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602.27-R - Regulations Regarding Selection of Instructional Materials


  1. The board is responsible for materials relating to the district’s instructional program.
  2. The responsibility for the selection of instructional materials is delegated to the professionally trained and licensed employees of the school system.
  3. While selection of materials may involve many people including administrators, teachers, teacher-librarians, parents, and community members, the responsibility for coordinating the selection of most instructional materials and making the recommendation for the purchase rests with licensed employees.
  4. Responsibility for coordinating the selection of instructional materials for distribution to classes will rest with the licensed employees, administrators, and superintendent.
  5. If the superintendent appoints an ad hoc committee to make recommendations on the selection of instructional materials, the ad hoc committee is formed and appointed in compliance with Policy 203.8.
    1. The superintendent [or designee] will inform the committee of their role and responsibilities.
    2. The following, or similar, statement is to be given to the ad hoc committee members:

      Bear in mind the principles of the freedom to learn and to read and base your decisions on these broad principles rather than on defense of individual materials. Freedom of inquiry is vital to education in a democracy.

Study thoroughly all materials referred to you and read available reviews. The general acceptance of the materials should be checked by consulting standard evaluation aids and local holdings in other schools.

Passages or parts should not be pulled out of context. The values and faults should be weighed against each other, and the opinions based on the material as a whole.

In the event material is challenged, your report, presenting both majority and minority opinions, will be presented by the principal to the complainant at the conclusion of our discussion of the questioned materials.


  1. Religion: Materials will represent any religions in a factual, unbiased manner. The primary source material of religions is considered appropriate, but material which advocates rather than informs or is designed to sway reader judgment regarding religion will not be included in school libraries or classrooms.
  2. Racism: Materials will present a diversity of race, custom, culture, and belief as a positive aspect of the nation's and world’s heritage and give candid treatment to unresolved intercultural problems including those which involve prejudice, discrimination, and the undesirable consequences of withholding rights, freedom, or respect of an individual. Required materials will comply with all applicable laws.
  3. Sexism: Materials will reflect sensitivity to the needs, rights, traits, and aspirations of individuals without preference or bias. Required materials will comply with all applicable laws.
  4. Age: Materials will recognize the diverse contributions of various age groups and portray the continuing contributions of maturing members of society.
  5. Ideology: Materials will present basic primary and factual information on an ideology or philosophy of government which exerts or has exerted a strong force, either favorably or unfavorably, over civilization or society, past, or present. The materials will not be selected with the intention to sway reader judgment and is related to the maturity level of the intended audience.
  6. Profanity and Sex: Material complies with all applicable laws and is subjected to a test of literary merit and reality by the teacher-librarians and licensed employees who will take into consideration their reading of public and community standards of morality.
  7. Materials regarding controversial issues will be directed toward maintaining a balanced collection representing various views.

The selection decision should be made on the basis of whether the materials present an accurate representation of society and culture, whether the circumstances depicted are realistically portrayed, or whether the materials have literary or social value when viewed as a whole.

These guidelines will not be construed in such a manner as to preclude materials which accurately represent the customs, morals, manners, culture, or society of a different time or a different place.

Materials purchased for libraries and classrooms are recommended for purchase by licensed employees in consultation with administrators, teacher-librarians, or an ad hoc committee as appointed by the superintendent. The materials recommended for purchase are approved by the appropriate administrator.

