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Controversial content gets new rules.

The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council has issued new guidance on how to manage controversial material in public libraries.

The guidelines set down how to achieve good and consistent practice in the selection and management of library stock. They offer support for public libraries in making difficult choices when managing books, information and internet content that may be controversial.

Issued in February, the guidance follows the consultation document published and circulated last year. At the time, it came in for criticism that it could make librarians over-cautious in their stocking policy.

Ayub Khan, head of libraries in Warwickshire, said: "My initial concern was that these guidelines would be very narrow, focused on a Muslim community. But they take a wider perspective, reflect established professional good practice and stress the need for a balanced library collection representing a broad spectrum of opinions."

Intended as a voluntary code applying to collection development in public libraries in England, the guidance is endorsed by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) and the Society of Chief Librarians (SCL).

Sue Wilkinson, MLA director of policy, said: "Libraries are ensuring their collections reflect the ideas and views of their communities in a continually evolving cultural, political and social climate. In doing this, libraries will hold materials that some may find challenging and controversial.

"This document will help library and information professionals deal with controversial items and help them respond to challenges."
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Publication:Information World Review
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 1, 2009
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