Approved by the Library Board of Directors May 26, 2010
The purpose of the Library materials selection policy is to guide the Library Director and to inform the public about the principles upon which selections are made.
The Library sets as its major goals in selection of books and other library materials: the educational, informational and recreational needs of the people of all ages of the community. Basic to the policy is the Library Bill of Rights as adapted by the American Library Association, which states among other things:
“As a responsibility of library service, books and other reading matters selected should be chosen for values of interest, information and enlightenment of all the people of the community. In no case should any book be excluded because of the race or nationality or the political or religious views of the writer. There should be the fullest practicable provision of material presenting all points of view concerning the problems and issues of our times.”
The words “book”, “library materials”, or other synonyms used in the policy have the widest possible meaning; hence, it is implicit in this policy that every form of permanent record is to be included: Printed in manuscript, bound, unbound, photographed, or otherwise reproduced. Also included are audio records on tapes, discs or otherwise, films and pictures in the form of photographs, paintings, drawings, etchings, etc.
- Principles of Selection
Library materials to be included in the Library must satisfy acceptable standards of quality and fill a need. In evaluating quality, both fiction and non-fiction, the following factors are considered: authority and competence of the author, clarity and accuracy, literary style, significance of subject, usefulness and format. Also, works of imagination, originality, vitality and artistic expression are considered. In selecting materials for children, illustrations, print and binding are evaluated. Selection in all areas will be aided by contemporary professional tools.
Final responsibility for book selection lies with the Library Director.
The primary objectives of book selection shall be to collect material of contemporary significance and of permanent value. The Library will always be guided by a sense of responsibility to both present and future in adding materials which will enrich the collections and maintain an overall balance. The library also recognizes an immediate duty to make available materials for enlightenment and recreation, even though such materials may not have enduring interest or value. The Library will provide, too, a sampling of ephemeral and experimental material, but will not, because of limited facilities, provide and exhaustive collection thereof.
- Guidelines for Selection
A. The Library does not attempt to acquire textbooks or other curriculum-related materials unless they are the only source of needed material.
B. Legal and medical works will be acquired that are useful to laymen.
C. Sufficient standard reference books and professional tools must be maintained to provide proper information for patrons.
D. The Library will select books, including paperbacks that will help young adults (13 – 18 years of age) to understand themselves and their world and to help them develop to their potential. Since this group reflects a wide span of reading ability and maturity of understanding, selection will include many adult books as well as teenage and some juvenile titles.
E. The Library will select the best new children’s books and replace older titles which have proved their value. The Library will maintain a collection that should be broad enough to provide meaningful materials for children of all ages and levels of ability and cultural background. Some materials in the collection will be of use to adults working with children. The Library will seldom include readers, purely textbook materials, or abridgements of classics.
- Use of Library’s Books and Materials
The Library recognizes that many books are controversial and that any given item may offend some patrons. Selections will not be made on the basis of any anticipated approval or disapproval, but solely on the merit of the work in relation to the building of the collections and to serving the interests of readers.
The Library recognizes that censorship is a purely individual matter and declares that while anyone is free to reject for himself books which he or she does not approve, he or she cannot exercise this right of censorship to restrict the freedom to read of others. The Library defends the principles of the freedom to read and the Library Bill of Rights as noted in the Library’s Purposes. No book or library material shall be removed from the library simply because it is controversial.
Library materials will not be marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of the contents, and items will be removed from the shelves only to protect them from damage or theft.
The use of rare and scholarly items of great value may be controlled to the extent required to preserve them from harm, but no further.
Responsibility for the reading of children rests with their parents or legal guardians. Selection will not be inhibited by the possibility that books may inadvertently come into the possession of children.
The Library accepts gifts of books and other materials, but reserves the right to evaluate and to dispose of them in accordance with the criteria applied to purchased materials. Since the Library has limited facilities, not all gifts will be maintained, but the Library will see to it that they are used for the Library’s benefit whenever possible. No conditions may be imposed relating to any book after its acceptance by the Library.
- Maintaining the Collections
The ALA Minimum Standards for Public Library Systems and Standards Recommended for Principle Public Libraries of Connecticut suggest that 5% of the total collection be withdrawn annually in order to maintain a collection of quality. The Library Director is expected to use good judgment in removing from the collections whatever no longer serves a need and to refurbish by rebinding or other means books and material suffering from deterioration.
- Revision of Policy
This policy will be reviewed as times and circumstances require.