Academic Council

Authorizes Release:

Vice President for Information Services

Responsible Area:

Blume Library

Review Cycle:

Annually or as required

Last Review:

March 2021

Related Policies and Additional References:



The primary function of the Blume Library is to meet the information resource and service needs of the total University population as they relate to the curriculum of the University. The mission of the University is stated in full in the University catalog and includes goals of teaching, scholarly research, and service to the community. Library resources and services support these goals.

Louis J. Blume Library Mission Statement

The Mission Statement of the Blume Library of St. Mary’s University is as follows:

The Blume Library supports the mission of the University and the work of all members of the University community by providing appropriate resources to foster intellectual growth, welcoming environments that enable students and faculty to discover and integrate the many branches of human knowledge, and various types of assistance in scholarly endeavors.

Brief Description of the Community to be Served

The faculty, staff, and students of St. Mary’s University are the primary community to be served.  Students and faculty of the St. Mary’s School of Law are the primary clientele of the Law Library and constitute a secondary clientele for the Blume Library. Clients of CORAL and TexShare members also constitute a secondary community for service.  Finally, other members of the public will be served to the extent that this does not interfere with the primary mission of the library.

Specific Identification of Clientele

Faculty, staff, and students of the University will be served to the fullest degree possible through the use of instruction and reference help, however, the actual research will be done by the client. Reference librarians should strive to be proactive and seek out those clients who may need help.

The collection will be developed according to the research and education needs of the students, faculty, and staff. Other patrons will be served to the extent that this does not interfere with service to the primary clientele. Service to TexShare members includes reciprocal borrowing privileges and rapid ILL through a special delivery service.

At this time, due to budget constraints, the Blume Library cannot purchase materials in support of faculty research. Student study and research must be the primary focus of all library collection development. The library has, however, made arrangements with area colleges and universities for direct lending to faculty with appropriate University identification. If material needed does not exist in the San Antonio area, the library has access to the national pool of libraries participating in ILL through a relatively swift on-line lending system (OCLC). In the future, we hope to be able to support faculty research efforts directly.

Library services to students at off-campus sites will be met through several means: online access for the library catalog and our information databases, delivery service for needed books, and faxing of journal articles to off-campus sites. A separate statement of library services to off-campus students is available.

Parameters of the Collection

Subject areas will be chosen to support the curriculum. Other materials, such as recreational materials, will be collected after curriculum needs have been met. Formats purchased include printed materials and, to the extent that these materials do not supply the needs of the curriculum, non-print materials such as microforms, CDs, DVDs, and other needed formats, will be collected. Hardware to make appropriate use of the non-print materials will be provided by the library. More specifics on the collection by subject area are noted below.

Needs to be Met

The collection is to be oriented toward educational purposes, at the general support level for the curriculum. Other appropriate purposes, such as recreation, may be represented at a minimum level. Most materials will be for circulation to the primary clientele except in special circumstances, e.g., reference materials, reserve materials, journals, and rare books and documents held in Special Collections.

Cooperation in Collection Development

The library will seek to cooperate with other libraries including cooperation in the areas of collection development, reciprocal borrowing, interlibrary loan, joint purchasing, shared cataloging, and any other possible areas of cooperation. However, as these programs are developed, the needs of the primary clientele should be considered. Cooperative programs should be planned to lead to enhanced service to the primary clientele. Since the funding for this library comes primarily from private sources, including a preponderate amount from tuition, we must be able to justify all cooperative programs in terms of increased service to the primary user.

Priorities of the Collection

Priority will be given to current educational materials in support of the curriculum at the basic and instructional/support levels. Recreational and other materials may be collected to the extent that they contribute to a well-educated, well-rounded person. An explanation of the collection levels is given below.

The Blume Library collects materials on several levels.

Level one, the minimal level, is the level which attempts to build a highly selective collection in subject areas which, while they may not be represented in the curriculum, are appropriate in a library of an institution of higher education.

Level two is the basic level which supports lower level undergraduate study. It introduces and defines subjects offered at the 1000 and 2000 course levels. It includes works by major authors, basic works in the subject, and reference works. Subject dictionaries and encyclopedias, general surveys, and handbooks are types of materials collected at level two. Theatre and Art, two departments that do not offer a full major, are examples of departments at the level two collection level.

Level three, the instructional/support level, is designed to meet the instructional needs for an undergraduate major. It offers a wide range of general works, collections of works of more important writers, and provides support for specific courses at the 3000 and 4000 course level.  Standard works, anthologies, major critical works and commentaries, classic works, and up-to-date general materials are types of materials collected at level three. Sociology, chemistry, and philosophy are departments at the level three collection level.

Level four, thesis level, supports research for theses and dissertations. It covers major aspects of a discipline in greater depth and provides for instructional needs of students at this level.  Types of materials collected at level four are graduate and professional-level current materials and retrospective materials in the field pertaining to degree programs. At this time, the budgetary resources of the library do not extend to providing full support for thesis research. Cooperation with other libraries is necessary for research at this level. Good examples of these departments include Counseling, English/Communications Studies and Political Science.

Standards for the Library and the Collection

Standards have been developed which provide a means of comparing individual facilities, staffs, and materials with recommended minimum and maximum levels of adequacy. Standards for College Libraries, Standards for Faculty Status for College and University Librarians, and Guidelines for Extended Campus Library Services have been approved by the Association of College and Research Libraries. Accreditation self-studies often ask for a general measure of the collection along with specific questions related to materials for the program being evaluated. These guidelines are also used for internal planning and evaluation.

Considerations in Collection Development

Collection Evaluation and Maintenance

Systematic withdrawal of material no longer useful is essential in order to maintain a good library collection. Weeding criteria are generally the same as those used in selection. Physical condition, age of material, date of last loan, number of loans, number of copies in the collection, obsolescence of information, language of the material, existence and availability of indexes (particularly for periodicals and newspapers), coverage of the subject by other material in the collection, availability of the material from other libraries, listing of the item in important bibliographies, awards won, and other factors are relevant. Reshelving counts, citations in student and faculty bibliographies, and other factors may also be of use in weeding and collection evaluation decisions.  Currently, there are no options for weeding ebooks as, once purchased, they become a permanent part of the collection.

Print periodical usage is evaluated on a continuing basis by counting the number of times each title is shelved. This is done on a limited basis for microforms as well. The use of ebooks, databases and other online subscriptions will be tracked via usage data provided by the vendor or publisher.

Worn or damaged materials which are still useful will be repaired or replaced if possible.

