Intellectual Freedom Policy

Policy Type

Library Mission: The mission of Manitowoc Public Library (MPL) is to promote a culture of reading and to provide access to information. Through services, we strive to foster an environment that meets the educational, recreational and cultural needs of the community.

Purpose: Ensure freedom of information for everybody. The selection of materials is made based on all patron’s right to read, listen, and view, free from censorship. MPL upholds the American Library Association’s (ALA) Library Bill of Rights, which states “Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation” (Article I) and furthermore, that “Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval” (Article II). Library Bill of Rights

Materials and services made available to library cardholders represent diverse viewpoints. This enables patrons to make their own informed choices, which is the foundation of a healthy democracy. Through the collection development process (Collection Development Policy), the Library chooses a wide variety of materials to satisfy the diverse interests of the entire community. MPL upholds the rights of individuals to secure these resources, even though the content may be controversial, unorthodox, or unacceptable to other individuals.

The Library’s entire collection is available to all; however, it is not expected that all titles will appeal to everyone. Parents or legal guardians are solely responsible for which material their children select, view or read. The Library does not stand in loco parentis (in place of a parent). In addition, selection decisions are not influenced by the possibility that materials may be accessible to minors.

Genre and call number labels on materials are meant to assist with identifying and locating various collections, not used to restrict access or endorse content. Some material is sequestered to protect it from damage or theft. For no other reason will material be inaccessible.

In alignment with ALA, MPL supports and protects the rights of individuals to express their opinions about library resources and services. The Library recognizes that there may be citizen concerns about a specific title or type of material selected for or deselected (weeded) from the collection (Collection Development Policy). Only complaints submitted by Manitowoc-Calumet Library System card holders will be considered. When a complaint is made, the Library assures that the complaint is handled seriously and, equally important, that the fundamental principles of intellectual freedom are upheld. (Reconsideration of Challenged Materials and Form) Furthermore, unless a new edition is published with substantially new/different information, material may only go through the Request for Reconsideration process once.

Please refer to the request for reconsideration procedure, which provides the systematic approach to be followed. (Reconsideration of Challenged Materials and Form)

Definitions:

Materials: Includes books, periodicals, pamphlets, pictures, photographs, audio recordings, films, DVDs, software, databases, microforms, posters, displays, educational toys, and any other form or format in which information and ideas may be conveyed, either existing or as may be developed.

Board Approved 1/24/2022