Birmingham Library and Archive Services supports the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professional’s (CILIP’s) declaration:
"The function of a library service is to provide, so far as resources allow, all books, periodicals, etc other than the trivial, in which its readers claim legitimate interest. In determining what is legitimate interest the librarian can safely rely upon one guide only – the law of the land. If the publication of such matter has not incurred penalties under the law it should not be excluded from libraries on any moral, political, religious or racial ground alone, to satisfy any sectional interest.
The public are entitled to rely upon libraries for access to information and enlightenment upon every field of human experience and activity. Those who provide library services should not restrict this access except by standards which are endorsed by law.”
The guidance on controversial material provided by the Museums, Libraries and Archives commission (MLA) and its successor body (Arts Council England) provides guidance to public library authorities on the provision of library stock that may be considered controversial in nature, ie inflammatory and extremist.
In the interest of intellectual freedom material should not be rejected solely because it is considered controversial.
Controversial material will be evaluated according to this stock policy. Decisions will be based on the assumption that the adult reader is capable of making his or her own critical and reasoned evaluation of views expressed in the content of the item. Where appropriate the stock team will enlist the assistance of relevant external agencies and advisory groups.
It is recognised that children develop emotionally and intellectually at different rates. The expectation is that parents will supervise their child’s reading, according to their knowledge of the child’s capacity to deal with the content and subject matter.
Free material and external funding
Birmingham Library and Archive Services welcomes donations and external funding for stock on the understanding that they are subject to the same selection criteria that apply to purchased stock. Please read our guidelines.
Archive donations and donations of reference material relating to special collections in Birmingham Libraries are particularly welcome. Only in the case of personal or business archives can conditions of deposit be agreed with the donor. In all other cases, deposits are accepted on our standard business terms. A leaflet setting out standard terms of deposits of records is available on request.