Collection Development Policy

Materials Selection Policy


The purpose of this policy on materials selection is to guide in the selection of materials and to inform the public about the principles upon which selections are made.


The Library acquires, organizes, makes available, and encourages the use of all media, print and non-print that:

  1. contribute to the individual’s awareness of self and community while providing insight into a wide range of human and social conditions and various cultural heritages;
  2. meet the informational and recreational needs of the entire community;
  3. stimulate thoughtful participation in the affairs of the community, the state, the nation, and the world;
  4. give free access to a variety of opinions and ideas;
  5. assist individuals to grow intellectually and culturally.

Responsibility for Selection of Materials

The selection of materials for the collection is the responsibility of the Director and is done so within the framework of the policies determined by the Board of Trustees. The Director may delegate selection of particular materials to qualified staff. The Library welcomes suggestions for selection from the staff, board, and community.

Criteria for Selection

Each type of material must be considered in terms of its own merit and the audience for whom it is intended. No single standard can be applied in all cases. The following criteria should be used as a guideline in the selection process. An item need not meet all of the criteria in order to be acceptable.

  1. Reviews by critics and reviewers in professionally recognized periodicals.
  2. Suitability of physical form for library use.
  3. Suitability of subject and style for intended audience.
  4. Reputation and literary significance of the author.
  5. Relevance to community needs.
  6. Importance as a document of the times.
  7. Relation to existing library collections and other materials on the subject.
  8. Accuracy and authority.
  9. Popular appeal and demand.
  10. Local significance.
  11. Availability of material in other libraries.
  12. Price.
  13. Representation of important movement, genre, or trend of culture.
  14. Artistic presentation.
  15. Vitality and originality.
  16. Space.
  17. Availability of material in print or other format.
  18. Representation of challenging point of view.
  19. Permanent value as source materials or interpretation.

All of these specific factors do not and will not apply to every item selected. The aim of this policy is to facilitate the building of a diversified library collection of merit and significance that reflects the interests and needs of the total community within the physical and budgetary constraints of the Library.

Knowledgeable people in specific subject areas and reputable, unbiased, professionally-prepared selection aids and booklists may also be consulted.


The Library welcomes and encourages donations and gifts of library materials with the understanding that there are not “strings” or conditions attached, and that the gift meets the same standards of value required of materials purchased. Gifts not meeting these standards, those that are out of date, unneeded duplicates, or those in a format unsuitable for Library use may be refused, returned to the owner, given to other organizations, sol, or discarded as the Library sees fit. If the donor objects to these conditions he or she is, of course, free not to make the gift/donation.

At the time of the donation of materials, the donor will be given a Gift Material Receipt if wanted for tax purposes. The appraisal of gift materials to the Library is the responsibility of the donor. No monetary value can be set on gifts of books or other materials by the Library.

Weeding the Collection

Weeding the collection is a necessary adjunct of book selection. Materials will be weeded/withdrawn from the collection according to accepted professional practices. Criteria for withdrawing materials includes items that are:

  1. out of date,
  2. in poor physical condition,
  3. insufficiently used,
  4. available in newer editions,
  5. no longer popular or in demand,
  6. little used material duplicated in the region.

The Director may delegate weeding of particular materials to qualified staff. The final decision to withdraw an item from the collection is the decision of the Director. All withdrawn items are placed in the Library book sale or recycled.


The selection of library materials is predicated on the Library patron’s right to read, and similarly, his/her freedom from censorship by others. Many books are controversial, and any given item may offend some persons. The Library’s collection contains a diversity of viewpoints and opinions, and the presence of an item in the Library does not indicate an endorsement of its contents by the Library. Selection of materials by the Jasper Dubois County Contractual Public Library will not, however, be made on the basis of anticipated approval or disapproval, but solely on the merits of the material in relation to building the collection and to serving the interest of the readers.

The Library holds censorship to be a purely individual matter and declares that while anyone is free to reject for him or herself books or other materials of which he/she does not approve, he/she cannot exercise this right of censorship to restrict the freedom of others.

With respect to the use of Library materials by children, the decision as to what a minor may or may not read is the responsibility of the parent or guardian. Selection will not be inhibited by the possibility that books may come into the possession of minors.

Challenged Materials

The principle of the freedom to read is of paramount importance. Whenever a patron objects to the presence or absence of a book or other Library material, the patron should discuss the matter with the Director. If the patron wishes the material to be removed from or added to the collection, he/she should fill out the library’s form, Statement of Concern about Library Material, and return it to the Director. Items are considered for removal or addition only if this form is filled out properly and signed; no action will be taken on the basis of verbal complaint alone. The item in question will be re-examined by the Director and other Library staff involved in materials selection. The Director and Board of Trustees shall decide whether the item in question will be kept or added to the collection, moved to another part of the collection, or removed from the collection. The complainant will be notified in writing of the Library’s decision.

Labeling of Materials

The fact that materials are purchased, processed, and added to the collection shall in no way reflect a value judgment of the materials. There will be no labeling of any item to indicate it point of view or bias.

Access to Materials

All materials will be shelved in their proper order on open shelves, freely and easily accessible to the public except for irreplaceable or frequently stolen materials that need to be protected from theft and/or damage.

Children are not limited to the juvenile collection, although the juvenile collection may be kept together to facilitate use. Responsibility for a chid’s reading must rest with the parent or guardian, not with the Library. Children’s reading cannot be monitored in the Library. Request for circulation cannot be judged or denied since Library employees cannot know the maturity of every child nor can they know every parent’s wishes in this area.

This policy was approved and adopted on February 6, 2002 by the Jasper Public Library. The Board of Trustees of this Library further declare that it adopts the Library Bill of Rights and supports the Freedom to Read Statement, both of which are appended to this Materials Selection policy and are interpreted to include all Library materials regardless of format.