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Challenged Material Statement regarding Censorship/Intellectual Freedom

February 26, 2014

Challenged Materials Ad Hoc Reconsideration Committee: Policies and Procedures

An Ad Hoc Reconsideration Committee shall consist of  4 or 6 members, chaired by the Coordinator of Collection Services. The chair shall only vote in the event of a tie. An even number of members is required.  Each challenge requires a new committee.

University Libraries faculty, staff and student workers and faculty from other WKU departments (when warranted) will convene as a pool from which the committee is selected. Rather than a standing committee, the membership should rotate among a broad selection of people appropriate to the library location and content.

The committee shall consider not only the concerns of the person making the challenge to the material, but also the material in the context of the libraries’ collections as a whole and in regard to the policies and mission of the libraries.

The committee shall make its recommendation regarding the disposition of the challenged materials to the Dean of Libraries, who will provide the official decision about the materials and notify the individual or group.

The Challenged Materials Study Group Recommends

  1. That the WKU Libraries Challenged Materials Policy be  posted on our website and a handout createdconcerning this topic for dissemination at service points. A standard form of recourse concerning access issues about challenged materials will be placed in the Dean of Libraries office.
  2. That all challenged materials will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
  3. That a method for handling complaints should be established:
      • A form is created to be distributed as needed to anyone wishing to challenge an item from the collection.
      • An Ad Hoc Reconsideration Committee for Challenged Materials is formed to deal with complaints or challenges concerning any WKU Libraries materials.

    This committee will:

        1. Read, view, or listen to the challenged material in its entirety;
        2. Review the selection process and the criteria for selection;
        3. Check reviews, recommended lists and/or contact institutional peers to determine recommendations by the  experts and critics;
        4. Meet to discuss the challenge;
        5. Make a recommendation to the Dean of Libraries on removal, retention, reassignment, or replacement.

    The Dean of Libraries approves or disapproves of the committee’s decision and notifies the individual or group about the library’s decision.

  4. In-service training will be provided (and/or made available by PowerPoint) to all WKU Library faculty, staff, and students concerning the procedure for dealing with a complaint concerning challenged materials.  Dan Forrest and Jack Montgomery will provide this in-service training as needed on an annual basis or as requested.


Respectfully submitted,

Jack Montgomery, Chair
Deana Groves
Donna Parker
Elizabeth Knight (absent)
Dan Forrest
Nancy Richey
Paula Bowles


Challenged Materials: Statement regarding Censorship/Intellectual Freedom

The WKU University Libraries supports the free exchange of ideas and endeavors to build collections which include all points of view. At the same time, it neither approves nor endorses the views expressed in materials included in the collections. Where there is controversy or disagreement concerning the truth of particular ideas and issues of belief, the University Libraries attempts to provide a wide selection of materials encompassing the major viewpoints.

WKU Libraries subscribes to and complies with the Code of Ethics of the American Library Association http://www.ala.org/advocacy/proethics/codeofethics/codeethics

Titles/materials for the collection are selected on the basis of overall content. No item is excluded on the basis of the author's race, nationality, or political or religious views. That some patrons may find an item objectionable on moral, religious, political or other grounds does not restrict or determine selection.

WKU Libraries does not immediately accede to requests of individuals or groups seeking the removal from the collection of materials which have been chosen according to the WKU Libraries Collection Development Policy
nor does it yield to requests to add to the collection materials if their addition would contradict the same collection development policy.

The Coordinator of Collection Services http://www.wku.edu/library/dlts/staff/jack_montgomery
works with the library administration in determining a response to challenged materials. Individuals or groups desiring further dialogue or action are asked to fill out a form for consideration. The form is available from the Office of the Dean of Libraries, Cravens 101.


Revised by Jack Montgomery 2/26/14
Revised by Challenged Materials Study Group, 2/24/14
Revised by Donna Parker and Jack Montgomery 4/19/06 Reviewed by Donna Parker/Tim Mullins 4/12/06
Recommended by the Council of Library Department Heads 1/30/06
Revised Policy Approved by the Library Leadership Council
Approved by the Library Leadership Council and Dean of Libraries, March 17, 2014

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 Last Modified 4/16/19