Material Selection (Reviewed 1-13-2020)
The basic collection includes classical and semi-classical novels as well as novels of outstanding contemporary novelists. This type of novel is purchased without reference to demand. Fiction of substance will be retained over a long period of time whether or not it is frequent in demand. The public’s desire for current fiction requires that a large percentage of our purchases be new publications. Novels widely advertised, best-sellers, mysteries, westerns, science fiction, and romance are purchased because of requests, even though their literary quality may not meet the library’s general standards. Such materials shall be discarded as soon as they have outlived their usefulness. Recognizing that much of current fiction is such in nature, the library reevaluates its collection regularly.
Several different sources are used in the selection of new materials. Reviews are read by staff members who know the tastes and reading interests of the community. Because the library believes that no one should be denied the opportunity to read the type of fiction he chooses, it encourages suggestions for purchase from the general public and has the obligation to attempt to obtain these books either by purchase or interlibrary loan.
In the selection of non-fiction materials, the library will make a special effort to consider the needs and the interests of the reading community. The usual criteria of authority, scope, how up-to-date and overall quality shall be applied to most acquisitions. The library shall try to have a variety of material on timely public issues and will also try to represent all sides of controversial issues when materials of reasonable quality are available.
Periodicals are purchased or accepted as gifts for one or more of the following reasons: to keep the libraries’ collection up-to-date with current thinking in various fields and to provide material not available in books; to supplement the book collection. They are chosen by local interest in the subject matter.
The library’s objective in selecting books for young people is to make available a collection that meets the recreational, informational and cultural reading needs and potentials of the young people from infancy through age 17.
The selection of books for young people is based on elements of creativeness, clarity and style of writing, excellence of illustrations, harmony between text and illustrations, outstanding design and format, appropriateness of subject and treatment at various reading levels and acceptance by young people. The contribution of the book to the balance of the total collection is also considered.
In approaching the goal of meeting the needs and interest of all young people, the library makes available some titles and series which are frequently criticized as being mediocre or substandard. These books are extremely popular, and the library is more concerned with developing in children the habit of reading than it is with making judgments about the literary value of specific books.
Bible stories, biographies of saints and other religious personages and books on the customs and traditions of the religions are added if they meet the basic standards for children's books in general, but books of specific religious teachings or practices are not included in the young person’s collection.
Books relating to countries, races, nationalities, and religious groups are carefully selected. Books recognized as classics and which are of considerable literary merit are retained even though they may contain words or phrases which may be controversial. Current books which are well written and portray a period or incident or way of life authentically, are accepted despite the occasional use of a controversial term, provided the total impact of the book meets the standards maintained in the collection.