Policy Statement--Local Control

Policy Statement--Local Control



POLICY STATEMENT: The Idaho Library Association supports local control of library collection development and decisions relating to Internet access. Local control enables public libraries to develop and implement policies that reflect community standards unique to the community that each library serves.

Public libraries acquire, make available, and encourage the use of materials in all media that:

help people know more about themselves and their world;
supplement formal study and encourage informal self­education;
meet the informational needs of the entire community;
stimulate thoughtful participation in the affairs of the community, the country, and the world;
give access to a variety of opinions on matters of current interest and encourage freedom of expression;
support educational, civic, and cultural activities within the community;
assist the individual to grow intellectually and enjoy life more fully.
The variety and scope of materials required for information, education, and recreation are as broad as the individual and collective needs of the people within the community itself; every attempt is made to acquire materials to meet these needs. All residents of the community pay taxes, either directly or indirectly, to support the operations of the public library. It is incumbent upon the library to provide materials to meet the information needs of all its citizens, whether those needs reflect a majority or minority opinion.

The Idaho Library Association recognizes that not all library materials which may be held by a public library are suitable for all of its patrons. Parents are responsible for their children’s reading selections and for determining what is and is not appropriate for their use. The Association encourages parents to accompany their children to the library and to become involved in selecting materials and in reading with and to their children.

Likewise, policies relating to access to the resources available via the Internet should be developed locally rather than on a state level. Libraries may choose to apply Internet filtering software to some of their computers if doing so reflects general community standards. Libraries may also choose to address the issues of access to sites that the community deems to be inappropriate through other measures, such as ensuring that the computer can be seen by library staff when it is in use.

Local library boards and library staff are best suited for making such local decisions, as opposed to legislative mandates that may result in local libraries being unable to adequately meet the information needs of their particular community residents.

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