Collection Development Policy

Purpose:  The purpose of the Collection Development Policy is to guide library staff and to inform the public of the principles upon which selections are made and managed.  Library materials are selected to support the mission of the library.  The mission of the Texas County Library is to provide an environment where lifelong learning, self-improvement and self-expression are encouraged and where patrons can meet their educational, informational and recreational needs.

All Libraries stand strongly for the freedom of thought, the freedom of intellectual activity, and the freedom of communication.  Therefore, Libraries must select materials with the view to present all sides of an issue, not just one particular opinion.  The Texas County Library adheres to best practices as endorsed by the American Library Association:  

  • The Library Bill of Rights
  • Intellectual Freedom
  • The Freedom to Read Statement
  • The Freedom to View Statement

Introduction:  This policy defines the scope and nature of our existing collection, and the plans for continuing development of resources as they relate to library goals, general selection criteria, and the rights of the library users to receive information.  

“Library collections” includes all resources in all formats acquired for use by the public, including resources obtained through the library’s membership in selected consortia or contracts with other libraries.

Responsibility for Resource Selection and Collection Development:  The Board of Trustees delegates administrative authority for the selection of resources and the development of library collections to the Library Director, operating within the framework of policies determined by the Board.  Library staff also assists and recommends selections. The Library Director has the authority to approve or disapprove any selection decision.

Core Priorities for Collection Development:

  • To meet the diverse information needs, interests, and demands of the library community.
  • To reflect the mores, characteristics, customs, and conventions of our local community.
  • To encourage individual self-directed lifelong learning for personal growth, enjoyment, and career development.
  • To promote early literacy skills & the power of information.

General Criteria for Selection:

  • Appeal to the educational, informational, cultural, or recreational interests and needs of the library community.
  • Favorable reviews from professional and reputable resources 
  • Subject, style, and reading level are age-appropriate for the intended audience.
  • Timeliness or permanent value
  • Quality of writing, design, illustration, and production based on professional standards.
  • Diversity of sources:  independent or new publishers, as well as long-establishedpublishers.
  • Expressed or anticipated popular demand.
  • Presents alternative or diverse voices and viewpoints.
  • Contribution to diversity, depth, or breadth of existing collection
  • Local or community relevance.
  • Price, effectiveness, and suitability of format, durability and, ease of use
  • Availability of information in a subject area.
  • Replacement of lost, worn, or outdated materials.
  • Budgetary considerations

Use of Selection Aids:

To select Library materials, the staff makes use of selection aids such as reviews, basic general lists, current general lists, bibliographies, and professional book review journals.  

The Collection:

  1. Adult Collection:  This collection is recommended for mature readers, ages 18+.  Adult fiction is selected for its appeal to members of the community and its quality as literature.  The library attempts to provide a wide selection of standard fiction titles as defined in recognized bibliographies, as well as the best current titles.  Nonfiction items are selected in an attempt to educate and inform readers, some of these titles are also appropriate for younger readers, in particular, young adults doing research for a school project.  Items of lasting interest are preferred, but it is recognized that titles of current interest are also appropriate purchases.  
  2. Youth Collection:  Youth materials are selected to include the best available titles of fiction and non-fiction for ages birth through young adults.  Titles are chosen that may enhance the intellectual, cultural, social, and ethical development and growth of individuals.  Such a

      collection should provide a background for the development of critical reading and thinking, in addition to recreational reading.  

a.There may be some variation in the age appropriateness of each collection. Patrons are not limited by these age recommendations.  All patrons are welcome to check out any materials in our collection.  The responsibility for materials used by a minor rests completely with their parents or legal guardians.  Separate collections are available for children and young adults, but it is not the responsibility of the Library, its Board of Trustees, staff, or volunteers to determine which collection they should use or what item in the collection is suitable for an individual.  

