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Selection Policies

Selection policies identify what a collection will contain and why it exists.  In a school, selection policies:

bulletKeep the selection process focused on the objectives of a school and district. 
bulletIdentify criteria for materials to be included or excluded.
bulletProvide a tool to communicate selection criteria to stakeholders outside the library.
bulletIdentify acceptable activities within the selection process.
bulletProvide for professional judgment within the limits of the selection policy.
bulletAllow for creativity and flexibility for educational decisions.
bulletAllows for continuity and consistency within the collection over time.
bulletProvides a framework for handling complaints and problems.

This is an ambitious list of goals for a selection policy.  To reach them, the policy should be developed with teachers, faculty, administrators, and students subject to approval by the school board.  

Once a policy is approved, it should be made public -- posting it on a school/library Web page is ideal.  Library media specialists should educate teachers and administrators about the policy and how it is applied in the building.

ALA's Workbook for Selection Policy Writing provides a great deal of details and specifics on how policies should be written.  In general, selection  policies should address:

bulletOverview of the community and district it serves along with the mission of the library including references to intellectual freedoms that users of the collection are entitled to.
bulletObjective of selections, including what areas the collection is intended to support.
bulletResponsibility for selection.
bulletCriteria for selection.
bulletProcedures to follow when making selections [the How(s) and Who(s)].
bulletReconsideration details including procedure with timeline for handling complaints, informal review, specific actions by parties involved, committee composition and roles, appeals, and status of materials during process.  It is a good idea to include a form for formal written complaint.

While some districts include copyright policies, it is often a completely separate document.  

The Groton Public School (CT) has posted their selection policy on-line. It is presented here to illustrate how the ideas presented in this page can be applied to a school's selection policy.  In my resource section, there is a page devoted to selection tools

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Needs Analysis
Collection Evaluation
Selection Policies
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Acquisitions
Weeding
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Privacy Policies
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