At recent board meetings, public speakers shared concerns about the novel, Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez, which was available at our middle school library. The concerns surrounded mature topics, language, and themes contained in the novel. Upon learning of the concerns, the district took the novel under review and considered several factors in determining how to move forward. These factors included, recommended age range, reading level, maturation level of the students to be served, and circulation history.
Upon conclusion of this review, it was determined that this novel is better suited for the high school library. The novel has been removed from the middle school and placed in our high school library.
Our librarians use a combination of subscription services, book award lists, teacher requests, and student requests to consider various selections for our libraries. These selections are considered using criteria including, but not limited to relevance to the curriculum, variety of interests, quality of material, appropriateness of language and themes, and reading levels.
As part of our curriculum review cycle, the library program is in the audit process this school year. This includes examining current practices as well as those practices used by surrounding districts and recommended by local, state, and national organizations. Part of this process includes evaluating our library media selection practices in order to determine if changes should occur.
While a process is important and necessary, even with the best practices there may be selections that raise concerns among students, parents/guardians, or members of the public. Any criticisms of materials shall be treated objectively, unemotionally, and as a routine matter. These concerns should be submitted to the principal of the school in writing on this form provided for this purpose by our school district.
We appreciate the professionalism and care with which our librarians curate each school’s library collection. It is our goal to foster a love of reading in all students. We encourage our families to reach out to us with any concerns or questions. Thank you for your continued partnership!