The purpose of a library policy is to:

  1. Establish a framework through which effective, efficient and dynamic library and information services can be  developed, managed and provided in a manner that meets teaching, learning, research and innovation needs of the Saline County community and all stakeholders.  
  2. Guide library staff in carrying out various library activities as far as possible, in a standard manner.
  3. Integrate the library services with academic, research and other activities at the Saline County Library to maximize the library’s support of these activities.
  4. Encourage involvement of staff in the library through all departments in order to promote an understanding and appreciation of the service for sustainable maintenance of the best possible service.
  5. Provide direction, including requirements, standards and boundaries for conduct as well as consistent implementation of daily library operations for patrons and staff respectively.

Library Policies

Length of Loans

Standard Loan Periods:

  • Audiobooks: 3 weeks
  • Board Games: 3 weeks
  • Books: 3 weeks
  • Book Club Kits: 3 weeks
  • Entertainment Equipment: 2 weeks
  • Learning Kits: 3 weeks
  • Mobile Hotspots: 2 weeks
  • Music CDs: 3 weeks
  • Preloaded Tablets: 3 weeks
  • Cake Pans: 1 week
  • DVDs/Movies: 1 week
  • Fishing Poles: 2 weeks
  • TV Series: 2 weeks
  • Video Games: 2 weeks
  • Library of Things Kits: 1 week
  • Makerspace Kits: 1 week
  • Costumes-seasonal availability only

Furniture, equipment, and other property of the library are not subject to loan.

Circulation Limitations

DVDs- There is a limit of 10 per card.

Videogames- There is a limit of 2 per card.

Mobile Hotspots- There is a limit of 1 per household (must be 18 years or older)

Entertainment Equipment- There is a limit of 1 per card (must be 18 years or older)

Tablets- There is a limit of 1 per card.

Board Games- There is a limit of 2 per card.

Books- Specialized subjects such as holiday books may be limited due to a small number of titles compared to a high demand.

Books in the Arkansas Room {designated on the spine as “ARK”}, from Reference {REF}, or Storytime titles cannot be checked out.

Copyright laws prohibit duplication.


Except as noted below, items may be renewed twice. Overdue items may be renewed by telephone, but the same exceptions apply.

The following items may not be renewed:

  • An item on hold for another person,
  • An item that has already been renewed twice, and
  • Interlibrary loan material may only be renewed with the approval of the lending library

Materials may be renewed in person at the library, over the phone at either library, or online using your library card. If the item is overdue, the computer will automatically block the patron’s record. A phone call or visit to the library will be necessary.

The following items may only be renewed once:

  • DVDs/Blu-Rays
  • TV Shows
  • Fishing Poles
  • Cake Pans
  • Library of Things Kits
  • Makerspace Kits
  • Learning Kits
  • Board Games
  • Mobile HotSpots
  • Entertainment Equipment/Consoles
  • Video Games


If an item is checked out, it may be placed on “hold”. Holds are made by using the website or a computer in the building or requesting help from a staff member. Items are distributed in order by the holds list and the date it was requested. The patron will be notified by the library when the item becomes available. The title will be held for seven days. After seven days, it will move on to the next person on the list or be placed back on the shelf.

Interlibrary Loan

Interlibrary loans are available on items not owned by the library that are six months old or older. A patron must have a valid Saline County Library card and be a patron in good standing. Gateway card patrons need to use their home library for interlibrary loans.

Request forms for interlibrary loan are available at the service desks and need to be filled out as completely as possible especially any special formats such as large print or audiotape. There is a $1.00 fee charged per request for interlibrary loan materials.

In order to continue offering interlibrary loan services, it is necessary to maintain good relations with cooperating libraries. Library materials should be returned promptly. The loaned materials are due according to the owner library’s due dates, not Saline County’s.

Sometimes the library lending the book will put special restrictions on the materials, such as use within the library. The Saline County Library, in fairness, must insist on compliance with such restrictions. The patron will be contacted when the requested material has been received. If we are incapable of filling the request, the $1.00 can be refunded or credited to the patron’s account. If a patron fails to pick up an interlibrary loan that has been ordered for them, the library may refuse to order for them in the future.

Photocopies of material (such as magazine articles) are always requested to be received by fax. However, there is no way to insure that the lending library will comply with our wishes.

Books by Mail

Books by Mail is designed for patrons that live outside of Benton and Bryant. Patrons will still be responsible for either paying the postage to return the books or returning the items in the book drop boxes at the Bryant or Benton library branches. You must have an active Saline County Library card and be in good standing in order to participate in this service. If you have fines or need to check the status of your card, call 501-778-4766. If you need a library card, you can apply for one here. A patron may sign up for Books by Mail by selecting the option as their preferred form of pick up on their account details.

Request for Purchase

A patron may request an item for purchase for the following:

  • Items in the catalog marked “In” which are not found on the shelf and items marked “lost,” “claimed return”, or “missing.”
  • Suggestions for purchase of books or other materials.

Completion of a form guarantees that the staff will look for the title using all available avenues. The item may or may not be purchased depending on critical reviews and availability.

Appeal Process

If the item is not purchased, a patron may appeal the decision first to the staff selector. Then the library director. And lastly, to a committee made up of a board member, the staff selector and the selector’s direct manager. The committee will meet quarterly.


The Saline County Library is now fine-free. You will still be charged for damaged or lost items.

Claimed Returned

When a dispute arises over whether or not an item has been returned and not checked in properly, the item can be noted as “Claimed Returned” in the computer. This gives the library staff and the patron time to search for the missing material. The item will remain as “Claimed Returned” for 90 days, and then it will re-appear on the patron’s record. At that point, the missing item will need to be charged for replacement by the patron. The patron’s account will be blocked until the record is cleared.

Lost and Damaged Items

If an item is claimed lost by a patron or by the library the patron will be responsible for replacing the item either by:

  • Paying the library the cost of the item or
  • Giving the library a replacement copy

A replacement copy is defined as a brand new, exact copy of the item with the same ISBN number and format.

