Materials Selection Policy
The Library provides services for the entirety of Davis County, which includes citizens of different ages, races, ethnic backgrounds, religions, physical abilities, educational backgrounds, differing political and social opinions and cultural perspectives. These services include the comprehensive oversight of the resources and materials, both print and nonprint, that are included in the library’s collections. Responsibility for use of library resources by minors rests with the parents or guardians.
The Materials Selection Policy is intended to provide guidance within budgetary and space limitations for the evaluation, selection and purchase of materials that meet the diverse needs of the citizens of Davis County. This policy exists to serve as a guide in the selection of materials and to inform the public about the principles upon which selections are made.
Community, Neutrality and the Library
The Library strives to remain neutral in how it collects materials and does not endorse or represent any of the ideas, opinions or points of view held within library owned materials. Selectors choose materials for varying levels of information, entertainment, education, reading levels, age levels, differing social/religious customs and languages which are available in all branches of the Davis County Library.
Recognizing that the Library can purchase only a small fraction of the materials published, the Davis County Library Board of Directors has established the following policies in order to:
- Contribute to fulfilling the mission and roles of the Library, as established by the Board of Directors;
- Provide principles and standards for assisting the Director and staff in designing collection development plans and procedures;
- Guide the Director and staff members in the selection of materials for acquisition efficiently and effectively and;
- Inform the public of the principles, standards, methods, and procedures that govern the selection of materials and the growth of the collection.
The Board of Directors also recognizes that library service to a large community with diverse informational, educational and recreational needs requires policies which, while providing guidance, permit the Director and staff the latitude to select materials in a context supportive of their professional judgment. Consequently, it is the intent of the Board of Directors that these policies be interpreted as broadly as is arguably compatible with the mission and roles of the Library and with the spectrum of community interests and needs.
In the most general terms, the Library Board of Directors--through the policies it establishes-- promotes, supports, and respects the right of patrons to read and inquire within the informational and cultural context of current society. The Library Board of Directors encourages patrons to take active advantage of this right by making choices among library materials for themselves and their children, while respecting the rights of other patrons to exercise that same right to choose.
Materials are purchased for inclusion in the Davis County Library if they:
- Contribute to fulfilling the mission and roles of the Library, as established by the Board of Directors;
- Comply with long-term and short-term collection development plans formulated by the Director with the assistance of the staff; and,
- Meet the criteria for selection established in these policies.
Responsibility for Selection
The Library Director is responsible for administering all material selection and collection development activities, and for enforcing all selection and collection development policies. The Director may delegate the authority for supervising and undertaking various aspects of material selection and collection development to designated staff members, however, the final responsibility for these matters remains with the Library Director.
General Material Selection Criteria
Selection criteria, statements of the mission and roles of the Library, and collection development plans are all established with the intent of effectively and responsively meeting the needs of the community for a free and publicly available storehouse of informational, educational and recreational materials. The concept of the “community” is an inclusive one that encompasses citizens of different ages, races and ethnic backgrounds, religions, educational backgrounds and physical abilities. It also encompasses citizens with different political and social opinions and perspectives, and varying preferences for content in print and non-print materials.
However, given its limited resources, the Library also acknowledges that while it serves the needs of the community as a whole to the best of its ability, it may not be able to fulfill the particular or specialized needs of any one segment of the community. Such needs may be more effectively met through referral to, and cooperative arrangements with other libraries, both local and national, than through on-site collection development.
Library collections may include, but are not limited to the following formats: print (e.g. books, magazines, newspapers), non-print (e.g. audio books, compact discs, DVDs) and digital (e.g. databases, eBooks, eAudiobooks, eMusic, and internet information, streamable, downloadable, and similar content). Funding and space considerations make it impossible for all works to be acquired or maintained in all the available formats. The Library recognizes that patrons with preferences for alternate versions may not be able to access a given work in their preferred format.
