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Collection Development

Section 604.7 | Board Report 22-0223-PO1 | Date Adopted February 23, 2022

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That the Chicago Board of Education (“Board”) rescind Board Report 06-0322-PO1 New Collection Development for School Libraries Policy and adopt a new Collection Development Policy. The policy was rescinded and replaced because the old policy did not take into consideration matters of equity as they apply to collection development, and contained resources and references that were no longer relevant to current practice. The policy was posted for public comment from May 19, 2021 to June 18, 2021.

I. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to adopt criteria for the selection, removal and replacement of library materials in Chicago Public Schools, to ensure culturally responsive and equitable educational environments. The policy is guided by principles set forth in:

  • the American Library Association’s (“ALA”) Library Bill of Rights and its interpretation for school libraries,
  • the Association of Illinois School Library Educators (“AISLE”) Collection Development Policies and Procedures in School Libraries, and
  • ISBE’s Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards for all Illinois Educators.


Collection development is the ongoing process of identifying strengths and weaknesses of the school’s library collection. Chicago Public Schools (CPS) will provide a broad range of print and digital educational, informational, and recreational reading resources through its school libraries and other educational settings. The reading resources will support, differentiate and augment the curriculum, creating effective users of ideas and information, competent and enthusiastic readers, independent learners, and positive contributors to the school community and to greater society. Resources will be available in a variety of formats and reading levels, offer a well-balanced coverage of subjects, and support the diverse interests, needs and viewpoints of the school community, with content by and about a wide array of people and cultures to authentically reflect a variety of ideas, information, stories, and experiences.

  • Criteria for Selection

    1. Teacher-librarians have an obligation to select, maintain, and support access to content on subjects by diverse authors and creators that meets the needs, interests, and abilities of the people the library serves, acquiring materials to address popular demand and direct community input, as well as addressing collection gaps and unexpressed information needs. School budgets will support ongoing library acquisition and collection development needs.
    2. The school’s professional library staff has responsibility for selecting library materials in accordance with the school’s curriculum, instructional programs, and communities served. The selection process can include school stakeholders: school administrators, teachers, students, families, and staff of the CPS Central Office Libraries Team. If the school does not have a certified school librarian, the employee who supports the library will consult with their school administrator and the Central Office Libraries Team in selecting library materials.
    3. The following criteria should be used in selecting school library materials:
      • Materials support the school’s and district’s educational goals and policies, prioritizing the advancement of culturally responsive education.
      • Materials enrich and extend the school’s curriculum and encourage informational, educational and recreational reading, viewing and/or listening.
      • Materials in the collection represent students’ multiple lived experiences and backgrounds, exposing them to new ideas and worldviews different from their own, intentionally embracing student identities and prioritizing representation of historically marginalized communities. Texts with large fonts, Braille, multiple languages, ebooks, and audiobooks are representative but not limited to the diverse formats needed to support all learners.
      • Schools serving communities in which world languages are used make efforts to accommodate the needs of students for whom English is a second language by ensuring equitable access to resources that reflect the linguistic pluralism of the community. Each school library is expected to have books and/or digital resources available in all languages spoken by students and their families.
      • The value of a work should be examined as a whole and given greater weight than individual words, phrases or passages contained in the work.
      • In order to assure quality selection, the following additional factors will be weighed as they apply:
        • Educational significance and/or contribution to the curriculum;
        • Informational or recreational interest;
        • Reputation and significance of the author, producer, editor and/or publisher;
        • Degree of potential user appeal and the request of materials from the learning community;
        • Collections and services representative of multiple perspectives that empower individuals to explore broadly when pursuing their own interests;
        • Resources from self-published, independent, small, and local producers, and other content created by and representative of marginalized and underrepresented groups most negatively impacted by systemic racist trends in the publishing sector;
        • Accuracy and currency of information;
        • Artistic quality, literary style or production values;
        • Need to replace essential/required worn, damaged, or missing materials.
    4. Members of the school community involved in the collection development process, including students, will employ the criteria above to select resources, unfettered by their personal, political, social, or religious views. Students and educators served by the school library should have access to resources and services free of constraints resulting from personal, partisan, or doctrinal disapproval. School librarians will resist efforts by individuals or groups to define what is appropriate for all students or teachers to read, view, hear, or access regardless of technology, formats or method of delivery.
  • Selection Tools