If a lost item is later found:

  • If the patron paid for the lost book the total amount paid will be returned minus the overdue charges
  • If the patron provided a replacement copy they will not get a refund, but they may keep the library’s copy

Users who return items to the Library damaged will be assessed a fee for the damages.

Damage includes, but is not limited to:

  • Items which have had barcodes and other Library markings removed, water damage
  • Torn pages
  • Writing, etc.
  • Graffiti
  • Chewed edges
  • Excessively dirty or foul smelling

If the item cannot be repaired, then the cost will be for a replacement. The patron may keep the book when it has been totally removed from the database. If damage is due to a disaster, such as a fire or a tornado, there will be no cost to the patron for damages however proof must be provided that this disaster occurred. Examples of proof are: Insurance paperwork or a newspaper clipping with details.

It is both the library staff and the patron’s responsibilities to note any condition problem at the time of check out and not after the item has been returned. The last person to have the item will be charged for the damage.


If a filing of Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is sent to the Saline County Library, that patron’s library account will be waived of all overdue fines and fees accrued up to the date of the filing. The patron is still responsible for any lost or damaged materials and the account will be suspended until the materials are returned or the issue is resolved.

Patron Confidentiality

In 1989 the Arkansas State Legislature passed Act 903 entitled, “An Act to provide that library records containing names or other personally identifying details regarding the patrons of the library shall be confidential; and for other purposes.” This act guarantees that no one outside of the card owner will know what materials have been checked out on that card from the Saline County Library unless he has given informed, written consent or a search warrant is presented. This is why library cards are numbered and why patrons no longer sign a book card. It also makes it illegal for a librarian to tell a patron what another member of a household has checked out without his/her written permission. The following is the Act as codified:

Confidentiality of Patrons’ Records

13-2-701. Definitions.

As used in this subchapter:

(a)“Confidential library records” mean documents or information in any format retained in a library that identify a patron as having requested, used, or obtained specific materials, including, but not limited to, circulation of library books, materials, computer database searches, interlibrary loan transactions, reference queries, patent searches, requests for photocopies of library materials, films, or records; and

(b)“Patron” means any individual who requests, uses, or receives services, books, or other materials from a library.

13-2-702. Penalty.

(a)Any person who knowingly violates any of the provisions of this subchapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of not more than two hundred dollars ($200) or thirty (30) days in jail, or both, or a sentence of appropriate public service or education, or both.

(b) No liability shall result from any lawful disclosure permitted by this subchapter.

(c) No action may be brought under this subchapter unless the action is begun within two (2) years from the date of the act complained of or the date of discovery.

13-2-703. Disclosure prohibited.

(a)Library records which contain names or other personally identifying details regarding the patrons fo public, school, academic, and special libraries and library systems supported in whole or in part by public funds shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed except as permitted by subchapter.

(b)Public libraries shall use an automated or Gaylord-type circulation system that does not identify a patron with circulated materials after materials are returned.

13-2-704. Disclosure permitted.

A library may disclose personally identifiable information concerning any patron to: (1) The patron; (2) Any person with the informed, written consent of the patron; (3) A law enforcement agency or civil court, under a search warrant; or (4) Any person, including, without limitation, the patron, who has received an automated telephone notification or other electronic communication for overdue materials or reserve materials if the person making the request can verify the telephone number or e-mail address to which the notice was sent.

13-2-705. Construction- Statistics.

(a) No provision of this subchapter shall be construed to prohibit any library or any business operating jointly with a library from disclosing information for the purpose of: (1) Collecting overdue books, documents, films, or other items or materials owned or otherwise belonging to the library; (2) Collecting fines on overdue books, documents, films, or other items or materials; and (3) Contacting its patrons by telephone, mail service, or other medium for the purpose of notifying, informing, and educating patrons or otherwise promoting the legitimate programs, policies, and other interests of the library.

(b) Aggregate statistics shown from registration and circulation records with all personal identification removed may be released or used by a library or library system for research or planning purposes.

13-2-705. Use of information in evidence.

Personally identifiable information obtained in any manner other than as provided in this subchapter shall not be received in evidence in any trial, hearing, arbitration, or other proceeding before any court, grand jury, department, officer, agency, regulatory body, legislative committee, or other authority of the state or political subdivision of the state. Source: Arkansas Public Library Laws Annotated 2006-2006. Charlottesville, VA: LexisNexis, 2005.

Acts 1989, No. 903,

Library Cards

Residents of Saline County and non-resident property owners may apply for a library card which will entitle them to borrow library materials and use the public computers.

Applicants for a library card must provide the following:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Telephone Number and/or email address
  • Photo ID with a current address or a photo ID plus another approved form with current address

Any of the following is acceptable as identification:

  • Driver’s license
  • Utility bill (electric, gas, water, TV, cable)
  • Printed checks
  • Printed identification (medical card, company ID)
  • Tax receipt
  • Vehicle registration (current)

A Post Office Box cannot be used as the sole address of someone living in Saline County; a street address for their residence must also be shown. If none of this is available, a post card can be mailed to the address by the library. When the patron returns with the post card and a photo id, then a library card will be processed.

A child (age 5 and up) may acquire a children’s library card with their parent or guardian being the primary owner of the card. Therefore the parent or guardian is responsible for the account and able to gain access to information about the account. Once a child is able to obtain a government issued photo ID and parental permission, they may have their own adult card; no one other than the child may have access to this card.

Anyone over the age of 16 does not have to have parental permission to obtain an adult library card.

If a parent or guardian would like to add an additional adult to the account they may do so, but only with written consent.

At the time of registration, five items can be checked out.

Non-Residents Who Work or Who Have Children Who Attend School in the County

If a person lives out of the county, but works in Saline County or has children who attend school in Saline County, he/she may obtain a resident card free of charge. He/she must fill out the standard library card application and provide a letter from the school showing school attendance or a pay stub from a Saline County employer.

Library Card Renewals

A library card will be issued for a 3 year period at which time it may be renewed. If the library card has expired, the patron must show proof of address for renewal. There is no limit on the amount of materials the patron can check out with a renewed card.

Change of Address

If a patron moves, they will need to show printed ID with the new address and fill out a new registration form.