  1. The materials selected will support stated objectives and goals of the district. Specifically, the goals are:
    1. To acquire materials and provide service consistent with the demands of the curriculum;
    2. To develop student skills and resourcefulness in the use of libraries and learning resources;
    3. To effectively guide and counsel students in the selection and use of materials and libraries;
    4. To foster wide range of significant interests in students;
    5. To provide opportunities for aesthetic experiences and development of an appreciation of the fine arts;
    6. To provide materials to motivate students to examine their own attitudes and behaviors and comprehend their own duties and responsibilities as citizens in a pluralistic democracy;
    7. To encourage life-long education through the use of the library; and
    8. To work cooperatively and constructively with the instructional staff and administrators in the school and district.
  2. Materials selected are consistent with stated principles of selection which are:
    1. To select materials within established standards which will meet the goals and objectives of the district;
    2. To consider the educational characteristics of the community in the selection of materials within a given category;
    3. To present the racial, religious, and ethnic groups in the community by:
      1. Portraying people, adults and children, whatever their ethnic, religious, or social class identity as human and recognizable displaying a familiar range of emotions, both negative and positive.
      2. Placing no constraints on individual aspirations and opportunity.
      3. Giving comprehensive, accurate, and balanced representation to minority groups and women in art, science, history, literature, and in all other fields of life and culture.
      4. Providing abundant recognition of minority groups and women by frequently showing them in positions of leadership and authority.
    4. To intelligently, quickly, and effectively anticipate and meet needs through awareness of subjects of local, national, and international interest and significance; and
    5. To strive for impartiality in the selection process.
  3. Materials selected will meet stated selection criteria which are:
    1. Authority/Author’s Qualifications: Education, experience, and previously published works;
    2. Reliability:
      1. Accuracy: Meaningful organization and emphasis on content, meets the material’s goals and objectives, and presents authoritative and realistic factual material.
      2. Current: Presentation of content which is consistent with the finding of recent and authoritative research.
    3. Treatment of Subject: Shows an objective reflection for the multi-ethnic character and cultural diversity of society.
    4. Language:
      1. Vocabulary:
        1. Does not indicate bias by the use of words which may result in negative value judgments about groups of people; and
        2. Does not use “man” or similar limiting word usage in generalizations or ambiguities which may cause others to feel excluded or dehumanized.
      2. Compatible to the reading level range of the students for whom it is intended.
    5. Format:
      1. Books:
        1. Adequate and accurate index;
        2. Paper of good quality and color;
        3. Print adequate and well-spaced;
        4. Adequate margins;
        5. Firmly bound; and
        6. Cost.
      2. Non-Books:
        1. Flexibility and adaptability;
        2. Curricular orientation of significant interest to students;
        3. Appropriate for audience;
        4. Accurate, authoritative presentation;
        5. Good production qualities (fidelity and aesthetically adequate);
        6. Durability; and
        7. Cost.
      3. Illustrations of Books and Non-Book Materials:
        1. Depicts instances of fully integrated groupings and settings to indicate equal status and non-segregated social relationships;
        2. Makes clearly apparent the identity of minorities; and
        3. Contains pertinent and effective illustrations.
      4. Flexible to enable teachers to use parts at a time and not follow a comprehensive instructional program based on a rigid frame of reference.
    6. Special Features:
      1. Bibliographies
      2. Glossary
      3. Current charts, maps, etc.
      4. Visual aids
      5. Index
      6. Special activities to stimulate and challenge students
      7. Provides a variety of learning activities, strategies, and skill development that can be anchored on standards for learning.
    7. Potential Use Considerations
      1. Will it meet the requirements of reference work?
      2. Will it help students with personal problems and adjustments?
      3. Will it serve as a source of information for teachers and librarians?
      4. Does it offer an understanding of cultures other than the student’s own and is it free of racial, religious, age, disability, ethnic, gender identity, and sexual stereotypes?
      5. Will it expand students’ sphere of understanding and help them to understand the ideas and beliefs of others?
      6. Will it help students and teachers keep abreast of and understand current events?
      7. Will it foster and develop hobbies and special interests?
      8. Will it help develop aesthetic tastes and appreciation?
      9. Will it serve the needs of students with special needs?
      10. Does it inspire learning?
      11. Is it relevant to the subject?
      12. Will it stimulate a student’s interest?
  4. Gifts of library or instructional materials may be accepted if the gifts meet existing criteria for library and instructional materials. The acceptance and placement of such gifts is within the discretion of the superintendent [or designee].
  5. In order to provide a current, highly usable collection of materials, teacher-librarians will ensure constant and continuing renewal of the collection, not only the addition of up-to-date materials but by the judicious elimination of materials which no longer meet district needs or are being used. The process of weeding instructional materials will be done according to established and accepted standards for determining the relevance and value of materials in a given context.

Adopted: 12/73
Reviewed: 6/11; 6/12; 9/13; 1/18; 2/21; 2/24
Revised: 4/15; 3/23; 8/23; 10/23
Related Policy: 602.10-13; 602.27
Legal Reference (Code of Iowa): SF496
IASB Reference: 605.01-R(1)