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Click (twice on a mobile device) on a book cover to display the title's check-out history and The Ledger's reporting.

How did those books get there in the first place?

Ann Everett

Senior Director, K-12 Literacy

Polk County Public Schools

The primary objective of each school’s media program is to enrich, extend, and support the instructional program of the school. The school media program makes available a wide range of media on varying levels of difficulty attending to diverse needs, interests, and viewpoints of students and teachers. The media specialist or media para performs a Collection Analysis to obtain statistical data on the collection which is then used to help determine acquisition needs. The media staff member also considers student interests, teacher requests, book reviews, awards, and recommendations from professional periodicals when selecting books to add to the school’s collection. Suggested sources for selection may include American Library Association, New York Public Library-100 Great Children’s Books, Young Adult Library Services Association-Teen Book Lists, and Mid-Continent Public Library-Juvenile Series List. Below are a list of guidelines shared with media staff related to selection of materials.


Guidelines include:

Pursuant to Florida Statute 1006.40, any materials purchased with Library Materials Media funds must be:

1. Free of pornography and material prohibited under s. 847.012.

2. Suited to student needs and their ability to comprehend the material presented.

3. Appropriate for the grade level and age group for which the materials are used or made available.

Media considered for purchase are judged on the basis of the following criteria:

Purpose - relationship with instructional objectives and/or the curriculum

Reliability - accurate, authentic

Quality - writing and/or production of merit

Treatment - clear, comprehensible, skillful, convincing, well-organized Technical production - aurally and visually appealing, well-crafted

Construction - durable, manageable, functional, safe

Special features - useful illustrations, photographs, maps, graphics, charts, graphs, documentation

Possible uses - individual, small, and/or large group instruction, in-depth study

Special Considerations:

Religion - factual media that represent all major religions

Ideologies - philosophy that exert a strong force in society

Sex education - factual information appropriate for the age group or related to the school curriculum

Sex - pornographic, sensational, or titillating material is not included, but the evidence of sexual incidents appearing in the media does not automatically disqualify its use (Reference Florida State Statute 847.012)

Profanity - use of profanity does not automatically disqualify a selection; effort is made to exclude media using profanity in a lewd or detrimental manner

Science - factual information about medical and scientific knowledge

Additional considerations:

Selection is a continuing process which shall include the removal of media no longer appropriate and the replacement of lost and worn materials still of educational value.

Effort should be made to keep the media current and comprehensive, and shall include media that reflect rapidly developing instructional technologies. The responsibility for selection of school library books and materials shall rest with the certified school Library Media Specialist or the school's Media Paraprofessional II.

All Health, Substance Abuse, and Violence Prevention lessons in middle and high school, including Life Management and Family Dynamics, have a specified Board-approved curriculum. Any additional materials requested to support or enhance these lesson must have approval from the Curriculum Review Committee at the Mark Wilcox Center. This includes any on-air broadcast recordings.

Videos on topics related to Human Sexuality, HIV/AIDS, Teenage Pregnancy, STD's, Substance Abuse, and Violence Prevention shall have a label placed on the video that states: This video must be previewed by the classroom teacher, enhance the curriculum, and be compliant with Critical Issues in order to be viewed in the classroom. Contact the Mark Wilcox Center for further information.

Use recommended, professionally prepared selection aids when firsthand examination of materials is not possible.      


Evaluate carefully any costly sets of media and subscription items only as specifically needed.

Limit the purchase of duplicates to media that is not used extensively.

Evaluate gift items by standard selection criteria, and upon acceptance of such items, reserve the right to incorporate into the collection only those meeting these specified criteria.

Purchase replacements for worn, damaged, or missing media basic to the collection.

Weed continuously from the collection worn, obsolete, and inoperable items.

Emphasis should be on educationally useful items – quality not quantity.

Thirteen Reasons Why selected for Florida Teens Read


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