Lost or Misplaced Cards

Lost or misplaced cards need to be reported and replaced immediately to prevent someone from using the card. The fee for replacing a lost card is $2.00.

Temporary Library Cards

Temporary library cards may be issued only when the person is living and/or working on a temporary basis in Saline County.

Information needed for registering for a temporary card:

  • Home address (permanent address)/ ID showing their permanent home address.
  • Temporary address (local address)
  • Reference (company name, address, telephone number) and (local home public library name and address)

A $10.00 deposit is required which will be refunded at the return of the temporary library card if the card is in good standing.

Insufficient Funds Check Policy

When a patron writes a check for insufficient funds (also known as bouncing a check), the check must be paid by cash or money order.

After the patron pays for the insufficient funds check, we will continue to take checks from them unless they write a second check with insufficient funds.

At that time, all monies owed to the Library must be paid in cash or money order until further notice. All accounts paid by said patron (including children and other family) will include a note which states that we cannot accept personal checks from them.

Policy of Non-Discrimination

The Saline County Library does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age or disability in employment or the provision of services.

Gateway and Reciprocal Card Agreements

A Saline County Library card in good standing makes available to its owner the Gateway Card. A Gateway card can be attained for use in public libraries in Central Arkansas.

The following counties have agreed to participate in the Gateway Program with approval from the Library Boards of Trustees:

  • Arkansas
  • Jefferson
  • Cleveland
  • Lonoke
  • Conway
  • Perry
  • Dallas
  • Pike
  • Faulkner
  • Polk
  • Garland
  • Prairie
  • Grant
  • Pulaski
  • Hot Spring
  • Saline
  • Jackson
  • Van Buren
  • White

To apply for a Gateway card, the applicant must be a patron “in good standing” meaning that the applicant must have had a card at the Saline County Library for a period of time and have no outstanding long overdue materials. By policy, no one can have a Gateway card unless they are 14 year of age or older.

There is a $10.00 charge for replacement of a lost Gateway card. It will need to be reissued by the home library. Gateway cards expire one year after issuance.

Citizens of Garland County, Grant, and Hot Spring County can apply for a Saline County Library Card in the same manner as a resident per a special reciprocal agreement by the three library boards. Due to the cooperative agreement, the $10.00 Non-Resident fees are waved and the Gateway Card Application is not necessary.

Non-Resident Cardholders

Any person applying for a non-resident library card must meet the same requirements as a resident patron for identification. An annual fee of $10 will be charged to obtain a library card.

Non-Resident Property Owners

If a person lives out of the county but owns property in Saline County, they may obtain a resident card free of charge. They must fill out the standard library card application and bring one of the following that includes their name and the address of the property: Tax collector receipt, Tax statement, or Mortgage Papers.

Institution Card

Due to the need for library services by certain institutions, which would make individual cards of the users difficult for both the group and the library to provide, the institution card is now available with the following stipulations:

  1. The books will be considered borrowed by your institution and any losses or overdue charges will be the responsibility of the institution to pay.
  2. There is a limit of 30 books per card and the usual limits still apply (5 dvds per card, only 2 holiday books per card, and only one renewal is allowed).
  3. All federal laws apply to the showing of videos are still to be respected.
  4. Multiple cards can be distributed to your institution if there is more than one person who will need to use the card. However, the institution will need to provide permission forms for each and will be responsible for fines, damages, or lost materials.
  5. Institution cards will expire on an annual basis depending on the institution. For schools, the year will run from August through May. For other institutions the year will begin on the date the card is initially applied. These will need to be renewed on a year by year basis.
  6. Materials can be requested to be selected by the staff. If such a request is made, it needs to be done at least a week in advance to the representative picking up the materials. We cannot provide every book in the library on one specific subject but will give you what is feasible.
  7. Materials requested are not limited to non-fiction. Blocks of fiction and non-fiction both are available for this service, including large print materials.

If you have any questions or comments concerning this service, please call the Main library in Benton at 778-4766 or the library in Bryant at 847-2166.

Homebound Service

The Homebound service is available to Saline County residents who cannot utilize traditional library services, or it would cause an undue hardship to do so including: elderly, physically impaired, injured, critically ill, long-term care facility residents, retirement center residents, and rehabilitation center residents.

Library materials can be mailed, delivered directly to the home, or room of the patron.

The Homebound Service provides patrons with a personal one-on-one service to meet their informational, educational, and recreational needs.

Homebound patrons participating in this service may check out any Saline County Library material.

Programming and Special Events

The Saline County Library shall conduct programs, promotions, special events and publicity to fulfill its mission in the community. All programs and events shall be open to the public, but some programs or events may be designed with specific audiences in mind, i.e., children’s programs. Programs or events targeted toward specific audiences will be publicized as such.

Library programming is a continuing resource that provides information, education and recreation to patrons through reoccurring classes, storytimes, summer reading activities and group meetings. Special events are such that occur occasionally, such as author signings, workshops, or observances. The library may incorporate cooperative programming or events with other agencies, organizations, and educational institutions, as well as other resources, to communicate with patrons and promote further library use.

Selection of program or event topics, speakers, courses, classes and resource materials should be made by staff on the basis of the interests and needs of the community. Programs and events should not exclude topics, books, speakers, media and other resources because they might be controversial. Acceptance of a program or event topic by the library does not constitute an endorsement by the library of the group’s or individual’s policies or beliefs.

Within the scope of the ALA’s “Library Bill of Rights”, it is the intention of the Board of Trustees to provide programs to the community that educate and enlighten its residents without prejudice to the full and free expression of ideas.

Filming Policy

Non-Commercial Filming Policy

Persons or organizations desiring to film a performance or presentation at the Saline County Public Library for public viewing must complete the Request to Film Form, and be approved by library staff. The one exception shall be local/regional news organizations and personal uses.

The library requires credit in any use of the film. Library patrons may not be filmed without their permission. Permission must also be sought from the presenter or performer of the event.

Filming of the library or library events for commercial use is not permitted.

