Collection Development Policy


Jefferson Public Library
Jefferson, IA


I. General Statement

The Jefferson Public Library supports the LIBRARY BILL OF RIGHTS and the FREEDOM TO READ statement, both of which are included and intended to be a part of this policy statement.The following goals and objectives provide a direction for public library service in Jefferson and Greene County.  From these goals, this policy was created.

    1.  To meet the informational needs of all.
    2.  To facilitate informal self-education of all ages.
    3.  To enrich and further develop the library as an educational resource for the community.
    4.  To encourage wholesome recreation and the constructive use of leisure time.
    5.  To provide a library staff that is knowledgeable, helpful and responsive to the needs of library users.

II.  Philosophy

Materials for the library collection are chosen for a wide variety of reasons. These include information, self-education and the recreational pursuits of library users. The decision to add an item to the collection by purchase is usually the result of selection based on demand or need.  

Selection based on demand: The individual request of a patron for a title is usually honored if the request conforms to selection and directional guidelines outlined in this policy statement. We feel that the library patron is an important part of the selection process. Other high demand items include best sellers and active subject areas. Expedient purchase without consulting reviews is the rule rather than the exception.

Selection based on need: A certain amount of the material added to the library collection is for the purpose of updating and further developing certain subject areas.  

The library staff is constantly gathering information concerning the needs of library users.  Information is collected by means of surveys, monitoring circulation statistics, inter-library loan requests and patron input. A core list of classic work has been developed and is monitored to insure their retention in the collection.  

Follow-up studies are conducted on those items of subject areas where demand is constant.  Material added in this manner is selected from
print and on-line reviews, availability lists, vendor catalogs, bibliographies and local experts.  The library attempts to present a representative selection of materials that present all sides of an issue. The library provides service to all within the framework of its rules and regulations and does not knowingly discriminate in its material selection regarding race, creed, sex, occupation or financial position.

III.  Responsibility

The responsibility for materials selection and the development of the library collection rests with the Director and Assistant Director, who work under the authority and the policies determined by the Board of Trustees.

IV.  Guidelines

The general adult book collection is mainly developed through the selection of materials based on demand, need and information. There are other criteria that
affect the selection process.  The library does not add abridged versions to the collection, with the exception of audio recordings of books. The library does not support educational curriculums through the purchase of textbooks. Textbooks may be added to the collection if they provide the best or only source of
information on a subject, or to complement an existing area with another perspective.  

Price, accuracy and timeliness are other factors influencing selection. The library does not purchase out-of-print material for the collection. No attempt is made to purchase all the works by a certain author. Requests by a patron can also be filled by inter-library loan.  

Periodicals are added to the collection on the basis of need and budget. Periodicals provide up-to-date information and may serve to fill a particular void in the library’s collection of information.  

Newspapers are an important source of information and news. The library attempts to provide a balanced viewpoint from different regions of this area.  Audio resources are an essential part of the library’s collection.  Some subjects can only be covered adequately by an audio recording. The library particularly attempts to maintain an adequate collection of audio resources in non-musical areas. These include foreign language instruction, recorded books, sound effects, etc.  Audio resources are purchased as the budget allows in the compact disc (CD) format.  

Movies in DVD format are added to the Library’s collection in a manner consistent with patron demand and budget constraints. Selection of movies for the collection is made by the library staff with in put from the public. The library will not purchase or accept gifts of any movies other than those rated G, PG, or PG-13. Other titles may be requested on interlibrary loan and will be filled at the discretion of the lender.  

The Library has a limited collection of art reproductions for public use. No new art prints are currently being added to the collection.   

Children’s books and other material expressly purchased for children are selected to provide reading for reading’s sake and to provide information of interest to children in varied fields of knowledge. Selection based on demand or need is practiced in acquiring children’s materials.

Responsibility for the reading of minors rests with their parents and legal guardians.  Selection of materials for the library collection is not restricted by the possibility that minors may obtain materials their parents consider inappropriate.  

