Collection Development Policy
10.3 Material Selection Process
Librarians use a variety of tools to aid in awareness and selection of materials, including such sources as professional review journals, popular print, broadcast media, bookstores, electronic interest groups, publishers’ catalogs, and patron and staff recommendations. Librarians exercise judgment, experience, and expertise in the application of the following Criteria for Materials Selection, making acquisition decisions as objectively as possible. Evaluation of a work includes the entire work, not just individual parts of the work. A work’s overall contribution to the collection is a critical determinant for acceptance or rejection. No single criterion can be applied to all materials, and various criteria carry different weights in different circumstances. Contextual considerations - budget and space availability, interlibrary loan availability – also shape the selection process. The Library considers all acquisitions, whether purchased or donated, in terms of one or more of the following:
Criteria for Materials Selection
- Level of funding for materials
- Relevance to Library’s mission and service roles
- Informational and recreational needs of users
- Local demand
- Current usefulness or interest
- Community needs surveys and assessments
- Authority and accuracy
- Importance as a record of the times
- Relevance to the existing collection’s strengths and weaknesses
- High standards of quality in content and format
- Price and availability
- Format, durability, and ease of use
- Suitability of format for subject and user’s needs
- Relevance to the history of the Region
Criteria for material selection for children and young adults also include material specifically targeted for that age group.
10.4 Scope of the Collection
Formats – The Library provides materials and services that reflect the diverse educational, informational, and recreational needs of its users. In so doing, the Library provides access to content through print, multimedia and technology. The Library recognizes that content and medium should be suitably matched, and that library patrons have different learning styles and preferences for how they receive information. Therefore, the Library provides materials in a variety of formats, including, when appropriate:
- Print – such as hardcover’s, paperbacks, magazines, and newspapers
- Non-print – such as audio and video formats, and microforms
- Digital resources – such as on-line databases, software programs, and the Internet.
The Library considers all types and formats of media to be in the realm of human expression and part of the human record. Because the Library functions in a rapidly changing society, it is flexible about changes in communicative material, both in form and style of expression. The Library does not reject materials for acquisition solely on the basis of medium. Materials in alternative formats are judged in terms of the Material Selection Process section.
10.5 Interlibrary Loan
Because of limited budget and space, the Region cannot provide all materials that are requested. Therefore, interlibrary loan is used to obtain from other libraries those materials that are beyond the scope of the Region's collection. In return for utilizing interlibrary loan to satisfy the needs of our patrons, the Southeast Arkansas Regional Library agrees to lend certain materials to other libraries through the same interlibrary loan network, and to make an effort to have its current holdings listed in a tool that is accessible by other libraries throughout the U.S.
10.6 Materials for Special Audiences
Materials and services for the visually impaired are provided according to patron demand. The Library also encourages patrons with special needs to use the resources of the Arkansas State Library Collection for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. The Library will continue to work with area libraries and organizations in the planning or expansion of services for those whose special needs are not being adequately met.
10.7 Gifts and Donations
The Library encourages and accepts gifts of books and other materials with the understanding that they become the property of the Library and will be evaluated against the same criteria as purchased materials. The Library makes the final decision on the use or other disposition of all donations and decides the conditions of display, housing and access to the materials. The Library does not make appraisals for any purpose. A donor will be asked to sign a "Deed of Gift" form transferring ownership of the materials to the Region. A stipulation may be selected which would require the Region to notify the donor if the material is to be removed from the collection and the donor may elect to have the material returned.
In order to maintain an active working collection of high standard, the Director or designated staff will periodically examine the collection for the purpose of withdrawing unused items, unnecessary duplicates, outdated, worn or damaged materials, using the same criteria applied to acquisitions. The American Library Association Standards for Public Libraries suggest that 5 % of the collection be weeded annually.
10.9 Potential Problems and Challenges
The Southeast Arkansas Regional Library recognizes that some materials are controversial and that any given item may offend some patrons. Selection of materials will not be made on the basis of anticipated approval or disapproval, but solely on the basis of the principles stated in this policy. It is the responsibility of the Library to ensure that different points of view are represented in the materials and resources provided in the Library collections. Inclusion of a particular resource does not constitute endorsement or advocacy of the ideas or statements found therein. Responsibility for the children’s use of materials rests with their parents or legal guardians. Selection of library materials will not be inhibited by the possibility that materials may come into the possession of children. Library materials will not be marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of their contents, and no library material will be sequestered. Although materials are carefully selected, there can arise differences of opinion regarding suitable materials. Patrons requesting that material be withdrawn from or restricted within the collection may complete a "Request For Reconsideration of Library Materials" form, which is available in the Library. The material under reconsideration will remain in the collection during the course of the review and any appeal.