Media Review Committees
LSR7 has policies in place to allow parents, employees, or community members to formally request that the district reconsider books or library materials that are available to students.
In LSR7, that policy is KLB-AP, which includes a form (KLB-AF) titled Public Questions, Comments or Concerns Regarding District Instructional/Media/Library Materials. When a formal KLB-AF is submitted, books are reviewed by a Media Review Committee.
Per policy, Media Review Committee must be made up of staff, district patrons and students and can make one of three recommendations regarding the materials in question:
- Retain without restriction.
- Retain with restriction.
The Superintendent receives the recommendation and reports it to the complainant. If the complainant chooses to appeal, the Board of Education reviews and votes on the committee’s recommendation.
Visit the 2023 Media Review Committee Process tab to learn more about how the School District applied this policy to media review committees this spring. Visit the Library Collection Development tab to learn more about how district librarians select books, and empower parents and students to select and discuss books.
The School District received more than 180 KLB-AF forms regarding 90 total book titles in January 2023. Per Board Policy, the district follows KLB-AP processes and procedures.
How many books are being reviewed?
The district reviewed the first 56 titles (Round 1) submitted for reconsideration this spring, and is reviewing a second batch of titles requested for reconsideration.
What was the outcome of the media review process so far this spring?
All teams recommended their assigned (Round 1) titles be retained or retained with restriction. Dr. Buck reviewed the team decisions and supported their recommendations. Letters were sent to the complainants informing them of the outcome.
Who requested these books be reconsidered?
Five community members and one LSR7 parent submitted the reconsideration forms.
How many people are serving on each committee?
There were 28 initial committees. 27 of those committees consisted of five members, while one committee had seven members. One book reconsidered is available in middle school libraries, therefore we had one committee with additional representation for middle school.
Which school libraries have copies of the books being reconsidered?
Fifty-four of the titles are available in at least one LSR7 high school. Two titles are available at at least one LSR7 high school and one LSR7 middle school.
I’ve heard that four books were removed from the system prior to the review committee meetings. What happened?
District librarians believed three of the books were due for deselection due to their age and circulation statistics. (See "Why are books deselected (weeded)?" in the next tab for more information about our policies and procedures related to deselection.) One copy of two of those titles were on the shelves at one high school. The other title was on the shelves of two high schools; each of those schools had one copy. Therefore, district librarians determined it a misuse of district resources and people’s time to read books that would be deselected during the next round of weeding. An inability to locate copies of these books for purchase reaffirmed our belief that they were ready to be weeded.
A fourth book was deemed to have inaccurate information. This book was a memoir about a rape victim and eventual incarceration of her attacker. Recently, the accused attacker was exonerated due to DNA evidence. The publisher of the book as well as the author/victim apologized and the publisher stopped all publication of the book. Our libraries were unaware of these developments. Once aware, the district librarians made the decision to weed the book.
How were community members selected to be part of this year’s book review committees?
The district asked for volunteers from two previously formed groups, the LSR7 Citizens' Advisory Committee and the LSR7 Parent Academy. The district chose to recruit from these teams because of their diversity and representation of a variety of opinions within our community. The first 28 community members to volunteer were placed on a committee. The community volunteers consist of parents of elementary students, parents of secondary students, and parents of alumni. There are also a wide range of occupations represented.
How were certified staff selected to be part of this year’s book review committees?
The district asked for volunteers from certified staff at each LSR7 comprehensive high school and middle school. The district did this because those schools have libraries within the school and it is the books in those libraries that are being challenged. The names of volunteers were sent to the district library department by the buildings. There are counselors, administrators, as well as teachers from math, science, ELA, social studies, etc. serving on committees.
How were students selected to be part of this year’s book review committees?
The district asked for student volunteers from the high school book clubs. The district chose to recruit from these groups because of the amount of reading required of students (some will read approximately 1,000 pages in a short time frame). Book club students tend to be prolific readers who finish multiple books each month. The goal is that each book is read in its entirety and judged as a whole. The district didn’t want students to be unable to finish the books or put aside their coursework in an effort to do so.