As specific areas of the collection are evaluated by librarian subject specialists, evaluation/selection plans should be prepared and submitted to the director of the library and the collection development department head for review. An evaluation/selection plan for a specific subject area should cover a number of points including a description of the courses being offered in the subject area and the names of the teaching faculty, the titles of bibliographic and selection aids to be used, any other collection evaluation aids to be used (usage counts, citation counts, reshelving counts, circulation counts, etc.), the proposed budget for selection, what sort of approach to faculty will be made (memos, individual meetings, group meetings, etc.), proposed handling of weeded materials, and a tentative time-line for the evaluation.

Lost or Damaged Items

Library materials which have been lost or damaged will be replaced if they are still available in the current book trade, if they are considered appropriate for the collection (see Criteria for Selection), and as the budget allows. Clientele responsible are charged for the lost or damaged item plus a processing fee.


Gifts may be added to the collection when they support the curriculum or add needed strength to the collection. Gifts will be accepted only when offered unconditionally to the library unless an exception to this policy is specifically made by the director.

Items added to the collection should be physically in good shape, i.e., no stains, mildew, missing pages, or writing in the item. The information should be current or classic. Gifts should generally meet the same criteria for selection as other new acquisitions. Magazines are not needed unless as replacements for missing issues in the collection or if a continuing gift is planned. The library does not evaluate gifts for tax purposes in accordance with IRS regulations.

Donors should be informed that the library, if unable to use the gifts, will dispose of them in an appropriate manner. Small gifts may be accepted by the director, acquisitions librarian or subject specialist. Larger collections should be examined by the library director, acquisitions librarian, and/or appropriate subject specialists before acceptance.

Library Instruction

Group instruction on the use of information resources is held on a regular basis in the library and one-on-one reference counseling is available from professional librarians. Librarians also act as contacts for departmental library instruction requests.


Primary clientele of the library may check out material from the library for circulation. Number of items checked out at any given time and duration of the loan length is determined by the library. Fines are levied for overdue materials and replacement costs for lost or damaged materials will be collected. Interlibrary loan is available by request for primary clientele of the library.

Intellectual Freedom

The censorship policy of the library in brief notes that the official responsibility for selection resides in the Office of the President of the University but that this responsibility has been delegated to the Executive Director of the Blume Library and Learning Commons. Since St. Mary’s University is an institution of higher education no censorship can be tolerated. Materials are purchased in support of specific coursework and censorship would make much of that coursework impossible. Complaints in writing may be registered by primary clientele with the Director. The final decision on whether any item is placed in the library is not based on complaints but on the value of the item in meeting the research and educational needs of the primary clientele.

The library adheres to intellectual freedom standards as promulgated by the American Library Association and found in the appendices to this document.

Section of the Faculty Handbook of St. Mary’s University defines the parameters of academic freedom for librarians at the University. Academic freedom is accorded to all professional librarians because they are often present at the point of student contact with ideas.  Librarians are free from fear of dismissal or reprisal for carrying out job-related tasks such as those listed below:

  1. selection of publications, including determination of what to discard from an existing collection and what to accept or refuse from donors;
  2. determination of restrictions on circulation or on access with regard to library materials;
  3. determination of the degree of prominence in the shelving of selected library materials;
  4. issuing of bibliographies that may include controversial publication; and
  5. advising of students as to what to read or study.

Selection of Materials

Responsibility for Selection

Official responsibility for selection resides in the Office of the President of the University and actual responsibility has been delegated to the Executive Director of the Blume Library and Learning Commons. The instructional faculty of the University has been given some responsibility for requesting selections in their fields.  A demand-driven access approach may be used to allow faculty and students instant access to e-books.  Professional librarians have the responsibility for selecting a core collection of materials and supplementing selections requested by the faculty.  Beyond that, it is the responsibility of the acquisitions/collections development librarian to determine appropriate additions for the library’s collection.


The Blume Library is responsible for developing a proposed budget according to the University-wide principles set forth each year. Customarily, the basis for this proposal is the previous budget with estimated adjustments to counteract the rate of inflation. In addition, any extraordinary support which may be needed for new courses and new curricula must be taken into account. The budget for materials is broken into separate budgets for serials, books, and other media. Each librarian is responsible for selecting materials in one or more specific subject areas and is encouraged to communicate with the instructional faculty in that area for collection development requests.

Selection Aids

Reviews and bibliographies may be used to aid selection with Choice being a primary selection tool, but absence of reviews need not bar selection of an item. Standing orders may be used to complete monographic series, however, these should be used with caution as costs increase.  Vendors and jobbers both for monographs and serials may be required to bid for the library’s business. The lowest bid will be selected unless experience has proven the bidder’s service unacceptable.

The ACRL Standards for College Libraries indicates that the collection should contain a substantial portion of the titles listed in standard bibliographies for the curricular areas of the institution and for supporting general fields of knowledge. Subject lists for college libraries have been prepared by several learned associations, while general bibliographies such as Resources for College Libraries are especially useful for identifying important retrospective titles. A majority of the appropriate, current publications reviewed in scholarly journals and in reviewing media such as Choice or Library Journal should be acquired. Thus, librarians engaged in collection development should make extensive use of reviews and bibliographies as selection aids.

Criteria for Selection of Materials

  • Importance of the subject in relation to the curriculum
  • Currency and accuracy of information
  • Timeliness and importance of information
  • Author’s reputation and significance
  • Availability of other material on the subject in the library, in other area libraries, and in print
  • Inclusion of the title in standard bibliographies or indexes
  • Recommendation in standard reviewing sources
  • Price
  • Length (prefer monographs 50 pages or more in length; print monographs of less than 20 pages will not be added to the collection)
  • Language (English only is selected, except for those items selected to support the foreign language curriculum)
  • Format, including legibility, binding, and type
  • Scope and depth of subject coverage
  • Ease of use
  • Publisher (vanity presses are normally excluded)
  • Duplication (single copies are normally collected unless there is an overriding need in the curriculum for duplicates of an item)
  • Current vs. retrospective materials (Both current and retrospective materials are essential to the needs of a University library, however, current materials will generally receive a higher priority. Current materials are those in-print in their original editions. Retrospective materials are those out-of-print or available only as reprints either in full-size or microform editions.)
  • Out-of-print materials (Efforts to obtain materials from the out-of-print market will be made if it is judged that the material is of enough importance to justify these efforts and costs. Probability of use and frequency of use by primary clientele are factors in the judgment of importance.)

