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Media Handbook
    materialSelection.jpg    Materials Selections

I. Materials Selection Aids

Hands on examination of materials is not always possible. Media specialists must, therefore, rely on a number of materials selection aids. Some suggested selection sources are listed below and it is suggested that you search for newer sources which frequently appear:
Web Resources

The official publication of the Florida Association for Media in Education. Published at least four times per year.

School Library Journal, founded in 1954, carries more book reviews and wins more awards for editorial excellence than any other publication in the field.

This online journal serves librarians who work with young people in school and public libraries. It gives indispensable information needed to manage libraries, from creating high-quality collections to understanding how technology can assist learning.
An outstanding compilation of online resources for collection development for all media specialists. Includes reviews of books, recommended reading lists, award winner lists, and collection reviews.
NOTE: Authoritative professional journals are more desirable than publishers' catalogs as a basis for book selection.

II. District Policy and Procedures for Selection of Instructional Materials

A. District Policy - (2520 - Selection of Instructional Materials)

The Board shall provide instructional materials, to implement the District's educational goals and objectives and to meet students' needs. The primary objective of such instructional materials shall be to enrich, support, and implement the educational program of the school.

The Superintendent shall develop administrative procedures for the selection and maintenance of all educational and instructional materials.

F.S. 1006.28, 1006.34

B. District Procedures
All schools within the district must adhere to the district-wide policy for the selection of instructional materials adopted by the School Board of Hillsborough County as the official district policy. District procedures support the district policy and should be followed when selecting educational media materials for the school media center.

III. Procedures for Selection of Educational Media Materials

A. Basis for Selection:
1. The school library media specialist, in conjunction with teachers, administrators and the school Educational Media Materials Committee,
    shall be responsible for the selection of materials.
2. For new purchases, the school library media specialist shall be responsible for the following:

* arrange, when possible, for firsthand examination of items to be purchased;

* use reputable, unbiased, professionally-prepared selection aides when firsthand examination of materials is not possible;

* judge gift items by standard selection criteria and, upon acceptance of such items, reserve the right to incorporate into the collection only those meeting these specified criteria.

3. The school library media specialist shall act upon the following materials:

* purchase duplicates of extensively used materials;  

* discard worn, obsolete and inoperable items from the collection;  

* purchase replacements for worn, damaged or missing materials that are basic to the collection.

4. The school library media specialist shall select, within budget limitations, the best books and other media materials available which satisfy the needs, interests and curricular requirements of each individual school.

5. The school library media specialist shall select educaitonal media materials based on a knowledge of the school community, as well as the library media center's existing collection.

6. For teachers' recommendations, the school library media specialist shall select items on the basis of merit, use and balance. The budget for materials shall be apportioned so that various demands are proportionately met. Gifts to the media centers shall be judged upon the same basis as purchased materials.

7. The library media specialist shall select new and replacement materials in order to duplicate older titles which have proven their worth.

8. In the event that educational media materials are challenged, school and district personnel shall follow the established procedures for reconsideration of materials.

B. Principles for Selection

The following principles, adapted from "Information Power" by permission of the American Library Association, help to determine selection objectives: resources are appropriate for the students for whom they are selected; resources represent diverse points of view; resources stimulate growth in analytical and thinking skills; and resources are appropriate to the educational program and school community. These objectives apply to all forms of information: books, pamphlets, periodicals, microforms, databases, computer discs, laser discs, videos, films, CD ROM, on-line resources, e-books, and other mediated presentations.

1. Major criteria used for the selection of resources are:

A. The educational suitability of the resource for its intended use;

B. The intellectual content of the material: the scope, arrangement, organization, relevance, timeliness of information, special features, and overall value to the collection;

C. The philosophy and goals of the school district: the resources support and are consistent with the educational goals of the district and with goals and objectives of individual schools and specific courses.

2. Responsibilities for Selecting Media

The School Board of Hillsborough County is legally responsible for the selection policy of the Hillsborough County Public Schools. The responsibility for the selection of instructional materials is delegated to the professionally trained employees of the school system. Selection of materials involves many people: administrators, teachers, supervisors, students, school media resource committees and school library media specialists.

3. Objectives for Selecting Media

The primary objective of each school's media collection is to enrich and support the instructional program of the school. The school system makes available, through the school media collection, a wide range of materials on varying levels of difficulty, with a diversity of appeal, compatible with the different needs, interests and viewpoints of students and teachers.

To this end, the Hillsborough County Public Schools, in keeping with ideas expressed in the Library Bill of Rights, asserts that the responsibilities of the school system's programs are as follows:

A. To provide materials which will enrich and support the curriculum, taking into consideration individual needs and the varied interests, abilities, socioeconomic backgrounds and maturity levels of the students served.
B. To provide materials which stimulate growth in factual knowledge, literary appreciation, aesthetic values and ethical standards.
C. To provide a background of information enabling students to make intelligent judgments in their daily lives.
D. To provide materials representing various sides of controversial issues so that students may develop, under guidance, the practice of critical thinking and critical analysis of all media.
E. To provide materials which are representative of many religious, ethnic and cultural groups and the contribution of these groups to our American heritage.
F. To place principle above personal opinion and reason above prejudice in selecting school instructional resources of the highest quality, thereby assuring a comprehensive collection.