Selection of materials is made on the basis of interest, popularity, informational content, appropriateness and relevance for the citizens of Davis County of all ages; adult, young adults ages 13 - 17 and children from infancy through age 12. The general criteria considered in selecting material may include:
- Popularity and anticipated patron demand
- Significance and value to the collection
- Reviews in library-specific sources as well as award winners, items receiving critical recognition and items reviewed in the general media
- Currency or timeliness of material
- Local interest
- Qualifications of author, composer, publisher or producer
- Suitability of subject and style for intended audience
- Suitability, durability and quality of format
- Availability of materials in other libraries or through interlibrary loan
- Collection size and building space
In selection, consideration is given to the work as a whole. Materials do not need to meet all of the above criteria and are not to be excluded solely on any one of the following:
- Race, religion, nationality, sex, sexual preference or political views of the author
- Frankness or coarseness of language
- Controversial nature of an item including cover art
- Endorsement or disapproval of an item by an individual or organization
- The possibility that materials may inadvertently come into the possession of children
Additional Selection Criteria
All materials selected under this policy will fall, when considered as a whole, within the broadest boundaries of appropriateness for an institution promoting personal exploration, enjoyment of ideas, access to information, and free inquiry among a diverse citizenry.
When considering materials in various formats or the introduction of new formats and to insure that materials fall within the broad boundaries of appropriateness established in this policy the following are taken into consideration;
- In the absence of review sources or other aids in evaluating items in particular formats, the Library relies on the judgment of qualified professional staff when selecting, with the understanding that the community has available an established process of review involving members of the Board of Directors.
- When a format is too new to the Library to have established a pattern of use and patron interest the Library considers prior patron use of the item in other formats, items similar in content or style in the community or the inclusion of the specific item or similar items on reading lists.
- Appropriateness based on the criteria established in this policy is also determined by the collection in which an item is cataloged, the format in which it is presented or the genre of writing to which it belongs, and as may be further defined by the selection criteria for that collection.
Scope of Collections
Library collections are intended to offer patrons a wide variety of formats, viewpoints and subjects. It is the role of the library, to provide varying points of view within the library collection as far as funds and materials that are available. Items purchased and included in library collections are judged in their entirety, not on isolated passages or sections.
The fiction collection includes classics, current general fiction, best sellers, popular works in major genres such as mysteries, science fiction, and westerns. Also included are locally written fiction and fiction with local appeal as well as works by major world writers. The Library, when making selections, strives to find a balance between collection development plans and patron interest with the highest priority given to those materials with on-going patron demand over works acquired simply to represent an author, school of writing or for historical purposes only.
The nonfiction collection includes a wide range of subjects and utilizes the Dewey Decimal Classification System. The Library recognizes its obligation to make available to the community a range of opinions on newsworthy or controversial issues of the day. In accordance with the framework established by the general selection criteria and within the allocated budget, the Library will endeavor to represent a range of perspectives and opinions on such issues. The Library is not obligated to represent every perspective and opinion on a given issue, or represent them with writings by any particular advocate. However, the Library is obligated to provide fair representation of the range of perspectives and opinions given the materials that are available, and to make reasonable efforts to do so.
The nonfiction collection also includes non-circulating reference materials that are more specialized or are published in multiple volumes that can be consulted and are available during library hours.
The primary purpose of the children’s collection is to serve the needs and interests of children from infancy through elementary school ages. When selecting materials for children the Library follows the general selection criteria as well as choosing items that are written at levels appropriate to young readers in terms of content, language, and format. The library also selects materials that meet the varying developmental stages of children and are of general or specific interest to children.
The children’s collection includes all books listed below and are collected in various formats. Books in which the illustrations are the primary feature are not duplicated generally in the paperback collection, although in some cases, paperback copies are purchased and rebound for inclusion in the main collection.
- Board Books -
- The purpose of board books is to introduce infants, toddlers and preschoolers to words and images and the relationship between the two in book format.
- Board books have sturdy cardboard pages which resist damage from small hands.
- When selecting board books the Library looks for items that are pictorially and thematically suitable for infants and toddlers and recognizes the demand for picture book titles in the board book format as well.
- Picture Books -
- The Library selects titles where the quality of the illustrations are at least satisfactory.
- Vocabulary is generally at a level understandable to a child in the target age range, if not when the child is reading independently, at least when the book is read aloud with an older child or adult.
- Easy Readers -
- The Library selects titles with controlled vocabulary, that are intended to serve as a stepping stone toward independent reading of more complex chapter books.
- While illustrations are an important element in this genre the controlled vocabulary is more central to the intent.
- Fiction -
- Selections are made on the quality of the writing.
- Consideration is given to the type of book or the genre which it represents being at least satisfactory.
- Vocabulary is generally at a level understandable to a child in the targeted age range of early elementary through late elementary, reading independently.
- Nonfiction -
- The Library selects materials that are suitable in terms of language and treatment of the subject for children preschool through early junior high school.
