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Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners Resource Guide Collection

Collection Development Policies

Reconsideration Policies and Procedures

Some libraries may question the need for a reconsideration policy and procedure. Several Massachusetts libraries received a materials challenge and had no reconsideration policy, form, or procedure in place.  The result was chaos- figuring out how to handle the challenge in real time. These libraries would recommend being prepared with a policy and procedure. 

  1. Citizens have a First Amendment right to redress government about decisions. This would include asking a public library why certain materials were included and asking them to reconsider them.
  2. It is a foundational library policy, closely connected to collection development and one that is recommended by the American Library Association. Overall, policies are essential because they provide the framework for library operations and uphold legal standards and statutes. Specially, a reconsideration policy will provide a standard framework for any requests to ensure they are handled objectively and without bias to the submitter. Much like you have other policies that govern operations, this one would be there in the event a patron challenges a book or other library material.

  3. It is best to be proactive and ready for a material challenge. With the unprecedented rise of challenges, we want to make our libraries in MA are prepared with the basics- a policy and procedure on how to handle requests. The best time to do this is now- when you aren’t facing a challenge.

Reconsideration Resources from ALA