West Plains Public Library

Collection Development Policy

Policy concerning how the library selects materials

The library shall be responsible for providing books and other materials for all ages in the community, in as many subject fields as possible within the limitations of the budget.

            This collection should meet the needs for the people in the community through a carefully selected collection of good representative books of permanent value and current interest.

            Books should be selected from many sources and chosen with the following in mind:

  1. Community interest and benefit
  2. Educational level of the borrower
  3. Need for the book in building the library’s collection.                                                                                           

            In no case should any book be excluded because of the race or nationality or the political or religious view of the writer.  In the case of controversial questions, all points of view should be sought whenever possible.

            The library should be an institution of education for democratic living, and books and other materials should be chosen for values of interest, information, and enlightenment of all of the people in the community.

Collection Development-

            The West Plains Public Library shall select, organize and maintain a quality collection of library materials which will provide a basis for community information, education, recreation and historical preservation in the Library District.

Materials in the general collection will be categorized by the following age categories:

  • Juvenile ages 0-11
  • Young Adult (YA) ages 12-18
  • Adult 18+

Patrons are not limited by these age recommendations. All patrons are welcome to checkout any materials in our collections. Responsibility for a minor’s reading must rest with the parent or guardian, not with the library

In general, decisions to place particular items in the collections are done by the standard of the average person, applying contemporary community standards nationwide. Note, age recommendations serve as a recommendation only.

Electronic databases extend the collection by providing timely and versatile access to information in electronic format.  Typically, the content of an electronic database is not customizable with subscription granting access to the entirety of its contents.  As such, they are evaluated for inclusion in the collection as a whole based on their ability to enhance and supplement the print collection.  Subscription to an electronic database does not constitute endorsement of the electronic content patrons may access.

Library materials will not be marked or identified to show approval or disapproval, or to judge appropriateness, of their contents, and no library material will be sequestered except to protect it from damage or theft.

Selection Criteria-

The purpose of the West Plains Public Library collection development/materials selection policy is to guide librarians and to inform the public about the principles upon which selections are made. A policy cannot replace the judgment of librarians, but stating goals and indicating boundaries will assist them in choosing from the array of available materials.

“Selection” refers to the decision that must be made either to add material to the collection or to retain material already in the collection. “Library materials’’ and other synonyms as they may appear in this policy have the widest possible meaning; all forms of contemporary, recorded mass communication, from the traditional printed forms to the latest development in non-print media, are therefore included in this definition.

Responsibilities of Selection-

Responsibility for the initial selection of books and other materials shall lie with the library’s professional staff. The supervisors of Main and branches are responsible for the development of the adult circulating and reference collections, with designated professional staff being responsible for specific areas of the total collection. Other staff members and the general public may recommend materials for consideration. The ultimate responsibility for selection rests with the Library Director, operating within the framework of policies determined by the Board of Trustees of the West Plains Public Library.

General Process for Selection:

Selection shall be based on the merits of a work in relation to the needs, interests and demands of the entire West Plains community. Basic to this policy are the “Library Bill of Rights,” the “Freedom to Read Statement,” and the “Freedom to View Statement” as adopted by the American Library Association, and to which this library subscribes.

Materials which some portion of the community may find objectionable shall not be automatically rejected. Selection is made on the basis of whether the item presents life in its true proportions, whether characters and situations are realistically presented, whether the item has literary, artistic, or informational merit, and whether the item is representative of a current trend or genre.

Based on the services it is expected to perform, it is the responsibility of the library to provide circulating, reference, and resource material for the general public.

Specific Principles for Selection:

The following principles will be taken into consideration when selecting items to be added to the collection:

  1. Contemporary significance or permanent value.
  2. Accuracy of content.
  3. Authority of the author or producer.
  4. Relation of the work to the existing collection.
  5. Price, format and ease of use.
  6. Availability of information in the subject area.
  7. Availability of material elsewhere in the community—holdings of other libraries in the area are considered in developing the Library’s collection.
  8. Adequate coverage of controversial issues.
  9. Response to popular demand, including a representative sampling of experimental or ephemeral material.

*Amended and adopted by the West Plains Public Library Board of Trustees July 10,2023


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