Materials selection aims at maintaining a collection of materials for meeting the informational, reference, research, educational, and recreational needs of the community.
This policy guides the library staff and informs the public about the principles upon which selections are made. While a policy cannot replace the judgment of the library staff, stating goals and indicating boundaries will assist employees in choosing from the vast array of available materials. Additionally, this policy provides the procedures for public objection to materials held.
The words “book”, “library materials”, or other synonyms as they may occur in this policy have the widest possible meaning; hence it is implicit in this policy that every form of permanent records is to be included, whether printed or in manuscript; bound, unbound, or digital; photographed or otherwise reproduced. This includes, but is not limited to, books, periodicals, audio recordings, video recordings, and electronic media.
“Selection” refers to the decision that must be made to add a given book or item to the collection. It also refers to the decision that must be made whether to retain a book or item already in the collection. It does not refer to reader guidance.
The Board of Trustees of Fort Scott Public Library endorses the Library Bill of Rights adopted by the American Library Association as it concerns materials selection and library collections. The Library Bill of Rights is included as an appendix to the materials selection policy.
Responsibility for Selection:
The Library Director and those staff members to whom he/she delegates the responsibility are responsible for materials selection.
Suggestions from members of the community concerning materials are welcome. Each suggestion will be considered within the framework of this policy.
Unusual problems or deviation from the policy will be referred to the Director for resolution.
The public library is a forum for information and ideas. The following basic principles will guide its materials selections:
- Library resources will be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community.
- Materials will not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
- The Library recognizes that many books are controversial and that any given item may offend some patrons. Selections will not be made based on any anticipated approval or disapproval but solely on the merits of the work in relation to the building of the collections and to serving the interests of patrons. Materials are evaluated as a whole and not based on a particular passage or passages.
- Materials will not be removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval. Within reason, materials and information provided will present the various general points of view on current and historical issues.
- Ultimate responsibility for children’s reading rests with parents or legal guardians. Materials selection for the adult collection is intended for mature readers and will not be restricted by the possibility that children may obtain materials which their parents or legal guardians consider inappropriate. The Library will not seek to assume parental responsibility in this regard. The library does not serve in loco parentis.
- Materials not available at this library but available through cooperative library networks will be borrowed upon the request of the user.
- Textbooks or other curriculum-related materials are acquired only when they serve the general public.
- The Library recognizes the purposes and resources of other libraries in the Fort Scott area, other members of the SEKnFind consortium, and the Southeast Kansas Library System and shall not needlessly duplicate their functions and materials. Selections will be made in light of cooperative collection development with other SEKnFind libraries, and Fort Scott Public Library may rely on these other libraries for materials on certain topics or in certain categories, rather than purchasing them for the Library’s own collection. To create better collections in SEKnFind as a whole, the Library may develop some collections in more depth than would be the case based strictly on local demand.
- Permanent value
- Contemporary significance: i.e. attention of critics, reviewers, and the public
- Popular interest
- Widely regarded critical reputation of author
- Comprehensiveness and depth of treatment
- Clarity, accuracy, and logic of presentation
- Reputation of publisher
- Date of publication
- Relationship to existing collection
- Artistic merit
- Insight and/or perspective into human and social conditions
- Availability elsewhere in the community
- Available space
- Availability of materials
Children’s and Young People’s Materials:
In addition to the criteria for adult materials, consideration is also given to the following:
- Appropriate content
- Appropriate vocabulary for the general age group
- Determined value for stimulating the information, recreational, and cultural reading interest of children and youth
Gifts and Donations:
Gifts and donations are always welcome. Acceptance shall be based on the following criteria:
- All such items must meet the same criteria listed under Specific Principles as purchased items.
- Donor restrictions on a gift or donation are unacceptable.
- Donations for the purchase of materials may be designated by general subject area.
- All donations become the property of the library and may not be reclaimed by the donor.
- Donations of materials which are not needed by the library will be used or converted in a way which best supports the library.
- The receipt of specific items will be acknowledged, but no statement of financial value for tax or other purposes will be made.
- All donations should be left at the library or mailed to the attention of the librarian.
Withdrawal of Obsolete Materials
Materials infrequently used and not of lasting value will be periodically withdrawn from the collections. Obsolete materials include outmoded books, superseded editions, superfluous duplicates, titles infrequently used or no longer of interest, titles no longer in demand, and worn-out or mutilated items. Such materials will be removed from circulation and disposed of in an appropriate manner.
The Board of Trustees recognizes the importance of providing a method whereby opinions from the public regarding materials selection can be voiced. Therefore, it has established a procedure which will apply to all complaints including:
- Those about materials represented in the collection
- Those about materials not represented in the collection
To comply with this procedure, a complaint must be in writing and should be addressed to the attention of the Library Director. Complaints must include the following information:
- Name, mailing address, and phone number of person making the complaint
- Title and Author/Producer of material
- Statement commenting on the material as a whole and specification of those matters of concern to the person making the complaint
- Signature of person making the complaint
Upon receipt of a signed complaint the Library Director will:
- Examine the material in question, the issues raised, and the circumstances involved.
- Make a decision to remove or retain the material in question
- Respond in writing to the complainant
- Provide the complainant with a copy of this policy, and inform the individual of the availability of a Board hearing. If the complainant feel that the decision of the Director is not supported by this policy, the complainant may request a Library Board hearing by notifying the Director in writing. Following the hearing, the decision of the Board will be final.
Above all, the Library Board has as its concern the fairness of such a hearing to protect the rights of all persons who are involved.
Approved 10/17/2000; rev. 9/17/2019
Library Bill of Rights
The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.
I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
II. 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.
III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
VI. Libraries which make exhibit 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.
Adopted June 19, 1939. Amended October 14, 1944; June 18, 1948; February 2, 1961; June 27, 1967; and January 23, 1980; inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996, by the ALA Council.