Local history material is actively sought by the library.  Collection and preservation of this material includes print, microfilm and digital formats.
The library does not attempt to include artifacts as part of the collection.  

Reference material is purchased by selection for inclusion in the reference collection.  Every attempt is made to purchase the appropriate and up-to-date items needed to answer the informational questions of all library users. The Library recognizes and actively demonstrates the use of the Internet as an additional reference tool.  Shelf space and budget constraints will help determine whether a work of reference is made available in print or electronic format.

Paperbacks are purchased by the library only when hard copies are not available or if the hardback cost is considered excessive compared to
its usefulness. Paperbacks are also accepted as gifts.  

Legal, medical and religious works are purchased by the library. However, the library will acquire only those works that would be of interest to the layman. Religious works promoting the principles and practices of a specific religious denomination will not be added to the collection.   The library makes an effort to ensure that no one religion or series of beliefs is emphasized over others.

V.  Gifts and Memorials

The library encourages the donation of books, magazines, and other materials with the understanding that they will be included in the collection only if they meet the criteria for selection outlined in this policy. The library does not assume responsibility for replacing worn or lost copies of these gifts. It is to be understood that gift books will be integrated into the general collection and the only form of donor identification being a bookplate. Other items may be accepted as gifts with the approval of the Director. The donor of any gift should understand that the library reserves the right to accept gifts or to dispose of them if the contents or conditions are not acceptable library material.

VI.  Retention

The library maintains an active program of “weeding” the library collection. Material that is no longer used, worn, damaged, outdated or duplicated may be removed from the collection.  Other factors taken into consideration are frequency of circulation, community interest and availability of other material on the subject.  Every effort is made to preserve material relating to Jefferson, Greene County, and to a limited extent, Iowa.

If material is constantly added to a collection and nothing is ever removed – except what is lost or stolen – there comes a time when the library simply runs out of space. But more importantly, there comes a time when access to the materials in a collection becomes so difficult that users fail to find what they need and may stop using the collection altogether. In days past, when collections were smaller and the annual publishing output was less overwhelming, the tendency was to seek more space. In most cases today, this is no longer possible. Thus a library is faced with the problem of removing items to allow space for new material and easier access to the collection. This process is referred to as “weeding” or the practice of discarding or transferring to storage excess copies, rarely
used books and materials no longer of use.

If librarians are to build collections for use, then they must be concerned with keeping these collections in the best possible condition. The American Library Association’s Minimum Standards for Public Libraries states that “Systematic removal of materials no longer useful is essential to maintaining the purposes
and quality of resources.” Public libraries should be stocked with materials for use. When obsolete unused material is removed, the collection may be decreased, but it will also be improved. Research has shown that circulation often increases after weeding. People are able to find what they want more easily. The shelves often look more attractive and enticing with all the old drab items removed.  

While weeding is a complex professional task involving the skill and judgment of a trained and educated librarian, the following criteria are frequently used: age of the item, newer editions available, usage, appearance and condition, and duplication.

Even if a book meets all the criteria for weeding, if it has local appeal, it will be kept.

VII. Genealogical Materials

The library director selects genealogical materials for the collection. Cataloged genealogical items become the sole property of the library. No loose leaf, outdated materials, index cards, or pamphlets will be catalogued.

VIII.  Requests for Reconsideration

The following procedure must be used by individuals or groups wishing to lodge a complaint concerning material held in the library collection.

The individual or group wishing to protest the presence of an item in the collection will contact the Director. If they wish to carry their objections further, a Request for Reconsideration form will be filled out and signed. The party making the complaint must be eligible to receive a free Jefferson library card.

The written complaint will be taken to the Board of Trustees at its next regular scheduled meeting. The complainant may appear before the board if desired. No items shall be removed from the library collection without a court order if the Director and Board of Trustees deem it appropriate for the collection.

Adopted: February 13, 2012
Revised: November 10, 2014