I. Purpose of Policy
The Materials Selection Policy of the Seymour Public Library has been formulated to serve as a document for the Head Librarian and Board of Directors in the selection of library materials, and to inform the public clearly as to the principles upon which selections of library materials are made.
II. Statement on Intellectual Freedom
The Seymour Public Library subscribes to the Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read Statement, and the related supportive documents of the American Library Association, which affirms, among other principles, its belief in the following basic policies:
1. As a responsibility of library service, books and other library materials selected should be chosen for values of interest, information and enlightenment of all the people of the community. In no case should library materials be excluded because of the race, gender, nationality, social, political, or religious views of the authors.
2. Libraries have a responsibility to provide books and other materials presenting several diverse points of view concerning the problems and issues of our time. No library materials should be proscribed or removed from libraries because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
3. Censorship should be challenged by Libraries in the maintenance of their responsibility to provide public information and enlightenment.
4. The rights of an individual to the use of a library should not be denied or abridged because of age, race, gender, religion, national origins, or social or political views.
Copies of the Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read Statement, and other pertinent documents can be found in the appendix of this policy statement.
III. The Library’s Service and Collection Goals
The purpose of the Seymour Public Library is to provide free library service on an equal basis to all residents of the Town of Seymour, as well as, to library card holders from other communities throughout Connecticut under the Connecticard program. The Library seeks to provide such service to the best of its ability with the means available, and to increase those means whenever possible.
In order to provide useful and high-quality library service, the library acquires, organizes, and makes available materials for the educational, informational, cultural, and recreational needs of the community as determined by the Board of Library Directors and the Head Librarian. Such materials typically include, but are not limited to, books, magazines, newspapers, audio recordings, video, downloadable audio and eBooks and online databases, i.e. Auto Repair, Consumer Reports online.
IV. Responsibility for Selection of Materials
Final responsibility for selecting new books and other library materials lies with the Head Librarian, who may delegate, to such staff members as are deemed qualified by reason of education and/or experience, authority to make selections in designated areas. Should there be community concern about specific items in the library collections, this should be brought to the Head Librarian for resolution. The Head Librarian will confer with the Library Board of Directors referencing the American Library Association Bill of Rights.
All materials etc. selections should be made in conformity with the principles and criteria set forth in this policy statement.
V. Selection Sources
Sources from which library materials will be selected for purchase include, but are not limited to, the following:
1. Current review journals (Library Journal, School Library Journal, Booklist, Publishers Weekly, etc.).
2. Newspaper review columns.
4. Bookstores (First: local stores Second: national stores).
5. Book salespersons.
6. Displays at library meetings
7. Publisher catalogs and announcements.
8. Demonstrated usage of existing materials.
9. Online resources.
VI. Criteria for Selection
The selection of books and other library materials, whether acquired by purchase or gift, will be based on the following criteria:
1. The appropriateness of the material in relation to the interests and needs of the Library’s users and of the community as a whole.
2. The value of the material for educational, informational, cultural, and recreational purposes.
3. The timeliness of information.
4. The contribution of the material toward strengthening the existing collection or expanding its scope.
5. The accuracy, authoritativeness, and competence of presentation.
6. Requests from individuals to which the above criteria can be applied.
7. The permanent value of the material based on literary or scholarly excellence and other inherent qualities, considered without regard to demand.
8. Budgetary limitations.
It is the goal of the Library to build a balanced collection characterized by materials of current popular interest as well as materials of permanent worth. While popular demand is a significant basis for selection, it must be borne in mind that many great works of scholarship and literature are keystones of modern knowledge and culture but may not necessarily be high-demand items. It is Library policy to select, along with popular-demand items, materials of permanent value.
Textbooks will not be considered for purchase unless such items constitute the best available source of information in a subject. Such materials must serve the general public and the adult learning community in order to be considered.
Every attempt will be made through the Bibliomation Network or other equivalent resource to procure as many copies of title as possible for student projects or community activities. However, multiple copies cannot be purchased in response to student academic projects or related work, which the school curriculum should properly be expected to meet.
It is not the Library’s policy automatically to replace every item when lost or worn out. Need for replacement is weighed in relation to the number of duplicate copies already owned; existence of adequate coverage in the subject field; other similar materials in the collection; and the demand for the specific author, title or subject. It is often more desirable to purchase more up-to-date materials than to continue replacing older ones.
VII. Materials for Children and Young Adults
The children’s collection contains materials most suited to the abilities and interests of library users between the ages of pre-school and eleven, while young adult materials are those most suited to the abilities and interests of library users between the ages of twelve and fifteen.
Both children’s and young adult materials are selected with the same care and judgment, and following the same criteria, as are adult materials. Also like adult materials, they will be as varied in format, content, reading level, etc., as possible within existing budgetary limitations.
It is the Library’s policy to allow children and young adults free access to the adult collection for the use of advanced materials for personal and educational enrichment.
The Library recognizes and accepts the role of the parent or legal guardian in supervising the reading material of their child. The Library staff cannot be expected to know the content of every book in the Library or to supervise the reading of every young person who uses the Library. The staff is not in a position to judge parental concern and control of reading materials for juvenile users.
