Procedure for Examination of School Library Material

This state’s policy for the selection of school library materials states that any parent, guardian, student with parental consent, community member, or employee of the district may formally challenge library materials used in the district’s educational program. This policy further allows those persons in the school or the school community, who are not directly involved in the selection of library materials to make their opinions known. The focus of the examination procedure is to provide an open forum for making an informed decision.

Learn more about the district’s school library materials examination and challenge processes.

Resources For Everyone

Polk County Public Schools’ Library Media Services acknowledges the importance of maintaining access to current resources, building research skills, and developing digital literacy. PCPS provides a variety of resources for students, teachers, and families.

Photo of a young boy showing a book to a young girl and high school students studying in the media center.
Library Resources For Everyone

Your school library provides you with:

  • Print Books
  • eBooks
  • Online Research Resources
  • Polk PLUS access to all Polk County Public library services and materials.

Go see everything we have to offer and explore your library catalog on Destiny Discover. Just click on the Online Resources link below:

Florida Book Awards - Recommended Reading

Grades K - 2

Sunshine State Young Readers Award Jr.

Grades 3 - 8

Sunshine State Young Readers Award

Grades 9 - 12

Florida Teens Read

Information for Authors

Certified educational media specialists are responsible for curating school library collections according to district and state guidelines. All titles in the collection must meet the needs of the school community. They must also meet district policies for academic and age-appropriateness and be available through district-approved vendors. These vendors provide library processing and computer records necessary to include books in the collections.

Procedures For Collection Development Of Library Materials

The primary objective of each school’s library program is to enrich, extend, and support the instructional program of the school.

The school library program makes available a wide range of materials on varying levels of difficulty attending to diverse needs, interests, and viewpoints of students and teachers.

Pursuant to Florida Statute 1006.40, any materials purchased with Library Materials Media funds must be:

  • Free of pornography and material prohibited under s.847.012.
  • Suited to student needs and his/her ability to comprehend the material presented.
  • Appropriate for the grade level and age group for which the materials are used or made available.
  • Purpose – relationship with instructional objectives and/or the curriculum
  • Reliability – accurate, authentic
  • Quality – writing and/or production of merit
  • Treatment – clear, comprehensible, skillful, convincing, well-organized
  • Technical production – is in appealing and well-crafted format
  • Construction – durable, manageable, functional, safe
  • Special features – useful illustrations, photographs, maps, graphics, charts, graphs, documentation
  • Possible uses- individual, small, and/or large group instruction, in-depth study
  • Religion – factual materials that represent all major religions
  • Ideologies – philosophy that exert a strong force in society
  • Sex – pornographic, sensational, or titillating material is not included, but the evidence of sexual incidents appearing in the media does not automatically disqualify its use (Reference Florida State Statute 847.012)
  • Profanity – use of profanity does not automatically disqualify a selection; effort is made to exclude media using profanity in a lewd or detrimental manner
  • Science- factual information about medical and scientific knowledge
  • Health, Substance Abuse, and Violence Prevention Curriculum Materials MUST be approved by Mark Wilcox.

State mandated training is provided to all media staff annually.  Tasks are based on media staffing at each school.

Prior to the end of the first month of school complete a Collection Development Plan that includes:

  • School Demographics
  • Collection Analysis
  • School Media Committee Form (school administration, teachers, students, and parents)
  • Recommendations & Action Plan

When funds are available, refer to the most recent Collection Development Plan for ordering needs.  Ordering must adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Books must be age-appropriate for the intended audience (utilizing Renaissance rating system):
  • Elementary – Up to MG, exceptions may be made for titles on B.E.S.T. list
  • Middle – Up to MG+ for fiction, exceptions may be made for titles on B.E.S.T. list
  • High School – Up to UG/YA for fiction with extensive reviews and searching tags for sensitive topics, exceptions made for titles on B.E.S.T. list
  • Books must be purchased from an approved vendor, with shelf-ready processing.
  • Multiple professional, full text, reviews must be read by the media specialist prior to purchasing (School Library Journal, Kirkus, YALSA, etc…). Reviews are available using Destiny Titlewave.
  • The School Media Committee will convene to review the titles selected BEFORE submitting them to the Principal/Senior Coordinator.
  • Principals must verify the title list prior to the requisition being created, following district library material ordering procedures. 