4. Criteria for Selecting School Media Resources

Individual learning styles, curriculum needs and the existing collection are all factors for consideration in identifying an individual school's needs for media resources.

 Considerations for judging materials for purchase include the following:

A. Purpose. What is the material's purpose and direct relationship to instructional objectives and/or curriculum content?
B. Reliability. Is the material accurate and authentic in its presentation of information?
C. Quality. What is the material's literary and/or artistic merit?
D. Production values. If the material is a non-print format, are the visual and audio elements of good quality?
E. Construction. Is the material durable, manageable in a school setting and attractive for its purpose?
F. Special features. Does the material include useful illustrative, graphic or organizational elements such as indexes and charts?
G. Possible uses. Is the material suitable for use by students individually or in groups, for instruction or in-depth study?

5. Gift Books

In general, all materials should be accepted with the understanding they must meet established criteria set for book selection and be considered of value by the media specialist in consultation with the faculty.

The problem of gift books is a very real one and should be discussed with principals if necessary. Public relations with residents in the community can be jeopardized, and tactfulness in dealing with well-meaning residents who are cleaning out attics and bookshelves is essential. If book drives are undertaken, be sure that a written policy statement, specifying the kinds of books that will or will not be acceptable, is prepared in advance.

A. When accepting gift books:

1.Write a "thank you" letter to patron and include in the letter:

    a. title of books

   b. copyright date

2. Do not assign a price. As stipulated by the Hillsborough County Public Schools, this is not allowed.
B. To discard your gift books, select one of the means listed below that meets the approval of your administration:

1.Let teachers keep the ones they may find useful.

2.Let students take the ones they may like to have.

3.Send the remainder to the warehouse

6. Reconsideration of Challenged Materials

The selection of the resource materials for use with students in the teaching/learning process is a professional responsibility of teachers, administrators, library media specialists and other educators. However, parents and pupils have legitimate and appropriate interests in the selection process and the choices which are made.

Sometimes these interests are expressed as challenges to the use of a specific title. This document has been prepared to assist school and district level educators in addressing such challenges. This document and the process outlined is appropriate for addressing materials of any physical or intellectual format, whether basic or supplemental to instruction, and in any subject area.

Occasional objections to some materials may be voiced by the public despite the care taken in the selection process and despite the qualifications of persons selecting materials.

If a complaint is made, the following procedures should be observed by school personnel:

A. The media specialist will follow these procedures (Click the links for editable forms and sample letters.)

1.Inform the complainant of the selection procedures. You may use the Initial Response to Complainant letter recommended by technology services.
3.Notify the principal, the media supervisor, and appropriate subject-area supervisor of complaint. The supervisor(s) will compile available reviews.
4.Retain challenged material in circulation until a final decision is reached by the School Media Resources Committee.
5.Send the complainant an acknowledgement letter after receiving the completed request for reconsideration form and the challenged material.
6.Notify the members of the School Media Resources Committee via a letter upon completion of step 5.
7.Provide a copy of the challenged material and a checklist to each Committee member.
8.Convene the School Media Resources Committee within 10 working days and reach a decision within 30 calendar days.

B.  The School Media Resources Committee will follow these procedures:

1.Read, view and/or listen to the material in its entirety and complete the appropriate checklist.
2.Read reviews of the material in professional reviewing sources.
3.Determine the extent to which the material supports the curriculum.
4.Weigh merits against alleged faults in light of the material as a whole, rather than isolated passages out of context.
5.Meet as a group and discuss material prior to examining complainant's completed form.
6.Reach a decision and prepare a written report.
7.Send a copy of the report to the principal, the media supervisor, and appropriate subject-area supervisors.

C. Final Decision

1. The principal will send a letter to the complainant, along with a copy of the final decision report.

2. The decision of the School Media Resources Committee will apply only to the school where the material was challenged.

7. Developing the School Media Resources Committee

Each year the media specialist should send requests to assorted faculty, administration, parents, community and students in order to develop a well-rounded School Media Resources Committee. A balance of race, gender, and age is important in making your final selections.

After making initial contact with a potential member, a confirmation letter can be used as a follow-up to a positive response. It will confirm the reason for membership and, if necessary, set up the first meeting for the Committee. Memos to faculty, a letter to perspective parents and a letter to perspective students can provide basic information about the Committee's value and purpose. Personal contact for question-and-answer sessions for parents and students is recommended.

The School Educational Media Materials Committee form is requested from each media center every year by the media supervisors.

Last Modified: Jul 11, 2012
Disclaimer This website contains some links to non-school district websites. Hillsborough County Public Schools is not responsible for the content on these websites.