Connecticut Libraries and the Need for Policies Governing Collection Policies and Book Challenges
During the 2023 session of the Connecticut General Assembly, one of the bills that was enacted was Public Act 23-101 ("An Act Concerning The Mental, Physical And Emotional Wellness Of Children"). Despite its name, the Act contained many provisions unrelated to its title. Among a number of other provisions, Public Act 23-101 provides that in order for a principal public library to be eligible for state grants, it must maintain and adhere to collection development, collection management and collection reconsideration policies that have been approved by the governing body of such library; such policy shall offer residents a clear process to request a reconsideration of library materials (and shall govern if there is a book challenge).
While Public Act 23-101 does not specifically define the terms “collection development,” “collection management” and “collection reconsideration,” libraries can rely upon these terms’ common usage and it can be assumed that libraries should at the very least have in place policies that govern the acquisition and maintenance of library materials, including the selection and removal of library materials and challenges by individuals to a library’s offering or refusal to offer certain materials in its collection (including so called “book challenges”).
It is essential that public libraries have policies that comply with this Act’s mandate, as the Act took effect on July 1, 2023 and libraries will be ineligible for state grants in the absence of such policies. Please contact our attorneys if you have questions or require assistance drafting and revising collection development and reconsideration policies so that you are prepared for book challenges (and eligible for state grants).