Bear Lake County Library
Censorship and Intellectual Freedom Policy
The Bear Lake County Library holds to a standard of intellectual freedom. That is, it is our organization’s belief that we must provide a means of access to all expressions of knowledge and opinion, including those deemed by some to be improper, unacceptable or unpopular. We seek to offer our community a wide variety of materials representing many differing viewpoints on topics of interest, and to present them in a neutral position. It is the responsibility of our Board of Trustees, Library Director and staff to select books and other library materials based on values of interest, information and enlightenment of the people of our community. Our organization’s careful selection of materials can be further examined through the Bear Lake County Library Collection Development and Materials Selection Policy.
The Bear Lake County Library strives to provide books and other resources that present all points of view concerning the problems and issues of our time. In no case will library resources be excluded because of the race or nationality of the creator, nor will that person’s sexual, gender or cultural identity; social, political, or religious views; or any marginalizing information or personal history be cause for rejection. Likewise, no library materials should be proscribed or removed from the library because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
All libraries inherently contain some printed and audiovisual materials which some parents and/or guardians find inappropriate for their children. However, the selection and development of the Bear Lake County Library’s resources will not be diluted because minors have the same access to library resources as adult patrons. Because institutional self-censorship diminishes the credibility of the library within the community and restricts access for all library users, our library contends it is the responsibility of the parent and/or guardian — not the responsibility of the library itself — to determine which ideas, resources, works and materials a child should or should not be exposed to. It is the Bear Lake County Library’s position that parents or legal guardians who do not want their children to have access to certain library services, materials or facilities should make their children aware of this. Librarians and governing bodies cannot assume the role of parents or the function of parental authority in the private relationship between parent and child.
While our library will not place age restrictions upon library resources to avoid actual or anticipated objections from parents, guardians or other parties, our organization does recognize that some resources and works should be closely monitored. Our Library Director will consider any materials that receive undesired and/or increased attention, criticism and/or commentary from our patronage. At the Director’s discretion, these resources may be relocated from their current sections to more age-appropriate locations (e.g., relocating a resource from our “Teen” section to the “Adult” works section, or moving a “Junior” resource to the “Teen” section. In special cases, and at the Director’s discretion, materials may be removed from normal circulation on our public shelves and made available to patrons who request these resources from a member of library staff. If the material has been reviewed by library staff and determined to contain mature content, the Library Director may use discretion to require a parent’s approval before the item will be made available to an inquiring minor.
The Bear Lake County Library does not necessarily endorse every idea or presentation contained within the books, films, magazines, newspapers and other resources it makes available. It is our organization’s belief that by establishing a set of political, moral or aesthetic views as a sole standard for determining what materials should be made available for circulation among our patrons, the Bear Lake County Library Board of Trustees and its staff would conflict with the public interest. Rather, it is our belief that we have a duty to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those which are unorthodox, unpopular with the majority, or in contrast to our own personal belief systems.
The Bear Lake County Library adheres to human rights provisions made by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, allowing our patrons the right to read, listen to or view library materials in a manner that is free from censorship by others. It is this entity’s belief that censorship should be a purely individual matter. While all patrons are free to reject books, resources, works and other materials of which they do not approve, they may not restrict the freedoms of others within our community who show an interest in these materials, or those who choose to inform themselves and enlighten their minds by utilizing these works.
Formal Objections to Books or Materials
In the event a patron objects to the existence of a resource in the Bear Lake County Library collection, the following procedure is followed:
1. The complainant is asked to complete a Bear Lake County Library “Citizen’s Request for Reconsideration of a Resource” form, which they can receive at their request at our library front desk.
- Upon the return of the reconsideration form, the Bear Lake County Library Director reviews the material in question, as well as its critical reviews.
3. The Director determines the disposition of the item, taking into consideration the complainant’s request for how they believe the material would best be handled.
- The Bear Lake County Board of Trustees may, at its discretion, review the Director’s decision. If the Board deems it necessary, the decision and/or resource material may be discussed at a board meeting. The Board, at its discretion, may allow the complainant an opportunity to present their case before the governing group.
Bear Lake County Library Board Chair’s Signature
Date of Policy Adoption/Review
Bear Lake County Library
Citizen’s Request for Reconsideration of a Resource
Book Call #:_____________________________________________
Request Initiated by:______________________________________
Complainant’s email address:_________________________________
Date of Request:_________________________________________
Group (Name) _____________________________________
Organization (Name) ________________________________
1. In your opinion, why is this work objectionable? Please be specific and cite pages or sections.
2. Why do you believe this work does not fall within the Collection Development Policy of the Bear Lake County Library?
3. Did you read or listen to the entire resource?
4. What do you feel might be the result of using this resource?
5. Is there anything good or beneficial about this resource?
6. Are you aware of the evaluation of this work by literary critics?
7. What do you believe is the theme of this work?
8. What would you like the Bear Lake County Library to do regarding this resource (For example, be removed; be balanced with other materials; be relocated to another section of the library)?
- In its place, what book of equal literary quality would you recommend that would convey as valuable a picture and perspective of our world?
Signature of Complainant:____________________________________________