How were SLC employees selected to be part of this year’s book review committees?
SLC employees were told they would be participating in the process.
How did the district provide consistency between the team meetings?
Each team meeting was led by one of five facilitators. Those facilitators met several times to develop consistent protocols. Protocols for all meetings included:
A script with all necessary instructions
The viewing of a Library Selection Policies & Practice video
Supplemental materials related to the books, including:
- Professional book reviews for each book
- Circulation statistics for each book
- Dictionary definition of pornography
- Mo. Rev. Stat. Section 573.010(14) regarding the Missouri’s legal definition of pornography related to minors
- The Request for Reconsideration of Material forms submitted for their books
- Board policies directly related to the selection and reconsideration of library materials
What is Missouri's legal definition of pornography related to minors?
Per statute, "Pornographic for minors", is any material or performance if the following apply:
(a) The average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the material or performance, taken as a whole, has a tendency to cater or appeal to a prurient interest of minors; and
(b) The material or performance depicts or describes nudity, sexual conduct, the condition of human genitals when in a state of sexual stimulation or arousal, or sadomasochistic abuse in a way which is patently offensive to the average person applying contemporary adult community standards with respect to what is suitable for minors; and
(c) The material or performance, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.
All three elements listed above must be present in order to meet the legal definition of pornography.
What were the voting options presented to committee members?
The teams had three options for recommendation of the material:
- Retain it without restriction
- Remove it
- Retain it with restriction
- The only restriction available within our library system is to restrict the circulation of some books to only staff and high school students or to only staff and high school or middle school students.
- LSR7 high school libraries do not lend books to LSR7 elementary or middle school students unless the book is already part of a LSR7 middle or elementary school library collection. LSR7 middle school libraries do not lend books to LSR7 elementary school students unless the book is already part of a LSR7 elementary school library collection.
- 54 of the books reviewed are not part of any LSR7 middle or elementary school library collection, therefore their circulation is already restricted to only staff and high school students. A vote to retain or a vote to retain with restrictions achieve the same outcome for these books. These books have not and will not be lent to middle or elementary school students.
- Two of the titles reviewed are not part of any LSR7 elementary library collection, therefore their circulation is already restricted to only staff and middle and high school students. A vote to retain or a vote to retain with restrictions achieve the same outcome for these titles. These books have not and will not be lent to elementary school students.
How are library books selected?
Watch this video for information about how library books are selected in LSR7.
Why are books deselected (weeded)?
Library materials will be reconsidered and, if necessary, removed from district media centers and libraries in accordance with the following guidelines (BOE IIAC - R):
- The material is outdated or factually incorrect.
- A more thorough or more complete resource exists.
- The resource no longer supports the district’s curriculum objectives.
- The resource is not used by either staff or students.
- The resource is not recommended by district librarians, teachers or administrators.
Most often, in practice, materials are removed due to age, poor circulation statistics or damage. However, the process does have nuance. For example, some older titles with low circulation statistics may be kept if they are:
- Considered cornerstones of young adult literature and school library collections
- Considered part of the literary canons
- Unique in addressing a topic that is essential to the needs of patrons, particularly when few other resources are available
Is expressing concern about a book considered censorship?
No, there is value in expressing concern and working through the book review process.
How should a parent or guardian express concerns regarding a particular library book?
We suggest reading the book in its entirety, then reaching out to your school’s librarian. They will explain the library’s selection procedure, criteria and their qualifications for selecting library material. They will also explain the intended educational objectives of the objected material and give any necessary information regarding its use. In the event you are not satisfied with the initial explanation, you can complete a reconsideration form and submit it to the building principal. The book under consideration must be returned to the building principal with the completed form.
How do I set boundaries for my child or teen when it comes to reading?
