The mission of the Silsby Free Public Library is to facilitate learning, self-education and recreation for the whole community, to encourage children to become life-long readers, to provide library materials, programs and services to satisfy patrons’ love of books, quest for information and need for recreation, to build and maintain the unique collection of historical materials specific to the Town of Charlestown and the Upper Valley region, and to function as a cultural center for the community
Click the picture to access the library's online catalog
Residents, property owners, and employees of Charlestown businesses are eligible to borrow from the Library at no charge. Currently a $25.00 annual borrowing fee is charged to non-residents. Use of the Library collection within the building is free and available to all.
Most Library material circulates for 3 weeks.
Videos and special collections circulate for 1 week, or at the discretion of the Librarian.
Museum passes circulate overnight.
Material may be renewed once if not on reserve for another patron. Renewals may be requested over the phone.
Reserves may be placed on material by calling the Library.
Fines are not collected for overdue materials. Patrons will be billed the retail price for lost or damaged items.
I. Mission The mission of the Silsby Free Public Library is to facilitate learning, self-education and recreation for the whole community. The Library has a special mission to encourage children to become life-long readers.
Library materials, programs, and services are provided to satisfy the patron’s love of books, quest for information, and need for recreation. The Library will function as a cultural center for the community, providing a venue for local artists and performers.
II. General Objectives The objectives of the Silsby Free Public Library will be:
To operate the Library in accordance with the New Hampshire Library Laws and to strive to meet the standards set by the American Library Association (ALA) and the New Hampshire State Library Development System.
To adhere to the ALA Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement (see attachments).
To assemble, preserve, and administer in organized collections, books and related educational material to promote culture, intellectual freedom and enjoyment for all.
To cooperate with the school and school libraries and other libraries in the State Development System by making materials available through Interlibrary Loan.
To present lectures, concerts, films, and related programs which will add to the enlightenment and recreation of the community.
To provide access to information through the use of such technologies as the Internet, electronic database services and CD-ROM materials.
III. Use of the Library
The Library will serve all residents of the community and those working in the community. People residing outside of the geographic area, but owning property or attending schools in the town shall be considered residents for borrowing purposes.
All patrons will register with the Library using the standard form with name, mailing address, street address, and phone number. Patrons must provide proof of address. Acceptable items to prove residency include utility bill, driver’s license, etc. (with current street address.) A PO Box is not sufficient. If no proof of address can be provided, the person may fill out a post card which the library will mail to them. They can bring this back to the library for verification (the postcard must have the cancellation postmark). Property owners and students attending school in Town must provide verifying documentation. Those working in the community must also provide employment verification, checked annually when the Library card expires. New patrons are limited to checking out a max of three items (1 DVD max) on their first visit. All items must be returned ON TIME or this restriction will remain.
Patrons under the age of 18 must have the signature of a parent or guardian. Young children must be able to print their full name legibly. Use of the Internet by patrons under age 18 requires a separate parental permission.
Non-Residents may become borrowers of the Library by paying a $25.00 annual registration fee.
Use of the Library or its services may be denied by the Director for due cause. Such cause may include, but not be limited to, failure to return books, destruction or misuse of Library property, disturbing patrons or other objectionable conduct on Library premises (State Law 2-2A:24). The Board of Trustees shall be informed of any such action and the cause.
The use of the Library facility for community purposes by non-profit organizations may be permitted at the discretion of the Director and approval of the Board. Reservations shall be made with the Librarian.
IV. Materials Selection
The Silsby Free Public Library will have an extensive, comprehensive, and diverse collection, which may include, but not be limited to, books, periodicals, pamphlets, audio, art pieces, and films. In the following statements, the terms “book” should be understood to include any of these.
The Board of Trustees delegates to the Director the authority and the responsibility of selection of library materials and for development of the collection. Ultimate responsibility for selection policy lies with the Board of Trustees.
The Director will endeavor to follow the general policy of balanced book selection. A hard copy of the state/federal year end report will be provided to the trustees.
