Librarian Ginny Nading organizes and packs books in the Grant Elementary School library on Monday, May 5, in Casper. The books, about 10,000 in all, will be dispersed among other Natrona County schools. Older books will be given away or discarded. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. — The Natrona County School District has adopted a new opt-in/opt-out procedure for its school libraries. The aim is to provide parents and guardians with more control over the learning materials their children have access to, according to the library permissions information on the NCSD website.

The Standard Operating Procedure 6233 (01), titled “Controversial Issues,” was approved by the Cabinet and officially adopted on July 1.

The purpose of this procedure is to outline the school’s responsibilities in selecting, retaining and maintaining learning materials housed in the school libraries. The process aims to address content that falls under the definition of a controversial issue according to the standard operating procedure.

Opt-In Process: Empowering Parental Control

The opt-in process is designed to empower parents and guardians to give explicit written permission for their minor students to access existing materials deemed as opt-in material. Specifically, this applies to content that contains sexually explicit images as defined by NCSD Board Policy 6233 within the library the student is currently enrolled in.

However, the reconsideration committee may also designate a book for the opt-in process that does not contain sexually explicit images according to the standard operating procedure.

To opt in, any parent or guardian of an NCSD minor student may select all current and future titles and/or specific books from the opt-in list for their child to have access to. This is done through the opt-in form available in the student information system.

Parents or guardians may update the opt-in form at any time through the parent portal, and the most recent submission will be honored, according to the library permission information on the NCSD website.

Opt-Out Process: Customizing Reading Choices

The opt-out process provides parents and guardians with the ability to specify books or authors they do not want their children to check out from the school’s library. Parents or guardians must fill out the opt-out form via Infinite Campus Parent Portal.

The form allows for up to 20 books to be listed by title or author. If parents/guardians have more than 20 books they wish to opt out from, they must directly contact their child’s school librarian.

NCSD Library staff will take each opt-out request seriously and work diligently to support the success of implementing all opt-out requests. After submitting the form, school library staff will be notified via email and the selected information will be properly transferred from the student information system to the school’s library learning management system.

Opt-out and opt-in choices will remain in effect for the duration of the student’s enrollment in all NCSD schools unless the parent/guardian submits another form.

Library Permissions Information

NCSD Administrative Regulation 6233 states, “The District recognizes there exists a vast array of materials with age-appropriate educational content. It is the District’s objective to choose material that provides educational content appropriate to students in the District rather than material that may provide similar content with sexually explicit images. Therefore, effective as of November 28, 2022, schools will not purchase material with sexually explicit images as defined by Board Policy 6233 for any educational setting. Librarians and principals are responsible to ensure that supplemental resource materials align with and are consistent with the policy and administrative regulation.”

NCSD is dedicated to ensuring parents and guardians have all the information necessary to make informed decisions regarding their children’s education. Library permissions are specific to grade bands (elementary, middle school, high school), and parents or guardians should complete the forms for each individual child.

Titles listed in the opt-in category are not assigned or required classroom reading; the decision to read such materials is solely at the discretion of the parent/guardian of the child.

Parents and guardians can find the opt-in and opt-out forms on the Infinite Campus Parent Portal. The choices listed will be specific to the individual child’s grade band level, and the process should be completed for each student separately. If further assistance is required, parents and guardians are encouraged to contact their child’s school librarian.

With the implementation of this policy, NCSD aims to strike a balance between providing access to diverse learning materials and transparency with students’ families, according to the NCSD Board Policy on controversial issues.