- Consideration is also given to the type of book, the intended reader and that the subject is treated at least satisfactorily and is appropriate for the targeted age group.
- The Library chooses subjects with known interests of children or recurring demand from children or adults for information.
Special Notes - Some works traditionally considered classics of children’s literature may not meet the requirements of these policies, due to the use of vocabulary more sophisticated than is now considered understandable by children. However, in such cases the Library may make an exception in order to retain the work in the children’s collection. The Library may also acquire high-quality abridgements or retellings of such classics to complement the original if it is retained in the children’s collection, or to replace it should the Library chose to have the original included in the young adult or adult collection.
The young adult collection includes both fiction and nonfiction in a variety of formats. Young adult titles are acquired on a highly selective basis, focusing on content and readability for adolescents.
- The young adult collection addresses the needs of readers in the 13 through 17 age range.In defining this age range the Library recognizes that many readers will increasingly draw on items in the adult collection both for informational and recreational reading.
- The young adult collection brings together books written especially for and based on the particular interests of adolescent readers.
- Fiction books in this collection will generally involve plots, characters and themes that are of specific and immediate relevance to adolescents.Reading and interest level as well as language will generally be more sophisticated than titles in the children’s collection.
- Nonfiction titles will cover subjects and issues of clear interest to adolescents.While the collection may assist young adults in their school work, its primary function is to address their needs as independent readers rather than serve as a substitute for a school library.
The Library collects audio/visual materials of interest to adults, young adults and children according to the scope of each collection as described in this policy.
Selection of audio/visual materials for library collections follows the general selection process outlined in this policy. When selecting audio/visual materials for inclusion in the collection, staff will rely on available critical reviews. Since reviews of audio/visual materials are often unavailable, staff will make selections based on the following additional criteria:
- The subject appeals to a significant portion of the community and fits within the mission and role of the Library.
- The subject or title represents long-term public interest due to its contribution to society or frequent requests from patrons.
- The quality and authoritativeness is at least satisfactory, based upon critical reviews, awards, critical standards, the reputation of the publisher, and/or availability for a given subject or genre.
- The work is an informationally or culturally important example of genre, era, style of film, television, music or represents popular culture
- The title is recognized as a classic or standard for the age group served by the specific collection.
- The Library also favors audio/visual materials that include closed-captioning for the hearing impaired, provides supplementary material that enriches and educates, and provides captioning or audio-tracks in different languages.
In ensuring long-term public interest in videos added to its collections, the Library will favor feature film and documentary titles that have a U.S. theatrical or production release date of least one calendar year prior to purchase. Instructional video courses and multi-part works are only acquired when they are the best available source for information on a particular subject.
In order to maintain the community neutrality mentioned earlier in this policy, the Library does not rate or label any audio visual material based on content. However, the Library views ratings assigned by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and related parental guidance developed by television stations as valuable information intended to assist viewers in making selections for themselves and their children.
The Library recognizes that these rating systems change over time, and many titles are unrated. Additional information regarding film ratings and the availability of reviews is available upon request.
Requests from patrons for the library to purchase self-published items continues to expand. Since self-published titles often have not undergone an editorial review process and are usually not reviewed in national publications, it can be challenging for library staff to assess individual titles for addition to the library collection. Purchases of self-published titles will be based on both the general selection criteria as well as the following:
- The title is available in a local retail outlet.
- The author has an established reputation through previous works owned by the library that have demonstrated patron interest.
- There is a review by a local source or in the regularly used review sources.
- The title can be located in OCLC’s worldcat.org.
- The title contains local history or has local interest.
As individual titles are reviewed for possible inclusion in the collection, the staff will consider all of these factors, understanding that those titles that meet multiple criteria will be given higher consideration. Given the limited resources of the Library, patrons requesting self-published materials may be referred to the inter-library loan option or to other libraries to meet their specialized or highly focused informational needs.
Priority will be given to resources purchased with funds collected from Davis County residents. Resources are more likely to be included if they are judged to meet all of the above criteria; the Library will make resources available as space and other limitations permit.
Authors should understand that copies of works given to the library are considered donations and are governed by Davis County and Library policy.
Library Website, Online and Electronic Collections
The Library recognizes the public interest in information and entertainment available online and in electronic formats. Some types of information available only online, and in online formats, increasingly augment or replace more traditional resources in library collections. The Library strives to provide patrons with timely and informative electronic collections covering a wide range of topics, balancing public interest, the availability of resources, and the sometimes costly nature of such resources.
