After hearing the results of an idea-sharing meeting for the interested parties, the Library Advisory Board voted unanimously to recommend a change in procedure for the labeling of books in the Young Adult area of the Library. Using appropriate book review materials for young adults, the library staff will affix a label to those books deemed appropriate for a high school audience, grades 9 through 12. These books will be retained in the Young Adult Room on shelves separate from other books in the collection.
As requested by the City Commission, the Library Director scheduled a special meeting of the Library Advisory Board and had that meeting advertised as required by law. The Advisory Board heard the suggestions that had been made during an idea-sharing meeting from the previous afternoon attended by the Library Director, Ms Venetta, Ms Fechtel, Mr. Morrison, City Manager Jay Evans, Acting County Library Director Tom Merchant, and Wendy Breeden Director of Community Services for the County. During that preliminary meeting, a suggestion for change in procedure met with some agreement and was brought before the Library Advisory Board in its entirety.
Ms Fechtel and Ms Venetta agreed that the issue of requiring parental consent was not possible in the Public Library in the same form that it is possible in the Middle Schools. After much fact finding about the legal issues, the determination that a label which would indicate a high school audience for those books reviewed as such, would probably identify both of the books objected to in the initial Request for Reconsideration. It would also fit three other books identified in the follow-up list that was presented in materials supplied to the Commission in August. Since the audience for children’s books is often noted in the book reviews examined by the librarians during books selection, it would be moderately simple matter to ascertain that designation. This would also avoid any subjective labeling of content but would provide the flag requested by parents. All of the books would remain in the Young Adult room but the books labeled for the High School audience would have their own shelf areas.
Ms Fechtel felt that she had to bring the idea to her supporters but, in general, appeared to feel that it was a compromise that would give parents the indicator they were requesting that the materials would be for a more mature reader. She was unable to attend the special meeting of the Advisory Board but Ms. Venetta did attend and stated that she felt it was a good place to start. It is expected that Ms. Fechtel will submit a letter, which should accompany this memo, indicating her and her supporter’s level of satisfaction with the proposed compromise.
1. Request a procedural change for the labeling of books to include identifying those items published for a high school audience
2. Leave library items reviewed as appropriate for young adults in the Young Adult Department with no change in labeling
3. Such alternative action as the Commission may deem appropriate
If the labeling of the items in the Young Adult Department is undertaken, it can be done in three stages. Items brought to the attention of the librarians will be researched against the books reviews in the appropriate review periodicals: School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and VOYA. Those determined to be for a high school audience will be relabeled as such. All new items will be labeled before placing them on the shelves since the reviews will be part of the purchasing process. There are over 4,000 items currently in the Young Adult Dept that will have to be reviewed retrospectively. Each item takes about five minutes of staff time to research on-line if the review is readily available. The items will then have to have old labels stripped and new labels applied. The cost of labels is $60 for each 1000 including the tape over the top. If they have to be custom made the cost will increase to $80 per 1000. Staff time is hard to put a price on since this will have to be done as time allows. The retrospective review will anywhere between 3 and 6 months to complete as staff time allows.
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