  1. Easy (E) Collection-This collection is recommended for ages birth to 8.
    1. Juvenile (J) Collection-This collection is recommended for readers ages 8-12.
    1. Young Adult (YA) Collection-This collection is recommended for young adults, ages 13+.
  2. Electronic Database Collection:  This collection is a diverse selection of reference and circulating materials that are accessed electronically and is developed with the same criteria as print materials.  In some cases, because of inclusion in consortia agreements for electronic resources, local control of selection is not an option.  
  3. Media Collection:  The goal of this collection is to provide instructional, educational, and recreational audio-visual material that will enhance the existing fiction and non-fiction collections.  The Library recognizes that patrons desire information and popular materials in various forms.  Purchases in this collection are in the form of audiobooks on CD and Commercial and non-fiction DVD.
  4. Periodical Collection:  This collection consists of newspapers providing a broad range of general interest subject areas.
  5. Reference Collection:  The historical and genealogy collection is intended to preserve materials of importance to our library community and surrounding areas.  The materials themselves and/or the subject areas they represent have permanent value to the community and are made available to the general public for research on local, genealogical, and historical issues.

Gifts, Donations, and Memorials:

The policies which apply to the selection of purchasing materials also apply to materials that are donated or given to the library.  Once an item has been given to the library, the Director shall determine whether it will be added to the collection or discarded.  Items not added to the collection may be donated to local organizations.  Items added to the collection become the property of the Library and are subject to the same standards as any other library material.  The Library will accept financial donations to buy materials following the same guidelines used in any other selection decision.  Memorials may be accepted through the Texas County Library Foundation.

Suggestions for Purchase:

Patron suggestion requests are accepted and will follow the same guidelines as any other material purchased by the Library.  The submission of a request does not guarantee it will be purchased.  If a work is not selected for purchase, patrons are encouraged to utilize ILL and ME for requested materials.

Collection Management:

Regular weeding of the library collection is a vital part of the collection development cycle.  The collection needs continuous evaluation to ensure that the Library is fulfilling its mission.  It also needs systemic weeding of library materials to maintain current and accessible collections.  Weeding not only makes space available for new materials but also contributes to an attractive library where the best materials are easy to find and the convenience of the user is a top priority.  Items that have been withdrawn from the collection and are in good condition will be available for purchase at book sales or donated to local organizations.  Library standards for weeding include:

  • Age of the item
  • Length of time since the last circulation transaction
  • Worn/damaged appearance
  • Superseded by a newer or better material
  • Irrelevant to community needs
  • Expeditiously available elsewhere

Reconsideration of Library Materials:

It is a vital obligation of the public library to reflect within its collection, differing points of view.  The Texas County Library does not endorse any particular viewpoint nor does the selection of an item indicate an endorsement of any particular viewpoint.  Library materials will not be sequestered, except to protect them from damage or theft. The choice of Library materials for personal use is an individual matter; while anyone is free to accept or reject materials for themselves or for those that are legally under their care, no one has the right to exercise censorship to restrict the freedom of use and/or access by others.

There may be occasions when a member of the library district may be concerned about a particular item in the Library’s collection or the age appropriateness of a library presentation, event, material, or display.  In this instance, a patron may request a “Statement of Concern Form”.  This form must be completed in its entirety and returned to library staff, who will then forward it to the Library Director.  The Director and appropriate staff members will review the form and respond with a written response promptly.  

The “Statement of Concern Form” will be available at the main circulation desk during normal business hours and on the library website.  Material for which a “Statement of Concern Form” has been submitted will not be removed from the collection until the process of reconsideration has been completed, and then only if the material is found not to meet the criteria of the Library’s Collection Development Policy.  Library materials that are subjected to reconsideration and are found to meet the standards outlined in the Collection Development Policy will not be removed from public access.  Duplicate challenges will not be accepted.  In the event a patron disagrees with the results of the “Statement of Concern Form”, they may attend a Board of Trustees meeting and speak during the Public Comment time. (see Public Comment Policy)

The following criteria are necessary for a “Statement of Concern Form” to be considered:

  • The requester must be a patron within the tax-paying library district with non-expired library card and no fines
  • “Statement of Concern Form” must be completed in its entirety
  • One request form per item
  • A title will not be reviewed more than once
  • The requester must agree to read the Collection Development Policy and preferably the title being challenged