The methods, pricing models, and access options available for providing public access to online collections vary widely. When content available in an online collection is selected by Library staff members this content will conform to the general objectives and selection criteria of this policy.
Collections or materials that are not selected or maintained by Davis County Library staff are not subject, on a title-by-title basis, to general selection policies. Examples include, but are not limited to online collections provided by the Utah State Library or collections of materials provided as a database by a vendor. However, the Library regularly reviews collections acquired through contracts with outside vendors and other agreements to ensure that, when taken as a whole, such collections conform to the general objectives and selection criteria of this policy.
Additional criteria for online and electronic collections include:
- Information provided is credible and relies upon cited, verifiable information.
- Information provided is of general, public interest.
- Resource is accepted in an industry or field as a standard resource.
- Resource is cost-effective.
- Resource is well-used by Library patrons.
The Library collects downloadable books, audiobooks, and videos. Downloadable collections are selected according to the general selection criteria and other criteria established in this policy for audience, genre, and online collections.
The following additional criteria also apply to these collections.
- The format and/or filetype of the item is readily accessible to the public.
- The format and/or filetype of the item provides high-quality and/or long-term public access.
The Library recognizes that there are practical limitations to the amount of information it can effectively incorporate into its website and other online communication tools. Such resources conform to this policy as well as the following criteria:
Resources may also be incorporated into the library’s web presence if they are:
- Purchased or otherwise made available using public funds.
- Made available as a public service without for-profit content.
- Accepted in an industry or field as a standard resource.
- An exclusive, accurate content source that is available in no other way.
Priority will be given to resources purchased with funds collected from Davis County residents. Resources are more likely to be included if they are judged to meet all of the above criteria. Resources that meet fewer of the above criteria are less likely to be made available via the Library’s web presence. The library will make resources available as space and other limitations permit.
Special Considerations When Selecting Materials for the Library Collections
Format and physical characteristics of items that can be efficiently processed for long-term use, shelving, and check out, are most amenable to purchase. Less suitable for purchase are materials with characteristics that make them clearly susceptible to damage. Such characteristics include, but are not limited to, “pop-up” features, perforated pages, spiral and other unusual bindings. Materials that otherwise meet selection criteria may not be purchased due to the format in which they are made available.
Textbooks are only selected for purchase when they are the best available source for information on a particular subject. Purchases are not made as an alternative to schools or other academic institutions providing textbooks to students.
Periodical subscriptions serve general reading interests and serve primarily as a “browsing” collection in both print and online formats. Print copies are retained for a period of two years unless a longer or shorter time period is warranted as determined by the Director. A very limited number of titles, primarily for children, are circulated. Local newspapers are given high priority; major national newspapers are subscribed to on a highly selective and limited basis.
Locked Case Materials
Locked Case materials do not circulate and are included to preserve items that are of especially high local interest, that capture unusual or notable aspects of local or state history and that are likely to be difficult to duplicate or replace. Other items may include, but are not limited to a set of all Caldecott Award winning titles and a limited number of unusual examples of bookmaking.
When materials are donated, they become the property of the Library and cannot be returned to the donor. Except when donated anonymously, the staff will advise those interested in contributing materials that the Library may choose to add the materials where they are most needed in the system, place them in library book sales, recycle them or discard them.
The Library is not obligated to add any donated materials to the collection. The acceptance of donations are subject to all selection policies of the Library as well as county policies regarding donations and will be evaluated accordingly before being added. For tax purposes, the Library will, upon request, provide donors with verification of their gifts; however, the Library will not assign a value to the donation.
- Donations of titles in electronic formats will be evaluated in terms of compatibility with Library and County software, as well as any limitations imposed by copyright and licensing requirements.
- The Library does not accept donations of periodical subscriptions from organizations, publishers or individuals.
General Maintenance Criteria
To maintain the quality and relevancy of the collection, the Library maintains an on-going schedule of withdrawing or replacing worn, outdated materials which are no longer useful to the collection. General criteria used are as follows.
- Material is no longer relevant.
- Information is obsolete or has been superseded by updated materials.
- Material is rarely used and with little or no permanent value.
- Material is worn or damaged beyond reasonable repair.
- Multiple copies are no longer needed to meet current demand.
- Material is deemed too costly to provide a reasonable return on investment.
Withdrawn materials are not automatically replaced. Replacement is considered in relation to adequate coverage in a specific subject area, availability of more current or better titles, suitability according to this selection policy and demand for the title.