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Like Librarians, We Have Answers

Learn more about how the library works and why we’re defending the freedom the read.

Blue/green tint depth-of-field shot of many books stacked spine-up (photo by Min An)
Q: What can I do to help the Josephine Community Library?
Vote for these three candidates in the May 16, 2023 election. They are trusted leaders, committed to building for the future and upholding our most fundamental First Amendment rights to freedom of information.
Also, help spread the word. Bring three friends with you to vote in this important election for these candidates: Pat Fahey for Position #3, Gina Marie Agosta for Position #4, and Tina Gotchall for Position #5.
Q: Why are libraries in the news lately?
Libraries across the country are under attack for supporting intellectual freedom. Like all public libraries, the Josephine Community Library supports the First Amendment and everybody’s right to freedom of information.
Q: Why are politicians saying there is pornography in the library?
Some politicians are playing politics with our public library and repeating sound bites from a divisive national discourse. Using terms like “obscene” and “pornographic” to describe books, or portions of a book, is fear mongering and an effort to undermine the value of books and public libraries. Parents have rights. They can control what their children read. Parents are not allowed to control what other people’s children read. We believe in the First Amendment, and we believe that government shouldn’t be telling anybody what they should or shouldn’t read.
We endorse the American Library Association (ALA) Library Bill of Rights, which was originally written in 1948 and advocates for the rights of patrons to read free of any censorship or pre-judgment regarding the materials they choose.
The Library Bill of Rights says: “Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.”
Read more about the Library Bill of Rights.
Q: Is it the library’s job to warn people about the content of books?
No. The library is not responsible for policing information. The government should not dictate what you can or cannot read. Freedom of information is the fundamental benefit of living in the United States, where we have protected First Amendment rights. The library gives you free access to all information. Library leaders do consider the possibility that some of our materials will be acceptable to one person or group, and unacceptable to another. It is their mission to provide access to information so that patrons may choose for themselves what they want to read, view, and hear.
Q: Is our library grooming children to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transexual, and other things?
No. Gay people live here and have the same protected rights. Nobody is allowed to bring children under the age of 11 into the library unsupervised. If you don’t like a book, then do not check it out. We uphold the view of the American Library Association, which states, “The primary responsibility for rearing children rests with parents. If parents want to keep certain ideas or forms of expression away from their children, they must assume the responsibility for shielding those children. Governmental institutions cannot be expected to usurp or interfere with parental obligations and responsibilities when it comes to deciding what a child may read or view.”
Q: Is the children’s library safe for my child?
Yes. Our local public library is a safe place for all of our community. Children 10 years and younger have to be accompanied by an adult. Read more about the library’s safe children policy.
Q: How does the library support Christians?
The public library is a public institution. It is not a faith-based institution. The public library is funded with state and federal dollars. The library equally supports people of all faiths.
Q: Is the children’s library collection of books and materials balanced and how do I know for sure?
Library approved policies are in place to ensure that all marginalized populations have representation in the library. New books are placed on the new bookshelf, according to our collection development policy (PDF, 89kb).
Q: How do books get selected for the library?
Selecting books to purchase for the library is a lengthy process. The library district board approved a comprehensive collection development policy that guides all decisions regarding selection, access, labeling, procedures, removal, and replacement of materials. Read more about our Collection Development Policy.
An excerpt of the policy includes the following main points considered in the selection of materials:
  • Favorable reviews found in standard selection sources
  • Favorable recommendations based on preview and examination of materials
  • Reputation and significance of the author, producer, and publisher
  • Current and historical significance
  • Validity, currency, and appropriateness of material
  • Contribution of representative viewpoints on controversial issues
  • High degree of potential user appeal
  • Community needs and interest
  • High artistic quality and/or literary style
  • Quality and variety of format
  • Diverse authors and perspectives
  • Value commensurate with cost and/or need
  • Timeliness or permanence
  • Budget and space considerations
  • Integrity
The library offers this protected freedom to all parents, so that they may choose to read or not to read a book to or with their child based on their personal views. The library stands for every resident’s right to make these decisions as a parent. Librarians applaud parents’ careful consideration of the material they allow their children to read. Parental guidance is most important and to be commended.
Read more about the American Library Association Library Bill of Rights.
Suggest a new selection.
Q: What is the role of a library board member?
Library board members have many responsibilities, including providing fiscal oversight and setting policies for our library. The role of a library board member is dictated by law. Learn about the current board and the governance board of director bylaws.
Q: What is the relationship between the library district and the library foundation?
The Josephine Community Library Foundation is a private, nonprofit corporation. It is independently funded, and has its own leadership and board. In partnership with the library district, the foundation is responsible for raising funds for special programs and building projects that the library could not otherwise afford.
Q: Why do you charge for a library card?
Library cards for residents who live within the Josephine Community Library district are paid for through property taxes. No additional fee is required. For households that are not within the library district, a library card costs $60 per year, or $15 for three months. This ensures library services are fair to all those who pay taxes. All residents of Josephine County may apply for a library card scholarship, funded by the Josephine Community Library Foundation. To date, no one has been turned away from the library. Read more about the library card policy.
Q: How many people are volunteers of the library?
Each month, more than 200 volunteers contribute nearly 2,500 hours of service to our public libraries. Our libraries couldn’t run without them. From shelving and checkout to programs and events, volunteers are the heart of our library and our community. Read more about library volunteers, and learn how you can help.
Q: Who should I vote for?
We support these three candidates in the May 16, 2023 Election. They are trusted leaders, committed to upholding our most fundamental First Amendment rights to freedom of information and freedom to read.
Also, help spread the word. Bring three friends with you to vote in this important election for these candidates.