Publishers, industry groups, and distributors sometimes add ratings to material or include them as part of their packaging. Librarians should not endorse such practices. However, removing or destroying such ratings—if placed there by, or with permission of, the copyright holder—could constitute expurgation (see Expurgation of Library Materials: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights).
For some history, here is what the 1996 edition of the ALA IFManual says (p119)
"Policy revisions made clear the ALA's oppositon to labeling, and emphasized librarians' responsibility to prevent the imposition of private or voluntary labeling schemes on library materials, while leaving permanently affixed labels intact to avoid expurgation of copyrighted materials. The new interpretation also encourages librarians to become familiar with local laws and regulations on the issue.
So the real--or ONE real question--is this:
What did the copyright holder (not the distributor or publisher) intend?
And I would further add:
What did the creator of the work (who may not be the copyright holder) intend or desire?
Just how sticky are those labels?
From: email@example.com on behalf of Gary Handman
Sent: Wed 3/2/2005 5:29 PM
Subject: RE: [Videolib] Film Series and Alexandra's Project
Wait...doesn't the ALA IFM say not to label at all?
The American Library Association opposes labeling as a means of predisposing people's attitudes toward library materials.
Prejudicial labels are designed to restrict access, based on a value judgment that the content, language or themes of the material, or the background or views of the creator(s) of the material, render it inappropriate or offensive for all or certain groups of users. The prejudicial label is used to warn, discourage or prohibit users or certain groups of users from accessing the material. Such labels may be used to remove materials from open shelves to restricted locations where access depends on staff intervention.
http://www.ala.org/Template.cfm?Section=interpretations&Template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID= <http://www.ala.org/Template.cfm?Section=interpretations&Template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=8657> 8657
At 04:24 PM 3/2/2005 -0800, you wrote:
The ALA Intellectual Freedom Manual should have some guidelines on how to handle labels.
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