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Collection Development Policy

The Board of Trustees of the San Miguel County Public Library District #1 [the District] has adopted the following Collection Development Policy to guide library staff and to inform the public about the principles upon which library collections are developed and maintained.

The Mission Statement of the District guides the library staff in the selection of materials.

“The San Miguel County Public Library District #1 is dedicated to every individual’s freedom to pursue knowledge by providing equal access to information resources through a variety of media and services.”

The District acquires and makes available materials that inform, educate, entertain and enrich individuals within the District. Since no library can possibly acquire all print and non-print materials, every library must employ a policy of selectivity in acquisitions. The District provides, within its financial limitations, a general collection of reliable materials embracing broad areas of knowledge. Included are works of enduring value and timely materials on current issues.

Other resources available in the community and region are taken into consideration when developing the collection. Additional information may be accessed through electronic resources. Online resources will be selected using the same principles that are applied to books and other formats.

Impartiality and judicious selection will be exercised in all material acquisition practices. Allocation of the materials budget and the number of items purchased for each area of the collection will be determined by indicators such as use, the average cost per item and objectives for development of the collection as expressed in the District’s Collection Development Policy.

The District supports the individual’s right to access ideas and information representing all points of view. To this end, the District welcomes and solicits patron suggestions, comments and ideas about the collection and its development. The District’s Board of Trustees has adopted the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, The Freedom to Read Statement and Freedom to View Statement.

Collection Development Objectives of the District

Collection development should reflect the philosophy inherent in Article I of the Library Bill of Rights: “Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.”

The District adopts the following objectives:

  • To provide materials that meet the district’s interests and needs in a timely manner.
  • To provide materials and programming to preschool and K – 12 children that encourage and promote continued learning.
  • To provide a broadly based and diverse collection that can support the roles of the
    District in providing both general information and current topics and titles.
  • To strive to provide a balance of viewpoints on a variety of subjects.
  • To purchase current materials proportionate to levels of demand and use, taking care to anticipate and respond to indications of significant new needs.
  • To practice ongoing collection management, using data for continuous collection
    evaluation. Worn, obsolete and dated materials will be weeded from the collection on an on-going basis.
  • To keep abreast of technological changes which affect the development of the collection and addition of material in new formats.
  • To continue and expand participation in resource sharing within the State of Colorado and promote the availability of shared materials to District users.
  • To improve the presentation of the collection and increase the visibility of collection.
  • To improve the presentation of the automated catalog in order to promote the existing print and electronic collections and shared resources.
  • To provide reliable and timely information via the purchase of electronic subscription databases.
  • To increase the use of underused areas of the physical collection through the promotion and weeding of existing materials and the addition of new materials.
  • To increase the use of the electronic collection through promotion and patron training opportunities.
  • To increase the accessibility of collections by offering 24/7 access to electronic
    collections.
  • To meet Colorado State Library standards for materials spending as a percentage of the operating budget.

Additionally, the District is committed to building and maintaining a diverse and inclusive collection. A diverse and inclusive collection should contain content by and about a wide array of people and cultures to authentically reflect a variety of ideas, information, stories, and experiences. Developing a diverse collection requires:

  • Selecting content in multiple formats.
  • Considering resources from self-published, independent, small and local producers.
  • Seeking content created by and representative of marginalized and underrepresented groups.
  • Evaluating how diverse collection resources are cataloged, labeled, and displayed.
  • Including content in all of the languages used in the community that the District serves, when possible.
  • Meeting the needs of users with disabilities.

Material Selection Guidelines

Responsibility for Selection

Ultimate responsibility for material selection rests with the Director, who operates within the framework of policies determined by the District’s Board of Trustees. The selection process is delegated by Library Department Managers to the appropriate Library staff members. The selectors ensure that their choices reflect the guidelines in the Collection Development Policy. They are responsible for choosing appropriate materials, weeding the collection to keep materials current with need and demand, seeing that materials are in good physical condition and replacing them whenever necessary, and spending the allocated budgets in a timely and organized manner. The selectors make use of appropriate selection tools, and may consult with outside professionals in specific subject areas when needed.

Criteria for Selection

The evaluation of materials is characterized by flexibility, open-mindedness, and responsiveness to the changing needs of the District. A work will not be excluded from the District’s collection because it presents a viewpoint that is contrary to a patron’s beliefs. Best practices in collection development assert that materials should not be excluded from a collection solely because the content or its creator may be considered offensive or controversial. Refusing to select resources due to potential controversy is considered censorship, as is withdrawing resources for that reason. Materials are
evaluated as a whole and not on the basis of a particular passage or passages.

All acquisitions, whether purchased or donated, are considered in terms of the following standards. 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 patron demand.

The following general criteria are used:

  • Present and potential relevance to community needs and interests.
  • Suitability of subject, style, and reading level for the intended audience.
  • Insight into human and social conditions.
  • Importance as a document of the times.
  • Reputation and/or significance of author.
  • Demand for the material.
  • Critics’ reviews or recommendations from staff and patrons.
  • Reputation of publisher or producer.
  • Relationship to existing materials in the collection on the same subject.
  • Availability and accessibility of the same materials in other libraries.

Selection Tools

Tools used in selection include standard review sources, trade journals, publishers’ catalogs and selection lists and recommendations and suggestions from patrons and staff.

Purchase Suggestions

Library patrons are encouraged to participate in the collection development process so that the District can build a collection that reflects the needs and interests of the community served. The Library will provide a venue for patrons to suggest titles for purchase. Suggested titles will be reviewed using the criteria outline above.