Selection of Special Formats

  • E-book vs. Paperbound vs. Hardbound Materials: E-books are generally preferred unless there are special circumstances that require another format.  If a quality paperback is available, it may be purchased and bound in lieu of purchasing a publisher-bound volume, if the procedure is cost-effective.
  • Microform vs. Full-size Materials: Microform is a practical format for storage and retention of large collections of lesser-used materials. However, when possible, full-size materials will be purchased for ease of use.
  • Serials and Subscriptions: Online format is generally preferred for serials purchases.   For those that cannot be purchased online, serials which present substantial information related to the curriculum and which are accessible through major abstracting and indexing services will be preferred for selection and retention purposes. Long runs of serials backfiles will rarely be purchased due to the generally higher priority given to current information needs, though short runs of backfiles (2-3 years) are generally useful. Subscriptions are purchased only with budgets secure for the long-term. Grants, gifts, and other short-term monies may be used for purchase of various library materials but subscription funds must be guaranteed for the future, including the possibility of increases for inflation. Due to the budgetary commitments entailed by subscriptions and standing orders, great care is needed in their selection. In order to have the widest possible coverage of periodical material, duplicate copies of subscriptions will generally not be purchased. As a general rule, the library will not purchase newsletter type material which may have a limited time span of usefulness. The Periodicals Department of the Blume Library will evaluate each title for its timeliness. Online subscriptions when they match or exceed the content of print subscriptions are preferred. Some titles may be retained for a limited number of months or years. Titles received more frequently than monthly will in many cases be assigned a limited retention period. All titles which are permanently retained in the library and not replaced by microform will be bound.
  • Media: Media items, such as CDs and DVDs, will be purchased when print materials do not supply the needs of the curriculum. Since that budget must be shared, the library has established the following priorities for the purchase of non-print media items:
    • The first priority for expenditures from the media budget will be to purchase those items which will be required for students to complete successfully a course being taught at St. Mary’s University. The second priority for expenditures from the media budget will be to purchase those items that are recommended to students as an adjunct learning experience for a class being taught at St. Mary’s University. If sufficient funds remain, the library will seek to meet other media requests. The library will, from time to time, purchase additional media programs in the general interest of the University, but not required for classroom viewing.
    • Book and periodical budgets will not in general be used for the purchase of non-print media.
  • CD-ROM: CD-ROMs received as adjunct material with books will be added to the catalog and stored on the shelf with the book or other item they accompanied.
  • Audio Compact Disks: Audio CDs will be purchased by the library including classical, jazz, opera, and other musical genres as the budget allows. The library no longer collects musical recordings in other formats, such as LPs. Older formats may be weeded as they become unusable.
  • Electronic Information Access: Electronic resources must meet the following criteria:
    • Authentication by IP address (rather than passwords or logins)
    • Compatibility with the Library’s existing proxy server and software
    • Increasingly, materials are available electronically which are not accessible in any other format. These include electronic journals and books, online indexes, fulltext databases, and other information available through computer networks and other sources. Material in these formats is subject to the same scrutiny as other material added to the collection. Care should be taken in the collection of online fulltext material.  Stability and accessibility of the resource will be a primary consideration.
    • Purchase of electronic books may be desirable under the following circumstances: there is an expectation of demand for the title, the purchase price is reasonable compared to paper, the title is purchased and not leased, and the online format is user-friendly.  Electronic books should be cataloged and made available via links in the online catalog.
    • The library will provide access to these materials through collection and organization of such items as can be appropriately held in the library. In addition, the library will strive to provide its clients with online access to electronic sources of information as well as training and materials to aid them in searching for information online.

Specific Guidelines for Selection of Electronic Access Purchases for Books/Reference Materials

The following guidelines must be met for the purchase of online books and reference works.  If these standards cannot be met, books and reference materials will not be purchased in electronic format.

  1. Guaranteed ownership in perpetuity.
  2. Low or no cost annual hosting fees
  3. Availability of remote access via IP authentication
  4. Availability of usage statistics, preferably COUNTER-compliant

The next set of guidelines are preferred, but not absolutely necessary, for electronic purchases:

  1. Ability to lend the material on Interlibrary Loan.
  2. Administrative access to usage statistics at any time (not just “statistics by request”)
  3. Easy-use interface
  4. Ability to download and read offline
  5. Multiple simultaneous users
  6. Prefer a purchase with guaranteed ownership that includes copy to be kept locally as a backup (on DVD or other appropriate format).

Collection Development Policy Review

The collection development policy will be reviewed (and amended if necessary) annually by the Acquisitions/Collection Development Librarian in cooperation with the Executive Director.

Special Collections Within the Library

Government Information

The Blume Library has been a selective depository of government information since 1964. As such, it has an obligation to share federally provided documents, and electronic government information, with the general public. The tangible materials may not be circulated outside the library except to St. Mary’s students, faculty and staff, but are available at all times for use in the building and for request through ILL. All documents are fully cataloged.

Tangible Documents

Very few tangible documents are still received by the Library. Much of the decline in receipts is a result of fewer tangible documents being available for selection from the Government Publishing Office (GPO), but we have also decided to restrict incoming tangible materials since much of the information is available electronically. Decisions regarding what is still received in tangible form are based upon historical usage and our best judgment as to future importance.

The categories of material still received in tangible form include:

  • Hearings and prints from selected Congressional committees which have historically provided well-used and important documents.
  • Paper Census reports when available for selection.
  • Documents featuring military, political, and social history when available.
  • Popular science titles, such as NASA Special Publications, when available.
  • Reference-type titles, such as Health USA, when available.
Electronic Documents

Most of the original selection profile of the Library, which supports the curriculum of the University, is retained as far as electronic documents are concerned. Cataloging records for these documents, complete with links, are purchased from Marcive and loaded into the Catalog.

Lists of new electronic documents appearing in the Catalog of US Government Publications (http:// ) are scanned regularly for items of interest that are not in our current selection profile. Cataloging records for these items are manually added to the Catalog.

Criteria used to decide which records to add include:

  • Relevance of subject matter to St. Mary’s curriculum or general needs
  • Subject of topical interest
  • Material dealing with the San Antonio area, South Texas or other nearby regions
  • Important historical material that has been newly digitized and cataloged by GPO

Item numbers not currently selected, that are regularly found to be associated with interesting material during these scans, are added to our Marcive profile.

Deaccessioning Tangible Documents

An ongoing deaccessioning project is underway that aims to trim the tangible collection to a small number of items of particular interest. Decisions regarding what to keep in tangible form are based upon circulation statistics, our judgment as to historical importance, and subject matter. When possible, and when records are retained in the catalog, electronic versions of the documents are located in various repositories and links to these online versions are added to the cataloging record.