The Director may have the help of a book selection committee, but it is understood that the committee’s power will be limited to making recommendations. Recommendations and opinions of staff with regard to book selection will be given due consideration, as will requests by individuals. Only the Librarian will exercise the final choice as to acquisitions and will be responsible for the expending of funds allocated to the book budget.
The Director shall use professionally recognized selection tools and book review media to aid in the selection of materials. Provision will be made in the Library budget for the purchase of these.
Materials are judged by standards appropriate to their purpose and nature. Not all guides and criteria are applicable to every item, and they may vary in relation to importance. Guidelines for selection include: accuracy of information, reputation and significance of the author, extent of coverage, literary quality, originality, good taste, quality of production, reputation and standards of the publisher. Textbooks will be purchased only when the material is available in no other format.
The Trustees realize that because they wish the book selection policy to be liberal, there is a possibility that a book or books in the Library may be regarded by some as unpleasant or offensive or in political opposition to local beliefs. However, if the Silsby Free Library is to fulfill its mission, then it must have in its collection materials of varied points of view which may be regarded by some as controversial, whether because of political expression, affiliation, or moral implication.
In the event that a patron objects to an item or items in the collection, he or she will be asked to put the objection in writing on a form provided for this purpose (Request for Reconsideration of Material). The written objection will be reviewed by the Trustees at the next regularly scheduled meeting, and the patron will receive a written reply.
The Library recognizes the uniqueness of Charlestown’s early history and will maintain and continually enlarge the history collection. A reasonable effort will be made to obtain books, media and magazine articles written about the Town of Charlestown and the State of New Hampshire and their history (economic, social, and political), including a history of this country at the time the Town was settled. A collection of materials written by local authors will also be maintained. Items from this collection must be reviewed by the Library Board before withdrawal from the collection.
Materials that are no longer useful in light of the stated objectives of the Library will be systematically weeded according to accepted professional practices. Disposal of withdrawn materials will be at the discretion of the Director.
In the final analysis, our policy is based, not on personal attitudes, but on the American Library Association’s official Freedom to Read Statement, which states that libraries need not endorse every idea contained within the materials made available; and on the fundamental Library Bill of Rights, which defines the prerogative of individuals (see attachments).
V. LIBRARY EQUIPMENT AND FURNISHINGS
Maintaining an inventory of Library furnishings and equipment shall be the responsibility of the Librarian. The Librarian will notify the Board of any changes in the working condition and/or repair needs of any Library equipment. The Trustees shall have the decision as to the final disposition of un-needed and non-functioning items. Usable items may be offered to other Town departments, including the School District, other local organizations, or other Librarians as deemed appropriate. Disposal of Library items shall not take place without the approval of the Board.
The Library will be open sufficient hours to meet the needs of the community and to comply with the requirements of the New Hampshire Library Development System.
The Library lends books, periodicals, audiobooks and DVDs. A notebook computer and digital projector for power point presentations may be used on-site, or loaned to local organizations for off-site use at the discretion of the Director. eBook and downloadable audio book service is available through the NH State Library.
Permission to use or reproduce historical artifacts, artistic works, and miscellaneous property belonging to the Library may be granted at the discretion of the Director. Appropriate compensation for such shall be determined at the time permission is granted.
The Library will lend reference items, and closed –shelf items (Reference Historical Collection) at the discretion of the Director. Loan of fragile or non-replaceable items are restricted to the local historical society or local historians.
Loan Periods and Policy
Books, magazines, and audiobooks will be loaned for 3 weeks. There is no borrowing limit on these items. DVDs will be loaned for 1 week. Patrons may check out up to 5 DVDs ,2 of which may new, at one time. At one time means on the Borrower’s card, not per visit.
A limit may be placed on the number of children’s seasonal books and on seasonal DVDs checked out at one time. This is at the discretion of the Library Staff.
