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Blue Ridge Regional Library

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Material Selection Policy

The Blue Ridge Regional Library attempts to provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues and to provide recreational reading for a wide range of tastes. However, no library is large enough or wealthy enough to purchase all the materials available or retain all the materials it has acquired over time. For that reason, the Blue Ridge Regional Library has adopted the following criteria for selecting and discarding materials, which support and are supported by the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read Statement, and Freedom to View Statement, all of which affirm that free and convenient access to ideas, information, and the creative experience are the right of every citizen, regardless of the person’s origin, age, background or views.

I. Library Objectives
   The Blue Ridge Regional Library is dedicated to:

  • Satisfying the diverse information needs and interests of the residents of the community through the selection, acquisition, organization and presentation of library materials within the limitations of space and budget.
  • Promoting the use, by persons of all ages, of books and other library materials for information, recreation and enjoyment.
  • Facilitating continuing education, both formal and informal.
  • Supporting the educational, civic cultural activities of groups and organizations in the community.
  • Providing practical and vocational information that will improve occupational capabilities.
  • Providing the community with easy access to recorded information.
  • Providing skilled guidance in the use of library materials. 

II. Responsibility for Selection

Selection refers to the decision that must be made to add material to the collection or retain material already in the collection. The responsibility for material selection lies primarily with the acquisitions staff, although the general public and all staff members are encouraged to recommend materials for purchase. The ultimate responsibility for selection, as for all library activities, rests with the library director. In keeping with the Library Bill of Rights, selection of library materials is not inhibited by the possibility that materials may come into the possession of children. Individual use of library materials is a private and personal matter. All citizens are free to reject for themselves and their children materials of which they may disapprove; no citizen may restrict the freedom of use and access of others. Responsibility for children’s reading, listening and viewing of library materials rests at all times with their parents or legal guardians. Library staff is not permitted to take on this responsibility for the children of others when acting in an official capacity. II. Selection Criteria A. Selection Principles The library feels a strong responsibility to preschool and primary school children and maintains an extensive collection of library materials suitable for this age group. Because the Blue Ridge Regional Library is the primary source of library materials for out-of-school adults, a significant percentage of the materials budget and library staff is designated to serve their needs; however, the library will not intentionally duplicate college curriculum-supportive materials. The library also recognizes an obligation to the business community, especially to the small business enterprise, and endeavors to satisfy their informational needs. To build collections of merit and significance, materials must be measured by objective guidelines. Materials are evaluated on the significance of the entire work rather than of individual parts. All acquisitions, whether purchased or donated, are considered in terms of the standards listed below. (An item need not meet all of the criteria in order to be acceptable; however, several standards and combinations of standards may be used.) The following principles will guide selection:

  • Contemporary significance or permanent value
  • Accuracy
  • Reputation/authority of the author, editor, illustrator, performer, etc.
  • Literary or artistic merit
  • Relation to existing collection and to other materials on subject
  • Price
  • Availability
  • Format
  • Ease of use
  • Scarcity of information in subject area
  • Availability of material in other area libraries
  •  Suitability of reading level, interest level, and treatment of subject relative to the age of the intended audience 
  • Evaluations of critics, reviewers, etc. Patron demand (material is generally purchased after requests have been received from three patrons for the same material) 
  • Selection Aids The standard selection aids include Booklist, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly and School Library Journal, as well as prominent magazines, newspapers and local publications. Publishers’ catalogs and bibliographies prepared by various libraries and subject authorities are also consulted. 
  • C. Gifts The library will consider accepting gift materials as memorials if they meet the same selection criteria as purchased materials. Processing costs and use of shelf space are also considered. The library reserves the right to decide conditions of display, housing and access to the materials. For gift materials accepted by the library, the donor may provide an inscribed bookplate to be placed in or on the item, if the wording is acceptable to the library. Gifts not added to the library collection will be placed in the Friends’ book sale, as will gift materials that are eventually withdrawn. When the library receives a cash gift for the purchase of unspecified materials, selection will be made by the branch manager. Donations of $25 or more for adult material or $15 or more for children material are acknowledged with a bookplate if requested by the patron. 
  • D. Curriculum-Related Materials The library provides a good general collection of non-fiction materials and a strong general collection of fiction and easy-to-read books for school-aged children; however, the library does not attempt to duplicate information provided by local school libraries for their students, particularly curriculum-supportive materials. Textbooks or educational media may be purchased for the collection when they supply the best or only source of information on a subject; they will not be duplicated to satisfy the demands of a specific school or academic course. E. Government Materials The library occasionally purchases government materials that are important as reference materials or for popular reading and study.
  •  F. Local History Through its local history collection, the library preserves books and source materials which document the history and current happenings of Martinsville, Henry County, and Patrick County. Local history material may be acquired even though it does not meet other collection criteria. 
  • G. Microforms Microforms are acquired to augment the periodical and newspaper collections, to save space, and to provide specialized materials not otherwise available. 
  • H. Newspapers Newspapers, including print and other formats, are selected to meet reference and research needs, to provide current information and to satisfy the casual interest in current events. Local and national newspapers are supplied upon sufficient demand and within budget and space limitations. 
  • J. Periodicals Periodicals are selected to supplement the book collection, provide material not yet available in book form, provide recreational reading, aid in material selection, or furnish professional reading for staff. Periodicals are selected which are considered to be authoritative and objective, indexed in the standard periodical indexes, or in frequent demand. Periodicals of local interest may be purchased whether or not they meet the other criteria. 
  • K. Recorded Music Musical recordings in any format are selected using the same criteria as other materials acquired by the library. Additional factors to be considered in the selection of recorded music are composition, performer, the popularity of the format, quality of performance, quality of the recording, and awards and accolades received. 
  • L. Video Recordings/DVDs While video rental stores purchase video recordings based on current popularity, the library purchases video recordings which it feels are of lasting value. The same criteria are used as for other materials acquired by the library, in addition to such factors as plot or subject, performers, quality of the recording, quality of performance, price, the popularity of the format, and awards and accolades the film and/or performers received. 
  • M. Audio Books Audiobook formats are purchased using the same criteria as other materials acquired by the library. Additional factors considered in the selection process are plot or subject matter, performers, quality of the recording and quality of the performance. Emphasis is placed on popular materials in both fiction and non-fiction. 
  • N. Computerized Information Computer databases are acquired by the library using the same criteria as other materials purchased. Consideration is also given to the subject matter, quality and timeliness of the data, use of multimedia presentation, ease of use, compatibility with available technology, and whether the information in this format fills a need or supersedes a print source that has been distributed. 
  • O. Electronic Resources Electronic resources are purchased using the same criteria as other resources acquired by the library. Additional factors considered in the selection process are whether a similar material is available for a lower cost on the Web and whether patrons will use the electronic resource at least as much as the current format. An electronic resource may be acquired if it meets at least one of the following criteria: 
  • • the information is not available in paper 
  • • timeliness of the material is a key factor 
  • • the electronic version costs less and/or is easier to use
  • • it includes printable retrospective coverage previously not available to BRRL patrons 
  • • the format will make the material available to patrons at all branches 
  • • it will be available to patrons remotely
  • • it saves space 
  • • it is free or is provided by the Library of Virginia, or fills a void in the collection. 