Personal Code of Conduct

Code for personal conduct. Examples of unacceptable behavior or activity include, but are not limited to:

  1. Leaving children unattended
  2. Leaving children at the library after closing
  3. Leaving vulnerable adults unsupervised or unattended
  4. Not following the cell phone policy: Cell phone ringers must be set to silent and calls should be in a quiet voice and keep to a minimum. No cell phone use in the computer labs.
  5. Smoking, soliciting, selling, skateboarding or skating, consuming intoxicants, intoxication, spitting, sleeping, or loitering on premises
  6. Leaving unattended items
  7. Annoying, harassing, or threatening another person
  8. Physical, sexual, or verbal abuse of another person
  9. Interfering with others’ use of the library through poor personal hygiene
  10. Eating and/or drinking in the library (eating and drinking may occur in designated areas or in the meeting room with prior permission).
  11. Leaving automobiles in the parking lot without prior permission
  12. Demonstrating or picketing inside the building or in such a way as to block access to the building
  13. Carrying weapons of any type
  14. Defacing, damaging, or stealing library property
  15. Uttering profane, obscene, or injurious language
  16. Not following the library’s “Computer Resources and Internet Access” policy
  17. Not wearing proper attire. Footwear, shirts/blouses and pants/skirts/dresses are required at all times
  18. Disturbing public peace by persistent loud, annoying or aggressive conduct
  19. Bringing animals into the building except by invitation for a program or a service animal defined by Title II and Title III of the ADA.
  20. Being in an unauthorized area of the library, or remaining in an area after its closing; staying in the building when requested to leave during emergency situations or drills.
  21. Engaging in any activities while on Library premises that are not related to the proper use of the Library

Vandalism of any kind will result in the pressing of charges with no tolerance. Arkansas Code 5-38-203

The Saline County Library expects conduct of the patrons to be polite and respectful. Anyone unable to behave in a manner that will not disturb, abuse or physically endanger patrons or staff will be asked to leave the building and property, no matter what their age. A refusal to leave after being asked to do so will precipitate a call to the local law enforcement officers.

The library welcomes children of all ages. Our goal is to provide a clean, safe, comfortable and welcoming environment for all library users.

To ensure the safety of children in the library, the following rules are in effect:

Parents, guardians, and caregivers are responsible for ensuring appropriate behavior and safety of their children at all times while in the Library and on Library property. Parents, guardians, and caregivers can include non-relatives or older siblings of suitable babysitting age. Jumping on or excessively moving furniture and disruptive behavior are not acceptable. Children are required to act in a manner appropriate to the use and function of the Library.

  • Children younger than five (5) years of age such as those attending the Lapsit, Toddler Time or Storytimes must be accompanied by an adult at all times and throughout all programs.
  • Children five (5) years old and older may attend staff-supervised programs alone on library property while their supervisory adult makes personal use of library facilities and services without leaving the property. Tween and teen late night programs are the only exception.
  • Children ages twelve (12) and younger should be accompanied by a parent, guardian, or caregiver at all times. Young children cannot be left alone in any area of the library while the adult browses other areas unless they are in a staff-supervised program and are of the appropriate age as described above.
  • Children ages thirteen (13) and older who come to the Library without a parent, guardian, or caregiver are welcome for appropriate use of the Library, such as homework, reading or attending programs.

Parents and caregivers must be aware of library hours, and make suitable arrangements to meet and/or transport their children. Prior to closing, staff will walk through the library to secure it. If a child age 12 or younger is left unaccompanied at closing time, every effort will be made to ascertain the situation and assist the child in calling his/her parent/guardian/caregiver to arrange for transportation. If there is no contact within 15 minutes, the Library will call police for assistance. Two staff members will remain with the child until the police or parent/guardian/caregiver arrives to transport the child. A note documenting the situation will be placed in the child and/or parent’s library record.

The Saline County Library cannot and will not, in any way, control the content of any petition being circulated near any of its libraries. The presence of petitioners outside of a library building does not constitute the Library’s endorsement of the policies, beliefs or political affiliations of any person or group circulating petitions for signatures.

To minimize disruptions to staff and patrons, the Library prohibits petition circulation within the interior spaces and entry lobbies of the Library buildings. Certain areas outside of the Library buildings may be used by the public to gather signatures if the petitioners adhere to the following rules:

  • Petitioners and their furniture or equipment must not hinder or block the entrances to the Library buildings, or create potentially unsafe conditions to Library staff, patrons, or to the general public.
  • The Library will not provide supplies, furniture, equipment, or any other amenities to petitioners, nor will the Library store any items for any period of time.
  • Petitioners may not use any part of the buildings, including walls, columns, and lights to exhibit posters, notes or printed information.
  • Petitioners shall not approach Library patrons and staff in an aggressive manner or engage in action that constitutes harassment of Library patrons and staff.
  • Soliciting for funds is not allowed on Library property.

Petition circulators who fail to comply with this (or any other county or city) policy will be asked to leave the premises. Law enforcement will be contacted if any petition circulator engages in what is believed to be unlawful behavior.

Intellectual Freedom Policy

The Saline County Library endorses the principles of the Freedom to Read Statement, the Freedom to View Statement, and the Library Bill of Rights adopted by the American Library Association.

As proclaimed in the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution, freedom of expression, specifically the right to publish diverse opinions, is essential to the democratic form of government. A public institution committed to the principles of democracy and intellectual freedom, the Library recognizes its obligation to provide as wide a spectrum of materials as possible.

Diverse points of view, including controversial and unorthodox subjects, are available in this collection. Inclusion in the collection does not imply Library endorsement of or agreement with the contents.

Library materials are not marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of the contents, nor are materials sequestered except for the purpose of protecting them from damage or theft.

No restrictions are placed on what anyone may read, view, or listen to. Selection of materials to include in the collection will not be made on the basis of any anticipated approval or disapproval, but solely on the merits of the material in relation to building the collection and to serving the needs and the interests of all users.

Individuals or groups may occasionally question the inclusion of an item in the collection because of fear or doubt about the effects of the material on impressionable persons. Although the Library understands this concern, it is the Library’s position that the risk to society is far greater if public access to ideas and information is restricted. While anyone is free to select or reject materials for themselves or their own minor children or wards, the values of one will not be imposed on the many. Parents and legal guardians have the responsibility for their child’s or ward’s use of Library materials.