Deaccessioned documents of interest to the Law Library are sent to them rather than being disposed.

Manuscripts and Rare Books

Special Collections in the library consists mainly of materials dealing with Texas, the Spanish borderlands, and military history as well as 19th century mathematics. It also contains smaller collections of other materials.  These documents are not yet cataloged.

Juvenile Literature

The juvenile literature collection is primarily composed of award-winning books, e.g., Caldecott and Newbery medal and honor books. Secondly, the collection contains books most often studied in children’s literature classes. These items are fully cataloged. For juvenile literature, paper format is preferred over e-book format. The following is a list of the types of books to be included in the St. Mary’s Blume Library:

  • A basic reference collection related to the study of children’s literature, including anthologies and books on the history of literature, authors, illustrators, teaching of literature, and storytelling. These will be included in the regular collection, many of them in reference.
  • Picture books, including wordless books, ABC and number books, with a well-rounded representation of various authors and illustrators.
  • Non-fiction to the same extent.
  • Poetry, including songs that may be used during practice lessons and student teaching.
  • Fiction for middle grade children (2rd-6th graders), jr. high readers, and young adults.
  • Folklore, including fairy tales, legends, stories to tell, and representative Southwestern folklore.
  • Biography to the extent that it is studied in the children’s literature courses.
  • Spanish and bilingual books to support the trend toward multicultural education and to exemplify St. Mary’s unique cultural environment.

Curriculum Collection

The textbook collection for use by the education students of St. Mary’s is comprised primarily of the textbooks adopted for use in the state of Texas by the Texas Education Agency. The library’s goal is to have all the currently adopted textbooks for subjects taught at St. Mary’s.  Some older textbooks are retained to serve as a comparison to textbooks currently under adoption. These items are fully cataloged.

Leisure Reading

Fiction for recreational reading will be collected at a minimal level for those fiction items which do not directly support the curriculum. Recreational reading is located in the Leisure Reading area near the entrance to the library. Genre fiction, such as romances, westerns, and so forth will not be collected specifically as a genre. Some genre fiction may be included in the minimal level collection of fiction. Best sellers will not be purchased solely because they are best sellers if they have no other purpose in the collection.  Genre fiction, bestsellers, and other more popular items may be found in this collection. These items are fully cataloged.

Theses and Dissertations

Two copies of each St. Mary’s University thesis or dissertation will be bound, cataloged and retained by the library. One copy will be kept permanently in Special Collections and one will be shelved in the regular book collection.  Non-St. Mary’s theses and dissertations which have been purchased by the library will be cataloged and added to the regular book collection.

Reserve Collection

The reserve collection is a collection of instructor-owned materials and materials owned by the Blume Library which have been separated from the larger collection for restricted use. A very few items belonging to the library which are expected to receive very high use and are in need of high security are placed on permanent reserve by the library. Most items in the reserve collection are placed on temporary reserve by instructional faculty.

Reference Collection

Great care should be taken in selecting materials to be placed in the reference collection since space is limited and circulation of these materials is restricted. Materials which may be placed in the reference collection include, but are not limited to: general and special encyclopedias or handbooks, periodical indexes, general and special dictionaries, directories, atlases, almanacs, and literary explicators. Books which might be expected to be read in full or receive infrequent use should be placed in the circulating collection. All books received in the Blume Library are examined by librarians before cataloging and agreement by two or more librarians is necessary for placement of the item in reference.

Reference Desk Collection

A ready reference collection is available for use at the reference desk. Since space in this area is extremely limited, only material which can reasonably be expected to receive heavy use by the reference librarians should be placed at the reference desk. These materials include, but are not limited to, titles such as Statistical Abstract, World Almanac, and the like. Agreement of two or more librarians is necessary for placement of an item at the reference desk.

Specific Subject Areas in the Collection

Please note that when specific items or titles are mentioned below, these are the minimum purchases that may be made. Other items should be purchased in addition to these if they meet collection development criteria and if the budget allows. These are Library of Congress classifications and may not correspond exactly to specific departments offering coursework at the University. The curriculum is constantly being updated and specific subjects which are mentioned are only indicative of the general direction of the curriculum, not as an exhaustive survey. Communication with teaching faculty on current and upcoming needs is essential.

A: General Works

Encyclopedias – At least one general encyclopedia should be available to the St. Mary’s community.  Specific subject area encyclopedias are purchased as needed.

Periodical Indexes – These will be provided in electronic format.  Paper indexes supplement these services.

Dictionaries – An unabridged dictionary should be available and several good current desk-type dictionaries should be purchased each year or two for the reference collection.

Other necessary reference works should be purchased including general almanacs, handbooks, atlases, and more specific subject reference works, particularly those geared toward the curriculum. Statistics, almanacs and yearbooks should also be kept as current as possible but past years should be retained to verify trends. Older reference works should be considered for addition to the regular collection. This subject area should be developed reflecting the collection levels noted below.

B – BD: Philosophy

Older works can be valuable in this area so weeding should be selective. Philosophy by geographic area should be included, both Western and Eastern thought. Concentration should be given to areas of philosophy taught in the curriculum. These include history of philosophy both ancient and modern, ethics, philosophy of knowledge, philosophy of religion, social philosophy, American philosophy, logic and other topics. This subject area should be developed at collection level three.

BF – BJ: Psychology

General psychology texts and some popular topics may be included such as intelligence, memory, and dreams. Concentration should be on the areas of psychology represented in the curriculum. Counseling needs should also be considered in collecting psychology books, particularly for upper level needs in this area. Many classic works exist in this area so weeding should be done carefully, however, tattered and obsolete works may be withdrawn.

Curriculum needs in psychology include topics such as tests and measurements, abnormal psychology, human sexuality, perception, physiological psychology, personality, social psychology, human development, industrial psychology, motivation, learning, experimental psychology, and human factors. Graduate study in clinical psychology and industrial/organizational psychology is also offered with similar topics covered in greater detail.

The counseling curriculum covers such topics as human relations, human services, substance abuse, family therapy, and group dynamics. Graduate work in counseling covers group processes, administration of counseling services, individual assessment, career planning, counseling ethics, mental health and psychopathology. As counseling is the first Ph.D. program offered by the University, collection development is particularly needed in this area to support the expanded curriculum and student research. This subject area should be developed at collection level four.

