Library Policies: Collection Management

COL 1 – Purpose of Collection Management Policy
COL 2 – Philosophy of Selection
COL 3 – Scope of Collection
COL 4 – Scope of Outreach Services
COL 5 – Scope of Central Montana Local History
COL 6 – Responsibility for the Collection
COL 7 – Selection Criteria
COL 8 – Priorities for Selection
COL 9 – Patron Requests
COL 10 – Statement of Concern, Intellectual Freedom, and Concerns about Library Resources
COL 11 – Gift Books
COL 12 – Collection Maintenance
COL 13 – Disposal of Withdrawn Materials

COL 1 through 2: Purpose and Philosophy
COL 1 – Purpose of Collection Management Policy
The collection management policy establishes the general public’s expectation for public library collections and resources. It explains and analyzes the principles upon which selection is made and clarifies criteria that selectors use in their choice of materials and formats. In addition, it serves as a guide and reference for use by the Library Board and patrons in understanding the choices that are made in building the collection and the way materials are handled.

COL 2 – Philosophy of Selection
The Library’s patrons represent different reading levels and interests. Selection does take into account the fact that patrons have a variety of points of view as well as reading and format preferences, and these need to be represented in the collection. When selecting new materials, staff will consult reviewing sources to determine which authors, titles, and subjects might be most appropriate for the collection. Patron requests will also be an important factor in selecting materials. Patrons are encouraged to make recommendations to staff for additions to the collection and staff will consider these recommendations for purchase. In order to keep up with high demand requests, the Library will monitor the number of holds on an item and this will frequently trigger the purchase of additional copies.

The selection process takes into account that the Library users represent different points of view, some of which may be controversial. The collection will try to represent these views by offering, whenever possible, a balanced and informed perspective of issues.

COL 3 through 6: Scope and Responsibility
COL 3 – Scope of Collection
The Library allocated its budget for collections and electronic resources based on usage data, including circulation figures, turns on particular items, database usage and attention to the Library’s strategic plan.

Youth Services
The Youth Services collection provides materials for children from preschool through high school. These include board books, easy reader picture books, chapter books for beginner readers, graphic novels, and both fiction and nonfiction materials that can be read by older children and young adults. The collection also includes audiovisual materials, including: movies, audiobooks, and music appropriate for children and families.

Adult Fiction
The Adult Fiction collection emphasizes the latest in popular fiction in a variety of genres. Classic fiction is also collected, maintained and/or purchased.

The nonfiction collection emphasizes materials that will help people stay informed about current events and issues; help students who need information for school projects; enable those engaged in life-long learning to research subjects that they wish to pursue; and assist those who need information for their work, at home, or for hobbies.

Electronic Sources
The Library recognizes that more resources are becoming available online and that these formats provide both currency and ease of access that normally cannot be matched by print sources. The Library has access to resources available through the state-wide database licensing known as MontanaLibrary2Go. The purchase of these materials are done at the State level.

Audio-Visual Materials
The Library’s audiovisual collection included materials for all ages in a variety of formats. This includes movies, documentaries, instructional videos, and audiobooks.

COL 4 – Scope of Outreach Services
The Library has an active Senior Outreach program visiting local assisted living facilities. The Senior Outreach service makes monthly stops at nursing homes and senior residential facilities in the community. This collection serves the needs and reading capabilities of seniors in the community, including large print materials, popular best sellers and other fiction, and audiovisual materials. When selecting materials for this collection, staff selects formats that are most comfortable for a senior  audience, which may not necessarily be the format that is most popular with those who use the main Library.

COL 5 – Scope of Central Montana Local History
The Local History collection houses materials of the history of Lewistown, Fergus County, Central Montana, and Montana. A complete run of the Lewistown News-Argus on microfilm is also available in the Local History space. This collection also includes digitized images of local historical interest made available electronically through the Montana Memory Project and in-house.