The Library is opposed to the removal from its shelves, at the request of any individual or group, materials which have been chosen according to the collection development policy.

Collection Development

The function of the Library is to provide materials for all ages, from preschool through maturity. As many subject fields as possible are provided with the only limitations being those of budget and of human understanding. The objectives of the materials selection policy are to use money collected and donated for the benefit of the public to:
1. Provide library resources for the interest, information and enlightenment of all the people of the area served,
2. Provide materials to meet the continuing education needs of out-of-school adults and for the enrichment of the formal education needs of children and young adults, and
3. Provide materials to meet the recreational needs of all ages.

The collection of the Saline County Library shall be developed under the supervision of the library director and is maintained by selection librarians on staff. The collection shall be expanded and weeded according to the library policy as implemented by the best professional judgment of the librarians, in order to provide access to the human records of the past and present, whether factual, imaginative, scientific, or cultural, on all intellectual levels in a variety of forms both print and non-print. Selection librarians provide continuity in collections through an organized structure for budgeting, selecting, acquiring, and managing Library materials.

Collection Development Philosophy

The Library’s collection is a living, changing entity. As items are added, others are reviewed for their ongoing value and sometimes withdrawn from the collection. Great care is taken to retain or replace items that have enduring value to the community. Decisions are influenced by patterns of use, the capacity of each location and the holdings of other libraries that may specialize in a given subject matter. Selection librarians review the collection regularly to maintain its vitality and usefulness to the community.

Inherent in the collection development philosophy is an appreciation for each patron of the Saline County Library. The Library provides materials to support each individual’s journey and does not place a value on one customer’s needs or preferences over another’s. The Library upholds the right of the individual to access information, even though the content may be controversial, unorthodox or unacceptable to others.

Selection Criteria

Public libraries provide collections containing a wide variety of material formats, including print, audio-visual, and electronic. In selecting materials and developing collections for adults, as well as for children and teens, library staff includes materials that represent the broad range of human experience, reflecting the ethnic, religious, racial, and socio-economic diversity not only of Saline County, but also the larger global perspective. Library collections will provide a broad range of opinion on current issues.

Widespread interest and usage are the most powerful influence on the Library’s collection. Circulation, customer purchase requests and holds levels are all closely monitored, triggering the purchase of new items and additional copies of high demand items. The other driving force is the Library’s Strategic Plan.

Collections contain popular works, classic works that have withstood the test of time, and other materials of general interest. Works are not excluded or included in the collection based solely on subject matter or on political, religious, or ideological grounds. In building collections, library staff is guided by the principle of selection, rather than censorship. Furthermore, the selection of a given item for a library’s collections should not be interpreted as an endorsement of a particular viewpoint.

We endeavor to build collections of merit. As such, materials are evaluated according to one or more of the following standards. An item need not meet all of these criteria in order to be acceptable.

General Criteria

· Present and potential relevance to community needs
· Suitability of physical form for library use
· Suitability of subject and style for intended audience
· Importance as a document of the times
· Relation to the existing collection and to other materials on the subject
· Attention by critics and reviewers
· Potential user appeal
· Requests by library patrons
· Cost

Content Criteria

· Authority
· Comprehensiveness and depth of treatment
· Skill, competence, and purpose of the author
· Reputation and significance of the author
· Objectivity
· Consideration of the work as a whole
· Clarity
· Currency
· Technical quality
· Representation of diverse points of view
· Representation of important movements, genres, or trends
· Vitality and originality
· Artistic presentation and/or experimentation
· Sustained interest
· Relevance and use of the information
· Effective characterization
· Authenticity of history or social setting

Special Considerations for Online Collections

· Ease of use of the product
· Availability of the information to multiple simultaneous users
· Equipment needed to provide access to the information
· Technical support and training
· Availability of the physical space needed to house and store the information or equipment
· Available in full text

Examples of Authoritative Public Library Reviewing Sources

· Booklist
· Goodreads
· Library Journal
· New York Times Book Review
· Publishers Weekly
· School Library Journal

Special Considerations for Selecting for Branch Libraries

Branch libraries serve the needs of the communities in which they are located. Library staff regularly evaluate the collection to ensure its relevance. Collections of the branch libraries concentrate on materials of high interest and materials that support the Library’s strategic goals. Branch collections are especially shaped by customer use and the physical size of branch locations.

Special Considerations for Foreign Language Materials

Materials published in languages other than English are purchased for the collection in response to local demographics, demonstrated need, and according to popular demand. Specific consideration is given to materials in Spanish, the prevalent foreign language in the Saline County area.

Special Considerations for Selecting for Children

Children’s materials are selected to provide pleasurable reading for the sake of reading and to provide information in fields of knowledge that are of interest to children. Materials are carefully selected so that children of all ages and abilities are served and so that the collections will stimulate imagination, mental growth, and intellectual development. Children’s titles, almost without exception, are reviewed before purchase. The reading and viewing activity of children is ultimately the responsibility of parents and legal guardians, who guide and oversee their own children’s development. The Saline County Library does not intrude on that relationship.

Special Considerations for Selecting for Young Adults

Young adult materials are selected to help teenagers to realize self-actualization and to live useful, well-adjusted lives in the community and to help them know and understand the world at large.

Special Considerations for Films, Music, and Video Games

Films, musical recordings, and video games are selected to provide patrons with important musical and film resources of past, present, and future significance—or, a glimpse of what was, what is, and what might be. The collection will not shy away from recordings or movies which contain artistic value, even if those recordings are considered to be controversial or experimental, in hopes that their inclusion will invite discussion, thought, and understanding.

Special Considerations for Selecting and Developing Nontraditional Collections (or, the Library of Things)

To support the Saline County Library’s mission of providing traditional and innovative library resources, programs and services, we have expanded our collections to include what might be considered nontraditional library collections, to create a Library of Things. This collection is a major part of the Saline County Library’s Strategic Plan.

