FARMINGTON -- After being presented four times before the Davis School Board, a proposed policy affecting the district's media centers was passed during the board meeting Oct. 1, but not without some dissent.
The district put the Library Media Center policy together to help clarify the practices for library media specialists when selecting books for schools' library collections. The concerns brought up at several recent board meetings reside in the factors considered by library professionals when selecting books.
Not on the list is the consideration of a book's value in character development, board member Peter Cannon pointed out.
"Utah state law passed in 2004 and revised in 2006 requires that public schools in Utah educate public school students in citizenship and character development," he said.
On the list are 11 factors:
* relationship to or support of curriculum;
* developmental and maturity level of students;
* provision of balanced views;
* recreation needs of students;
* linguistic pluralism for both English language learners and foreign language programs;
* literary quality;
* and quality of illustrations.
During the Oct. 1 board meeting, Larry Smith moved to amend the policy by adding character development to the list of factors for book review. However, the motion died after lack of a second, as Cannon was out of town.
Smith expressed concern, saying, "I can't imagine not having it as part of our policy to communicate that information from the state code."
The district contends that character development is already considered in curriculum.
"We see it written into other areas of our curriculum, so it's already a part of what our educators teach every single day," said Michelle Beus, Davis district legal specialist.
In previous meetings, Cannon expressed concern over who decides what books are chosen. Currently, the selection is made by library professionals at each site, using guidelines in the new policy, and approved by the assistant superintendent over curriculum and instruction.
Requests and suggestions of students, parents and faculty are considered but do not have the final say.
Cannon suggested a school library media specialist provide a list of recommended books to the schools' community council, which would have the final vote.
Burke Larsen disagreed, saying, "Parents know what is out there, and the media specialists are in tune to the objections."
He didn't think a community council would make more solid decisions than what is already in place.
In the end, despite the concerns, the proposal was approved by a majority of the board.