Library Policies

Basic Principles

Revised and ratified by Library Faculty, April 7, 2008. Endorsed by Library & Information Resources Committee, May 2008.

Library Mission and Collection Goals

Sharing the university's mission to provide its diverse student body an education of the mind and the heart, the Whitworth Library serves students, faculty, and staff with information resources and related services that support learning, teaching, scholarship, and intellectual, professional, and spiritual development.

To advance this mission, we strive for excellence in

  • presenting an attitude and atmosphere of user-centered service
  • acquiring, maintaining, and facilitating access to collections and online resources that best support Whitworth's mission and goals
  • providing personnel, services, facilities, and instructional programs that promote effective use of information resources
  • connecting the Whitworth community as needed with the resources of other libraries and information providers.

Primary and Secondary Clientele

The primary clientele of the Whitworth Library are the university's students and faculty and, to a lesser extent, its administrative and support staff. Secondary clientele include visiting users of the collections, various categories of guest borrowers as provided by applicable policies, and patrons of other libraries served through interlibrary loan or direct borrowing arrangements.

Only the needs of primary clientele are ordinarily considered in collection development. The needs of secondary clientele are not considered except

(a) occasionally as a supporting factor (for example, as a supporting reason for adding a title not otherwise available in local or regional libraries), or

(b) if dictated by a cooperative collection development agreement with one or more other libraries, or

(c) in the case of additions to one of the Defined Special Collections aimed at developing a coherent, focused research collection in a narrowly defined area and intended to serve outside researchers as well as the Whitworth community (see Special Collections Policy).

Diversity of Viewpoints and Intellectual Freedom

Originally adopted by Library Committee ca. 1980; revised and re-ratified April-May 2008. amended December 2019.

In keeping with the university's commitment to the ideals of liberal education, and in the spirit of the Library Bill of Rights adopted by the American Library Association (see Appendix), the library collection will attempt to provide for the free exchange of ideas. Collections will be available to all patrons of the library and will offer a wide range of viewpoints, regardless of the popularity of these viewpoints or of the religion, political philosophy, gender, or national origin of their authors. In areas where there is disagreement about particular ideas, issues, or beliefs, the library, in the interests of reasonable economy, will attempt to see that the views of the best or major spokespersons are represented.

The Whitworthian newspaper and Natsihi yearbook contains images and text created by students during their time at Whitworth. Offensive content may be found in these publications and does not necessarily represent the university’s values. Digital collections are created to be viewed and discussed for educational and historical purposes. Content is presented as it originally appeared. To learn more about the Whitworth’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, please visit:

No censorship will be exercised on the basis of frankness of language or the manner, even when controversial, that an author may use in dealing with religious, political, sexual, social, artistic, economic, scientific, or moral issues. The test for the acquisition of a controversial item will be its contribution, direct and indirect, to the academic program of the college and to the educational needs and interests of the students.

Nothing in the preceding sections should be understood to preclude special emphases in collection development on topics or points of view that are particularly supportive of Whitworth's mission as a Christian university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A), or especially appropriate to its identity, heritage, or specific constituencies. On the contrary, the library recognizes a particular obligation to foster such emphases, notably in supporting the commitment to integration of Christian faith and learning expressed in the Whitworth University Mission Statement.


It is the intent of the library to adhere to all applicable provisions of current U.S. copyright laws. We will not knowingly add to the collections materials that have been created, copied, or reproduced in violation of such laws. If on occasion the library makes, or obtains from another library, a copy to replace an item that is damaged, deteriorating, lost, or stolen, it will observe the requirements and limitations of Section 108 of the current copyright law (U.S. Code Title 17).

Challenges and Reconsideration

Originally adopted by Library Committee ca. 1980; revised and re-ratified April-May 2008.

There may be occasional challenges or objections, by individuals or groups, to materials or electronic resources included in the library collections, whether on the grounds of controversial content or on other grounds such as academic unsuitability, generally recognized factual errors, copyright infringement, etc. Complaints or challenges received by library staff members shall be referred to the library director.

In handling criticism of materials, or requests for reconsideration or censorship, the library director will contact the complainant and attempt to resolve the issue informally. The above policies or other relevant collection development policies will be referenced as appropriate. If a resolution does not result, the complaining party may submit a written request for reconsideration. The library director, having received such a written request, may consult with the library faculty, the Library and Information Resources Committee, and/or university administrators as deemed appropriate. Requests for reconsideration that present bona fide issues shall be given thoughtful consideration. The library director shall then reply in writing to the complainant within six weeks. Pending resolution, and barring extraordinary circumstances, challenged materials or resources shall remain accessible to library patrons in the normal and appropriate ways.

Persistent or repeated criticism from persons or groups may be referred to the Library & Information Resources Committee, the Faculty Executive, or officers of the administration as appropriate.

Library resources that have been or might be challenged (for whatever reason) shall not ordinarily be marked in any special way - for example, to draw attention to their controversial character, to correct alleged errors, etc. Erratum notices issued by a publisher, however, may and generally should be inserted. In the rare event that a book or other resource has been declared libelous in a court of law, or recalled by the author or publisher for whatever reason, notice to that effect may be included at the library staff's discretion if the item is retained in the collection for historical or other reasons.