Patrons with chronically overdue material will be limited to 1 item. Chronic is defined as 2 weeks late at least 3 times in a 6 month period. If subsequently borrowed items are returned on time for the following 3 month period, the restriction will be lifted.
There is no renewal on new material (items from the “new” shelves). All other Library materials may be renewed once, unless they are on reserve or overdue. Renewals may be made over the phone.
Inter-Library Loans will be made according to NHSL guidelines (6 weeks minimum to the borrowing Library).
Museum passes are available to library patrons on a first come first serve basis. Request to use a pass may be made in person or by phone 24 hours in advance. Passes are checked out as an overnight circulation and may be returned to the desk or in the drop box. One museum pass may be checked out on a patron's account. No renewal on museum passes.
Lost or Damaged Material
A patron shall be responsible for all Library materials borrowed on his/her card and for charges for lost or damaged items.
The parent or guardian of a dependent shall be responsible for all charges for lost or damaged materials incurred on the dependent’s card.
All money received for lost or damaged items, by State Statute (RSA 202-A:11) shall be used for general repair, upgrading and purchase of books, supplies and income-generating equipment; shall be held in a non-lapsing separate fund; and shall be in addition to the appropriation.
The Library does NOT charge fines for overdue materials.
Overdue Billing and Procedures
All future borrowing privileges are suspended until all overdue materials are returned. No fines are charged for overdue materials.
Patrons will receive a first notice within 1 week by phone; those not contactable by phone will have an overdue notice sent. The patron will receive a bill after 3 weeks. The bill shall include a statement of the NH Rev. Statute 202-A: 25 (law relative to withholding Library property).
At the discretion of the Director, a registered letter may be sent requesting the return of seriously overdue materials.
The Director may send the police to pickup overdue material if the value is over $100.00.
The Library Staff will try to obtain materials beyond its own resources for patrons by borrowing items through Interlibrary Loan which are not owned, or for which the demand does not justify purchase.
Correspondingly, the Library Staff will lend to other libraries materials that are requested, as long as these materials are not reference, in the closed or Historical collection, or on reserve for our own patrons, except with the express approval of the Director.
Announcements of music and drama events, civic programs and similar items may be displayed on the bulletin board in the upper hall (Railroad St. entrance) with the approval of the Director.
Hobby, craft, and art exhibits are encouraged but are displayed at the owner’s risk.
Materials, leaflets, or posters that advocate the election of a candidate, political or otherwise, may not be displayed in the Library.
Non-Library related solicitation is prohibited.
Petitions will not be allowed unless they pertain to the Library.
VIII. GIFTS and MEMORIALS
Books and other materials will be accepted only on the condition that the Library has the authority to make whatever disposition it deems advisable. The Library will not accept any material which is not an outright gift. Gifts will be processed and weeded as any other material in the collection.
Gifts of money, real property, and/or stock will be accepted if the conditions are acceptable to the Board of Trustees and to the governing body of the Town of Charlestown, NH.
Personal property, art objects, portraits, antiques and other museum objects will be accepted at the discretion of the Board of the Trustees.
The Library will not be responsible for estimating the value of a gift or donated books for the donor’s tax purposes. A qualified appraiser should estimate the value of the donated materials before the donation is made to the Library.
The Library will adhere to State of New Hampshire RSA 202A:4dc (Trustees Authority to Accept and Expend Gifts) and RSA 202A:4-d (Acceptance of Personal Property donated to the Library) (see attachments).
IX. INVESTMENT POLICY
With a consensus of the Board, investments will be made with judgment and care, under circumstances then prevailing, which persons of prudence, discretion and intelligence might exercise in the management of their own affairs and in compliance with all State regulations.The Library Board of Trustees is also committed to avoiding any situation in which the existence of simultaneous, conflicting interests of any Library Trustee or employee may call into question the integrity of the management or operation of the Library.
Scope – This investment policy applies to all monies and other financial resources available for investment on the library’s own behalf.