BL – BX: Religion

Religious texts of the major religions should be included, e.g., the Bible and the Koran. These items generally do not date quickly or at all so weeding may be selective, concentrating on very worn, damaged, duplicative or unused items. Comparative handbooks, encyclopedias, concordances, commentaries, dictionaries, histories, interpretations, sermons, church histories, church administration, and biographies on religious leaders should be available. This is an area that should be well developed with particular concentration on Christianity and the Catholic religion in keeping with the mission of the University.

The theology curriculum concentrates on theology from a Catholic perspective, Christian scriptures, the Christian community, marriage, justice, moral issues, ethics, sacraments, rites and symbols as well as personal religious transformation and topics in Marianist religious life.  Graduate work in theology includes core courses on biblical theology, systematic theology, Christian spirituality and religious education. This subject area should be developed at collection level four.

C – G: History and Geography

Biographies should be selected including reference works such as biographical dictionaries and collective biographies which support the curriculum, particularly in history, should be purchased. Historical material must be chosen carefully to represent a variety of viewpoints and should present history of all areas of the world.  Current interpretations of historical events should be emphasized in the collection. Withdraw worn and unused items as necessary.

Reference works should include a good gazetteer, a chronology of history, and several atlases (historical, national, international). Atlases should be replaced every five years or when appropriate to show major geographical changes. Travel books date quickly and should be replaced annually if possible. Current guides on the local area, the state, the U.S., Mexico, Canada, the national parks, camping in the U.S., the major European countries and Asia should be available at a minimum. Others may be purchased if the budget allows.

Curriculum topics in history include the history of the U.S. in overview and specifically regarding the Civil War, Texas and the South, world history both ancient and modern, and history of Latin America, Mexico, Spain, Germany, Russia and medieval and contemporary Europe.  Graduate work in history covers similar topics but in greater detail and depth. This subject area should be developed at collection level four.

H: Social Sciences

Works on economics, business, and sociology should generally be less than 10 years old for educational purposes but many older works still have value for research purposes. Withdraw outdated and obsolete works throughout the social sciences. Generally, the social sciences should be developed at collection level four, however, each area is assigned a particular level.

HA: Statistics

Much of this material is available in federal, state, and local government documents. Census material and statistics on the city of San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas, the U.S. and the world as a whole should be included. Selected statistics on other areas and on specific topics may be collected as needed for the curriculum. Statistical material should be retained as long as possible since retrospective research on trends is common. This subject should be developed at collection level three.

HB – HJ: Economics

Books on economic theory and the various schools of economic thought should be included as well as a broad range of material on labor problems, money and banking, investments and finance. Writings of classic and contemporary economists should be covered. The free enterprise system and other methods of economic production should be included.

The curriculum includes topics such as principles of economics, monetary and fiscal policy, business and labor economics, urban economics, business cycles, and price theory. Graduate work in economics covers these topics as well as international relations and economics, regional income analysis, macroeconomics, microeconomics, wage and employment theories, welfare economics, econometrics, comparative economics and cost-benefit analysis.  Consider unused items older than 10-15 years as candidates for weeding. This subject should be developed at collection level four.

HD: Business

Finance, investment, risk management, systems analysis, operations research, management information systems, and business statistics are covered in the business curriculum as well as general business, business policy, production management, human resources management, and topics in international business. Marketing principles, sales management, marketing research and other topics are also covered. Graduate study in business concentrates on many of these same topics as well as international business, multinational management and marketing and international banking. Current material on specific companies, managerial techniques and other covered topics should be selected. Consider unused items older than 10-15 years as candidates for weeding. This subject should be developed at collection level four.

HF: Accounting

General accounting, business law, fund accounting, auditing, personal and business income tax are covered in the curriculum. Many current items on tax law are available as government documents. Do not select workbooks. Do not duplicate material found in the Law Library.  Unused material older than 10-15 years should be examined for withdrawal. Select only very current material pertaining to the curriculum. This subject should be developed at collection level three.

HM – HX: Sociology

Include specific items on women and on racial, ethnic and national groups. Marriage and family titles should be quite current, five years old or less. Weed carefully since these materials are frequently used by the Ph.D. students in the counseling program.  Sociology of sex roles, religion, future societies, social issues, the family, minority relations, and death and dying are typical curriculum topics. Criminology, cultural anthropology, interviewing techniques, social issues and change, group dynamics, propaganda and public opinion, urban sociology, demography, and gerontology are also covered. Peace and justice are major themes. This subject area should be developed at collection level three.   Marriage, family, and gender roles as topics should be developed at collection level four to support the counseling doctoral program in marriage and family therapy.

J: Political Science

Current and international viewpoints should be included to form a broad range of ideas. Types and forms of governments, suffrage, slavery and processes of government regulation should be covered by the collection. The curriculum focuses on federal, state and local government structures and functions, political parties, the presidency, legislation, political research, behavior and communication as well as jurisprudence, constitutional law, international law, and world politics including world security, foreign policy and politics in developing states and other countries. Graduate studies in political science focus on many of these same topics but in greater depth.

Public administration coursework is also supported by the political science collection and is designed as a professional program to prepare individuals for employment as administrators, planners, and managers at all governmental levels. Core courses include human resources policies, organizational behavior, research in applied economics, regional and urban economics, public administration, scope and methods of political science, and topics in public administration and urban affairs. Public administration is a graduate level program although an undergraduate minor is available.  Unused material older than 10-15 years may be considered for weeding.  This subject area should be developed at collection level four.

JX: International Relations

International relations stresses an interdisciplinary understanding of economics, history, and political science with a worldwide view. The curriculum promotes a broad knowledge of world events and international affairs. Graduate study in international relations concentrates on similar topics but in more detail and depth. Unused material older than 10-15 years may be considered for weeding.  This subject area should be developed at collection level four.

K: Law

This area is well covered by the Law Library on campus so less coverage is necessary in the Blume Library. However, coverage of specific law enforcement issues should be purchased for the criminal justice and criminology curriculum. Criminology and criminal justice are interdisciplinary programs that draw on information from most of the social sciences.  Covered topics in the curriculum include criminal investigation, legal aspects of law enforcement, criminal procedure and evidence, police-community relations, police administration, police role in crime and delinquency, world-wide public justice systems, and terrorism. Unused titles older than 10-15 years should be considered for withdrawal except for classic works on the law. This subject area should be developed at collection level four.