The Library of Things collection is developed and managed to meet the cultural, informational, educational, and recreational needs of library patrons of all ages in Saline County, and provides members of our community access to technologies they wish to explore and understand or to which they may not normally have access. The Library’s professional staff will select materials based on the needs of library patrons. The Library welcomes input from the community concerning the collection. All suggestions for purchase are evaluated using the same selections criteria as for other materials and are not automatically added to the collection.

Due to limited storage space and the staff time necessary to evaluate, test and maintain items in the collection, the Library does not accept materials that are not outright gifts, and cannot guarantee the permanence of a gift in the collection. Materials donated to the Library are received with the understanding that they are subject to the same selection, evaluation and withdrawal criteria as material acquired for purchase.

Not all library materials may be suitable for all members of the community. Responsibility for a child’s use of library materials, regardless of format or content, lies with the parent or legal guardian, not with the Library. Some items may be limited to use by patrons 18 and older.

We have amazing ideas of what our patrons would love to borrow, and we cannot begin to predict what we might add to the collection next. To that end, it is easier to describe the formats that have not been previously identified or described in the collection development policy. Items in the Library of Things may include but are not limited to kits, tools, consoles, tablets, and equipment.

Special Considerations for Selecting and Developing Special Collection

The David O. Demuth Arkansas Collection collects to original and secondary materials in a variety of formats in the following subject areas: history of the state of Arkansas, genealogy resources from all 75 Arkansas counties, genealogy resources from states along major migration routes to Arkansas, Saline County school yearbooks, Saline County obituary records on microfilm, and scrapbooks from local organizations and individuals. The Demuth Collection is also the repository of the Library’s digital archives.

Statement of Accessibility

The collection shall be developed and organized for access in many ways, to make it possible for citizens to inform and entertain themselves as their needs and desires occur, and to allow access for those disadvantaged by lack of education, lack of language facility, ethnic or cultural background, age, physical or mental handicaps, or apathy.

Consortium Memberships

Saline County Library belongs to a variety of consortium organizations that provide materials and databases for use by our Library users.

The Library is a member of the Arkansas Digital Library Consortium, which provides Overdrive and Libby access to public and school libraries across Arkansas.

The Library is a member of the Mid-Arkansas Regional Library System, along with Malvern-Hot Spring County, Grant County, Dallas County, and Cleveland County, and provides resource sharing for patrons of all member libraries.

The Library is also a member of Mockingbird Resource Sharing, which allows libraries across the state to share their catalogs and resources with other libraries and their users.

The Library, along with the other public library systems across the state, receives access to a wide variety of databases purchased with state funds through the Arkansas State Library.

Gifts and Memorials

The Friends of the Saline County Library accept donations of materials in good condition which are sold to raise money for the Library. Donations may be delivered to any Library location.

The Saline County Library accepts gifts and/or memorial gifts for its collection that fall within needed subject categories as determined by selection librarians and library staff. For an item to be added, it must meet the same selection criteria as purchased materials.

In respect to gift books, this policy shall be followed: the Library maintains the right to decide whether or not any gift is to be added to the collection, sold, or discarded.

As the donor, the board would like for you to understand the following concerning your donation:

1. The Library is not obligated to retain any gifts which fail to meet its criteria for selection.
2. The Library has the right to discard any gifts in poor physical condition (e.g., brittle paper, water or mildew damage, underlining in the text, torn and/or missing pages).
3. The Library has the right to sell any gifts which duplicate materials already in the collection and are not needed for replacement or duplicate copies.
4. The Library is not obligated to retain back issues of gift periodical subscriptions that are of limited interest or not indexed.
5. The Library has the right to determine suitability for inclusion in the special or circulating collections. Those materials which are useful to the library collection will be retained and other items will be disposed of in whatever manner the Library deems best.
6. The Library will determine the classification, housing and circulation policies of all gifts (as with purchased items).
7. The Library does not appraise gifts or provide evaluations of gifts for tax deductions or other purposes, but will acknowledge the receipt of gifts in writing if requested by the donor. Donors who wish to have an evaluation of their gifts for tax purposes are referred to the IRS Publication 561, Determining the Value of Donated Property, and Publication 526, Charitable Contributions.

Suggestions of specific titles or subjects are welcomed when memorial donations are given but the final decision, based on the Library collection, rests with the Librarian selector responsible for the collection.

Materials written or produced by local authors must meet the general selection standards for inclusion in the library collection. No materials will be automatically added to the collection.

Materials Generally Excluded from the Collection

· Most textbooks (except in those areas where the titles represent the main body of knowledge or best available sources of information.)
· Most complimentary desk copies or publisher’s samples.
· Older editions of titles already owned by the Library.
· Marked up or dilapidated copies.
· Consumable materials, including workbooks and instructional supplies.
· Most ephemera.
· Outdated titles containing erroneous or misleading information, particularly in medicine, science, social science, and business disciplines.
· Reader’s Digest Condensed Books.
· The work has inadequate characterization, plot, literary style, or atmosphere.
· The work shows an obvious lack of integrity.
· The work is produced to incite hatred and intolerance.
· The work is of a religious, political or philosophical nature not of general interest.
· The work is obscene or pornographic as defined by community standards of good taste and morality. Works which present an honest picture of some problem or aspect of life, however, will not be excluded because of coarse language or frankness; furthermore, all materials will be judged as a whole rather than isolated passages; and
· The work adds nothing new to a field already well covered in other works.

All library materials including gifts will be evaluated according to this policy. Any items not kept by the library considered for inclusion in the book sale to benefit the library.

Withdrawal of Materials

As the physical plant of the Library limits materials capacity, and as the use and age of materials limits their life and effectiveness, material must be periodically re-evaluated as to their current and future value to the library.

Damaged or worn materials of continuing value will be repaired when possible and/or replaced with materials of similar use when possible.

Materials of continuing value which are replaced by updated or revised information will be considered for redistribution according to the needs of the Libraries.

When, in the best professional judgment of the County Librarian, the current and future value of materials does not warrant retaining multiple copies.

Titles which have not circulated for several years will be considered for withdrawal.

The Library board has approved the “CREW Guidelines for Weeding” as a good general guide for weeding.