Objectives – The primary objective of the Library’s investment activities are, in priority order
to conform with all applicable federal, state and other legal requirements (legal)
to adequately safeguard principal (safety)
to obtain a reasonable rate of return (yield)
Certificates of deposit
Investment vehicles with low to moderate risk and diverse portfolios
Large sums may be transferred to management by the Trustees of Trust Funds at the discretion of the Library Board
. Internal controls – The board decides and the Treasurer implements.
X. PERSONNEL The Silsby Free Public Library does not discriminate against qualified applicants on the basis of national origin, race, color, gender, creed, age, marital status, sexual orientation, or mental or physical disabilities. The Library Board of Trustees shall appoint a qualified Library Director, in accordance with State standards, who shall execute the policies adopted by the Board. The Library Director is responsible for obtaining competent personnel for the efficient and satisfactory operation of the Library. All new hires will be subject to a background check before employment is confirmed. Complete Employee policies are to be found in the Silsby Free Public Library Personnel Policy & Employee Handbook XITECHNOLOGY PLAN The Library will have a Technology Plan. The Trustees will review the technology needs of the library every year or when needs arise. XIIDISASTER PLAN The Library will have a disaster plan. This plan will be reviewed every year, or as needed. XIII SAFETY COMMITTEE The Library will be represented on the Town’s Joint Loss Management (Safety) Committee. Minutes of the meetings will be sent to the Director. A workplace safety training/review will be conducted annually for Library staff. An Incident/Accident report will be filled out and kept on file for any occurrences of staff or patron injury. XIV. AMENDMENTS & REVIEW
Amendments to these policies may be proposed at any regular meeting, be made known to members not present, and shall be voted on by a majority of the members at the next meeting.
The entire policy is to be reviewed at least every three years, with revisions or reaffirmation sent to the State Library.
Policies Addenda Library Behavior
The Silsby Free Public Library encourages people of all ages to visit the Library. Those using the Library and its resources have the right to expect a safe, comfortable environment that supports this use.
Anyone demonstrating disruptive behaviour may be asked to leave the Library property after one warning from Library staff. Disruptive behavior includes, but is not limited to, yelling, noisy or boisterous actions, misuse of Library property, uncooperative attitude, actions that deliberately annoy others or prevent legitimate use of the Library and its resources, or any harassing behavior, including bullying. Abusive language toward other patrons or the staff will not be tolerated. The Police will be called to deal with serious disruptions or threatening behaviors.
Parents are responsible for the conduct of their children. Parents with disruptive young children may be asked to remove their child if the behavior interferes with the ability of others to use and enjoy the Library. Older, unattended children will be warned about their behavior & a parent or responsible adult will be called to remove the child from the Library if the behavior continues. If a chronic discipline situation develops, the offending child may not be allowed in the Library unless accompanied by a parent or guardian. Suspension of Library privileges will be at the discretion of the Library Director.
The individual and the Library Board of Trustees will be notified in writing of any such action. Smoking is not permitted in the Library. Smoking is also prohibited within 25 feet of either Library entrance. Appropriate attire (shirt, pants, shoes, etc.) must be worn within the Library building.
Neglect and abuse, whether it is with a child or an adult is a serious problem. The Department of Health and Human Services has two specific programs that work to protect children and adults. The Bureau of Elderly Services (BEAS) receives and investigates reports of adult abuse and neglect and when necessary, provides protective services. The Division for Children, Youth, and Families.(DCYF) Child Protective Services provides protective and preventative services to children, youth and their families. It is the law that library staff must report adult and/or child abuse. In New Hampshire, adult and child abuse and neglect is defined by the following two laws:
RSA 161-F, 42-47 Adult Protection Law, Persons 18 years old and older. RSA 1569-C, Child Protection Act, Children under 18 yearsold
Silsby Free Public LibraryLibrary Policies Addenda Unattended Children
Library service to children is essential. Children who wish to use the library for borrowing library materials, studying, doing research, or attending programs are greatly encouraged to do so. However, parents/caregivers need to remember that the library is a public building open to any and all individuals, and that their child's safety is the responsibility of the parents/caregiver not library staff. Silsby Library cannot be held responsible for incidents, accidents or other liabilities arising from the actions of unattended children. Library staff cannot supervise children in the library or on library property, nor can they monitor whether children are leaving the library alone or with a parent, friend, or stranger.