L: Education

General education, reading, educational psychology, educational administration (particularly of Catholic schools), and moral and religious education are emphasized. A basic collection of material on higher education should be included.  Unused items older than 10-15 years should be considered for weeding. Under TEA guidelines, the library also collects juvenile literature and textbooks adopted by the Texas State School Board. Primary emphasis is on American public education, particularly in Texas, including new trends and developments, teaching methods and curriculum development. The education program specifically covers topics such as child and adolescent development, philosophy of education, classroom management, and the teaching of language, mathematics, social studies, science and reading. Physical education is also covered including topics on teaching in the elementary and secondary schools, and the coaching of football, volleyball, soccer, softball, and track and field as well as sports officiating, first aid, prevention of athletic injuries and analysis of human movement. This subject area should be developed at collection level four.

M: Music

Recorded music, librettos, and literature of music are included. Items do not date quickly and weeding may be very selective. A good music encyclopedia is essential. Choir, concert band, jazz laboratory, and brass, woodwind, percussion, vocal, piano, guitar and string ensembles are offered. Music literature, ethnic influences in American music, form and analysis, counterpoint, harmony, music history, arranging, conducting, and teaching of music at elementary and secondary levels are offered as well as marching band techniques and pastoral music. This subject area should be developed at collection level three.

N: Fine Arts

Visual arts, architecture, sculpture, painting, drawing, and other arts are covered. Items do not date quickly and weeding may be very selective. These tend to be expensive but also to have a long shelf life. Purchase the theoretical and classic materials as opposed to crafts and “how-­to” books. Art history and artist biographies should be included. A good art encyclopedia is a necessity. Current reference works on movies, TV, radio, theater, and dance should be included. The art curriculum includes courses on drawing, design, painting, sculpture, print-making, art history, and teaching of art in elementary grades. This subject area should be developed at collection level two.

P – PM: Language

Dictionaries for translating English into and from the foreign languages taught at St. Mary’s as well as all other major languages are essential. Some self-teaching and beginning texts should be included. Other items may be included as required for the curriculum. Weeding in this area may be very selective since these items do not date quickly, however, worn and tattered items should be withdrawn in favor of newer materials.

German, Japanese, Spanish and Portuguese are offered in the curriculum; also offered is a concentration in studies in multinational organizations. French and Spanish literatures are covered in depth. This subject area should be developed at collection level three.

PN: Drama

Introduction to the theater, voice and diction, acting, production, directing, rehearsal and performance, history of the theater, and creative drama for children are covered in the curriculum. Anthologies of plays for adults and children should be purchased as well as biographies of actors, directors, and producers. Classic as well as current plays should be purchased. Current material on acting, producing, and directing is needed. This material may be withdrawn when outdated but classic plays, anthologies, histories, and biographies may be retained unless worn. This subject should be developed at collection level three.

PN – PZ: Literature

Style manuals, quotation books, grammar and rhetoric handbooks, and general literature reference works such as Readers’ Encyclopedia should be included. Purchase major authors and good anthologies by various type of literature as covered in the curriculum. Be in touch with the faculty for suggestions on what authors, titles, and subject areas they plan to teach in current and future semesters. These items should last, so weeding may be done selectively on badly worn items and tattered classic works should be replaced. Reference materials should include works of summary and literary criticism as well as works on authors’ biographies.

The curriculum concentrates on British, American, and Latin American literatures including Shakespeare, the British novel, the literature of American minority groups, and many other topics. Composition, creative writing, persuasive writing, and analysis of poetry, fiction and drama are also covered as well as journalism, technical writing, radio and television production, public speaking, oral interpretation, and persuasive speaking and debate. Graduate study concentrates on many of the same areas but in greater depth and detail. This subject area should be developed at collection level four.

QA: Mathematics

Algebra, trigonometry, calculus, probability, statistics, differential equations, discrete mathematical structures, complex variables, linear algebra, boundary value problems, geometry and numerical analysis are offered in the curriculum. Graduate study covers more complex mathematical problems such as linear statistical models, stochastic processes, analysis of variance and other statistical methods. Programmed texts on mathematical problem solving and biographies of important mathematicians should be purchased. Workbooks should not be selected. Weeding of unused and duplicative items should be considered.  This subject area should be developed at collection level three.

QA 76: Computer Science

Programming in C++, Java and other languages are offered as well as an introduction to data structures, operating systems, computer systems architecture, compilers, database programming, software engineering, artificial intelligence, computer graphics, office automation and distributed data processing. Graduate study covers similar topics but at a more advanced level. Materials selected should be the most recent available.  Unused materials more than 10 years old should be considered for withdrawal. Selections should particularly include items covering software and hardware available for student use on campus.  Consider both the computer center and personal computers available. The collection should include guides to personal computers and computing, handbooks on software and hardware, and a current dictionary and/or encyclopedia of computer science at a minimum. This subject area should be developed at collection level four.

QB – QC: Physics

Topics covered in the curriculum include mechanics, heat, acoustics, electricity, magnetism,

optics, atomic physics, nuclear physics, thermodynamics, quantum mechanics and astronomy.  Many classic works in physics exist which should be retained, however, currency of information is imperative. Unused materials older than 10-15 years should be examined for withdrawal. Purchase authoritative and general works as well as biographies of physicists and tables of physical values. Keep up with current topics such as superconductivity. This subject area should be developed at collection level three.

QD: Chemistry

General, organic, inorganic, analytical and physical chemistry are covered in the curriculum as well as chemical thermodynamics and biochemistry. Works on laboratory methods and tables of chemical values should be selected as well as other items in support of the curriculum. Unused materials older than 10-15 years should be examined for withdrawal. This subject area should be developed at collection level three.
<h4h3QE: Earth Sciences

General, physical and historical geology are covered in the curriculum as well as earth and energy resources, oceanography, meteorology, environmental geology, mineralogy, petrology, structural geology, geomorphology, paleontology, stratigraphy and x-ray analysis of crystalline materials. Materials purchased should be general with concentration on local and Texas geological features. Unused items older than 10-15 years should be considered for withdrawal. This subject area should be developed at collection level two.

QH – QR: Biology

Food and nutrition, research methods, tissue culture, radiation biology, developmental biology, physiology, genetics, microbiology, immunology, medical microbiology, cellular physiology, molecular biology, and recombinant DNA techniques are covered in the curriculum. Unused works older than 10-15 years should be considered for withdrawal. Some specialized dictionaries or encyclopedias are necessary as are anatomy and physiology guides with colored illustrations. Concentration is on a pre-medical type of curriculum. Biotechnology is a growing industry, particularly in San Antonio, and general works in this area should be purchased. This subject area should be developed at collection level three.

