Collection & Materials Selection

Collection & Materials Selection


Paris Carnegie Public Library’s principal objectives in collection development and management are:

  • To maintain a collection responsive to the informational and reading needs of the community.
  • To select materials designed for children, young people, and adults chosen according to the criteria stated in this policy.

Responsibility for Selection

The Librarian and designated staff are responsible for the selection and acquisition of materials based on the framework of policies established by the Board of Trustees.

Selection Criteria

Library staff uses their professional judgment and experience to make collection development decisions, including choosing titles, identifying quantities for purchase, and selecting formats. Anticipated demand, community interests, strengths and weaknesses of existing collections, availability within Illinois Heartland Library System, physical space limitations, acquisitions procedures, and budget are all factors taken into consideration.

The following criteria are used to evaluate and select items for the collection. An item need not meet all of these criteria to be selected.

  •  Content, including accuracy, comprehensiveness, timeliness and/or enduring significance, purpose, quality, point of view, accessibility through an index.
  • Cost in relation to potential use and/or enhancement to the collection
  • Favorable reviews
  • Current and anticipated appeal
  • Format
  • Local interest
  • Relation to the existing collection
  • Significance of the author/creator or publisher
  • Suitability of subject and style for intended audience

Sources aiding selection decisions include, but are not limited to, published reviews in standard library review sources, publisher/vendor catalogs, professional and trade bibliographies, and patron requests or recommendations.

Considerations and Priorities

The library’s goal is to maintain a broad general collection. As a result, the library tends to collect a variety of titles within a specific subject or format, nontechnical materials intended for a popular audience, and individual circulating titles. Space and usage considerations limit the number of items that may be acquired on any one subject.

The library considers the curriculum of local schools when selecting materials. However, the library does not provide copies of current textbooks unless the school has placed copies at the library.

The genealogy and local history collection focuses on Edgar County. It includes such items as census records, indexes to county & cemetery records, newspaper microfilm, and county histories.  Genealogy and local history materials, including family histories, are accepted as gifts if they fall within the scope of the collection.

Use of print periodicals continues to decrease while digital magazine circulation increases. As a result, most subscriptions are in digital format.

Digital resources expand access to information beyond the library’s physical collection. The library subscribes to or purchases such resources when they meet general selection criteria and special criteria for digital content such as accessibility and ease of use, technology requirements, license agreement requirements, cost, and vendor support.

Audio and video formats may change over time. In general, the library may withdraw formats when use substantially declines. Formats that are appropriate and cost effective are considered if funds and space are available to sustain a collection.

As a member of Illinois Heartland Library System, Illinet, and OCLC, the library participates in interlibrary loan to make available materials it does not own or that fall outside the scope of this collection policy.

The library website links to Illinois Heartland Library System’s SHARE catalog and subscription e-resources. Additionally, library staff selects links to community information/services, government services, and other informational or educational sites.

Gifts and Donated Materials

  • Books and other materials are accepted for the collection using the same selection criteria used to purchase materials. Decisions regarding the final disposition of gifts / donated items are the responsibility of the Library staff. Items not added to the collection are usually placed in the library’s book sales.
  • Once accepted, the library retains unconditional ownership of the item and reserves the right to decide the conditions of display, location, and access to the materials.
  • The Library is pleased to accept monetary gifts for the purchase of library materials. Prospective donors are encouraged to discuss potential gifts and possible subjects or titles with the Librarian or Assistant Librarian.

Collection Evaluation and Maintenance

  • The collection is managed through ongoing evaluation to ensure that priorities are met; that the collection remains up to date, balanced, and attractive; and that space limitations are minimized. Library staff use professional judgment and experience in deciding which materials to retain, replace, repair, or weed.
  • Weeding (removal from the collection) is an integral part of collection development. Criteria for weeding are continuing accuracy, physical condition, frequency of use, relevance, and space considerations.  Replacements and updated editions are purchased when needed.  Weeded materials are placed in library book sales, recycled, or disposed of through other means. The library retains materials that continue to have enduring or permanent significance to its mission and overall collection goals.
  • An inventory of holdings is conducted periodically to aid collection management.

Intellectual Freedom

  • The library strives to build a collection, using stated criteria, that represents varying points of view. Inclusion of an item in the collection does not mean that the library endorses any theory or statement contained in those materials and resources.
  • While everyone may not agree with the viewpoints offered in some materials, the library has a responsibility to provide a balanced collection with access to material reflecting diverse ideas, provided that the material meets the outlined selection criteria. The balanced nature of the collection is reflected in the diversity of materials, not in an equality of numbers. Library users are free to choose what they like from the collection, to reject what they don’t like, but not to restrict the freedom of others to choose.
  • Decisions about what materials are suitable for children rest with their parents or guardians. Selection of materials for adults is not constrained by possible exposure to children or teenagers.

Reconsideration of Library Materials

  • A Paris Carnegie Public Library cardholder or Paris resident who questions an item in the collection should first discuss the concern with the Librarian or Assistant Librarian. They must submit a reconsideration request when wishing to request formal reconsideration of library material.
  • Appeals may be directed to the library board. The board president will appoint an ad hoc committee consisting of a staff member and two board members. The committee will evaluate the request for reconsideration within the context of this policy and, within 30 days, will prepare a recommendation and place the matter on the agenda for the next board meeting. During this process, the material in question will remain accessible to library users. The board’s decision will be final and will be conveyed in writing to the person requesting reconsideration.

Policy Approval and Review

  • This policy is subject to review every two years.

Library Bill of Rights

Revised and Approved: Nov. 9, 2015. Last reviewed: March 14, 2022

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