No child under the age of 9 will be left in the library unattended. Children under nine must be accompanied by a parent//caregiver or sibling age 13 or older including while they are visiting the public restrooms in the unstaffed lower level of the building. Children under the age of 9 may attend library programs alone provided an adult/caregiver remains in the library during the program.
Children will be expected to display appropriate behavior conducive to maintaining a peaceful atmosphere in the building for all patrons. If a child's behavior is inappropriate or requires excessive staff attention he/she will be asked to leave the library. The parent will be contacted to remove the child. If the parent cannot be reached and the child's behavior is deemed dangerous or unduly disruptive, the police will be called.
Disruptive behavior includes but is not limited to:
Running, shouting and/or roughhousing
Cursing, obscene, or abusive language
Throwing objects of any kind
Vandalizing library property
Fighting or challenging to fight.
In any situation involving the safety of children, and specifically whenever a parent/caregiver or police are contacted, library staff will complete an incident report.
Children under the age of 14 left unattended at closing should know how to reach a parent/guardian. Children should be picked up 15 minutes before closing time. If a ride needs to be arranged, a call should be made at this time. If no contact can be made, or a ride has not arrived by closing time, Library staff will attempt to make contact and if unsuccessful, police will be called to supervise the child until an adult arrives. Library employees are not permitted to transport or accompany children anywhere. Adults should be aware that the library closes at 7:00 pm on Monday and Wednesday, 5:00 pm on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and at 1:00 pm on Saturday.
Silsby Free Public Library Policies Addenda Computer use/Acceptable Behavior
Library patrons are cautioned that the library computers are located in public areas, which must be shared by Library users of all ages, backgrounds, and sensibilities. Individuals are asked to consider this and to respect others when accessing information and images. Library patrons may not use a library computer in a manner that violates local, state or federal law. Patrons are advised that all internet access is unfiltered and library public use computers are not private or secure. Any information sent by an internet terminal or by using the library wi-fi may be used by others. The appropriate use of the internet is the responsibility of the patron. Parents are responsible for appropriate use of the internet by their children. Anyone found using computers for illegal purposes including but not limited to child pornography, harassment or criminal threatening, or abuse of the equipment or services, will be barred from further computer use and will be reported to the police.
Silsby Library provides free public internet access as an informational, educational, and recreational resource. Access is provided on a space available basis. Anyone wishing to use the computers must check in at the desk. Internet usage is limited to 45 minutes and depending on demand may be increased at staff discretion. Computer time may be reserved by requesting in advance with a specific date/time for usage.
No patron using library computers may interfere in another's use and enjoyment of the library computers in any manner. Computers left unattended for any reason other than use of the restrooms will be considered free and available for use by another patron.
Minor children (under age 18) will need the permission of a parent or guardian to have unsupervised access to unfiltered Internet on Library computers. Parents/guardians assume sole responsibility for their child's Internet use. Library staff cannot monitor this use or guarantee the safety of children online.
Patrons using computers will be asked to log off 15 minutes prior to closing.
SILSBY FREE PUBLIC LIBRARY MINOR/PARENT OR GUARDIAN ACCEPTABLE USE AGREEMENT.
CHILD'S NAME________________________________________________DOB_______ I have read the Computer/Internet Use Policy and I understand and agree to abide by the guidelines stated. I understand that violation of these guidelines may result in the loss of Computer/Internet use privileges.
I Understand that I am responsible for my child's use of the internet through Silsby Free Public Library's connection. I further understand that Silsby Free Public Library cannot protect my child from offensive materials on the internet.