Selection of library materials for the wider community cannot be inhibited by the possibility that specific items of an advanced nature may come into the possession of children.
The Library has a responsibility to provide books and other materials presenting several diverse points of view concerning the problems and issues of our time. It must, therefore, be understood clearly that ownership of library material does not in any way constitute an endorsement by the Library of the ideas or viewpoints expressed therein.
Selections of library materials are not made on the basis of any anticipated approval or disapproval by specific individuals or groups, but solely on the merits of the works in relation to building the collection and serving the needs of library users and the community as a whole. While the Library is aware that one or more persons may take issue with the selection of specific items, the Library does not have to remove from the collection items purchased in accordance with the criteria specified above. Nor will library materials be marked in such a way as to show approval or disapproval, and all materials will stand on open shelves, except to protect specific items from damage or theft or as a result of other unavoidable physical restrictions (materials placed on reserve, lack of sufficient shelf space necessitating basement storage, etc.).
IX. Weeding and Withdrawing
Weeding is important to maintenance of a good library collection and should be performed with the same careful thought and judgment as is selection.
To keep the collection up-to-date and useful, materials should be re-evaluated at regular intervals, with decisions made as to whether to withdraw, repair, rebind, or replace. Materials that should be withdrawn include the following:
1. Those proven to be unused over significant periods of time, as defined in accepted professional standards.
2. Those known to be dated and no longer accurate.
3. Those too badly damaged, worn, soiled, etc. to be repaired or rebound, unless unique.
4. Those with unattractive formats (small print, yellowed paper, etc.), unless the contents are unique or irreplaceable.
Final responsibility for re-evaluating the library collection and making decisions to withdraw, repair, rebind, or replace lies with the Head Librarian, who may delegate, to such staff members as are deemed qualified by reason of education and/or experience, authority to re-evaluate designated areas. Unusual problems are to be referred to the Head Librarian for resolution.
As a rule, the Library will accept gifts without commitment as to final disposition, as follows:
1. If the material is already in the collection, it will be added only if it is in good condition, if a duplicate is needed, if existing copies need replacement, and if the material has not been superseded.
2. If the material is not already in the collection, it will be evaluated following the criteria specified in Section VI above. Currency and reliability of information, adequacy of the library collection in the subject field or the author’s work, historical value, local interest, and physical condition all must be considered before expending the time and money to add gifts to the collection.
3. Gifts not needed, if in good condition and of the proper type, will be offered to other libraries or institutions.
4. Gifts not usable in the library collection or elsewhere will be sold, disposed of, or placed in the Library’s book sale.
5. Generally, collections of materials will not be accepted with donor restrictions or conditions which necessitate special housing or which prevent integration of the gift into the general library collection with like materials.
6. Gift materials will be subject to the same standards of classification, cataloging, circulation, weeding, and withdrawal as are purchased materials.
7. Librarians are not professional appraisers, and the Library cannot provide dollar valuations for gift materials received. The Library will provide the donor with a statement showing the number of items and type of material accepted.
8. The Library welcomes gifts and bequests of money made by individuals or groups for the purchase of library materials. Such gifts may be restricted to the acquisition of specific types of materials, provided they conform to the criteria specified in Sections VI and VII above. Otherwise, choice of materials purchased with these monies will be determined by the Head Librarian, in conformity with this policy.
XI. Local History and Genealogy
A collection of useful materials pertaining to the history and genealogy of Seymour, the Naugatuck River Valley, New Haven County, and the State of Connecticut will be maintained. Materials such as books and manuscripts can be accommodated. Artifacts or other items which, in the judgment of the Head Librarian, the Library is unable to care for will be referred to the Seymour Historical Society or to other appropriate agencies.
XII. Extending Resources
The Library endeavors to add as many new and varied materials to its collection as possible within the confines of budgetary limitations, but cannot purchase every item needed or requested. It will at all times attempt to extend its resources through cooperation with other libraries and information resources and through active use of the interlibrary loan system.
XIII. Requests for Reconsideration of Materials
Individuals with objections to specific materials in the Library’s collection should bring their concerns to the attention of the Head Librarian. If, after discussing their concern with the Head Librarian, the patron wishes to pursue the matter further, they will be required to state their specific complaint in writing by completing the Seymour Public Library’s “Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials” form (copy attached). All parts of the form must be completed and the form signed and dated. The form will then be reviewed carefully by the Head Librarian and a reply will be made to the patron after the review process is completed.
If still dissatisfied, the patron may, at this time, ask that their “Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials” form be brought before the next meeting of the Board of Library Directors. Such a request must be made only after the Head Librarian has reviewed and denied the original request. The Board will then review its original request and the decisions of the Head Librarian, discuss the issues raised, and respond to the patron after the review process is completed. The decision of the Board of Library Directors will be final.
Review of Materials Selection Policy
This policy will be reviewed once a year, if changes are required then the Library Board of Directors will vote on such changes proposed. This material will be distributed to all new members of the Library Board and the original copy will remain with the Head Librarian.
As approved by The Board of Library Directors 12/12