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Board Comment from September 9, 2021

Recently the Board of Trustees was asked about books in our collection, prompted by the Library’s recognition of Pride Month. (It should be noted that the Library has acknowledged other months as designated by the American Library Association or other governing agencies.) Specifically, there was a request to label certain children’s books as LGBTQ+ material place them in dedicated areas of the library.

The purpose of the Board of Trustees, while mainly fiduciary, is also to listen to our patrons. The board was happy to hear from our community expressing their opinions in a demonstration of freedom of speech regarding our local library. The Board encourages the Community to attend future meetings, provide input, and voice their opinions.

The collection of the Middlebury Public Library is built on the guidance of the American Library Association (ALA) and designed to support diversity of the community it serves. The collection criterion includes, amongst other items, availability, suitability, quality, and expressing the need for diverse opinions. Governing documents (such as the Library Bill of Rights) address acknowledging access, filtering, academic freedom, and condemning hate speech and hate crime. These governing documents come directly from the American Library Association and the Middlebury Public Library collection is aligned with these standards. This criterion is available on our website.

In the Collection Development Policy, there is short paragraph that states, “Responsibility for materials used by children and adolescents rests with their parents or legal guardians. Library materials are not marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of their contents.”

Please note that the Library does not label books outside of accepted genre classifications for fiction and non-fiction according to accepted standards from the ALA.

The Board of Trustees has reviewed the policy and supports the Library staff in their decisions.

From time to time a patron may request reconsideration of a book included in our collection. A clearly defined process exists for requesting the review of materials in circulation. There is a form on the website titled “Patron’s Request for Reconsideration” that can be submitted. It will be reviewed by the appropriate department head and a response, in writing, will be made to the individual requesting a review of the material.