Library Media Services will provide a Collection Development Plan that includes:

  • School Demographics
  • Collection Analysis
  • Recommendations & Action Plan

Prior to the end of the first month of school the Media Paraprofessional II will complete the School Media Committee Form.  Throughout the school year, Media Paraprofessional II will be responsible for maintaining a list of requested books from students and staff.

Per HB1467: schools staffed with Paraprofessionals or non-certified staff, cannot order books for schools.

“Each book made available to students through a school district library media center or included in a recommended or assigned school or grade-level reading list must be selected by a school district employee who holds a valid educational media specialist certificate, regardless of whether the book is purchased, donated, or otherwise made available to students.”

Therefore, Library Media Services, utilizing the Collection Development Plan and requested books, will create ALL library material quotes for schools with Media Paraprofessional II staffing.  Quotes will be reviewed by the Media Committee and approved by Principal/Senior Coordination of Library Media before entering a requisition, following district library material ordering procedures. (Florida House Bill 1467)  

Guidelines for purchasing library materials will apply to monetary donations for books and must be ordered from an approved vendor, processed with electronic book records, labeled, and shelf ready.

Follow district guidelines for accepting and tracking monetary donations.

Donations of materials is not currently allowed under HB 1467. 

Bookfair profits can be either books or cash.  Orders from the bookfair vendor, after the bookfair is complete, need to follow Purchasing Responsibilities for School/Site Based Personnel Section.

Criteria For Discarding/Retaining Materials

HB1467 States that each district school board shall adopt procedures for developing library media center collections and post the procedures on the website for each school within the district. The procedures must:

“Provide for the regular removal or discontinuance of books based on, at a minimum, physical condition, rate of recent circulation, alignment to state academic standards and relevancy to curriculum, out-of-date content, and required removal pursuant to subparagraph (a)2.”

Weeding and discarding of the library collection occurs to keep materials relevant, effective, and appropriate to the school’s needs. District Library Media services will provide guidance for targeted weeding of the collection on an ongoing basis.

  • Acquisition date
  • Circulation statistics
  • Publication date for nonfiction, age-sensitive subject areas

CREW (Continuous Review, Evaluation, and Weeding) – This method makes it easier to routinely remove outdated and unused materials from the collection while also learning where the collection has gaps or needs new items.

MUSTIE (Misleading, Ugly, Superseded, Triviality, Irrelevant, Elsewhere).

Misleading – refers to information that is factually inaccurate due to new discoveries, revisions in thought, or new information that is now accepted by professionals in the field covered by the subject.

Ugly – includes most of the elements related to the physical condition of the item—wear, damage, stains, tears, dirt, water damage—that make it less attractive to a library patron. Taping a small tear is worth the effort but if there will be more tape than binding after the repair is completed, discard the item.

Superseded – those items sitting on the shelf next to newer editions or newer titles that update information. Libraries don’t need to keep more than one or two previous editions of almanacs, trivia books (Guinness Book of World Records), cookbooks, and other titles that are frequently updated.

Triviality – implies that the material included in the item was popular for a brief period of time, but interest has largely waned. Biographies of pop culture performers, games and consumer products, television shows, diets, and fiction series come and go very quickly.

Irrelevant – means that the interests and needs of your community may have changed over time. Frequently, we purchase multiple copies of a book or a wide variety of books on a topic to meet intense local interest, only to have that interest dissipate after a few years. CREW doesn’t recommend that you eliminate all items on any topic from a collection. If a particular topic is no longer as relevant to the community as it was at another time, the collection may have too many items just sitting on the shelf. Even though the last use time period may not have passed, these irrelevant items are prime candidates for weeding.

Elsewhere – It can be difficult to let go of items that are still in good condition even though the information covered is trivial or irrelevant. With the exception of local history and regional documents, almost everything is available someplace else. The Internet has reliable information on many topics; prepare bookmarks and pathfinders for your patrons on frequently used topics.

2 Larson, Jeanette, CREW: A Weeding Manual for Modern Libraries, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, 2012