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School Libraries

two students in chairs reading

The mission of the Dedham Public School Library Media Centers is to empower students to become enthusiastic readers, information seekers, and creative problem solvers, prepared to participate in an evolving world.

Through collaborative teaching, curriculum integration, and classroom support, we cultivate curious, independent, lifelong learners with the inquiry skills needed to be ethically responsible and successful in our global community. We equitably connect learners to diverse materials and learning opportunities in an environment that supports cooperation, collaboration, and a love of literature.

Statement of Practice:

Student Borrowing of Library Materials 

When students select their own books to read and enjoy, they develop confidence in their abilities to make reading choices and build their capacity for choosing books in the future. One important role of librarians is to help students gain these skills through access and choice. 

ACCESS: A variety of texts and resources in the school library expose students to the rich world of literature, inspire a love of lifelong reading, as well as provide access to information and ideas for students to acquire critical thinking and problem-solving skills. 

School library collections are developed and curated to support the broad range of students in our community. Our schools by nature include a spectrum of age, reading level, and maturity, as well as perspectives and points of view. Books selected for the collection are to serve the needs of all students. Students are encouraged to borrow the books that interest them.

CHOICE:  Empowering children to choose their own books is an important step in growing as readers. Trial and error is a part of this learning process. Johnson and Blair (2003) identify several ways that self-selected reading builds children’s self-efficacy as readers.

Self-selecting reading material:

  • Allows students to value their decision-making ability
  • Fosters their capacity to choose appropriate literature
  • Gives them confidence and a feeling of ownership
  • Improves reading achievement
  • Encourages them in becoming lifelong readers

Students are permitted to make their own selections from books found in the school library.  Part of learning to use the library collection effectively is for students to identify their purpose in selecting a book. Recognizing who students are as readers in a classroom, in a family, and as an individual, is part of the learning process.

  • Johnson, D., & Blair, A. (2003). The importance and use of student self-selected literature to reading engagement in an elementary reading curriculum. Reading Horizons, 43 (3), 181-202.
  • SCASD Libraries. "Statement of Practice: Student Borrowing of Library Materials." State College Area School District, PA, 31 Aug. 2017,

Procedures for Library Book Donations

We greatly appreciate that members of the community think of the schools when considering donations. Donations will be reviewed by the selection criteria outlined in our Procedures for Selection, Deselection, and Reconsideration of Library Materials and shall be accepted or rejected by those criteria.

The school librarian will make a determination about what to do with any donated books that do not meet our guidelines or that can’t be added due to space constraints.

We can accept donations that are in good condition, with covers intact, and clean with no stickers, marks, or names. Contact your school librarian if you have questions.


Due to space constraints, we may need to decline donations from time to time. Alternate options for book donations include:

Procedures for Selection, Deselection, and Reconsideration of Library Materials

IJL - Library Material Selection and Adoption Policy


Materials selection shall be a cooperative continuing process in which administrators, teachers, librarians, and students should participate. The library media specialist, as a trained professional and licensed educator, will evaluate the existing collection and the curriculum needs of the school and district and will be responsible for the selection of materials. Selection is an ongoing process that should also include the removal of materials no longer appropriate and the replacement of lost and worn materials still of educational value.

  1. The library media specialist will evaluate the existing collection and the needs of the school and district. 

  2. Recommendations are solicited from all stakeholders and then evaluated against professional resources.

  3. The library media specialist shall consult, but not be restricted to, a recommended list of reputable, unbiased, professionally prepared print and nonprint selection tools. These may include resources such as School Library Journal, Library Journal, Kirkus Review, Booklist, Horn Book Magazine, VOYA, and Publisher’s Weekly.

  4. When possible, the library media specialist will preview the material.

Gifts & Donations

Gifts and donations shall be judged by the selection criteria outlined in this policy and shall be accepted or rejected by those criteria. All donations must be approved by the principal, superintendent, and school committee.

Inventory, Evaluation & Weeding

The library media specialist, under the direction of the supervisor of libraries, is responsible for the routine inventory, evaluation, and weeding of materials in the school library collection. Materials to be discarded shall be screened by the same criteria as those outlined for acquisition. The condition of the material, its historical accuracy and its currency, as well as its circulation status, may make it a candidate for discard. Damaged or lost books shall be replaced according to the acquisition criteria. Discarded books shall be disposed of as deemed appropriate by the library staff.

The process of de-selection (weeding) is an integral part of assessing the collection and therefore should be conducted only by a certified library media specialist. It helps keep collections relevant, accurate, and useful; and it facilitates more effective use of space in the library media center.

Reconsideration of Library Materials

Occasionally objections to a selection are made despite the care exercised by all professional staff members involved in the selection process. No material in question shall be removed from use until a reconsideration committee, with the concurrence of the Superintendent, has made a final decision. Once a complaint is made, the procedures are as follows:

  1. The principal or other appropriate staff shall explain to the questioner the schools’ selection procedure, criteria, and qualifications of those persons selecting the resource.
  2. Anyone wishing to make a formal challenge to the placement of material in the school library must complete the DPS Request for Reconsideration of School Library Media Materials form and return it to the building principal.
  3. Within two (2) weeks of receipt of a completed DPS Request for Reconsideration of School Library Media Materials form, the building principal appoints a reconsideration committee to reevaluate the material in question.
  4. The Committee will:
  • include, but not be limited to, at least one teacher from the school, at least one parent/legal guardian of a student in the school, a licensed school library professional from the school system, the school principal, and the supervisor of libraries.

  • have read, listened to, or viewed the material in its entirety prior to discussion.

  • evaluate the material in the light of the DPS Library Selection Policy.

  • reach a decision as to the appropriateness of the material for the building collection.

  • within 45 days of appointment, make a written recommendation to retain the material in question or to remove it from the collection.

  1. The building principal informs the Superintendent and all involved parties of the Committee’s recommendation.
  2. The Superintendent of Schools will review the report, discuss the same with the committee, and the complainant if deemed necessary, before reaching a decision. The Superintendent will inform all involved parties of the decision.

If the complainant wishes to appeal the Superintendent’s decision, the Superintendent will submit the committee’s report, with the DPS Request for Reconsideration of School Library Media Materials form and his/her recommendation, for action of the School Committee.