Anyone is free to personally reject materials of which he or she does not approve; however, the choice of library materials for personal use is an individual matter. No one has the right to exercise censorship to restrict the freedom of use and or access of others. Any request for reconsideration of an item in the collection must follow the Library’s procedure, as follows:

1. A person affected by library material or an employee of the library may challenge the appropriateness of material available in the library. Before a person can file a challenge, they shall request a meeting with the library director.
2. After the meeting, if a person still objects to materials held by the Library, they may submit a complete Citizen’s Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials Form with full name and address. Anonymous forms will not be accepted. The patron seeking reconsideration must read, view, or listen to the entirety of the work before requesting reconsideration of library material.
3. Upon receipt of the completed form, the Library Director will select a committee of library personnel. The committee shall determine if the materials being challenged meets the criteria of selection. Material being challenged shall not be withdrawn solely for the viewpoints expressed within the materials and shall be reviewed in its entirety and shall not have selected portions taken out of context.
4. The material being challenged shall remain available throughout the challenge process.
5. The committee shall allow the person to present their request to the committee and then meet to discuss the material being challenged. The committee shall vote to determine whether the material shall be removed from the library’s collection.
6. A member of the committee who votes with the majority shall write a summary of the reasons for the majority’s decision. Notice of the decision shall be given by hand or certified mail to the challenger.

By using a public access computer at Saline County Library you agree to the following guidelines. All users of public access computers and laptop computers are expected to use these resources in a responsible manner and to follow the library’s Rules and Regulations. Responsible, ethical uses of resources, including the Internet, include the following:

Using resources for educational, informational and recreational purposes only; not for unauthorized, illegal or unethical purposes. Any commercial or malicious use is prohibited.

Respecting the privacy of others by not misrepresenting oneself as another user; by not attempting to modify or gain access to files, passwords, or data belonging to others; by not seeking unauthorized access to any computer system, or damaging or altering software components of any network or database.

Making only authorized copies of copyrighted or licensed software or data.

Patron’s personal software may not be loaded on library computers without staff knowledge and/or assistance.

Not sending, receiving, or displaying inappropriate materials that could reasonably be construed as obscene in either text or graphic formats. Deliberate, continued use of an obscene or illegal site may result in the police being called and computer privileges will be discontinued.

Printing is 10¢ per page for black and white copies and $1.00 per page for color. You are responsible for all copies that you print.

The Saline County Library assumes no responsibility for the use of the Internet. As with other library materials, restriction of a child’s access to the Internet is the responsibility of the parent/legal guardian to determine what is appropriate for his/her child. All internet computers are filtered.

Rules and Regulations

  • Patron has a current library card and is in good standing. Patron must have card present, have photo on file, or present a photo ID. Guest passes can be given to non-Saline County residents.
  • Patrons under the age of 17 who are not accompanied by a guardian and are in good standing may be given courtesy time via a guest pass at the discretion of the Children’s Staff.
  • Patron may be required to sign in using his/her library card.
  • Patron respects the 60-minutes per day limit on the Children’s computers and the 90 minutes per day limit on the Young Adult and Adult computers. Time may be extended at the discretion of library staff.
  • Computers in the Children’s Department are divided by age. Young Adult computers are available for patrons ages 13-16. Children’s computers are available for patrons ages 5-12. Toddler computers are available for patrons ages 0-4. The toddler computers do not connect to the internet and do not require a library card. Patron is required to honor the age restrictions and use only the computers designated for him/her.

Library staff is available to assist patrons in their use of the computer resources, but may not be familiar with every application that is available. Due to scheduling constraints, there may not be staff available for one-on-one assistance.

Patron’s using SCL’s laptop computers must also present a valid driver’s license, which will be held at checkout point until all pieces are returned.

Laptops can be used anywhere in the library, but may not be taken out of the library. Patron assumes full physical and financial responsibility for the equipment checked out. You are responsible for the laptops; they should not be left unattended. Report immediately any hardware or software problems to the check-out desk.

When returned, equipment will be inventoried for all pieces and tested. The loan period is 90 minutes per day. All laptops are due back ½ hour prior to closing. The patron is responsible for any missing equipment.

Any attempt to tamper with any piece of equipment or to remove it from the library will be considered theft and the library staff will call the police

Patron has agreed to abide by this Internet Acceptable Use Agreement and these Rules and Regulations when logging onto any public access computer.

Patrons as well as non-resident patrons will have access to the Libraries’ wireless connection. Library staff is available to assist patrons and non-resident patrons to gain access to the wireless connection; however staff cannot assume liability for directly configuring the users system. It is the sole responsibility of the individual to know how to connect their equipment to the libraries’ wireless connection.

Failure to abide by this policy will result in computer privileges being suspended for 30 days or being revoked.

Wireless Internet Policy

The Saline County Library offers FREE wireless access (aka “hot spots” & “Wi-Fi”) for library patrons to use with their own personal notebooks, laptops and other mobile devices. These access points are unsecured and filtered to comply with Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) regulations. A patron’s use of this service is also governed by Saline County Library’s Internet Policy.

As with most public wireless “hot spots,” the library’s wireless connection is not secure. There can be untrusted parties between you and anybody with whom you communicate with, and any information being transmitted could potentially be intercepted by another wireless user. Cautious and informed wireless users should choose not to transmit personal information (credit card numbers, passwords and any other sensitive information) while using any wireless “hot spot.” Please take appropriate precautions when using this service.

Library staff can provide general information or handouts for connecting your device to the wireless network, but cannot troubleshoot problems related to your wireless device or assist in making changes to your device’s network settings and/or hardware configuration. The Library cannot guarantee that your device will work with the Library’s wireless access points.

All wireless access users should have up-to-date virus protection on their laptop computers or wireless devices. The library will not be responsible for any information (i.e. credit card) that is compromised, or for any damage caused to your hardware or software due to electric surges, security issues or consequences caused by viruses or hacking.

All users are expected to use the library’s wireless access in a legal and responsible manner, consistent with the educational and informational purposes for which it is provided.

Use of Saline County Library’s wireless network is entirely at the risk of the user. The library disclaims all liability for loss of confidential information or damages resulting from that loss.