Silsby Free Public Library Policies Addenda Animals in the library
The Silsby Free Public Library, in an effort to welcome and encourage all individuals to use the library, has established the following policy to address service animals. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act a service animal has been individually trained to provide assistance to an individual living with a disability. The tasks performed by the animal must be directly related to the person's disability. Pets are not allowed in the library. An emotional support or therapy animal is not a service animal. An emotional support or therapy animal is legally a pet and not permitted to go anywhere that pets are not allowed.
All service animals must be restrained by the owner in accordance with the ADA. This means the animal must be in harness or on a leash or lead and with the owner at all times. Registration tags and rabies tags and or certificate must be on the animal or in the owner's possession while in the Library.
The following animal behavior guidelines are taken from the ADA :
No aggressive behavior toward people or other animals; no biting, no snapping, no growling, no mounting, no lunging and/or barking.
No begging for food, or petting from other people.
No sniffing people who pass by .
No overly excited or hyper behavior.
No urinating or defecating in the library.
Owners of animals acting inappropriately will be asked to remove the animal from the library. All situations will be evaluated on an individual basis, and the owner will not be denied library services. Library staff will employ alternative ways to meet the patron's library needs without the animal, if appropriate animal behavior cannot be maintained. Trainers with service dogs in training will be allowed the same access as the disabled in accordance with NH RSA 167-D:6
Silsby Free Public Library Charelstown, NH Policies Addenda
Suspension of Library Privileges
Patron Name : ___________________________________ B.C. # ___________
Reason for suspension of Library use :
As a patron of the Library you have the right to grieve this action by petitioning the Library Board of Trustees.
I have read this form & understand the action being taken.
Patron Signature ________________________________
Staff : _________________________________________
cc: Library board of Trustees
The Freedom to Read
The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack. Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove books from sale, to censor textbooks, to label “controversial” books, distribute lists of “objectionable” books or authors, and to purge libraries. These actions apparently rise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to avoid the subversion of politics and the corruption of morals. We, as citizens devoted to the use of books and as librarians and publishers responsible for disseminating them, wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of the freedom to read.
We are deeply concerned about these attempts at suppression. Most such attempts rest on a denial of the fundamental premise of democracy; that the ordinary citizen, by exercising critical judgment, will accept the good and reject the bad. The censors, public and private, assume that they should determine what is good and what is bad for their fellow citizens.
We trust Americans to recognize propaganda, and to reject it. We do not believe they need the help of censors to assist them in this task. We do not believe they are prepared to sacrifice their heritage of a free press in order to be “protected” against what others think may be bad for them. We believe they still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression.
We are aware, of course, that books are not alone in being subjected to efforts at suppression. We are aware that these efforts are related to a larger pattern of pressures being brought against education, the press, films, radio and television. The problem is not only one of actual censorship. The shadow of fear cast by these pressures leads, we suspect, to an even larger voluntary curtailment of expression by those who seek to avoid controversy.
Such pressure toward conformity is perhaps natural to a time of uneasy change and pervading fear. Especially when so many of our apprehensions are directed against an ideology, the expression of a dissident idea becomes a thing feared in itself, and we tend to move against it as against a hostile deed, with suppression.
And yet suppression is never more dangerous than in such a time of social tension. Freedom has given the United States the elasticity to endure strain. Freedom keeps open the path of novel and creative solutions, and enables change to come by choice. Every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of our society and leaves it less able to deal with stress.
Now as always in our history, books are among our greatest instruments of freedom. They are almost the only means for making generally available ideas or manners of expression that can initially command only a small audience. They are the natural medium for the new idea and the untried voice from which come the original contributions to social growth. They are essential to the extended discussion which serious thought requires, and to the accumulation of knowledge and ideas into organized collections.
We believe that free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture. We believe that these pressures towards conformity present the danger of limiting the range and variety of inquiry and expression on which our democracy and our culture depend. We believe that every American community must jealously guard the freedom to publish and to circulate, in order to preserve its own freedom to read. We believe that publishers and librarians have a profound responsibility to give validity to that freedom to read by making it possible for the readers to choose freely from a variety of offerings.
