The Board of Trustees of the Zion-Benton Public Library District recognizes the importance of materials selection in the fulfillment of the Library’s mission. This policy provides a framework for building and maintaining the Library’s collection. It guides library staff in managing materials and informs the public of the principles upon which materials are selected and retained for the Library’s collection. The Library Director is ultimately responsible for selecting library materials and operates within the policies approved by the Board of Trustees of the ZBPLD. The Director delegates collection development duties to staff with the authority to interpret and apply the policy.
The Board of Trustees fully endorses the Freedom to Read Statement1, the Freedom to View Statement2 and the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights3 and its interpretations. The principles espoused in these documents are incorporated in this policy.
The Library collects materials in a variety of formats including print, audiovisual and digital which support its function as a major information source for the needs of the ZBPLD community. An informed and literate citizenry is essential to the future of our district. The collection also serves the popular and recreational needs of the general public and celebrates the racial, ethnic, cultural and personal diversity of the community. Materials may be selected based on:
- literary merit
- enduring value
- point of view
- artistic presentation
- critical review
- relation to current collection
- social significance
- subject matter
- public demand, interest or need
Other considerations may be applicable in specific subject areas. No restrictions are placed on what anyone may listen to, view or read. Selection of materials to include in the collection will not be made on the basis of any anticipated approval or disapproval, but solely on the merits of the material in relation to building the collection and serving the needs and interests of all users. No materials shall be excluded because of race, nationality, religion, political or social view of author, publisher, subject matter, artist, director or producer. The Library seeks to meet the needs of the total community, recognizing that some acquisitions may include items that may be controversial to some users. The Library’s acquisition of these items does not constitute endorsement of their content but rather makes available its expression.
The Library obtains materials for patrons through interlibrary loan (ILL) if the items are unavailable in the ZBPLD collection. ILL is not a substitute for collection development but is meant to expand the range of materials available to library users without needlessly duplicating the resources of other libraries.
Donations and Gifts
Donated materials are accepted with the understanding that the Library has the right to determine the disposition of the gift items. Donations become property of the Library and may be kept, given to other libraries or nonprofit agencies, sold at book sales, or discarded at the discretion of library staff. Donated materials which have been added to the collection will not automatically be replaced if worn-out, damaged, or if they have become lost or obsolete.
Collections are evaluated continuously. The deselection of materials is necessary to maintain a vital, useful and contemporary collection. Materials are withdrawn when they are no longer of value to the community using criteria that include but are not limited to, interest levels, poor condition, unnecessary duplication, or inaccurate or outdated information. Withdrawn materials are used for book sales, donated to other institutions, used in library programs or discarded.
Freedom to Read
All patrons have a right to choose which materials they will use. People of all ages have free and open access to the Library’s collection. Individuals or groups may question the inclusion of an item in the collection because fear or doubt about the effects of the material on impressionable persons. Although the Library understands this concern, it is the Library’s position that the risk to society is far greater if public access to ideas and information is restricted. While anyone is free to select or reject materials for themselves or their own minor children, the values of one will not be imposed on the many. Parents and legal guardians have the responsibility for their own child’s use of materials, the library does not stand in loco parentis.
Reconsideration of Materials
A Zion-Benton Public Library District cardholder may request reconsideration of any materials as follows:
- The patron must submit a Statement of Concern form to the Library Director.
- The Director will appoint a committee to review the form and the item.
- The Director will notify the patron on the committee’s decision and a summary of the concern and the action will be reported to the Board of Trustees.
- The patron may appeal the decision in writing to the Board of Trustees, whose decision is final.
The item under consideration will not be removed from the collection, nor will access to it be restricted, until the review is complete and the final decision is determined. A copy of the Statement of Concern form is available at the public services desks, the administrative office and on the Library’s website.