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Material Selection


I. Policy Determination

The Director of the Fairbanks North Star Borough Public Libraries, with the approval of the Library Commission, will set the policy governing materials selection. This policy shall be reviewed and reaffirmed periodically by the Director and the Library Commission to ensure that both the Library Director and the Library Commission are knowledgeable about the policy and agree to it.

II. Responsibility

Ultimate responsibility for materials selection rests with the Library Director. The delegated responsibility for coordinating selection and collection management lies with the Collection Services Manager. The Library Selection Committee, made up of the professional librarians and other library staff with collection development responsibilities, assists by reviewing and recommending materials for acquisition or disposal in assigned subject areas. The Committee meets regularly to consider issues concerning material selection, reconsideration, and collection management.

The Fairbanks North Star Borough Public Libraries encourage community and individual participation in collection development. Suggestions from the public will be given due consideration.

III. Intellectual Freedom

The Fairbanks North Star Borough Public Libraries subscribe to and support the American Library Association Library Bill of Rights and its interpretations, Libraries: an American Value, the Freedom to Read Statement, and the Freedom to View Statement, effective this date – September 26, 2012, copies of which are appended to and made an integral part of this policy.

IV. Selection Criteria

Selection of library materials, whether purchased or donated is based upon the informational, educational, and recreational needs of the community but is limited by factors such as materials budgets, space, agreements with other libraries, and content of existing collections.

Each potential acquisition must be considered in terms of its own excellence and the audience for whom it is intended. There is no single standard which can be applied in all acquisition decisions. Some materials may be judged primarily in terms of artistic merit, scholarship, or value as human documents. Others are selected to satisfy the recreational or informational needs of the community.

Expanding areas of knowledge, changing social values, technological advances, and cultural differences require flexibility, open- mindedness, and responsiveness in the evaluation and re-evaluation of all library materials. In order to build collections of merit, all acquisitions, whether purchased or donated, will be considered according to the following general and specific criteria listed below alphabetically:

A. General Criteria for the Evaluation of Library Materials

  1. Appropriateness and effectiveness of medium to content.
  2. Attention of critics, reviews, and public.
  3. Cooperative agreements with other libraries.
  4. Importance as a document of the times.
  5. Insight into human and social conditions.
  6. Present and potential relevance to community needs and interests.
  7. Prizes, awards, or honors received.
  8. Relation to existing collection and other material on subject.
  9. Reputation and/or significance of author, producer, artist, etc.
  10. Skill, competence, and purpose of author, producer, artist, etc.
  11. Suitability of physical format for library use.
  12. Suitability of subject and style for intended audience

B. Specific Criteria for the Evaluation of Works of Information and Opinion

  1. Authority of author, producer, artist, etc.
  2. Clarity, accuracy, and logic of presentation.
  3. Comprehensiveness and depth of treatment.
  4. Contribution of the work to balance the collection.
  5. Objectivity and integrity.
  6. Representation of challenging works, including extreme and/or minority points of view.

C. Specific Criteria for the Evaluation of Works of Imagination

  1. Artistic expression, presentation, and experimentation.
  2. Effective characterization.
  3. Representation of important movement, genre, trend, or national culture.
  4. Sustained interest.
  5. Vitality and originality.

D. Gifts

  1. The library welcomes unconditional gifts of materials or monetary gifts to purchase materials. Gift materials will be evaluated according to the criteria listed above to determine their suitability for inclusion in the library’s collection.
  2. Donated materials not selected for inclusion in the library’s collection will be disposed of following the procedures outlined in Section V.B.

V. Collection Maintenance

A. Weeding

Weeding is an essential and accepted part of library collection development. Weeding of the collection will be performed by members of the Selection Committee. Members of the Selection Committee are expected to use the following weeding criteria (listed alphabetically) and their own experience and judgment in deciding whether to retain library materials as they are, to preserve them, to replace them, or to dispose of them without replacement.

Specific criteria for weeding decisions:

  1. Collecting responsibility of library in cooperative agreement with other libraries.
  2. Currency of information.
  3. Degree of conformance with criteria for acquisition.
  4. Degree of unnecessary duplication.
  5. Historical significance of material.
  6. Local significance of material.
  7. Memorial gift.
  8. Physical condition.
  9. Record of use.
  10. Significance of art in the material.
  11. Significance of author, producer, artist, etc.
  12. Technical quality.

B. Disposal

As a function of collection management, as discussed in Section V.A., library materials may be discarded from the library. These items will be disposed of as follows:

  1. Material may be offered to other tax supported institutions in the borough, region, and state, with priority given to local libraries.
  2. Material may be sold through library-sponsored sales or other suitable means.
  3. Material not distributed or sold will be recycled or destroyed.

VI. User Input into Selection and Re-evaluation of Materials

A. Users’ suggestions for acquisition of materials will be accepted for consideration and forwarded to the members of the library Selection Committee. Acquisition decisions will be made by Selection Committee members following these guidelines:

  1. Current selection policy and procedures.
  2. Consideration of budgetary limitations.
  3. Availability of requested material.

B. A patron who is concerned about material in the collection may express that concern to a professional staff member and/or the Library Director. A patron who would like the Selection Committee to reconsider items in the collection will be given a Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials form, and will be informed of the reconsideration procedure. Upon receipt of the completed form, the Selection Committee will re-evaluate the item in terms of the selection criteria, collection assessment data, collection profiles, and the library’s mission statement. The Library Director will communicate the committee’s decision to the individual who submitted the request for reconsideration.

If a patron has a concern about a title included in the ListenAlaska Plus collection and wants to reconsider its addition to the ListenAlaska Plus collection, a shared resource for which the titles are selected by a consortium of libraries, they must follow the reconsideration process established by the ListenAlaska Plus member libraries.

The Library Commission will hear appeals of the Selection Committee’s decisions for reconsideration of materials.

In addition to the published agenda, notices of an appeal hearing will be given ten days prior to the hearing and again, five days prior to the hearing.

The Commission may choose to have a hearing officer advise the Commission on accepted administrative hearing procedures, and be present at the appeal hearing.

Written comments will be accepted up to five days before the appeal hearing. Public comment will be taken at the hearing, and will be limited to no more than three minutes per person. Each person may speak only once, however, the hearing officer or members of the Commission may question a member of the public to obtain further relevant information. The Commission may arrange for additional testimony from expert witnesses.

The decision of the Commission will be the final administrative remedy. Appellantes have thirty days from the date the Commission mails its decision to them to appeal to a court of competent jurisdiction.

REV 9/26/12