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4J Library Materials Selection Criteria

Library Materials Selection Criteria

Library materials are carefully selected in alignment with our mission. The district will provide a variety of materials encompassing different levels of difficulty, diversity of appeal, and various points of view. Materials are selected with careful consideration of each school’s needs and unique culture, and each school adheres to specific selection guidelines to ensure a high-quality, relevant, and culturally affirming collection. When making purchasing decisions, accepting donations, or otherwise acquiring library materials, certified teacher librarians consider whether – and seek to ensure that – new books and other materials: 

  • Support and enrich the curriculum and/or students’ personal interests and learning;
  • Are  appropriate for students’ age, emotional development, ability level, learning styles, and social, emotional, and intellectual development;
  • Exhibit a high degree of potential user appeal and interest;
  • Meet high standards in literary, artistic, and aesthetic quality; technical aspects; and physical format;
  • Reflect the basic humanity of all people and be free of stereotypes, caricatures, distorted dialect, sexual bias, and other offensive characteristics;
  • Reflect the pluralistic nature of global society, provide a global perspective, and promote diversity as a positive attribute of our society;
  • Represent authors and illustrators from a wide variety of cultures and backgrounds;
  • Are ideally written by authors that share the same identity as characters from underrepresented/marginalized groups; 
  • Are informative rather than intended to indoctrinate, especially when materials concern religious, social, or political content;
  • Present accurate and authentic factual content from authoritative sources;
  • Are assessed for the currency of the information as it relates to the content and purpose of an item;
  • Represent different viewpoints on controversial subjects;
  • Earn favorable reviews in standard reviewing sources and/or favorable recommendations based on preview and examination of materials by professional personnel;
  • Demonstrate physical format, appearance, and durability suitable to their intended use.

*Adapted from the American Library Association and Beaverton School District policies

Representative Collections 

Eugene 4J Library Services collection development process reflects the philosophy inherent in Article I of the Library Bill of Rights: “Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.”A diverse collection should contain content by and about a wide array of people and cultures to authentically reflect a variety of ideas, information, stories, and experiences. Developing a diverse collection requires seeking content created by and representative of marginalized and underrepresented groups along with evaluating how diverse collection resources are cataloged, labeled, and displayed. 

Additional Considerations for Evaluating Picture Books

  • Are the illustrations accurate, and do they correspond to and enhance the text?
  • Do the illustrations complement the setting, plot, and mood of the story?
  • Is characterization enhanced by the illustrations?
  • If the book is about characters from underrepresented/marginalized groups, is it written by an author that shares the same identity?  
  • Do both text and illustrations avoid stereotypes of race, ethnicity, religion, sex, gender, and people with disabilities?
  • Will the plot appeal to children?
  • Is the theme worthwhile?
  • Is the purpose of the book worth sharing with children?
  • Are the author’s style and language appropriate for children’s interests and levels?

Considerations for Evaluating Wordless Books

  • Is there a sequentially organized plot that provides a framework for children who are just developing their own organizational skills?
  • Is there depth of detail and is it appropriate for the child’s age level?
  • Does the audience have enough experiential background to understand and interpret the illustrations? Can they interpret the book during individual reading, or would adult interaction be necessary?
  • Is the size of the book appropriate for the purpose?

Selecting Controversial Materials

The Eugene 4J District subscribes to the principles expressed in the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights. The school district’s responsibility is to provide a wide range of materials on different levels of difficulty and representing different points of view. School library professional staff will provide materials on opposing viewpoints* on controversial issues to enable students to develop the necessary critical thinking skills to be discriminating users of information and productive members of society.

*Opposing viewpoints should be accurate in terms of content. Library media materials shall present facts in an objective manner. The authority of the author, organization, publisher/producer should be a consideration in selection.

Criteria for Gifts and Unsolicited Materials

Gifts and donations to the school library are accepted with the understanding that the decision for use and disposition of the materials and/or funds will be determined using the same selection criteria as purchased materials. All materials should support the curriculum and needs of library users. Gifts and donations, like purchased resources, will be removed from the collection at the end of their useful life.

Selection Aids Used by the Certified Librarian or Library Manager Include the Following:

Intellectual Freedom Statement

The school libraries of this district are guided by the principles set forth in the Library Bill of Rights and its interpretative statements, including “Access to Resources and Services in the School Library Program” and The Students’ Right to Read- the statement of the National Council of Teachers of English.