Reconsideration of Materials Policy

The choice of library materials is an individual decision. While a person may reject titles for himself or his minor children, he cannot exercise censorship to restrict access to the material by others. Recognizing that a diversity of materials may result in some complaints, the following procedures have been developed to assure that complaints are handled in a timely and consistent manner.

The complainant will be immediately referred to the Head of the Department in which the material is located or to the Librarian in charge. The Department Head or Librarian in charge will discuss the complaint with the patron and explain the Library Selection Policy and the Library Bill of Rights.

If the complaint is unresolved, the Department Head or Librarian in charge will provide the patron with instructions on how to register a formal complaint and immediately notify the Director. (see attached)

On receipt of the formal complaint, the Director will direct the Department Head to review the material and to respond in writing.

The response will be forwarded by the Director to the complainant with the information that, on written request, a Review Committee will be appointed to consider removing the material if the patron is still dissatisfied.

On receipt of this request, the Director will appoint one trustee and one librarian to join her in reviewing the questioned material.

The Committee will decide to retain the material or to recommend that the Board of Trustees withdraw it.

If the Committee decides to retain the material, the Director will notify the complainant of the decision and of the right to appeal to the Board of Trustees.

If the Committee decides to recommend withdrawal, the Board of Trustees will consider it as a Committee of the Whole. The complainant will be notified in writing of the Board’s decision.

The Board of Trustees ascribes to the principles as stated in the American Library Association statement on Challenged Materials: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights.


If a patron wishes the Winnetka-Northfield Public Library District to reconsider any book or other material which is in our collection, please do so in a letter to the Library Director addressing the following points:

  • What is the author, title, publisher and date of publication?
  • How was the book brought to your attention?
  • Have you read the entire book?
  • What do you approve of in the book? Please refer to specific pages and paragraphs.
  • What do you object to about the book? Please refer to specific pages and paragraphs.
  • Can you identify the central theme or subject of the material?
  • Please recommend a book that will convey as valuable a perspective on the same theme, if you are aware of one.
  • Are you representing yourself or a group?
  • Please provide your name, address and phone.

Following receipt of your letter, the title in question will be reviewed by Departmental personnel and you will be notified of the decision. Following this, you may request that a Committee of Board and Staff be appointed to further consider this title.

Adopted: December 6, 2010 Special Library Board Meeting