Alabama Library Challenges (Cullman County Public Library System)

Chris Peterson filed this request with the Cullman County Public Library System of Cullman, AL.
Status
Completed

Communications

From: Chris Peterson


To Whom It May Concern:

We are a team of academic researchers studying information access and availability in public schools and libraries. We are contacting you as part of a national effort to help us better understand the scope and substance of the various challenges which arise in the course of administering a public library system or public school system.

Under Alabama's Public Records Law, we are requesting copies of the following public records:

-any complaints, requests, and/or challenges for removal, reclassification, and/or reconsideration of publications including books, magazines, movies, music, and/or other media, along with any associated records, petitions, and/or correspondence since January 1, 2003

-any current collection or curriculum development policy or policies governing your institution(s)

-any records related to Internet filtering, including but not limited to:

-any current acceptable use policies, web publishing policies, or equivalents

-any current contracts with Internet filtering services and/or providers

-any current categories of content which your provider offers to block, along with which categories your library or libraries currently block

-any modifications to the standard configuration of your filter, including lists of sites, services, URLs, keywords, or other identifiers which have been specifically configured as forbidden or allowed (i.e. "blacklists/whitelists")

We will use these records in our research. Please note that we are not asking for registration, circulation, or other private records protected by state law, and you should feel free to redact personally identifiable information from the records you send us, at your discretion.

You may respond to this request by sending electronic documents (e.g. emails, screen captures, spreadsheets, etc) or high-quality scanned PDFs to this inbox. If you cannot respond by email, please fax copies to 206-984-9551, with “MIA” written clearly at the top of the first page. If you do not have any documents responsive to our request, or if you have questions about how to respond, then you may email us at this inbox. In order to assist you in responding to our request, we have also posted guidelines and examples at http://mappinginfoaccess.org.

We understand that there may be fees associated with responding to our request. We ask that you waive any such fees in light of our project’s character, which is non-commercial, academic, open, and firmly in the public interest. If you are unable to waive fees, and if they are in excess of $20, please contact us with an estimate of fees before responding.

Thank you in advance for helping us better understand the important work that you do. If you have any questions about our request or our project, please email us at: team [at] mappinginfoaccess [dot] org.

Sincerely,

Emily Knox
Assistant Professor
Graduate School of Library & Information Science
University of Illinois

Shannon M. Oltmann
Assistant Professor
School of Library & Information Science
University of Kentucky

Chris Peterson
Researcher
Center for Civic Media, Media Lab
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Jan. 20, 2014. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.

Thank you for your help.

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Jan. 20, 2014. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.

Thank you for your help.

From: Max Hand

All of our library policies can be found online here: http://www.ccpls.com/ccpls_policies.htm . Please note that the policy refers to County Librarian, but the board changed the title of that position to Library Director once I took the position.

Our collection development policy from there:

SECTION 3.4 - MATERIALS SELECTION POLICY

Purpose

The Cullman County Public Library System shall strive to provide citizens of all ages, backgrounds, and persuasions with a well-balanced collection of print and non-print materials to meet the informational, educational, and recreational needs of the community.

Responsibility for selection

Responsibility for materials selection, as for all library activities, rests with the County Librarian, who operates within the framework of policies determined by the Public Library Board of Cullman County. Under the County Librarian’s supervision, members of the staff who are deemed qualified by education, training, and/or experience may be assigned to participate in the selection of library materials.

General criteria for selection

The permanent book collection should reflect a strong, accurate, and up-to-date reference collection, a broad fiction selection of classics, as well as standard and popular items, and basic non-fiction titles covering a wide range of subject areas for the researcher and the recreational reader. If determined necessary by the County Librarian and/or the Board of Trustees, specialized collections may be developed to meet specific research, information, or recreational needs of the community.

Selection of materials will be influenced by:

A.) Anticipation of and response to continuing and changing needs and interest of the community and of individuals.

B.) Current and historical significance.

C.) The attention of critics and reviews.

D.) Budgetary considerations.

E.) Physical limitations of the facility/facilities.

F.) Needs for additional or duplicate materials in the existing collection.

G.) Availability of the materials through cooperating libraries in Cullman County, through inter-library loan, or in more comprehensive collections in the area (i.e. North Alabama).

H.) Patron demand.

I.) Professional judgment.

A general representative collection, for all ages at a variety of reading levels is selected, but the collection will be attuned to the specific needs of the community.

Materials selection sources, such as Library Journal or Booklist, will be utilized as guide for collection, development; but these references will not be solely relied upon. Patron demand and perceived needs must still be considered even if reviews for a particular item are not favorable. In most instances, the library will purchase a title if there are demands from the community for it, because the importance of on-demand purchasing is recognized.

Popular Reading will be given a strong emphasis. To provide timely works, a book-lease plan can be utilized and supplemented with purchases from local bookstores and jobbers. Paperbacks may be used to provide inexpensive recreational reading. Periodicals will reflect a selection of scholarly and lay publications, with an emphasis being on the latter.

Materials will be selected in a variety of formats, including books, serial publications and periodicals, online formats, audiocassettes, phonographic records, cassette tapes, compact disc, cd-rom resources, videotapes, film, filmstrips, digital videodisc, and any other appropriate format which is in current demand and use. Such materials will reflect the diversified needs and preferences of the community. The purchase of audio-visual materials will reflect educational and recreational needs of the community as funding is available.

