The purpose of the Iola Public Library materials selection policy is to guide the librarians and to inform the public about the principles upon which selections are made. A policy cannot replace the judgment of the librarians, but stating goals and indicating boundaries will assist them in choosing from the vast array of available materials.
Materials selection aims at maintaining a collection of materials for meeting the informational, reference, research, educational and recreational needs of the community.
The Library endorses the Library Bill of Rights adopted by the American Library Association as it concerns materials selection and library collections. It is included as an appendix to the materials selection policy.
The words “book”, “library materials”, or other synonyms as they may occur in this policy have the widest possible meaning; hence it is implicit in this policy that every form of permanent records is to be included, whether printed or in manuscript; bound or unbound, or digital; photographed or otherwise reproduced. This includes, but is not limited to books, periodicals, audio recordings, video recordings, and electronic media.
“Selection” refers to the decision that must be made to add a given book or item to the collection. It also refers to the decision that must be made whether to retain a book or item already in the collection. It does not refer to reader guidance.
Responsibility for book selection lies with the Library Director, and to those staff members to whom he/she delegates the responsibility. Suggestions from patrons are welcome and given serious consideration within the general criteria. Unusual problems or deviation from the policy will be referred to the Director for resolution.
The primary objectives of book selection shall be to collect materials of contemporary significance and of permanent value. The Library will always be guided by a sense of responsibility to both present and future in adding materials which will enrich the collections and maintain an overall balance. The Library also recognizes an immediate duty to make available materials for enlightenment and recreation, even though such materials may not have enduring interest or value. The Library will provide, too, a representative sampling of experimental or ephemeral material, but will not attempt to be exhaustive. The Library does not consider it necessary or desirable to acquire all books on any subject.
The Library recognizes that many books are controversial and that any given item may offend some patrons. 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 the building of the collections and to serving the interests of patrons. Materials are evaluated as a whole and not on the basis of a particular passage or passages.
Library materials will not be marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of the contents. The use of rare or scholarly items of great value may be controlled to the extent required to preserve them from harm, but no further.
Responsibility for the reading of children rests with their parents and legal guardians. Selection will not be inhibited by the possibility that adult books may inadvertently come into the possession of children. Children’s books will be selected with the age and educational level of the children in mind.
Guidelines for selection:
(1) The Library recognizes the purposes and resources of other libraries in the Iola area, other members of the SEKnFind consortium, and the Southeast Kansas Library System and shall not needlessly duplicate their functions and materials. Selections will be made in light of cooperative collection development with other SEKnFind libraries, and thus may rely on these other libraries for materials on certain topics or in certain categories, rather than purchasing them for the library’s own collection. Likewise, the library may develop some collections in more depth than would be the case based strictly on local demand, in order to cooperatively develop better collections in SEKnFind as a whole.
(2) The Library will not attempt to acquire textbooks or other curriculum-related materials except as such will also serve the general public.
(3) Legal and medical works will be acquired only to the extent that they are useful to the lay person.
(4) Because Library patrons represent a wide range of backgrounds, educational levels, ages and reading skills, it will seek to select materials of varying complexity.
(5) Special commercial, industrial, cultural, and civic enterprises of the community will be paid due regard in materials selection.
(6) The use of standard book selection tools as available to the librarians will be used in the selection of materials.
(7) The following general criteria are considered in selecting materials:
a. permanent value
b. contemporary significance: i.e., attention
of critics, reviewers and the public
c. local demand
d. widely regarded critical reputation of author
e. comprehensiveness and depth of treatment
f. clarity, accuracy and logic of presentation
g. reputation of publisher
h. date of publication
i. relationship to existing collection
j. artistic merit
k. insight and/or perspective into human and social conditions
m. local interest or relevance
Materials infrequently used and not of lasting value will be periodically withdrawn from the collections. Obsolete materials include books with outdated information, superseded editions, superfluous duplicates, and worn-out items.
In the event a patron requests that a specific work which is in the collection be removed from the library, the following action will be taken.
(1) The Library Director or, in the Director’s absence, the senior staff member on duty, and the patron will discuss the patron’s reasons for the request, and the Director or other staff member will explain the library’s materials selection policy. If the patron wishes to pursue the matter, he/she will be provided with a copy of this policy and a reconsideration form.
(2) The patron will fill out in full the reconsideration form, giving specific data required.
(3) Upon receipt of the signed form, the Library Director will examine the material in question, the issues raised, and the circumstances involved. He/she will then make a decision to remove or retain the material in question.
(4) The Library Director will respond in writing to the Complainant within two weeks of receipt, and will inform the individual of the availability of a Board hearing.
(5) If the complainant desires a Board hearing, the material, reconsideration form, and other relevant material such as book reviews will be presented to the Board at its next regular meeting.
(6) The Board will review the materials and the reconsideration form listing the patron’s objections.
Final resolution of the matter will be made by the Board with the guidelines for selection in mind.
Materials will remain in circulation while under challenge until a decision to remove them from the collection is made as outlined in #3 or #6 above.
Materials owned by the Southeast Kansas Library System but on the public shelves may be challenged as to their continued placement there according to the procedure outlined above. If the decision of the Library Director or Board is that they should be removed from the shelf, but they are still desired by the Interlibrary Loan Department of SEKLS, they will be moved to the Interlibrary Loan Resource collection in the System.
Revised by Library Board 10/5/11; last reviewed 2/1/21