School Library Collections

Schools follow established guidelines to offer books in their libraries that meet the needs of students and reflect a global society.

School Library Collections 

Schools offer books in their libraries that meet the needs of students and reflect the diversity found in a global society. Libraries function based on student choice.

Purpose of School Library Collections

  • To provide students with access to a variety of resources that support their personal interests, information needs, literacy development, and academic growth.
  • To ensure that every student is able to find books to connect with in their library, although every book in the library may not connect with every student.

Book Selection for School Libraries

Fairfax County Public Schools has a required process for selecting books and materials for school libraries. The process also outlines the criteria for withdrawing resources from the collection and the procedures for reconsideration of the appropriateness of a book.

Students are able to select any library materials they want to read and borrow from the libraries. A book included in a library collection does not imply it is approved for classroom instruction. All library materials meet at least one of the following goals: 

  • Enrich and support the Fairfax County Public Schools Program of Studies and the Virginia Standards of Learning. 
  • Encourage and support informational and recreational reading, viewing, or listening and help students develop the skills necessary to become lifelong learners. 
  • Meet the information needs of students and faculty taking into consideration diverse interests, abilities, backgrounds, reading levels, maturity levels, home languages, and students' extracurricular interests. 

School librarians support FCPS priorities by providing resources that affirm students in their identity, culture, and background. 

Selection Standards

Two positive reviews from professionally recognized library journals, such as Booklist, School Library Journal, and others, are required in order to add materials to a school library. When reviews are not available, the librarian must read and evaluate the materials. Librarians develop and review their collection development policy with school administrators each year. 

Materials should be avoided that: 

  • Distort facts. 
  • Depict outmoded roles and/or behavior patterns. 
  • Include graphics, side bars, or text that demonstrate implicit or explicit minority stereotyping and gender bias or demonstrate gender bias or minority stereotyping by omission 

Selected materials are appropriate to a variety of ages, developmental stages, reading needs, and learning styles. 


Reconsideration of Library Books

FCPS has a process for reconsideration of books that involves submitting a Fairfax County Public Schools Request for Reconsideration of Library or Instructional Material form as outlined in Regulation 3009

Library materials or instructional materials may be challenged by any person who resides in Fairfax County or Fairfax City, is the parent or guardian of a student in Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), or is employed by Fairfax County Public Schools. 

In the case of the books challenged in September, 2021, the Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services has formed two committees, led by our Library Services Coordinator. Each committee includes two teachers, two parents, one school-based administrator, one member of the Equity and Cultural Responsiveness team, and two high school students. Committee members were selected randomly from a pool of stakeholder representatives submitted by each school. The committees put forward recommendations to the Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services who made the decision on the books in November 2021.