Abernathy Public Library

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Collection Development Policy

Collection Development Policies

Updated 2005

The Abernathy Public Library subscribes to the philosophy expressed in the Library Bill of Rights and in the Freedom to Read statement of the American Library Association and hereby incorporates those statements as part of the Abernathy Public Library's book selection policy.

 1.A. Purpose Of The Collection
The purpose of the Abernathy Public Library materials collection is to provide resources to assist individuals in their pursuit of educational objectives, intellectual and emotional growth, the enjoyment of leisure times and practical solutions to daily problems. The library is responsible to its potential constituency to announce this purpose statement, to evaluate and alter it as the community changes and to increase the opportunity for all potential users of its resources to achieve their purposes through the library. 
The Purpose Statement assumes specific definitions for the term "Resources" and for the categories of activity to which these resources are directed. The term "Resource" includes:
--Print and non-print materials available within the Abernathy Public Library. 
--Electronic data base sources 
--Resources in other libraries or locations to which the library may achieve access through interlibrary loan or a similar resource sharing process.

These resources respond to four categories of activity: 

1. Resources for Education

  • Materials that supplement the formal curriculum of primary, secondary and post- secondary schools.

  • Materials that support self-education pursued apart from a structured or formal program.

2. Resources for Emotional and Intellectual Growth
Materials that satisfy a personal need and relate to self-directed attempts at personal understanding and personal growth. The acquisition of these materials represents a commitment to the improvement of the quality of life of the individual. 

3. Resources that Enhance the Enjoyment of Leisure Time
Materials purchased as a source of pleasure and fun for the user. These materials are not purchased as goal-oriented items, and therefore acquisitions decisions may rest more heavily upon the potential pleasure to be derived by the user than the critical appraisal of the materials.

4.. Resources that Assist in the Practical Solution of Daily Problems
Materials that empower the individual to live more independently.
Materials generally directed at the solution of short-term problems.
Materials that help individuals save money, improve health, save time, etc. 

Definition Of Client Needs To Be Addressed By The Library
The library acknowledges that each person has information needs that are important to that individual. It also recognizes that it has limited financial resources to respond to these needs. The library has a responsibility to use public funds in ways that are advantageous to the largest number of its constituents. While the library's materials collection will not deny any need consistent with its mission, the library will nevertheless develop its collections with the recognition that it has the ability to meet certain needs more effectively and efficiently than other needs. It is cognizant of the availability of complementary information-giving institutions in the region and has examined the collections of other public and academic libraries in the area.

Selection Responsibility
The responsibility for book selection rests with the library, operating within the framework of the policies enunciated herein, and adhering to generally accepted professional practices.


1.B. Materials Selection Guidelines
Selection is the decision to add, retain or delete material as part of the library's resource collection. All materials, whether purchased by the library or donated to it, are evaluated in accordance with these guidelines. Each item is evaluated on its significance as an entire work rather than upon the merit of individual parts. Selection decisions may be made upon one or a combination of guidelines as applicable to the item in question. Guidelines used by the Abernathy Public Library to evaluate materials to be selected for its collection include:

  1. The needs of the community.

  2. The overall balance of the collection.

  3. The spirit of service and the philosophy of the library.

  4. The availability of material from other sources.

  5. Budgetary limitations.

  6. Suitability of the format of the item for library use.

  7. Relation to existing collection and other material on the subject.

  8. Reputation or significance of the author.

  9. Reviews in professional literature or patron request.

  10. Accuracy of the item.

  11. Appearance in standard bibliographies and indexes

  12. In-print availability.

  13. Literary merit.

  14. Locally produced or authored material.

  15. Price.

  16. Suitability of reading level, interest level and treatment of subject to the age of the intended audience.

  17. Use of the material locally as assigned reading, viewing or listening. 

1.C. Weeding
Systematic weeding or the removal of materials from the collection is undertaken by libraries to make the best use of shelf space, to place quality before quantity as a criteria for collection development, to provide current, accurate information by discarding out-dated materials and to establish a regular program of replacement buying. Shelves are more appealing to library users when ragged or worn items are removed or replaced.

The removal of obsolete, damaged, unneeded, duplicate or unused materials is as important to collection development as is the acquisition process. Public trust demands reliable and up-to-date library materials.

 In the Abernathy Public Library three weeding guidelines apply equally: condition, accuracy and use.

  • Condition
    All materials will be weeded when they are in poor condition and a decision will be made on whether they should be repaired or replaced.

  • Accuracy
    Any materials which the librarian finds to be inaccurate, will be removed from the collection. When a new edition of a work is purchased older editions will be discarded.

  • Use
    When lack of use indicates an item is a candidate for withdrawal, the librarian will consult the guidelines of the collection development policy to determine if any factors exist which indicate that the item should be retained.

The decision to discard an item based on lack of use will be strongly influenced by the space available. 

Once an item has been withdrawn, it may be handled in a number of different ways at the discretion of the librarian. 

1.D. Gifts and Donations
The library is grateful for gifts and its collection has been enriched by donations of materials as well as by contributions. In accepting a gift of materials, the library reserves the privilege of deciding whether items donated should be added to the collection. Out of the many books and other materials which citizens so generously give, a considerable proportion can be used. Some materials cannot be used because any library material, though of value in itself, may be: (1) a duplicate of an item of which the library already has ; (2) outdated--interesting but not of sufficient present reference or circulating value to the library; and/or (3) in poor condition--which would not justify the expense of processing it, i.e. cataloging and preparing it for circulation. The material will be judged by the same standards of selection as those applied to the purchase of new materials. The Abernathy Public Library accepts gift materials with the understanding that gifts that are useful to the library collection will be retained and others disposed of in whatever manner the librarian deems best.

 The library does not provide evaluations of gifts or donations for tax or estate purposes.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) considers the practice to be a conflict of interest. Library staff will provide a receipt giving the total number of items donated and the date of the donation when so requested.

1.E. Patron Complaint / Materials Reconsideration
Besides the weeding process, the Abernathy Public Library provides the public with the opportunity to request that an item be removed or withdrawn from the library's collection. Material reconsideration should always be considered in conjunction with the library's PURPOSE OF THE COLLECTION statement.

The library cannot please everyone all the time. Some items may be controversial and offend some patrons. Any patron having a strong objection to a material may fill out a Request For Reconsideration of Library Materials form.

Patron Complaint / Materials Reconsideration Procedures
1. If patrons wish to file a a complaint about library materials a Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials should be completed. This form stays on file with the Library Director. The Library Director will examine the material, as well as critical reviews of the material.
2. The Library Director will review the complaint and the material to determine whether the item should remain or be removed from the collection.
3. The Library Director will write a letter to the patron who initiated the complaint, explaining the decision on the material in question. The letter may also include a statement inviting the patron to the library to discuss the matter with the Library Director.
4. After a meeting with the Library Director, a patron desiring further action can make a request in writing for a hearing before the Board of Library Trustees, who has final authority. 

1.F. Patron Requests
The library welcomes patron interest in the collection and will seriously consider all requests that specific materials be acquired. The library is under no obligation to fill any particular request if it is not deemed suitable to the collection based on our Collection Development Policy.
A request may be submitted by filling out a Patron Request for Purchase form.