    III. Maintaining the Collection 
  • A. Duplication Each branch must weigh specific demand for the duplication of materials in relation to the total library program and policies. The purchase of additional copies of material is governed by a combination of demand, intrinsic or historical value, perceived need in the community, and budget limitation. 
  • B. Discarding The discarding of materials is the selection in reverse. Systematic withdrawal of materials which are no longer useful in maintaining an active, accurate collection is necessary. Library materials are discarded because they are irreparably damaged, obsolete, insufficiently used, or occupying space which is needed for materials which are more likely to be used. Discarded materials may be sold either by the library itself or by the Friends of the Library.
  •  C. Replacement A replacement is an item purchased to take the place of an item previously in the collection. The library will not automatically replace materials withdrawn because of loss, damage or wear. Items may be replaced if there is a demand for the specific title, if the subject is not adequately covered by other materials in the collection or on order, and if the item is readily available in the current book market. 
  • D. Reconsideration Once an item has been placed in the collection following the established selection policies and rules, it will not be removed at the request of patrons who disagree with it unless it can be shown to be in violation of these policies and rules. The formal procedure for reconsideration of materials can be found under Material Reconsideration Procedure. 
  • E. Interlibrary Loan The library subscribes to the National Interlibrary Loan Code. If a patron requests a title which only he/she would use, an attempt is made to order the book through interlibrary loan. Titles repeatedly requested for borrowing this way are considered for purchase by the library. Books cannot be borrowed through interlibrary loan if they are in this library’s collection nor can they be borrowed if they are current or newly published. IV. Material Reconsideration Procedure If a patron complains about an item in the library’s collection, the P.I.C. should establish the specific nature of the complaint with the patron. If the patron wishes to have the material formally reconsidered with respect to its place and purpose in the collection, the staff member should: 
  • • Provide a copy of the Materials Selection Policy and point out the reconsideration section. • Provide a "Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials" form if the patron still wishes to register a formal complaint after reading the Materials Selection Policy. 
  • • Assure the patron that the material will be reviewed by a Reconsideration Committee composed of representatives from the library staff and the Governing Board. 
  • • Notify the patron that he/she will receive a letter from the director describing the results of this review. 
  • • Give the completed "Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials" form and the material in question to the library director. 
  • • The branch or staff member receiving the complaint should send to the director the completed form, a written description of the initial interview with the complainant, and the material in question. At the conclusion of the review process, the director will notify the complainant of the library’s decision and will be available to discuss the decision. V. Revision of Policy This policy will be reviewed and revised as times and circumstances require.
  • Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials Title ___________________________________________________________________ Author ___________________ Format (book video, etc.) _____________________ Publisher/Distributor ______________________________________________________ Request initiated by (Your Name) ________________________________________________ Address ________________________________________________________________ City __________________ State ______ Zip _________ Phone ____________ 
  • Do you represent: _____ Yourself _____ An organization (Name) ______________________________________________ _____ Other (Name) ______________________________________________________
    To what in the work do you object? (Please be specific. Cite pages, etc.) _____________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________
    Did you read/listen to or view the entire work? Yes __ No __ If not, what parts did you read, listen to or view? ____________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________
    What do you feel might be the result of reading, viewing or listening to this work? _____ ________________________________________________________________________
    What do you believe is the theme of this work? _________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________
    Are you aware of judgments of this work by literary, dramatic, or artistic critics? If so, what are they? ___________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________
    What would you like the library to do about this work? ___________________________ ________________________________________________________________________
    If you are recommending that the library remove this item from its shelves, what work(s) would you recommend that would convey as valuable a picture and perspective of the subject treated? ___________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ Signature ________________________________ Date _________________________





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