Policy last updated: December 15, 2020
The purpose of the Milton-Union Public Library materials selection policy is to guide library staff and to inform the public about the principles upon which selections are made.
A policy cannot replace the judgement of library staff, but stating goals and indicating boundaries will assist them in choosing from the vast array of materials available.
The Library’s major goal in materials selection is to secure for all residents of Union Township the informational, educational, cultural, and recreational materials in all media, both published and unpublished, that fit their needs. Consequently, the Library’s collection reflects the collective informational, educational, cultural, and recreational needs of the community as opposed to any one individual’s needs. The Library uses other available avenues – interlibrary loan, appropriate referral, or redirection – to serve the individual whose needs are either outside the scope of the Library’s collection or are remote from the acknowledged collective needs of the community the Library primarily serves.
The word “materials” has the widest possible meaning; it may include books (hardbound and paperback), pamphlets, maps, magazines and journals, comic books, newspapers, manuscripts, films, sound discs, DVDs, games, puzzles, art reproductions or original art work.
RESPONSIBILITY FOR MATERIALS SELECTION
Final responsibility for selection lies with the Board of Library Trustees. However, the Board delegates to the Director authority to interpret and guide the application of the policy in making day-to-day selections. The Director may authorize other staff to apply this policy in building collections, e.g. children’s, inspirational, young adult, fiction, etc. Unusual problems will be referred to the Director and in exceptional cases, he/she will present comprehensive information to the Board of Trustees.
The primary objective of selection shall be to collect materials of contemporary significance and/or of permanent value. The Library will always be guided by a sense of responsibility to both present and future patrons in adding materials which will enrich the collections and maintain an overall balance. The Library also recognizes a duty to make available, in a timely manner, materials for enlightenment and recreation, even though such materials may not have enduring interest or value.
DUTIES OF LIBRARY STAFF
All staff members selecting library materials will be expected to keep the objectives in mind and apply their knowledge and experience in making decisions.
No item in a library collection can be indisputably accepted or rejected by any established given guide or standard; however, certain basic principles can be applied as guidelines. Every item must meet such of the following criteria as are applicable to its inclusion in the collection.
- Resources are selected to fill the needs of both actual and potential users within the constraints of space, availability of funds, and perceived needs of the primary service area of the Library.
- Each resource is evaluated according to its importance to the collection and the audience for whom it is intended.
- Each resource is evaluated according to professional standards for its type and format which could include any of these criteria: accuracy, scope, timeliness, readability or technical quality, social significance or relevancy, literary or recreational value, authority of the author or source, relationship to other materials or resources in its field or format, comprehensiveness, clarity and effectiveness of its presentation, accessibility, usability of arrangement, appropriateness of format.
A resource which does not meet the standards for its type may still be selected if it presents a point of view not otherwise represented in the collection or if community demand justifies purchase or access.
Resources of current interest, which may be of temporary value, are selected if timeliness gives them relevance. Resources of potential future value, for which immediate demand is small, are selected for their lasting importance.
- A resource is evaluated as a whole, not on the basis of a particular section or sections.
- Resources representing different viewpoints on controversial issues will be acquired or made available, including those which may have unpopular or unorthodox positions. The Library recognizes the importance of making available a variety of viewpoints, realizing that one patron may consider a resource meaningful even though that resource might offend other patrons.
- A resource will not be selected, or excluded from selection, solely for the reason of the race, color, religion, gender, sexual preference, national origin, disability, age, ancestry, or other characteristic of the author or the source.
- A resource will not be excluded from the selection solely because of its frankness of expression, unorthodox language, nontraditional theme, or unusual presentation.
- The availability of the resource in the service area of the library or the accessibility of a resource through interlibrary loan does affect the selection process and is especially important when evaluating specialized resources within the context of the collective needs of the community.
- One area where resources will be selected regardless of selection criteria is Union Township local history. The library will strive toward comprehensiveness in this area.
ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR SELECTION
- The Library takes cognizance of the purposes and resources of other libraries in the Miami Valley area and shall not needlessly duplicate functions and materials. Through cooperative agreements with SEO (Serving Every Ohioan), State Library of Ohio, and neighboring municipal, county, or academic libraries, the resources of these libraries may be available to Milton-Union library patrons.
- The Library acknowledges educational programs for students of all ages provided by the educational institutions in the area. Textbooks and curriculum-related materials for these programs are provided where the materials also serve the general public or where they provide information not otherwise available.
- Legal and medical works will be acquired only to the extent that they are useful to the layperson.
- The Library acknowledges a particular interest in local and state history; therefore, it will seek to acquire state and county public documents, and it will take a broad view of works by and about Ohio authors as well as general works relating to the State of Ohio. However, the Library is not under any obligation to add to its collection everything about Ohio or produced by authors, printers, or publishers with Ohio connections.
- Because the Library serves a public embracing a wide range of ages, educational backgrounds, and reading abilities, it will always seek to select materials of varying complexity.
- In selecting materials for the collection, the Library will pay due regard to the special, commercial, industrial, cultural, and civic enterprises of the community.
USE OF LIBRARY MATERIALS
The Library recognizes that many materials are controversial and that any given item may offend a library user. Selections will not be made on the basis of any anticipated approval or disapproval, but solely on the merits of the work in relation to building the collections and to serving the interests of library users.
Library materials will not be marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of the contents, and no item will be sequestered except for the express purpose of protecting it from injury or theft. The use of rare and scarce items of great value may be controlled to the extent required to preserve them from harm, but no further. Parents and/or legal guardians are responsible for the reading, listening, and viewing of library materials by their minor children.
The Library accepts gifts of materials but reserves the right to evaluate and to dispose of them in accordance with the criteria applied to purchased materials. Gifts which are not in accordance with the Library’s objectives and policies will not be added to the collection. Book plates may be provided for gifts. No other conditions may be imposed on any gift either before or after its acceptance by the Library.
The Milton-Union Public Library welcomes suggestions for purchase of Library materials. Decision for purchase or inclusion is made by the library staff.
WITHDRAWAL OF MATERIALS
Resources are regularly withdrawn from the collection by the library staff for the following reasons:
- The resource is no longer accurate, current, or timely.
- The item is physically worn or damaged beyond reasonable repair or cannot be rebound properly.
- The item can be replaced at a lower cost than repair or rebinding.
- The resource’s value to collection has decreased as other comparable resources have been added to the collection.
- The resource is no longer being used frequently enough to justify its space in the collection or the staff time to maintain.
Withdrawn items may be sold at a modest price or given away by the New Friends of the Milton-Union Public Library at publicly announced sales with proceeds used by the New Friends of the Milton-Union Public Library to enhance services of the Library.
RECONSIDERATION OF LIBRARY MATERIALS
A procedure is available to assure that objections or complaints about Library resources are handled in an attentive and consistent manner. The Library will review the selection of a specific item upon the written submission of a completed “Citizen’s Request for Reconsideration of Library Resources” form.