COL 6 – Responsibility for the Collection
The final authority for the Library collection rests with the Library Board. Implementation of the policy is assigned to the Library Director, who delegates most selection activity to other personnel. All staff members and the general public are encouraged to participate in the selection of materials by recommending items for consideration.

COL 7 through 9: Selection, Priorities, and Patron Request
COL 7 – Selection Criteria
In selecting material, staff will consider the following criterial in choosing items for the collection.

  • Patron requests
  • Exhibits a high degree of potential user appeal and interest
  • The recommendations of reviews that appear in standard reviewing sources which describe the content and theme of the item and the accuracy of the information presented
  • The reputation of the author judged by previous works or as an authority on a particular subject
  • Whether or not the item will have local or regional interest
  • Whether or not the reading level of the item is appropriate for its intended audience
  • The suitability and durability of the format for the Library
  • The price of the item
  • The extent to which a work honestly and accurately depicts new, challenging, or extreme points of view or deals with subjects that are topical and newsworthy

COL 8 – Priorities for Selection
The following are more detailed criteria for selecting materials in each section of the collection.

Because of the importance of keeping materials of current interest as well as current titles, the adult fiction collection emphasizes collecting best sellers in various genres as well as the maintenance of copies of classic fiction. This is an “on demand” collection and multiple copies of new bestsellers may be purchased to accommodate the number of reserves that are placed on them.

The nonfiction collection attempts to provide some coverage in all fields of knowledge, including controversial or challenging subjects of interest to the community. The Library purchases materials of general interest and cannot specialize in any subject area or purchase materials at a research level. Staff will also try to identify those subjects that might be appropriate for patrons engaged in lifelong learning and collect titles appropriate to these subjects.

Factors that are considered when selecting items include: currency and accuracy of the materials; reputation and credibility of the author; patron demand or perceived popularity; the presentation of a controversial or challenging point of view; and the cost. Duplicate copies of nonfiction items are purchased only if there is heavy demand.

Youth Services
The Children’s collection provides both fiction and nonfiction books as well as audiovisual materials suitable for preschool through high school age children.

The selection of materials is based on reviews, award winning materials such as Newbery and Caldecott winners, patron suggestions, and popular materials of high interest. Criteria for selection include the reputation and credibility of the authors, performers, directors or other creators, the quality of the illustrations in picture books, and the presentation of diverse or controversial points of view. The Youth Services staff may purchase multiple copies of popular books and audiovisual titles, easy reader picture books, and award-winning books and videos as needed.

The Library’s audiovisual collection includes audiobooks and movies. The collection is provided variously in physical media and in downloadable content that can be played on personal computers and portable devices.

The video collection includes contemporary and classic feature length films; popular television series; documentary and “how-to” films or videos on current events or controversial subjects.

The Library will purchase both fiction and nonfiction audiobooks. Staff will focus on best-selling fiction and nonfiction titles that correspond to similar print titles, as well as classic literary works. Downloadable content purchased for the use of the Library patrons through a consortium will include selections made by librarians throughout Montana.

Local Authors
The Lewistown Public Library is pleased to have the works of many local authors in the collection and wishes to recognize the literary efforts of local authors by including their works in the collection when possible. However, these works must meet the Library’s selection criteria and standards as detailed above. Writers interested in having their work included in the Library’s collection should make an appointment to discuss it with the librarian responsible for selecting such materials.

COL 9 – Patron Requests
Patrons are encouraged to request items that the Library does not own and the Library will provide various means for this, from verbal discussions with a patron, patron request links on the Library’s webpage and request forms that can be given out by staff.

Requests may not be placed on forthcoming items more than one month prior to the scheduled release date.

Generally, one copy of a new item will be purchased unless there is a perceived demand for more. The Library will attempt to obtain those items which are unavailable for purchase, or which are too expensive or unlikely to appeal to a general audience by borrowing them from another library.