Widely diverse points of view, including controversial and unorthodox subjects, will be available in the collection. Inclusion in the collection does not imply library approval or agreement with the contents. The Board and Staff recognize that some materials are controversial and that any given item may offend some patron/s. Selections will not be made on the basis or merits of anticipated approval or disapproval, but solely on the merits of the work in relation to building the collection and to serving the interests of all the patrons.

The Public Library Board of Cullman County and the Staff of the Cullman County Public Library System shall uphold the principles set forth in the Library Bill of Rights as amended January 23, 1980, the Freedom to Read Statement of the American Library Association adopted May, 1953 and the Freedom to View Statement as endorsed by the Intellectual Freedom Committee of the American Library Association and the Council of the American Library Association in June, 1979. Furthermore, these statements shall be incorporated as part of this policy.

Reconsideration of Library Materials

While the selection of materials appropriate to the needs of the community is one of the basic duties of the library staff and of the County Librarian, it is not possible to read or view every item added to the collections of the Cullman County Public Library System. It is recognized that a member of the community may find an item personally objectionable or wish that an item be added to or deleted from the library’s collection.

Since the library is a tax-supported institution, any citizen has the right to question the inclusion or exclusion of any title in the library’s collection. Procedures have been established which will insure serious consideration of any request for removal, restriction, or addition of any item in or to the library’s collection. However, until such an examination has been made, and a decision reached by the Public Library Board of Cullman County, no such removal, etc., shall take place.

Since all political, religious, and social opinions should be represented in a public library, no group or individual will be permitted to impose a partisan emphasis on the library’s collection. Frankness of language, a widespread and contemporary phenomenon, will never, in itself, be considered sufficient justification to remove or restrict library materials. The responsibility of the library is to serve all the community, not to promote – and above all, not to censor-- any particular political, moral, philosophical, or religious conviction or opinion. It is not the purpose of the library to stimulate, nor to cater to anti-social, prurient, or immoral interests. But no one, least of all a free public library, has the right to judge what another may not read, see, or hear.

Patrons with complaints concerning material content shall be given the "Citizens Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials" form to fill out. Such forms shall be forwarded to the County Librarian and/or the Assistant County Librarian for his review. The County Librarian may take action to remove such items or move them to a more appropriate collection, or he may refer the matter to the attention of the Public Library Board of Cullman County at their next regularly scheduled meeting. A decision by the Board to keep an item in the collection will stand unless subsequent judicial decisions are rendered which prohibit housing the material in the library’s collections. The library’s philosophy is that censorship is a purely individual matter, and while anyone is free to reject for oneself any book or other material which he/she may find inappropriate, he/she cannot exercise the right of censorship to restrict the freedom of others.

Evaluation of the Collection

Collection Development is an all-encompassing and on-going process. With this understanding, staff involved in collection development will continuously and vigorously evaluate existing collections and make recommendations to update and/or delete titles. Final decisions regarding deletion of titles shall rest with the County Librarian or his/her designee. The Assistant County Librarian and other staff shall evaluate the periodical collection annually and submit recommendations to the County Librarian for additions/deletions. Other library employees involved in Public Services may be consulted in this task.

There is one unwritten policy concerning DVDs and videotapes that we follow, and that is that we do not purchase R rated videos.

I can only find records for two challenges since I became director, and none for the period under the previous director. I will attach the board minutes considering the two challenges I had, and the one where the board left it up to me, I left the item on the shelf. I will keep looking for records of any other challenges. This has taken awhile as we had to sacrifice the library secretary position for the bookmobile driver position about ten years ago.

Please let me know if this will suffice.

Max

Max W. Hand, MLS
Director
_____________________________________
Cullman County Public Library System
200 Clark Street, Northeast
Cullman, Alabama 35055-2913
Tel: 256-734-1068, Ext. 43
Email: handm@ccpls.com
Web URL: www.ccpls.com

Looking over our internet policies, I do find one change that is not reflected. It states that chat is not allowed, but it has been allowed as long as I have been director, since 2007. We use Cybersitter by Solid Oak Software for our filtering, which we only use due to CIPA requirements. We do not have any sites blacklisted or whitelisted on public computers, although on our staff computers we have whitelisted our library automation system websites in an attempt to lessen some errors the filter has caused.

From: MuckRock

Max,

Thank you for sending these materials. On the challenges, how far back have you been able to search? Our time period of interest stretches back to January 2003.

Thank you again!

From: Max Hand

I've searched board minutes back to October 2004. I will search the bound minutes for the rest of the period. It is possible that there was a challenge that was not brought before the board, but I've not found any yet. I will keep looking.

Max

Max W. Hand, MLS
Director
_____________________________________
Cullman County Public Library System
200 Clark Street, Northeast
Cullman, Alabama 35055-2913
Tel: 256-734-1068, Ext. 43
Email: handm@ccpls.com
Web URL: www.ccpls.com

From: MuckRock

Thanks so much!

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Jan. 20, 2014. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.

Thank you for your help.

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Jan. 20, 2014. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.

Thank you for your help.

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Jan. 20, 2014. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.

Thank you for your help.

From: Max Hand

We have searched through the records and can find no other challenges other than the ones sent already.

Max

Max W. Hand, MLS
Director
_____________________________________
Cullman County Public Library System
200 Clark Street, Northeast
Cullman, Alabama 35055-2913
Tel: 256-734-1068, Ext. 43
Email: handm@ccpls.com
Web URL: www.ccpls.com

Files

pages

Close