair hearing and assure that procedures are applied equitably to all expressions of concern. It is the responsibility of school library media specialists to implement district policies and procedures in the school to ensure equitable access to resources and services for all students.
Adopted July 2, 1986, by the ALA Council; amended January 10, 1990; July 12, 2000; January 19, 2005; July 2, 2008.
The following forms are available for you to download (as pdf documents). If you prefer, please stop by the Library or the Main Office to pick up a complete packet.