COL 10 – Statement of Concern, Intellectual Freedom, and Concerns
About Library Resources

Statement of Concern
The Library makes every effort to select materials that will appeal to the wide range of interests, points of view, reading, and viewing levels of those in the community. Staff also recognize that at times a particular item may conflict with an individual patron’s beliefs or taste and that a patron may ask staff to reconsider this item. In order to accommodate a patron’s concerns about an item, they may use the Library’s “Statement of Concern About Library Resources” procedure (see below) to express their views and to suggest a remedy that they may want.

Intellectual Freedom
Freedom of speech, as provided for in the United States Constitution, is vital to maintaining a free society. Essential to this is the ability to see, hear, and express different ideas and viewpoints. The Library upholds these rights and adheres to the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights, and Freedom to Read Statement.

Every individual holds beliefs and values which may, at times, be in conflict with those of others. Citizens do have the rights to request reconsideration of Library resources.

Concerns About Library Resources
Upon submission to the Library Director of a completed “Statement of Concern About Library Resources” form, the Director will conduct a staff review of the selection process and criteria, the objections raised, and the actions requested.

The Director will then submit a recommendation regarding the statement of concern form to the Library Board members so that the matter may be considered by the Board no later than its second meeting following receipt of the form.

The Director will notify the person submitting the form of the time and place of the Board meeting at which the matter will be discussed, invite them to attend the meeting, and provide a copy of the staff recommendation.

The Board’s action on the “Statement of Concern About Library Resources” is final.

COL 11 through 13: Gift Books, Collection Maintenance, and Discarding
COL 11 – Gift Books
Gifts of books and audiovisual materials may be accepted by the Library with the understanding that donated items will not necessarily be added to the collection. Staff will select donated items for inclusion using the same criteria as used when purchasing materials. The Friends of the Library will be given all other donated materials and will accept donations in accordance with their own policies and procedures.

COL 12 – Collection Maintenance
In addition to adding materials to the collection, selectors are also responsible for weeding materials that are deemed no longer appropriate for the collection. Weeding the collection is essential to ensure that patrons have access to the most current information available, that materials in poor physical condition are removed from the shelves, to ensure that only materials that are in demand or are deemed to have lasting value are kept in the collection, and to make room for new materials or formats that should be added to the collection.

Following are some factors that should be taken into consideration when deciding to withdraw materials from the collection:

Physical Condition of the Item: Books should be checked for their physical appearance and wear. If an item is withdrawn because it is in poor physical condition, it may be necessary to replace it if it has proven to be popular, if the information is still current, a newer edition of the item is available, or there are no other copies of the item on the shelf. When replacing a withdrawn item, a decision will need to be made if the format that is being withdrawn is still the best format in which to purchase the title.

  • Circulation: Staff will take into account the item turns, or the number of times an item as circulated within a fixed period of time. If it is found that an item has circulated infrequently, it may be withdrawn.
  • Currency and Accuracy of Information: This is particularly important for nonfiction materials in subject area such as medicine, business, computers, and finance. Selectors in these and similar areas should be aware of the timeliness of the materials, and whether or not, there have been more recent developments in a particular field that would make the materials in the collection outdated. The criterion is less important for fiction items.
  • Duplicate Copies: Many titles will initially be purchased in multiples to satisfy patron demand. The is particularly true of best sellers or books of local interest. Over time, however, this popularity will probably wane, and a realistic decision should be made regarding the number of copies needed once popularity has passed. In most cases, only one copy of a nonfiction title should be kept on the shelf unless there is high circulation. The number of copies of a fiction title should be determined by the circulation of the title, and the popularity of the author.
  • Local Interest: Though the Library rarely collects in depth on particular subjects or genres, it should try to maintain copies of titles by Montana authors and since these may not circulate as often as other, more popular materials, allowances should be made for maintaining these in the collection though they may not appear to be popular.

COL 13 – Disposal of Withdrawn Materials
Materials that are withdrawn from the collection may be routed to the Friends of the Library, or made available to other libraries or agencies, or offered for sale as appropriate. Materials in poor condition may be recycled or otherwise discarded.

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