Nine Page Process for Purchasing (or Donating) Books in GCISD “Simplified” to 20 Steps 

What does it take to add books to a library?

  1. District Librarian or other Designee can recommend to the board, certifying that they have read it.
  2. No recommendations made directly to the Board by District campuses, departments, employees, students, or members of the public shall be considered for acquisition. 
  3. To ensure parental engagement, the District shall post online on the District’s website, on a readily available page, the selection process of library materials for parental review along with a list of all current library materials, and the content of all materials shall be available for direct review during reasonable hours as specified by the District. 
  4. If any Board member questions or desires further information on any proposed new acquisition, whether title or author, he or she shall contact the Superintendent at least 15 days before consideration by the Board. The Superintendent or designee shall then contact the District-level library supervisor to obtain copies of professional reviews of any library material in question. Until approved by the Board, the District may not acquire any proposed New Acquisitions, even for the purpose of Board review. 
  5. The order for library materials in its entirety, including any materials in question by individual Board members, shall be presented to the Board following a 30-day review period
  6. Upon request by a Board member, specific books shall be pulled from the recommended list for individual consideration. The Board shall consider and vote on the recommended list along with any books pulled for individual consideration. 
  7. A list of all library materials recommended for acquisition shall be posted on the District’s website. Following the Board vote, all library materials approved for acquisition shall be added to the District’s website list of library materials. Materials individually considered by the Board or rejected for acquisition shall be clearly indicated on the list. 

    A librarian, or designee, must then consider how the books:
  8. Enrich and support the curriculum consistent with the general educational goals of the state and District, the aims and objectives of individual schools and specific courses, and the District and campus improvement plans.
  9. Are appropriate for the subject area and for the age, ability level, learning styles, interests, and social and emotional development of the students for whom they are selected.
  10. Meet high standards for artistic quality, literary style, authenticity, educational significance, factual content, physical format, presentation, readability, and technical quality.
  11. Are designed to help students gain an awareness of our pluralistic society.
  12. Are designed to provide information that will motivate students and staff to examine their own attitudes and behavior; to understand their duties, responsibilities, rights, and privileges as citizens participating in our society; and to make informed choices in their daily lives.
  13. Are viewed as a whole and are not excluded because of isolated passages or illustrations, language, and the like, being taken out of context.
  14. Promote literacy.
  15. Balance cost with need.
  16. For nonfiction resources, a librarian, or designee, must incorporate accurate and authentic factual content from authoritative sources.
  17. Earn favorable reviews in standard reviewing sources and/or favorable recommendations based on preview and examination of materials by professional personnel.
  18. To the extent possible, while ensuring instruction in the TEKS are designed to develop each student’s civil knowledge, including:
  • An understanding of (i) the fundamental moral, political, and intellectual foundations of the American experiment in self-government: (ii) the history, qualities, traditions, and features of civic engagement in the United States; (iii) the structure, function, and processes of government institutions at the federal, state, and local levels; and (iv) the founding documents of the United States.
  • The ability to (i) analyze and determine the reliability of information sources; (ii) formulate and articulate reasoned positions; (iii) understand the manner in which lo- cal, state, and federal government works and operates through the use of simulations and models of govern- mental and democratic processes; (iv) actively listen and engage in civil discourse, including discourse with those with different viewpoints, and (v) participate as a citizen in a constitutional democracy by voting; and
  • An appreciation of (i) the importance and responsibility of participating in civic life; (ii) a commitment to the United States and its form of government; and (iii) a commitment to free speech and civil discourse.

19. When providing instruction regarding the founding documents of the United States, these shall be presented appropriately for the grade level, and in an objective, neutral, comprehensive and unbiased manner that respects the entirety of the document. The founding documents of the United States include the Declaration of Independence; the United States Constitution; the Federalist Papers, including the Essays 10 and 51; excerpts from Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America; the transcript of the first Lincoln-Douglas debate: the writings of the founding fathers of the United States; Frederick Douglass’s speeches “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro” and “What the Black Man Wants”; and Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech “I have a Dream”.

In addition to the above criteria, fiction, narrative nonfiction (memoirs and biographies), and graphic novels must each meet the following selection criteria, with the District determining that such materials:

  • Are integral or supplemental to the instructional program.
  • Support the District’s literacy initiatives.
  • Reflect the interests and needs of the students and faculty.
  • Are appropriate for the reading levels and understanding of students.
  • Are included because of their literary or artistic value and merit.
  • If narrative nonfiction, present information with the greatest degree of accuracy and clarity.

20. Librarians must then check each student’s opt-in form, which some families still don’t have or know that they have, to see if the student is allowed to check out the book.

And finally, after 20 steps to acquire a book (accept a book donation and put it into a school library), a student can select a book from the books that remain on the shelves and take it home to discuss with family.

For further analysis of the policy impact, find our article Donating Books to Your Favorite Teacher Isn’t What It Used To Be! 

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