The Edith Wheeler Memorial Library's Materials Selection Policy serves as a guide for authorized personnel in the selection and withdrawal of library materials. It also serves to inform the public as to the criteria upon which library materials are selected and withdrawn. This library supports intellectual freedom and subscribes to the Library Bill of Rights, The Freedom to Read Statement, and the related supportive documents of the American Library Association.
RESPONSIBILITY FOR SELECTION
The responsibility for selecting materials for purchase and withdrawal is delegated by the Library Board of Trustees to the Library Director and, under his/her direction, to other staff members who are qualified for this activity by reason of training and/or experience.
SOURCES FOR SELECTION
Reviews in library and publishing industry periodicals are primary sources for materials selection. Reputable bibliographies, booklists by recognized authorities, and the advice of competent individuals and/or entities in specific subject areas also are used. Suggestions from library staff and the general public are considered, as well.
CRITERIA FOR SELECTION
Library materials are diverse in topic, format, and other characteristics. Each type of item must be considered in terms of its own merit and the audience for whom it is intended. No single set of selection criteria can be applied to all cases.
In general, the selection of books and other library materials will take into account the following criteria:
1. The appropriateness of the item to the needs and interests of library users and of the community as a whole
2. The timeliness and accuracy of the information
3. The competence of the presentation
4. The contribution of the item toward strengthening the existing collection
5. Suggestions from library staff and the general public
6. The value of the item based on literary or scholarly excellence and other inherent quality, considered without regard to popular demand
7. Budgetary limitations
In selecting fiction, it will be the library's goal to provide items which meet the needs of users of varied backgrounds, reading tastes, and interests.
It is the library's goal to build a balanced collection composed of materials of current popular interest as well as materials of permanent worth. Popular demand is a significant basis for selection. Conversely, many great works of scholarship and literature are keystones of modern knowledge and culture but may not necessarily be high demand items. It is the library's policy to select popular-demand items as well as materials of permanent value, regardless of whether or not they will be widely used.
MATERIALS FOR CHILDREN AND TEENS
As a rule, the children's collection contains materials best suited to the abilities and interests of library users from birth through grade 6, while teen materials are those best suited to the abilities and interests of library users from grade 7 through grade 12.
Children's and teen materials will be selected with the same care and judgment and following the same criteria as are adult materials.
Providing textbooks is the responsibility of the schools. The library's role is to provide supplementary materials to enrich the resources available to students and teachers through the educational system. Selection of materials for children and teens should not be made to duplicate school texts, but rather should consider the usefulness of the items for general library purposes. Textbooks may be purchased if such items constitute the best available source of information on a subject. Multiple copies cannot be purchased in response to student demands which the schools should properly be expected to meet.
CHOICE OF LIBRARY MATERIALS BY MINORS
The role of the parent or legal guardian in supervising the reading, listening, and viewing choices made by a minor child is recognized by this library.
The library staff and trustees are charged with the responsibility of providing free and equal access to library materials and services to all eligible people. Moreover, it is impossible for them to know or predict the opinions of parents and guardians regarding the specific borrowing selections made by minor children.
Therefore, it is the policy of the Edith Wheeler Memorial Library that parents and guardians, not the library staff or trustees, are responsible for monitoring and approving the selection of materials made by minor children. It is the parents or guardians - and only these - who may restrict their children - and only their children - from borrowing specific library materials. Parents or guardians who wish their children not to have access to certain materials should accompany or otherwise advise their children. The library staff and trustees cannot and do not act in loco parentis.
Selection of materials for the community as a whole cannot be inhibited by the possibility that specific items of an advanced nature may come into the possession of minor children.
An up-to-date, attractive, and reliable collection can be maintained only by purchasing and retaining appropriate materials, and by removing items that are damaged, outdated, inaccurate, duplicating, and otherwise no longer useful. The collection should be evaluated by authorized and qualified staff on a systematic and continuous basis to identify materials that should be withdrawn.
The library accepts gifts of books and other collection materials without commitment as to final disposition. It assumes unconditional ownership of all items donated and retains the right to use or dispose of them as it sees fit.
Gift items must meet the same selection criteria as purchased materials. Items in poor physical condition or written in will not be kept. Duplicate copies of items already in the collection will be added only if needed. Gift materials will not be accepted with restrictions or conditions that necessitate special and separate housing, processing, or treatment. The only form of donor or memorial identification will be a gift plate.
The library cannot give a dollar valuation for gifts of materials, but it will provide the donor with a statement verifying the number and type of materials donated and accepted, upon request.
BALANCE AND NEUTRALITY
Public libraries have a responsibility to provide books and other materials presenting diverse points of view on the problems and issues of our time. It must be understood, therefore, that ownership of library materials does not constitute an endorsement by the library of the ideas or viewpoints expressed within those materials.
Selections of library materials are not made on the basis of any anticipated approval or disapproval by specific individuals or groups, but solely on the merits of the works in relation to building the collection and serving the needs and interests of library users and the community as a whole. While aware that one or more persons may take issue with the selection of specific items, the library does not have to remove from the collection items purchased in accordance with the criteria specified above. Nor will materials be marked in such a way as to indicate official approval or disapproval of viewpoint and content. Items are not separated from the general collection except for the purposes of protecting them from damage or theft. In all cases, the quality of resources will be judged on the content as a whole, not by detached excerpts.
REQUESTS FOR RECONSIDERATION OF MATERIALS
Any patron who wishes to object to the presence of a particular item in the collection may do so by completing the Statement of Concern about Library Resources form. The Library Director and the Library Board of Trustees will review such objections. While an item is under review, it will remain in the collection. The patron will be informed of the Library Board's decision regarding the objection.
Statement of Concern about Library Resources Form
Adopted by the Library Board of Trustees: May 15, 2002
Revised: May 21, 2003 Revised: February 21, 2008