For items not purchased, patrons will have the option to request items through resource sharing partners.

Material Format

Material is purchased in the most appropriate format for District use. Books are generally purchased in hardcover editions for durability. However, paperback editions may be purchased in cases where the hardcover edition is expensive and a trade paperback is available. Mass-market paperbacks are purchased only when there are no other formats
available. Library editions and hardcovers are purchased for heavily used titles in the Youth Services Department for durability. Textbooks will normally not be selected for the collection; however, a textbook may be included in the collection when it is appropriate for the subject area.

Visual formats purchased for the District include DVDs for adult and youth collections, as well as foreign-language films.

New formats will be considered for the collection when, by national and community trends and by evidence from local requests, a significant portion of the community population has the necessary technology to make use of the format. Availability of items in the format, the cost per item and the District’s ability to acquire and handle the items will also be factors in determining when a new format will be collected. Similar considerations will influence the decision to delete a format from the District’s collection.

Subscription electronic resources, along with links to authoritative websites, form a vital part of the collection as materials become available in digital formats.

Multiple Copies

The District may purchase multiple copies of titles having high patron demand and taking into account the availability of titles within the resource sharing consortium. In subject areas such as travel books where the interest is in the subject more than a particular title, the District prefers to buy one or two copies of several different titles instead of buying numerous copies of one title.

Replacements

Material that has been lost or damaged may be replaced using the same criteria as for selection. Other factors which selectors must consider when deciding on replacements include the number of copies of a title the District owns, the availability of newer material on the subject, the importance of the work in its field, and its cost.

Rare and Expensive Books

The District believes that materials selected for the circulation collection should be judged on merit and value to the collection, rather than the cost of an item. If an item is rare or expensive (e.g., out of print, in fragile condition, and/or over $250 in price), the selector will check to see what other materials on the subject are in the collection, how this new title compares and the importance of the title to the development of the collection. If the selector decides it is needed, the title will be added to the collection and treated as any other item. If it is lost or damaged, the selector will decide if it should be replaced.

Gifts

Gifts of books and other library material are accepted by the District with the understanding that they will be considered for addition to the collection in accordance with the Collection Development Policy. The District reserves the right to sell or otherwise dispose of gift material not added to the collection. Generally, collections of books cannot be accepted with restrictions necessitating special housing or which prevent integration of the gift into the collection. Donors may request to have the material carry the name of the donor on a gift bookplate.

The District will not assign a value to any gift material. However, the District can provide a receipt for the number of items donated if requested. Gifts of funds are always welcome and appreciated. Recommendations from the donor are honored so far as the suggestions are in accord with the Collection Development Policy.

Collection Maintenance

Systematic weeding of the collection is required in order to keep the collection responsive to patrons’ needs, to insure its vitality and usefulness to the community and to make room for newer material. Weeding identifies damaged items, out-of-date material, low circulation and duplicate copies. Withdrawn material that is in good condition may be put in the Friends of the Library book sale, sent to Better World Books or offered to other libraries. Back issues of periodicals will be removed from the collection according to an established retention schedule.

Reconsideration of Library Material

A singular obligation of the public library is to reflect within its collection differing points of view. The District does not endorse particular beliefs or views, nor does the selection of an item express or imply endorsements of the viewpoint of the author. District material will not be marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of the contents, nor will items be sequestered.

Parents and legal guardians are responsible for the oversight and/or selection of materials for or by children and adolescents. While a person may reject materials for him/herself and for his/her children, s/he cannot exercise censorship to restrict access to the materials by others.

The District welcomes expression of opinion by individuals, but will be governed by the Collection Development Policy in making additions to or deleting items from the collection.

Individuals wishing reconsideration of library material are encouraged to discuss their concerns with a Library Manager or the Library Director. Individuals not satisfied with the response to their request can request a formal “Request for Reconsideration of Library materials” form, which may then be submitted to the Library Director.

Steps in a Reconsideration Request

  1. Individual(s) completes Reconsideration Request form and attaches any published reviews available of the material in question.
  2. Submits form to Library Director.
  3. Library Director, in consultation with Library staff/selectors, will review the request and the material in question to consider whether the selection follows criteria stated in the Collection Development Policy.
  4. Within 15 days, the Library Director will notify the individual(s) in writing of the decision and state the reasons for the decision.
  5. The material will remain on the shelf and be available to the public during the
    reconsideration process.

Steps in a Reconsideration Appeal

  1. Individuals not satisfied with the decision of the Director, within 10 days of receiving the decision, may request a meeting before the District’s Board of Trustees by making a written request to the President of the Board.
  2. Upon receipt of the request, the Board may make the request an agenda item and the individual(s) will be notified of the time and place of the Board meeting. The Board reserves the right to limit the length of presentation and number of speakers at the meeting.
  3. After hearing from the person(s) making the reconsideration request, the Board will determine whether the request for reconsideration has been handled in accordance with stated policies and procedures of the District, will review the background information provided by the library staff, will review the position of the patron and will also review the decision of the Director.
  4. Based on the information presented, the Board may vote to uphold or override the decision of the Director. The decision of the Board is final.

Printable Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials

Online Form for Reconsideration of Library Materials

Date Approved: 10/29/2003
Approved by: Wilkinson Public Library Board of Trustees
Date Amended/Modified: 02/21/2006; 10/09/2007; 10/24/2012; 03/17/2022