Policy on Collection Development

The purpose of the Holdrege Area Public Library materials selection policy is to guide our librarians and to inform the public about the principles that direct selections. The Board will annually review the materials selection policy to insure that it meets community needs. The foundation of the materials selection policy is the “Library Bill of Rights” and the “Freedom to Read Statement” as adopted by the American Library Association.  The Holdrege Area Public Library subscribes to the spirit and interest of the Library Bill of Rights.

  • The Library will supplement, but cannot perform the functions of, schools and other libraries designed to meet special needs.  At all opportunities, the Library will cooperate with other libraries to strengthen the services and resources of all.
  • The major goals of the Library in materials selection are the advancement of knowledge, the education and enlightenment of the people of the community, and the provision of recreational reading.

Subject Areas and Formats Collected

The words “library materials,” as they occur in this policy, have the widest possible meaning.  Every form of permanent record is to be included, whether printed or audio; bound or unbound; photographed or otherwise reproduced on tapes, discs, and pictures in the form of paintings, photographs, drawings, computer programs, etc.

Cost and potential use are the two most important considerations in this matter.  Due to great difference in price, trade paperback editions, as opposed to cloth editions, will ordinarily be purchased when available.  Exceptions to this rule are children’s picture books and easy readers, which are purchased in cloth binding to insure a long life under hard use by children.  Books have the highest priority for purchase of any format.

Videos (Videogames and DVDs)
The purpose of the film collection is to provide the public with films that are informational, instructive and provide entertainment.  Emphasis is placed on selecting materials that are popular, classic and award-winning feature films, children’s features and series, and educational/instructional videos. The library purchases DVDs with the following ratings: G, PG, PG-13, R and Unrated. There are no age restrictions on the borrowing of DVDs. Selection of materials for the collection will not be limited by the fact that this collection is widely used by children, teens and adults. The responsibility for what DVDs children may or may not check out rests with the parent or legal guardian.

The library purchases video games for the three major gaming platforms: Wii, PlayStation and the Microsoft Xbox. Selection depends on the popularity of a given platform and individual games based on popularity or patron requests. The library purchases games with the following ratings: “E” for Everyone, “T” for Teen and “M” for Mature.

Parents or legal guardians, not the Holdrege Area Public Library or its staff, must assume responsibility for deciding what Library resources are appropriate for their children. Supervision of a child’s access to books, music, video games and DVDs is ultimately the responsibility of the parent or guardian; the Library does not have the right or responsibility to act on behalf of parents or guardians. It is strongly suggested that parents guide their children in their use of the library, inform them about materials they should not use and accompany their children when they are at the library.

The library purchases a wide variety of popular music styles for recreational use for the Teen and Children’s collection.

The Library does not purchase slides of any size.

The Library purchases periodicals that are important to reference work and general research work in various subject areas, as well as for general and popular reading.  An attempt is made to ensure that periodicals taken are listed in the major periodical indexes held by the Library.  The Board annually reviews the periodical subscriptions.

The Library subscribes to the major newspapers of the State of Nebraska and those from cities in close proximity to Holdrege.

Records & Audiobooks
Records albums are not collected.  CDs, digital audiobooks and cassettes of music, literature, and subjects of popular interest will be acquired; however cassettes will no longer be purchased after 7/1/06.  No attempt is made to meet the needs of the visually handicapped, which is done by the Library for the Blind and Visually Handicapped and services provided by the Nebraska Library Commission.

Printed music
The Library does not buy sheet music.  It does purchase collections of music in book form.

Most maps for reference use are contained in the Atlas.

Government documents
The Library is a depository for NebraskaState documents in microfiche and CD formats.

The Library holds the Holdrege Daily Citizen on microfilm and CDs.

Cake pans
The Library adds a few cake pans to its collection each year, based upon patron demand.

Items not mentioned
The Library does not collect items not mentioned above.  Generally, the Library will not acquire a format it does not have the equipment to use.  The Library Board annually reviews what is collected.

Selection Procedures

The ultimate responsibility for the selection of materials rests with the Library Director, who operates within the framework of policies determined by the Board of Trustees.  The responsibility for selection is shared in execution with the staff, particularly the children’s librarian.

“Selection” refers to the procedures and decisions that determine which materials are added to the collection or retained in the collection.  It does not refer to reader’s advisory activities. The Library will maintain access to an up-to-date array of selection tools to help the staff in the decision process such as reviewing services and catalogs of recommended purchases, i.e. Library Journal, Horn Book Magazine, School Library Journal, and the Standard Catalog Series from H. W. Wilson.  Reviews are also found on the World Wide Web sites for Books In Print, Amazon.com, and others.

The Library recognizes its responsibility to have available a representative selection of materials on subjects of interest to its patrons.  The selection of materials is a primary activity within the Library and is based on the needs and requests of patrons of all ages, races, and creeds and of organizations with a wide range of interests.  The goal of all phases of the selection is to establish a representative collection of materials of high quality, based on achieving the Library’s expected services.

