Material Selection Policy
I. Purpose and Objectives of the Public Library
The Marion County Public Library provides a current collection of popular materials in varied formats for all ages and trained staff to assist users. The Library helps meet Marion County’s need to know about a broad range of topics of general interest; assures access to information; and educates the public in using information resources.
Materials should be selected and services and programs planned that satisfy residents’ needs as individuals and as members of groups with concerns given for all ages, backgrounds, interests, abilities, and levels of education. The library must consider not only the present needs of the community but also must anticipate the future needs of those in the community who have not traditionally been library users. It is vitally important that every citizen today have ready and free access to the world of ideas, information, and creative experience.
The Marion County Public Library selects, makes available, and promotes the use of library materials, whatever the format, which:
a) meet the information needs of the community;
b) meet the recreational needs of the community;
c) supplement formal and informal study;
d) reflect a variety of opinions (minority and majority) on a subject;
e) support business, cultural, recreational, and civic activities in the community;
f) enhance job-related knowledge and skills;
g) increase knowledge of and participation in the affairs of the community, the country, and the world.
II. Authority and Responsibility for Collection Development
The authority and responsibility for the selection of library materials is delegated to the Library Director and, under his/her supervision, to the Youth Services Librarian and Bookmobile Librarian. The advice of specialists in the community is requested in fields in which staff members do not have sufficient expertise. Suggestions from readers are welcome and are given serious consideration within the general criteria. Final decision for purchase rests with the library.
III. Criteria for Selection
The evaluation of materials is characterized by flexibility, open-mindedness, and responsiveness to the changing needs of the citizens of Marion County. Materials are evaluated as a whole and not on the basis of a particular passage or passages. A work will not be excluded from the library’s collection because it presents an aspect of life honestly or because of frankness of expression.
All acquisitions, whether purchased or donated, are considered in terms of the following standards. Clearly, however, an item need not meet all of the criteria to be acceptable. In some instances, materials may be judged primarily on artistic merit, or because of scholarship, or as valuable human documents, or as critical to the information needs of the community. In other instances, the criterion may be substantial demand.
The following general criteria are used:
a) present and potential relevance to community needs;
b) suitability of subject, style, and reading level for the intended audience;
c) insight into human and social conditions;
d) importance as a document of the times;
e) appropriateness and effectiveness of medium to content;
f) reputation and/or significance of author;
g) demand for the material;
h) critics’ and staff members’ reviews;
i) reputation of the publisher or producer;
j) relationship to existing materials in the collection on the same subject;
k) availability and accessibility of the same materials in the local area.
IV. Procedures for Selection
In developing the collection for the Marion County Public Library, the selectors will evaluate the existing collection, assess needs, examine materials, and consult reputable, professionally prepared selection aids, such as Booklist and Library Journal.
V. Replacement and Weeding
The library keeps the collection vital and useful by retaining or replacing essential materials and removing, on a systematic and continuous basis, those books which are worn, outdated, of little historical significance, or no longer in demand.
Please see our Materials Donations Policy.
Effective July 28, 2003