Library offers form for objectionable material

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By Geoff Hamill

There is no public vote on material selected for Kentucky’s public libraries, but there is a way for patrons to voice their concerns.

Each library in Kentucky offers its visitors the opportunity to speak out on material by completing a form known as a request for reconsideration form. That form, when completed, is passed on to the library board for review and a decision on the material. If any citizen believes material in the library is not appropriate and should be removed, the form is completed and makes its way through the proper channels.

Following concerns about materials at the Washington County Public Library, the board met in executive session Friday evening, and that was when members learned about the form and how it is used. WCPL Director Joy Wandrey said the form is standard in all libraries.

“It’s a standard form in every library,” she said. “It’s typically not taken much advantage of because most people understand it’s a public library and they’re not going to agree with everything.”

Wandrey said the form is available upon request, and once completed, is typically reviewed at the next scheduled meeting of the library board.

“In some larger libraries, they will select committees, but in smaller libraries the board members review the forms, and typically, their decision is final,” Wandrey added.

Judith Gibbons, director of field services division of the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, said the state receives numerous complaints about materials in the course of a fiscal year. She said in fiscal year 2006-07, a total of 30 challenges were filed against books, videos and other materials in Kentucky libraries, and of those three items were completely removed from the library, while others were moved to special sections of the library, or placed on a request only basis. She said it is common practice for local library boards to handle those challenges.

The Washington County Library Board meets on the third Monday of each month at the library at 5:30 p.m. The board is made up of five members, but currently there are only four spots filled. The one vacancy will be appointed as usual by the Washington County Fiscal Court. Anyone interested in filling the vacant spot should contact a library board member, who can be reached by calling the library at (859) 336-7655, or by contacting the Washington County Judge-Executive’s office at (859) 336-5410.