The library has two meeting rooms, one in Benton and one in Bryant, that are primarily for meetings or programs of an educational, cultural or civic nature presented or co-sponsored by the library or not-for-profit groups or agencies.

Library sponsored programs and programs of the library’s affiliated organizations will be given priority in the reservation of meeting room space.


  • Benton: 150 people
  • Bryant: 50 people

Sale of Products or Services

Programs involving the sale, advertisement or promotion of commercial products or services are prohibited. Organizations may not charge admission fees. Fees for items such as a meal or program materials are permissible as long as attendance is not dependent upon the payment of such fees.

Events of Social Nature

Receptions, parties, weddings and showers are not permitted.


Reservations are on a first-come, first-served basis and may not be made more than 30 days in advance of the requested date. Organizations or individuals are allowed one meeting per month at each of the two locations.

Rules and Terms of Use

  • Food or drink is allowed only by special permission. Only catered meals, covered-dish meals or light refreshments shall be served. Utensils, dishes, etc. must be furnished by the user organization. All groups are responsible for food and/or trash cleanup.
  • Damages to the room or library property shall be charged to the person/group using the room. No group is allowed to attach anything to the walls.
  • The library assesses no deposit for the use of its meeting rooms except in the case of persons or groups wishing to make crafts or items that require hammers, nails, glue guns, paint and other like items. Charges may be assessed against groups or individuals who fail to leave the room in a clean and orderly condition.
  • Setting up tables and chairs is the responsibility of the user or organization.
  • Groups using the meeting rooms must observe the building’s scheduled opening and closing times. All meetings should be over and the room vacated 15 minutes before the library closes.
  • When scheduling meeting room time, remember to allow your group sufficient time for any necessary set-up or clean-up.

The library can provide the following audiovisual items:

  • TV
  • DVD player
  • Laptop
  • Podium
  • Document camera
  • LCD projector

Scheduling of a meeting or program of a group or organization in the library does not in any way constitute an endorsement by the library of the group or organization, it’s activities or the ideas and opinions expressed during the course of the meetings or programs held at the library.

Publicity generated by a group or organization for a meeting or event in a library meeting room may recite the library name, address and appropriate room designation only.

It is the policy of the Saline County Library Board of Trustees that members of the public shall
be given the opportunity to appear before the board during public meetings of the board and to
speak on any issue under the jurisdiction of the library board.

  • Members of the public may address the Board only at the appropriate times as indicated
    on the agenda and when recognized by the Board President.
  • Comments by members of the public are limited to three minutes per speaker, on a first
    come, first served basis. The President has the authority to oversee the orderly conduct of comments of the public, including but not limited to, extending the time limit for or order of the speakers.
  • There will be no more than 30 minutes for public comment, except with consent of the
  • Speakers must complete the Request to Speak Before the Board form and have it turned in to the Library Director or any Board Member by noon of the day of the board meeting.
  • Individuals must be recognized by the presiding officer and must preface their comments by an announcement of their full name and city of residence.
  • No participant may speak more than once on the same topic unless all others who wish to speak on that topic have been heard.
  • Public comments must pertain to an item on the agenda or to an issue that is relevant to the Board’s work. The President of the Board of Trustees retains the right to stop any speaker who raises issues that are not on the agenda or are not germane to the duties of the Library.
  • Petitions or written correspondence to the Board shall be presented to the Board at the next regularly scheduled Board meeting.
  • The President shall have the authority to determine reasonable procedures regarding public participation not otherwise defined in Board policy


Social media accounts provide timely way for the Saline County Library to communicate event information, share photos and testimonies about library events or materials and encourage open communication between the library and the community. All social media accounts are considered important faucets of communication and are monitored during library hours.

Usage Guidelines

The Saline County Library encourages comments, posts and messages from the community. We understand there may be differences in opinion and we respect these differences. But, all comments, posts, messages and reviews will be monitored regularly by Saline County Library staff. Saline County Library staff has the right to remove any comment, post or message that is deemed inappropriate.
Inappropriate behavior or remarks include but is not limited to:

  • Obscene, sexist or racist content
  • Personal attacks, insults or threatening language
  • Private or personal information, including phone numbers and addresses or requests for personal information
  • Potentially libelous statements
  • Plagiarized material
  • Comments unrelated to the library, its mission or its activities
  • Commercial promotions, spam or solicitation of funds
  • Religious messages unrelated to the library or its social media postings
  • Organized political activity or campaigning of any nature
  • Repeated posts from the same individual

Users who post any of the above forms of inappropriate behavior or remarks may be privately contacted by the library and made aware of the social media guidelines and respectively asked to abide by them. If the user continues to violate the social media code of conduct, they will be privately contacted and put on a temporary ban for one month. After the month is up, the user will be unblocked. If the user continues to display inappropriate behavior, the library has the right to permanently block the patron from commenting, posting or messaging the Saline County Library social media pages.

Other Communication Outlets

While we appreciate interaction and engagement on social media, we also respect and value the opinions and questions of our patrons and community. If a user has specific comments they wish to share with our staff, we encourage either a private message or emailing
If private messages or emails fall into any of the inappropriate behavior categories, the user will be subject to the same disciplinary actions mentioned above.
The Saline County Library asks that individual user complaints be addressed directly to the Library Administration so they can be addressed quickly and specifically. Social media is not the correct platform for the library to document or address user problems and concerns. If there are any questions regarding our policies and procedures, please visit our website for a list of our policies and an updated FAQ section.

The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and the following basic policies should guide their services.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
  4. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
  5. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
  6. 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 34, 1980 by the ALA Council. Approved by the Saline County Library Board September 17, 2007

The Freedom to Read Statement

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, 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 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 the 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:

1. It is in the public interest for 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 the 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 the constant activity of weighting 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 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.

3. 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 to be 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.

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 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.

5. 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.

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 not 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 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 AAP Freedom to Read Committee.

By being at the Saline County Library and participating in public programs, you are granting our staff permission to photograph or video record you and/or your child. These photographs and videos may be used for social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, on our website, or on marketing or promotional materials.

If you do not wish for you and/or your child to be photographed or video recorded, please let one of our staff members know.