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

The Paris Carnegie Public Library Board of Trustees and staff believe in the first amendment and freedom of information for all. We do not restrict users’ right to read, listen, or view library materials. Some materials held in the library’s collection may be controversial, and some library users may find materials offensive or inappropriate for the collection. The library welcomes patrons’ expressions of opinion concerning materials purchased.
While patrons have the right to request an item be reconsidered, patrons do not have the right to disturb other patrons’ use of the library, verbally or physically abuse staff inside or outside the library, or destroy library materials. Patrons harassing or threatening staff or other patrons are in violation of the library’s policy and may be asked to leave or banned from the library. Patrons who threaten or abuse staff inside or outside the library, including threatening calls or letters, will be reported to law enforcement.
To initiate the process for reconsideration, the patron should talk with a staff member. The staff member should actively listen to the concerns expressed. Staff will not engage in arguments with patrons about library materials. Any patron who attempts to engage staff in an argument about library materials may be asked to leave the library or call back later. After listening, the staff member should briefly explain the library’s collection development policy and offer to help patrons find materials more aligned with their preferences. If the item is from the children’s collection, the staff will also explain that the library does not operate in loco parentis and that it is the library’s and the board’s belief that all choices regarding appropriate materials for a child belong to that child’s parent or legal guardian alone.
If, after explaining the selection policy to them, the patron wishes further reconsideration, the staff member will offer the individual the option of completing a formal “Paris Carnegie Public Library Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials” form. The patron may:

● Complete the form in full and give it to the director in person.
● The patron may mail the form to:

Paris Carnegie Public Library
℅ Library Director Ceili Boylan
207 S. Main St.
Paris, IL 61944

● The patron may fax it to:

(217) 463 -1155

● The patron may email it to:

Once completed, the review will proceed as follows:
The director will review the material in question and provide a written response to the request for review within thirty (30) days. An exception to the thirty-day time frame will be made if the library has more than five (5) formal requests for reconsideration at any one time. The library will only look at five requests for reconsideration at a time. All requests beyond the fifth will be processed in the order they are received as time permits. When a formal request is submitted, the director will begin to track the financial cost to the library associated with the request, including work hours and costs for materials related to the reconsideration process.
If the director’s response does not satisfactorily resolve the issue, the patron may request an appeal to the Board of Trustees. The appeal request must be submitted in writing to the Paris Carnegie Public Library Board of Trustees President. If board members must read, listen to, watch, or otherwise engage with the challenged item before the appeal, the board may take any time they feel appropriate to do so before the appeal is permitted to come before them.
The board review will allow for a presentation by the complainant only, not to exceed five (5) minutes. Members of the public are welcome to come to the board meeting in support or opposition to the appeal but will not be permitted to speak.
After the presentation by the complainant, the director will give a presentation on why the item belongs in the collection and their response to the challenge.
Following the patron and director’s presentations, the board will consider their decision only on the following point: Is the director’s decision in line with current board-approved policies?
If a decision is not made at the time of the appeal, the complainant will be notified in writing as to when the board is prepared to consider such a decision and will also be informed in writing as to the board’s decision.
The following criteria must be met for the patron to start a formal reconsideration request:
The patron is a resident of the library service area.
The item challenged does not conform to the Collection Development Policy adopted by the Paris Carnegie Public Library Board of Trustees. Items will not be reconsidered based on an individual’s personal preferences.
The item must have been read/listened to/watched in its entirety.
The request for reconsideration must be completed. Requests for reconsideration that are only partially filled out, have questions skipped, or are missing information will not be considered complete and will not be accepted.
If requesting an appeal, the patron must present their appeal to the Paris Carnegie Public Library Board of Trustees in writing. This letter of appeal must contain the reconsideration form that was submitted to the director, the director’s written response, and a letter of rebuttal, not to exceed two typed 12 pt pages, with specific reference to where the item does not conform to the current Collection Development Policy, including, when possible, specific page numbers or time index.
The appeal should be mailed to:

Paris Carnegie Public Library
℅ [Board President], Board of Trustees
207 S. Main St.
Paris, IL 61944

Once the Paris Carnegie Public Library Board of Trustees has taken formal action on a patron’s “Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials,” the board will consider no further complaints of a similar nature for the same title. Patrons who submit a “Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials” for a title that received formal Library Board review will be notified by the director that the board has previously reviewed the specific title, and no further action will be considered.
All decisions made by the Paris Carnegie Public Library Board of Trustees will be considered final and can not be challenged.

Policy Approval and Review

  • This policy is subject to review every two years.

Library Bill of Rights

Revised and Approved: June 12, 2023

Comments are closed.