The Library will always endeavor to balance special group interests with general demand, and to present both sides of every controversial subject handled fairly and truthfully.  It also strives to maintain a true balance between its duty to present information on all aspects of public questions and its determination not to become a propaganda vehicle for enemies of our society or its institutions.  Representative items, such as Mein Kampf or the Communist Manifesto, are retained for their social or historical significance, but the political or social affiliations of a specific author is not cause for selection or rejection of his work.  The Library takes no sides in public issues, it does not attempt to promote any beliefs or points of view, and it does not endorse the opinions expressed in materials held.  The Library recognizes its responsibility to provide materials presenting various points of view, within the limitations of space, budget, and availability, to enable people to make their own decisions.

Demand is a valid factor in materials selection.  Materials selected for this service will be of popular interest and in high demand or of significant current interest, not always of enduring value.  Bestsellers are evaluated on their individual merits following selection policies. Factors influencing selection of an item include:

  • Reputation of the author and his significance as a writer
  • Importance of the subject matter to the collection
  • Scarcity of material on the subject
  • Timeliness or permanence of the material
  • Appearance of the titles in special bibliographies or indexes
  • Authoritativeness
  • Reputation and standing of the publisher
  • Availability of the material from other sources
  • Price
  • Format

Generally excluded from consideration will be materials that are deliberately distorted or are solely sensational, offensive, or erotic.  On the other hand, serious works that present an honest aspect of certain problems of life in our society are not necessarily excluded because of coarse language or frankness.  The Library will purchase a textbook only if its content is of value, it will fill a gap in the book collection and it will be in demand by the general public.  The Library will not purchase a volume purely because it is a textbook for a class offered in the community.  The Library does not purchase religious books of an obviously denominational nature whose primary purpose is to present one sect as superior to another.

Materials that display, in pictures or words, men or women in a manner that aims primarily to titillate the reader, are pornographic in nature, or do not serve the needs and interests of the community as a whole are not be purchased.

Patrons not finding desired material in the Library’s collection may request it.  The material will be obtained for the patron through interlibrary loan or purchase.  Since the purpose of interlibrary loan is not to satisfy demand for current material, the Library will purchase recent material if it is in accordance with the selection policy. Duplicate titles of adult books are bought as popular demand indicates.  When the demand has subsided, a maximum of two copies of a title are kept with a few exceptions as designated by the Library Director.  The children’s collection will have duplicates as demand requires. The goal is that a child should receive a requested title within 1 1/2 months.

The Library recognizes that many materials are controversial and that any given item may offend someone.  Selection is not made based on any assumed approval or disapproval, but solely on the merit of the work as it relates to the Library’s objectives and as it serves the needs and interests of the community as a whole. Patrons finding certain materials objectionable to the community may request that they be reconsidered by using the “Request for Reconsideration” form.

Since the Library is a tax-supported institution, any citizen has the right to question the inclusion or exclusion of any title in the Library’s collection.  The Library staff will make every attempt to listen to and understand the person’s complaint.  Procedures exist to insure consideration of any request for removal or restriction of any item on the Library’s shelves.  However, until such an examination has been made and a decision reached by the Library Director, no such removal or restriction shall take place.  Since all political, religious, and social opinions should be represented in a public Library, no group or individual will be permitted to impose a partisan emphasis upon the Library’s collection.  Frankness of language, a widespread and contemporary phenomenon, will not be, in itself, sufficient justification to remove or restrict materials.  Each item, as each human being, must be judged on its own merit.  Citizens unwilling to accept the Library Director’s decision in such cases may appeal the matter to the Library Board of Trustees.

Adult Materials

Materials relevant to their day-to-day needs, interests, and activities are chosen for adults.  All backgrounds, abilities, and levels of education are considered as materials are selected.  The broad range of adult fiction poses a special problem in book selection.  The Library has no arbitrary single standard of literary quality for adult fiction.  It attempts to satisfy a public varying greatly in education, interests, tastes, and reading skills.

Young Adult Materials

A collection of paperback fiction is maintained for young adults; it is general and recreational in nature.  Young adults are expected to use the adult reference and information services.

Children’s Materials

The aim of service to children is to provide books and materials to meet the reading interests and needs of the children from infancy through the completion of elementary school.  The standards stated in this policy apply equally to materials for children. Individuals may reject for themselves or their children items they find unsuitable, but they may not exercise censorship over others.  Parents who wish to limit or restrict the reading of their own children should personally oversee their selections.

Parents or legal guardians are ultimately responsible for what their minor children read.  The possibility that certain items may come into the possession of minors does not limit the selection of adult materials.  Parents may notify the Library that their minor children must have parental consent before they can check out any adult fiction or materials dealing with adult sex education.

(revised 2/10/03)
(revised 10/10/06)
(revised 12/06/16)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.