The LSR7 librarians believe that parents should guide their own children when it comes to their reading choices. Because every family has different values and backgrounds, it is important that parents are an active participant in their child’s growth as a reader. There will be topics that some parents and teens are comfortable exploring while others are not. Below are some suggestions regarding establishing boundaries for your teen.
- Involve your teen in the process: When setting boundaries, it's important to involve your teen in the process. Discuss the reasons behind the boundaries and listen to your teen's perspective. This can help your teen feel like they have a say in the matter and be more willing to follow the rules.
- Be clear and specific: Boundaries should be clear and specific, so there is no confusion or misunderstanding. Avoid vague or ambiguous language. Examples might include:
- They should consult Common Sense Media or read professional reviews before making a selection.
- Explaining that you would like them to choose books suggested for their age range.
- Telling them to choose books with little to no profanity.
- Asking them to share the titles of the books they choose with you so that you can do your own research or read it with them.
- Set realistic expectations: While it's important to have boundaries, it's also important to set realistic expectations for your teen's behavior. Be aware of your teen's maturity level and capabilities and adjust your expectations accordingly.
- Consistency is key: Boundaries should be consistently enforced, so your teen understands the rules and knows what to expect. This can help establish a sense of routine and structure that can be beneficial for teens.
- Be flexible: While consistency is important, it's also important to be flexible and make adjustments when needed. As your teen grows and matures, their needs and abilities may change, so be open to adjusting boundaries as necessary.
- Lead by example: Parents should lead by example and model the behavior they expect from their teen. If parents consistently follow the same rules and boundaries they set for their teen, it can help establish a sense of trust and respect in the relationship.
- Understand that teens may choose to either follow or reject the rules. Talk with them about their choices and consider reading with them.
The above suggestions were informed by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychology Today, The Child Mind Institute, Positive Parenting Solutions, and Empowering Parents.
How should I talk with my child or young adult about what they are reading?
- Talk to your child: It's important to have an open and honest conversation with your child about why they want to access the mature content and what they hope to gain from it. This can help you understand their perspective and guide your approach.
- Research the content: Before giving your child permission to access the mature content, do some research to understand what it involves. Look for reviews, ratings, and summaries from trusted sources to get a better idea of what your child will be exposed to.
- Read it with them: Check out a copy of the book they’d like to read and read it prior to or alongside them.
- Be available for discussion: Make sure your child knows that they can come to you with any questions or concerns that arise from reading any text. Be prepared to talk about tough topics and available to have an open and honest discussion about what they've read and help them process any emotions or confusion.
The above suggestions were informed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Common Sense Media, National Online Safety, Family Online Safety Institute, and Childnet International.
The Rights and Responsibilities of a Reader:
Are students given instruction regarding how to avoid books with topics they may find objectionable?
Yes, LSR7 librarians provide lessons on the rights and responsibilities of a reader as well as how to choose the right book for yourself. They discuss reading the back and inside covers of a book to determine whether it is of interest to the student and something they would find appropriate for themselves. High school students are also encouraged to do their own research about titles they may have concerns with via websites such as Common Sense Media, especially students who (a) feel certain subjects and/or language would conflict with their own or their family’s moral convictions or (b) feel certain subjects may trigger past trauma.
Are books from the high school collections ever checked out to middle or elementary school students?
LSR7 high school libraries do not lend books to LSR7 elementary or middle school students unless the book is already part of a LSR7 middle or elementary school library collection. LSR7 middle school libraries do not lend books to LSR7 elementary school students unless the book is already part of a LSR7 elementary school library collection.
The Rights and Responsibilities of a Reader:
You have the right to:
- Read whatever you choose.
- Abandon a book if you are uninterested or uncomfortable.
- Read however you like: skip pages, listen to the audiobook, or read the ending first.
- Re-read your favorites!
You have the responsibility to:
- Respect the rights of others to read whatever they choose.
- Challenge yourself to read about different topics, people and in a variety of formats.
- Speak with your teacher if an assigned book makes you uncomfortable.