R: Medicine

There may be some overlap between the life sciences and medicine books. Collection development in this area should include a current medical dictionary, anatomy handbook, and standard drug handbook for reference work. Other items may be included to support the biology curriculum. Psychiatry texts should be purchased in support of the counseling curriculum.  Medical ethics materials should also be collected. This subject should be developed at collection level three for general medical books and collection level four for psychiatry and counseling items to support the programs noted above.

S: Agriculture

This is a minimally collected area which does not directly support the curriculum, however, there is some overlap with biology as taught in the University, particularly in the area of nutrition.  Dated, worn, and unused material may be weeded. This subject area should be developed at collection level one.

T: Technology

Engineering texts tend to be quite expensive and often become dated quickly. Avoid very specific topics in favor of more general works to support the curriculum. Unused works older than 10-15 years should be considered for withdrawal. Industrial and electrical engineering are accredited at the University and topics covered in the curriculum include engineering graphics, industrial statistics, work design, productivity measurement, engineering data processing, principles of materials science, engineering mechanics, simulation, quality control, production planning, industrial robotics, manufacturing systems, plant layout, operations research, strength of materials, and fluid mechanics, as well as electronics, electronic design, energy conversion, network analysis, switching theory, microprocessors, electromagnetics, semiconductor devices, analog filter design, control systems, and communication theory. Graduate work in industrial and electrical engineering includes most of these topics but approached from a more advanced level. This subject area should be developed at collection level four.

U: Military Science

ROTC students may receive a minor in Military Studies and the International Relations curriculum is also supported by this subject area. Dated, worn, and unused material may be weeded. This subject area should be developed at collection level two.

V: Naval Science

ROTC students may receive a minor in Military Studies and the International Relations curriculum is also supported by this subject area. Dated, worn, and unused material may be weeded. This subject area should be developed at collection level one.

Z: Library Science and Information Resources

Include LC Subject Headings, LC Classification Schedules, the Dewey Decimal Classification and Relative Index and any other current materials needed for the library. Bibliographies for use in specific subject areas are acquired as needed for collection development. Specific materials needed for library work should be purchased, however, collection level one is the aim for general coverage of library science.  General information resources are also classified in this section and include such topics as information literature, online research skills, digital libraries, online ethics, online tools, etc., and should be developed at collection level two.   Weeding of obsolete and unused material older than 10-15 years should be considered.


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.

III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.

  • A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
  • Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
  • 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 affiliations 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.

Intellectual Freedom Statement: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights

The heritage of free men is ours.

In the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution, the founders of our nation proclaimed certain fundamental freedoms to be essential to our form of government. Primary among these is the freedom of expression, specifically the right to publish diverse opinions and the right to unrestricted access to those opinions. As citizens committed to the full and free use of all communications media and as professional persons responsible for making the content of those media accessible to all without prejudice, we, the undersigned, wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of freedom of expression.

Through continuing judicial interpretations of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, freedom of expression has been guaranteed. Every American who aspires to the success of our experiment in democracy ­­ who has faith in the political and social integrity of free men ­­ must stand firm on those Constitutional guarantees of essential rights. Such Americans can be expected to fulfill the responsibilities implicit in those rights.

We, therefore, affirm these propositions:

  1. We will make available to everyone who needs or desires them the widest possible diversity of views and modes of expression, including those which are strange, unorthodox or unpopular. Creative thought is, by its nature, new. New ideas are always different and, to some people, distressing and even threatening. The creator of every new idea is likely to be regarded as unconventional, occasionally heretical, until his idea is first examined, then refined, then tested in its political. social or moral applications. The characteristic ability of our governmental system to adapt to necessary change is vastly strengthened by the option of the people to choose freely from among conflicting opinions. To stifle nonconformist ideas at their inception would be to end the democratic process. Only through continuous weighing and selection from among opposing views can free individuals obtain the strength needed for intelligent, constructive decisions and actions. In short, we need to understand not only what we believe, but why we believe as we do.
  2. We need not endorse every idea contained in the materials we produce and make available. We serve the educational process by disseminating the knowledge and wisdom required for the growth of the mind and the expansion of learning. For us to employ our own political, moral, or esthetic views as standards for determining what materials are published or circulated conflicts with the public interest. We cannot foster true education by imposing on others the structure and content of our own opinions. We must preserve and enhance the people’s right to a broader range of ideas than those held by any librarian or publisher or church or government. We hold that it is wrong to limit any person to those ideas and that information another believes to be true, good, and proper.
  3. We regard as irrelevant to the acceptance and distribution of any creative work the personal history or political affiliations of the author or others responsible for it or its publication. A work of art must be judged solely on its own merits. Creativity cannot flourish if its appraisal and acceptance by the community is influenced by the political views or private lives of the artists or the creators. A society that allows blacklists to be compiled and used to silence writers and artists cannot exist as a free society.
  4. With every available legal means, we will challenge laws or governmental action restricting or prohibiting the publication of certain materials or limiting free access to such materials. Our society has no place for legislative efforts to coerce the taste of its members, to restrict adults to reading matter deemed suitable only for children, or to inhibit the efforts of creative persons in their attempts to achieve artistic perfection. When we prevent serious artists from dealing with truth as they see it, we stifle creative endeavor at its source. Those who direct and control the intellectual development of our children– parents, teachers, religious leaders, scientists, philosophers, statesman–must assume the responsibility for preparing young people to cope with life as it is and to face the diversity of experience to which they will be exposed as they mature. This is an affirmative responsibility that cannot be discharged easily, certainly not with the added burden of curtailing one’s access to art, literature, and opinion. Tastes differ. Taste, like morality, cannot be controlled by government, for governmental action, devised to suit the demands of one group, thereby limits the freedom of all others.
  5. We oppose labeling any work of literature or art, or any persons responsible for its creation, as subversive, dangerous, or otherwise undesirable. Labeling attempts to predispose users of the various media of communication, and to ultimately close off a path to knowledge. Labeling rests on the assumption that persons exist who have a special wisdom, and who, therefore, can be permitted to determine what will have good and bad effects on other people. But freedom of expression rests on the premise of ideas vying in the open marketplace for acceptance, change, or rejection by individuals. Free men choose this path.
  6. We as guardians of intellectual freedom oppose and will resist every encroachment upon that freedom by individuals or groups, private or official. It is inevitable in the give and take of the democratic process that the political, moral and aesthetic preferences of a person or group will conflict occasionally with those of others. A fundamental premise of our free society is that each citizen is privileged to decide those opinions to which he will adhere or which he will recommend to the members of a privately organized group or association. But no private group may usurp the law and impose its own political or moral concepts upon the general public. Freedom cannot be accorded only to selected groups for it is then transmuted into privilege and unwarranted license.
  7. Both as citizens and professionals, we will strive by all legitimate means open to us to be relieved of the threat of personal, economic, and legal reprisals resulting from our support and defense of the principles of intellectual freedom. Those who refuse to compromise their ideals in support of intellectual freedom have often suffered dismissals from employment, forced resignations, boycotts of products and establishments, and other invidious forms of punishment. We perceive the admirable, often lonely, refusal to succumb to threats of punitive action as the highest form of true professionalism: dedication to the cause of intellectual freedom and the preservation of vital human and civil liberties.