The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution. Those with faith in free people will stand firm on these constitutional guarantees of essential rights and will exercise the responsibilities that accompany these rights.
We therefore affirm these propositions:
It is in the public interest of publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those which are unorthodox or unpopular with the majority.
Creative thought is by definition new, and what is new is different. The bearer of every new thought is a rebel until that idea is refined and tested. Totalitarian systems attempt to maintain themselves in power by ruthless suppression of any concept which challenges the established orthodoxy. The power of a democratic system to adapt to change is vastly strengthened by the freedom of its citizens to choose widely from among conflicting opinions offered freely to them. To stifle every nonconformist idea at birth would mark the end of the democratic process. Furthermore, only through constant activity of weighing and selecting can the democratic mind attain the strength demanded by times like these. We need to know not only what we believe but why we believe it.
Publishers, librarians and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea or presentation contained in the books they make available. It would conflict with the public interest for them to establish their own political, moral or aesthetic views as a standard for determining what books should be published or circulated.
Publishers and librarians serve the educational process by helping to make available knowledge and ideas required for the growth of the mind and the increase of learning. They do not foster education by imposing as mentors the patterns of their own thought. The people should have the freedom to read and consider a broader range of ideas than those that may be held by any single librarian or publisher or government or church. It is wrong that what one can read should be confined to what another thinks proper.
It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to determine the acceptability of a book on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.
A book should be judged as a book. No art or literature can flourish if it is measured by the political views or private lives of its creators. No society of free people can flourish which draws up lists of writers to whom it will not listen, whatever they may have to say.
There is no place in our society for efforts to coerce the taste of others, to confine adults to the reading matter deemed suitable for adolescents, or to inhibit the efforts of writers to achieve artistic expression.
To some, much of modern literature is shocking. But is not much of life itself shocking? We cut off literature at the source if we prevent writers from dealing with the stuff of life. Parents and teachers have a responsibility to prepare the young to meet the diversity of experiences in life to which they will be exposed, as they have a responsibility to help them learn to think critically for themselves. These are affirmative responsibilities, not to be discharged simply by preventing them from reading works for which they are not yet prepared. In these matters taste differs, and taste cannot be legislated; nor can machinery be devised which will suit the demands of one group without limiting the freedom of others.
It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept with any book the prejudgment of a label characterizing the book or author as subversive or dangerous.
The ideal of labeling presupposes the existence of individuals or groups with wisdom to determine by authority what is good or bad for the citizen. It presupposes that individuals must be directed in making up their minds about the ideas they examine. But Americans do not need others to do their thinking for them.
It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians, as guardians of the people’s freedom to read, to contest encroachments upon that freedom by individuals or groups seeking to impose their own standards or tastes upon the community at large.
It is inevitable in the give and take of the democratic process that the political, the moral, or the aesthetic concepts of an individual or group will occasionally collide with those of another individual or group. In a free society individuals are free to determine for themselves what they wish to read, and each group is free to determine what it will recommend to its freely associated members. But no group has the right to take the law into its own hands, and to impose its own concept of politics or morality upon other members of a democratic society. Freedom is no freedom if it is accorded only to the accepted and the inoffensive.
It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians to give full meaning to the freedom to read by providing books that enrich the quality and diversity of thought and expression. By the exercise of this affirmative responsibility, they can demonstrate that the answer to a bad book is a good one, the answer to a bad idea is a good one.
The freedom to read is of little consequence when expended on the trivial; it is frustrated when the reader cannot obtain matter fit for that reader’s purpose. What is needed is not only the absence of restraint, but the positive provision of opportunity for the people to read the best that has been thought and said.
Books are the major channel by which the intellectual inheritance is handed down, and the principal means of its testing and growth. The defense of their freedom and integrity, and the enlargement of their service to society, requires of all publishers and librarians the utmost of their faculties and deserves of all citizens the fullest of their support.