    1. Reviews from reputable sources and professional organizations that support all subject areas and specialized content, including but not limited to Booklist, School Library Journal and Kirkus Reviews.
    2. Recommendations by the CPS Central Office Libraries Team, Chicago Public Librarians, ALA’s Young Adult Library Services Association, and children’s literature experts in culturally relevant texts.
    3. National and state awards including but not limited to ALA Book and Media awards, Illinois Readers Choice awards, and other notable awards.
    4. Professional selection bibliographies such as the CPS Recommended Reading Lists, Chicago Public Library’s Best of the Best Book lists, Project LIT Community selections, AASL (“American Association of School Librarians”) Notable Children’s Books and other children’s book lists.
    5. Online collection development tools from strategic source library vendors.
    6. Resources dedicated to the elevation of underrepresented and historically marginalized groups, including but not limited to The Conscious Kid, We Need Diverse Books, Common Sense Media, and other organizations that arise as authoritative organizations.
    7. Recommendations by faculty, administration, students, and parents.
  • Weeding

    1. Weeding is essential to maintaining a culturally relevant and responsive collection. Professional library staff should periodically review the collection to determine which materials should be removed or replaced. In an effort to maintain equitable access, library professional staff should consider digital materials as an investment for their library collection whenever possible, particularly digital texts that have perpetual or long-term licensing models. Materials to consider for weeding include items that:
      • Are in poor physical condition;
      • Have been superseded by more current information;
      • Contain subject matter no longer needed to support the curriculum;
      • Receive little use;
      • Provide wrong, inaccurate or dated information;
      • Encourage stereotypes or biases.
    2. The CPS Central Office Libraries Team maintains guidelines for weeding on its public-facing and internal websites. Weeding decisions should be made by the school’s professional library staff, in consultation with school administrators, other teacher-librarians, and CPS Central Office Libraries Team. If the school does not have a certified librarian, the school will contact CPS Central Office Libraries Team to support the weeding of school collections.
  • Criteria and Procedures for Library Donations

    1. Criteria Organizations and individuals frequently express an interest in donating books and other resources to CPS libraries. Generally, professional library staff must review potential library donations using the same criteria as purchased material. Additional criteria include the following:
      • Donated materials should be new or barely used (in good to excellent condition with no writing or other defacing), complete, clean, durable, and attractive;
      • Print reference materials, including atlases, encyclopedias, subject specific multi-volume sets, and other non-fiction resources will not be accepted.
      • All materials should have a reading level and an interest level of Pre-K through 12th grade;
      • Non-fiction books will not reflect outdated stereotypes of racial or cultural groups in either the text or the illustrations and should avoid oversimplification of complex issues and other distortions that would give readers erroneous or misleading information; and
      • Materials that generally are not appropriate for library use, such as textbooks, consumable instructional materials such as workbooks, periodicals, pamphlets, and catalogs will not be accepted.
  • Procedure for Challenges to Books and Other Resources

    1. When a challenge is raised about materials in a library or classroom, or a request is made to include additional materials, (collectively, “complaint”), the librarian, teacher and/or principal need to consider the individual’s interest in expressing a complaint, the requirements set out in this policy, and the principles of Intellectual Freedom as expressed in the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights and its interpretation for school libraries.
    2. If the complaint cannot be resolved through an informal conference or meeting between the complainant and the school staff, the following procedure should be followed:
      • Provide the complainant a copy of this policy and the complaint form, which can be found HERE
      • Explain that the signed and completed form must be submitted before further action is taken. If the completed form is not submitted within two weeks, the complainant and the school may consider the matter to be resolved.
      • Upon receipt of a complaint, the librarian, teacher or principal will notify the CPS Central Office Libraries Team. Within ten (10) school days of receipt of the complaint, the CPS Central Office Libraries Team will form a review committee who will meet to confer about the complaint. All committee members will review the challenged material in its entirety.
      • The review committee will determine whether the material that is challenged or requested meets the criteria for selection set forth in this collection development policy.
      • The written decision of the committee will be sent to the complainant within 30 days of receipt of the complaint.
      • The complainant may challenge the committee’s decision by making a written appeal to the Supervisor of the Central Office Libraries Team. The Supervisor will provide the principal of the involved school a copy of the complaint, the committee’s decision, and the written appeal. With input from the Chief Officer of Teaching and Learning, the Supervisor will render a final decision on the appeal.
      • Complainants will not raise the same or substantially same challenge after the appeal has been decided or matter closed.
      • Challenged material will remain in the library or classroom until the review and appeal process is complete.

Policy References

Amends/Rescinds Rescinds 06-0322-PO1
Cross References  
Legal References Pursuant to Board Rule 2-6 this Policy was subject to Public Comment from May 19, 2021 to June 18, 2021.

Policy Managed By Office of Teaching and Learning

42 W. Madison St.
Chicago, IL 60602