Library Policies
Materials Selection

Library Board policy as of March 14, 1990. Revised May 12, 1999; February 14, 2001; December 12, 2007.

Mission Statement

With the desire to give service to all members of the community, the Library will serve the diversified interests of its citizens, encourage reading, and provide information and educational opportunities.

General Principles

The materials selection policy statement is directed toward the development and maintenance of a well-balanced collection of available materials. These materials include books, periodicals, newspapers, pamphlets, CDs, CD-ROMs, Audiobooks on CD and cassette, videocassettes, and computer software. Other forms of information and recreational materials will be added as they develop and become popular. The Library shall not acquire any material that appeals merely to the prurient interest.

The Library subscribes to the American Library Association Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read statements, as modified, and attached as appendix A and B.

The following criteria are used in the selection process:

  • Reviews in library journals and other recommended sources
  • reputation and significance of the author or illustrator
  • accuracy and authoritativeness
  • literary style
  • relevance to present or anticipated needs and interests of the community
  • reader request
  • need for multiple copies of materials in high demand
  • permanent value as resource material
  • new areas of knowledge or changing conditions of the contemporary scene
  • relation to existing material in the library collection
  • readability and clarity in relation to the intended readers
  • accessibility in other collections in the area
  • suitability of the format for library use
  • price and availability of funds
  • local interest
  • quality of book construction (i.e. strength of binding and quality of paper)

Responsibility for Selection

Responsibility for selection rests with the Library Director and the staff. Responsibility for selecting in specific areas may be delegated to qualified staff.

Adult Department

Types of materials included in the Adult Department:

  • Fiction books: emphasis on building a balanced collection that includes all genres from Science Fiction to Romance. Current titles and requested older titles will be added on a regular basis.
  • Non-Fiction and Reference books: the informational needs of our patrons will be served by adding current titles in various subject areas.
  • Computer software: emphasis on information and reference data.
  • Newspapers: emphasis on local news and financial data.
  • Pamphlets: emphasis on current information. Political pamphlets and advertising are avoided.
  • Paperbacks: purchased when hardcover is unavailable, when the cost differential is substantial, or titles are needed in multiple copies.
  • Periodicals: selection and retention of titles is based on a broad variety of general and informational needs.
  • Audiobooks on cassette and CD: books on tape and compact disks are acquired using the same criteria as for books.
  • Textbooks: not purchased or added as a gift, unless the book is notable.
  • Videocassettes and DVDs: while the emphasis is on feature films, non-fiction titles in various popular subject areas will be added each year.
  • Games: popular computer games for various play stations will be added as needed. Emphasis will be on titles that appeal to Young Adults.

Young Adult Department

Young Adults are served with a separate collection organized in the adult collection. Materials are chosen with an understanding that adolescence covers a wide range of reading skills, developmental levels and ages (grade seven through twelve). The collection is primarily for browsing and includes periodicals and paperbacks.

Children’s Department

Selection is geared to create a collection that satisfies the informational, recreational and cultural needs to encourage the full potential of children from infancy through grade six. To achieve this goal, a varied selection of materials including books, periodicals, recordings, videocassettes, and computer software are made available and accessible to children. Materials are also available to those who work with and care for children.

The public library role is not as a primary support for curriculum or the schools. Coordination with the School Librarians is an ongoing project so that the collections support and complement. Materials are chosen for value and interest for the whole community.

Children are recognized as having a right to read. Children have complete and easy access to all library materials, including the Adult Department. Children have full rights to interlibrary loan, reserves, and reference.

Parents are ultimately responsible for what their children select for reading material.

Collection development goals for each section of the department are periodically reviewed and updated. Specific criteria and goals include:

  • Audiocassettes and book cassettes: a focus on creative movement, birthday party games, folksongs, and books on tape for children to see, hear and read books.
  • Computer software: educational and recreational software that may be used in-library or at home.
  • Fiction and Paperbacks: Chapter books including adventure, fantasy, science fiction, sports, horses, horror, classics, mysteries, humor, animals, historical fiction, and contemporary stories.
  • I Can Reads: books with limited and controlled vocabularies to encourage children learning to read.
  • Nonfiction: encompassing a wide range of subjects with emphasis on subjects of special interest to children including dinosaurs, pets, animals, sports, riddles, drawing, crafts, astronomy, state information, history, and biographies.
  • Parent shelf: materials for parents, teachers, and others who work with children. The focus is on child development, health, resources to use with children, and birthday party ideas.
  • Picturebooks: a collection meant to be read aloud, primarily to preschoolers, with emphasis on illustration as well as words. Baby books of cardboard books are included. Holiday picturebooks, fairy tales, and contemporary stories are selected.
  • Puzzles, puppets, and other toys are purchased to support storytime programs and group play in the library.
  • Reference: materials kept in the library to answer informational and research questions.
  • Videocassettes: priority to book-related titles, folktales and folk songs, and learning opportunities.

Appendix A

Library Bill of Rights

Library Board policy as of March 14, 1990, revised as of February 14, 2001.

The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas and that the following policies should guide library service:

  1. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community that the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of their origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
  2. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
  3. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
  4. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
  5. Libraries that make exhibition spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.

Appendix B

Freedom to Read

Library Board policy as of March 14, 1990, revised as of February 14, 2001.

  1. It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those that are unorthodox or unpopular with the majority.
  2. Publishers, librarians, and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea, of presentation contained in the books they make available. It would conflict with the public interest for them to establish their own political, moral, or aesthetic views as a standard for determining what books should be published or circulated.
  3. It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to determine the acceptability of a book on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.
  4. There is no place in our society for efforts to coerce the taste of others, to confine adults to the reading matter deemed suitable for adolescents, or to inhibit the efforts of writers to achieve artistic expression.
  5. It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept with any book the prejudgment of a label characterizing the book or author as submissive or dangerous.
  6. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians, as guardians of the people’s freedom to read, to contest encroachments upon that freedom by individuals or groups seeking to impose their own standards or tastes upon the community at large.
  7. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians to give full meaning to the freedom to read by providing books that enrich the quality and diversity of thought and expressions. By the exercise of this affirmative responsibility, bookmen can demonstrate that the answer to a bad book is a good one, the answer to a bad idea is a good one.