In our various capacities, we will actively resist incursions against the full exercise of our professional responsibility for creating and maintaining an intellectual environment which fosters unrestrained creative endeavor and true freedom of choice and access for all members of the community.

We state these propositions with conviction, not as easy generalizations. We advance a noble claim for the value of ideas, freely expressed, as embodied in books and other kinds of communications. We do this in our belief that a free intellectual climate fosters creative endeavors capable of enormous variety, beauty, and usefulness. and thus worthy of support and preservation. We recognize that application of these propositions may encourage the dissemination of ideas and forms of expression that will be frightening or abhorrent to some. We believe that what people read, view, and hear is a critically important issue. We recognize, too, that ideas can be dangerous. It may be, however, that they are effectually dangerous only when opposing ideas are suppressed. Freedom, in its many facets, is a precarious course. We espouse it heartily.

Adopted by the ALA Council, June 25, 1971. Endorsed by the Freedom to Read Foundation, Board of Trustees, June 18, 1971.

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 or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label “controversial” views, to 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 reading and as librarians and publishers responsible for disseminating ideas, wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of the freedom to read.

Most attempts at suppression 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 misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe. 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.

These efforts at suppression are related to a larger pattern of pressures being brought against education, the press, art and images, films, broadcast media, and the Internet. 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 accelerated change. 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 the less able to deal with controversy and difference.

Now as always in our history, reading is among our greatest freedoms. The freedom to read and write is almost the only means for making generally available ideas or manners of expression that can initially command only a small audience. The written word is the natural medium for the new idea and the untried voice from which come the original contributions to social growth. It is essential to the extended discussion that 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 toward 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:

  1. It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those that 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 the ruthless suppression of any concept that 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 the 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.
  2. Publishers, librarians, and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea or presentation 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 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.
  3. It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to bar access to writings on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author. No art or literature can flourish if it is to be measured by the political views or private lives of its creators. No society of free people can flourish that draws up lists of writers to whom it will not listen, whatever they may have to say.
  4. 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 expression 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 values differ, and values cannot be legislated; nor can machinery be devised that will suit the demands of one group without limiting the freedom of others.
  5. It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept with any expression the prejudgment of a label characterizing it or its 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 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 the freedom to read 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 the written word. We do so because we believe that it is 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, July 12, 2000, by the ALA Council and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee.

A Joint Statement by: American Library Association

Association of American Publishers

Subsequently Endorsed by:

  • American Association of University Professors
  • American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression
  • American Society of Journalists and Authors
  • The American Society of Newspaper Editors
  • Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith
  • Association of American University Presses
  • Center for Democracy & Technology
  • The Children’s Book Council
  • The Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • Feminists for Free Expression
  • Freedom to Read Foundation
  • International Reading Association
  • The Media Institute
  • National Coalition Against Censorship
  • National PTA
  • Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays
  • People for the American Way
  • Student Press Law Center
  • The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression

Freedom to View Statement

The Freedom to View, along with the freedom to speak, to hear, and to read, is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. In a free society, there is no place for censorship of any medium of expression. Therefore these principles are affirmed:

  1. To provide the broadest access to film, video, and other audiovisual materials because they are a means for the communication of ideas. Liberty of circulation is essential to insure the constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression.
  2. To protect the confidentiality of all individuals and institutions using film, video, and other audiovisual materials.
  3. To provide film, video, and other audiovisual materials which represent a diversity of views and expression. Selection of a work does not constitute or imply agreement with or approval of the content.
  4. To provide a diversity of viewpoints without the constraint of labeling or prejudging film, video, or other audiovisual materials on the basis of the moral, religious, or political beliefs of the producer or filmmaker or on the basis of controversial content.
  5. To contest vigorously, by all lawful means, every encroachment upon the public’s freedom to view.

This statement was originally drafted by the Freedom to View Committee of the American Film and Video Association (formerly the Educational Film Library Association) and was adopted by the AFVA Board of Directors in February 1979. This statement was updated and approved by the AFVA Board of Directors in 1989.

Endorsed by the ALA Council January 10, 1990

American Library Association Code of Ethics

As members of the American Library Association, we recognize the importance of codifying and making known to the profession and to the general public the ethical principles that guide the work of librarians, other professionals providing information services, library trustees and library staffs.

Ethical dilemmas occur when values are in conflict. The American Library Association Code of Ethics states the values to which we are committed, and embodies the ethical responsibilities of the profession in this changing information environment.

We significantly influence or control the selection, organization, preservation, and dissemination of information. In a political system grounded in an informed citizenry we are members of a profession explicitly committed to intellectual freedom and the freedom of access to information. We have a special obligation to ensure the free flow of information and ideas to present and future generations.

The principles of this Code are expressed in broad statements to guide ethical decision making. These statements provide a framework; they cannot and do not dictate conduct to cover particular situations.

  1. We provide the highest level of service to all library users through appropriate and usefully organized resources; equitable service policies; equitable access; and accurate, unbiased, and courteous responses to all requests.
  2. We uphold the principles of intellectual freedom and resist all efforts to censor library resources.
  3. We protect each library user’s right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted.
  4. We treat co-workers and other colleagues with respect, fairness and good faith, and advocate conditions of employment that safeguard the rights and welfare of all employees of our institutions.
  5. We recognize and respect intellectual property rights.
  6. We do not advance private interests at the expense of library users, colleagues, or our employing institutions.
  7. We distinguish between our personal convictions and professional duties and do not allow our personal beliefs to interfere with fair representation of the aims of our institutions or the provision of access to their information resources.
  8. We strive for excellence in the profession by maintaining and enhancing our own knowledge and skills, by encouraging the professional development of co-workers, and by fostering the aspirations of potential members of the profession.

Adopted by the ALA Council June 28, 1995

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