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Library Reconsideration Procedure

Should a MassArt community member wish to have a resource removed from the library’s collection, they should complete a Request for Reconsideration of Library Material Form. The form will be forwarded to the College’s Reconsideration of Material Committee. Forms may be filled out anonymously, however by doing so the committee

a) cannot solicit more information from, and
b) cannot share their findings with the requestor

The College’s Reconsideration of Material Committee is made up of:

  • one administrator from Academic Affairs or designee
  • one representative from the Office of Justice, Equity, and Transformation or designee
  • one student who is either serving on the Academic Policy Committee, or if that is not possible a student leader selected by the Student Development Office
  • one faculty member subject specialist, selected ad hoc by the other committee members based on the subject matter of the library material under consideration
  • three library staff members, including the Library Chair, one committee standing member, and one librarian subject specialist; should the subject specialist be the standing member or the chair then another ad hoc library staff person will be appointed.
  • should a member of the committee personally know the author or a person discussed in the material being questioned, they will recuse themselves from reviewing the material in question.

Upon receiving a completed Request for Reconsideration of Library Material Form, the committee will meet within a reasonable amount of time with the form and the library material in question to review these documents in light of the committee’s guidelines. See guidelines below.

The committee will invite the requestor to come in for a follow-up meeting so that the committee can ask questions as needed and so that the requestor may provide additional information as desired. This meeting is optional for the requestor. Should the committee have questions, the requestor may opt to reply in writing.

Once all information is shared and committee members have fully reviewed the library material in question, the committee will meet to decide whether the library will retain the material in its original location, relocate the material, or remove the material. The committee may consult MassArt general counsel as needed. Within an appropriate amount of time, the committee will record its findings and decision on a Reconsideration Committee Report form. This completed report will be sent to the requestor. The requestor may elect to meet with the committee in person to go over the findings of the report. Copies of the report will be sent to the Provost and the Chair of the Academic Policy Committee. The library will collect Reconsideration of Material Committee reports and will make them available to the public upon request.

Guidelines for Reconsideration Committee

Under the best professional standards, reconsideration policies ask those charged with reviewing a challenged book or other resource to set aside their personal beliefs and evaluate the work in light of the objective standards listed below. Here are some best practices for Reconsideration Committee members:

  • Bear in mind the principles of the freedom to read and base your decision on these broad principles rather than in defense of individual materials. Based in the First Amendment, the freedom to read is essential to our democracy. Find American Library Association (ALA) Freedom to Read Statement here.

  • Read or view all materials referred to you including the full text of the material in question, available reviews, and notices of awards, if applicable.

  • Review the library mission statement, collection development policy, and ALA’s Intellectual Freedom Manual.

  • Challenged materials should not be removed from the collection while under reconsideration.

  • Passages or parts of the work in question should not be pulled out of context. The values and faults should be weighed against each other and the opinions based on the materials as a whole.

  • The committee’s decision is to be based on an objective evaluation of the material within the scope of the library’s collection development policy, an evaluation of material available, and its relevance to the field.

  • The committee’s report will be given to the individual who submitted the Request for Reconsideration of Library Material Form, the Provost, and the Chair of the Academic Policy Committee, recording the committee’s decision to retain the material in its original location, to relocate the material, or to remove the material. The Library will keep copies of all reports from the Reconsideration Committee.

  • A summary of reconsideration reports will be provided to department chairs at the end of the academic year.

  • The Reconsideration Committee may hear an appeal to its decision.