We state these propositions neither lightly nor as easy generalizations. We here stake out a lofty claim for the value of books. We do so because we believe that they are good, possessed of enormous variety and usefulness, worthy of cherishing and keeping free. We realize that the application of these propositions may mean the dissemination of ideas and manners of expression that are repugnant to many persons. We do not state these propositions in the comfortable belief that what people read is unimportant. We believe rather that what people read is deeply important; that ideas can be dangerous; but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society. Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.
This statement was originally issued in May of 1953 by the Westchester Conference of the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers Council, which in 1970 consolidated with the American Educational Publishers Institute to become the Association of American Publishers.
Adopted June 25, 1953; revised January 28, 1972, January 16, 1991, by the ALA Council and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee.
A Joint Statement by: American Library Association & Association of American Publishers Library Bill of Rights
The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas and that the following basic policies should guide their services.
Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affirmations of individuals or groups requesting their use.
Adopted June 18, 1948 Amended February 2, 1961, and January 23, 1980 Inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996, By the ALA Council
Silsby Free Public Library 226 Main Street Charlestown, NH 03603
Request for Reconsideration of Material
Material in Question:
Reason for reconsideration:
________ I have read the entire book/listened or watched the entire recording.
________ I have read/listened or watched only part. Please list the section and/or pages:
Staff member taking request: __________________________________
202-A:4-c Trustees’ Authority To Accept And Expend GiftsJanuary 1, 1991 I.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, any town at an annual meeting may adopt an article authorizing indefinitely until specific rescission of such authority, the public library trustees to apply for, accept and expend, without further action by the town meeting, unanticipated money from the state, federal or other governmental unit or a private source which becomes available during the fiscal year. The following shall apply:
(a) Such warrant article to be voted on shall read: “Shall the town accept the provisions of RSA 202-A:4-c providing that any town at an annual meeting may adopt an article authorizing indefinitely, until specific rescission of such authority, the public library trustees to apply for, accept and expend, without further action by the town meeting, unanticipated money from a state, federal or other governmental unit or a private source which becomes available during the fiscal year?”
(b) If a majority of voters voting on the question vote in the affirmative, the proposed warrant article shall be in effect in accordance with the terms of the article until such time as the town meeting votes to rescind its vote.
II. Such money shall be used only for legal purposes for which a town may appropriate money. III. (a) For unanticipated moneys in the amount of $5,000 or more, the public library trustees shall hold a prior public hearing on the action to be taken. Notice of the time, place, and subject of such hearing shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the relevant municipality at least 7 days before the hearing is held.
(b) The public library trustees may establish the amount of unanticipated funds required for notice under this subparagraph, provided such amount is less than $5,000. For unanticipated moneys in an amount less than $5,000, the public library trustees shall post notice of the moneys in the agenda, if any, and shall include notice in the minutes of the public library trustees meeting in which such moneys are discussed. The acceptance of unanticipated moneys under this subparagraph shall be made in public session of any regular public library trustees meeting.
IV. Action to be taken under this section shall: (a) Not require the expenditure of other town funds except those funds lawfully appropriated for the same purpose; and (b) Be exempt from all provisions of RSA 32, relative to limitations and expenditures of town moneys.
202-A:4-d Acceptance Of Personal Property Donated To LibrariesJanuary 1, 1996 ·
Any town at an annual meeting may adopt an article authorizing the public library trustees to accept gifts of personal property, other than money, which may be offered to the library for any public purpose, and such authorization shall remain in effect until rescinded by a vote of town meeting. II. The warrant article may require that, prior to the acceptance of any gift valued at over $5,000, the public library trustees shall hold a public hearing on the proposed acceptance. III. No acceptance of any personal property under the authority of this section shall be deemed to bind the town or the library trustees to raise, appropriate, or expend any public funds for the operation, maintenance, repair, or replacement of such personal property.
Revisions1996, 33:1, eff. June 23, 1996; 216:1, eff. June 23, 1996, at 12:01 a.m.