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Collection Development Policy

Introduction

The purpose of the West Florida Public Libraries (WFPL) Collection Development Policy is to provide information to the public about the principles that direct the selection and management of all public library resources, acquired, and shared by libraries in the system. The library makes available a broad and relevant collection of materials for information, education, and recreation.

The library affirms the public’s right of free access to a diverse and balanced spectrum of reading, listening and viewing materials in a variety of current and emerging formats. WFPL has adopted the following American Library Association’s (ALA) guidelines for public access to information:

Responsibility

The Escambia County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) annually approves the library’s budget, as developed by the Library Director with direction from the West Florida Public Libraries Board of Governance (BOG). The annual budget allocates resources to ensure that the collection meets the needs of the community. Priorities are set to purchase materials and resources that support the library’s mission, strategic goals, and key initiatives.

The ultimate responsibility for the growth and maintenance of the Library’s collection rests with the Library Director, who in turn, delegates collection responsibilities to appropriate staff members. The Library Director assigns selection responsibilities to the Collection Development Coordinator and other staff who are qualified by education, training, and experience to identify materials and resources for selection. Patrons may also recommend materials for consideration using the Suggest a Title form available on the library’s website; though there is no guarantee these will be purchased.

The library welcomes patrons to express opinions about the collection or individual titles. Written opinions can be shared by submitting a Patron Comment on Library Materials form, which is available both on the library’s website and at all WFPL locations. Library patrons occasionally object to titles that have been selected for the collection. Patrons seeking the reconsideration of an item or other resource are asked to review this policy and the library’s Request for Reconsideration Policy, then to complete and submit the Patron Comment on Library Materials form.

Philosophy

The library collection, taken as a whole, will be a diverse source of information, representing as many viewpoints as possible. The library, as a tax-supported institution, neither encourages nor discourages any particular viewpoint.

The library recognizes that some library items are controversial and that any given item may offend a patron. Selections are not made on the basis of any anticipated approval or disapproval, but solely on the merits of the work in building a balanced collection and serving the interests or needs of the library patrons. Materials dealing with controversial views, language, or images are judged as entire works, not on isolated passages or sections.

Only parents and legal guardians have the right and responsibility to guide and direct the reading, listening, and viewing choices of their own minor children, and only their children. The library does not stand in the place of parents (in loco parentis).

The choice of library materials by patrons is an individual matter. While individuals may reject materials for themselves, they cannot exercise censorship or restrict access to lawful materials for others. The library does not remove materials because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

General Selection Criteria

Selection is an evaluative and interpretive process, involving knowledge of the subject and its important literature, familiarity with the materials in the collection as it relates to the needs of the community, and reviews or recognition from media outlets. Not all criteria must be met and no one standard will be decisive. Additional criteria may be used to select materials for special collections including the Genealogy Library and the Jazz Room at the Pensacola Library.

The following general criteria are considered in materials selection whether an item is purchased or donated:

  • Popular interest
  • Contemporary significant or permanent value
  • Currency of information
  • Accuracy
  • Local emphasis or relevance to the community
  • Readability or ability to sustain interest
  • Treatment of subject for the intended audience
  • Reputation and qualifications of author, performer/composer, publisher, producer, or illustrator
  • Creative, literary, or technical quality
  • Reviews in professional literature
  • Attention of the public, critics, or recognition of material by other general interest media outlets
  • Format and its ease of use
  • Circulation as monitored through the integrated library system (ILS)
  • Cost and availability
  • Relation to existing materials in the collection
  • Relationship to other materials in other area libraries
WFPL strives to be responsive to patron demand and community needs. Methods of patron-driven acquisitions and demand-driven acquisitions of materials are continuously being investigated. Technology and methods determined to be efficient and effective in providing materials for use to the community in needed formats, whether digital or physical, will be implemented to the extent practical.

Exclusion of material may occur due to age, cost, accessibility, limited demand, poor suitability of format for use by public, or lack of documentation, but never solely because of frank expression, strong language, viewpoint, or mature content. Materials not found in the collection may be available through Interlibrary Loan (ILL).

Assessment

Library collections are constantly changing. Maintenance of the collection through constant evaluation and assessment by library staff ensures its usefulness and relevancy to the community.

The library adheres to professional collection review and weeding practices including the use of statistical reports, CREW guidelines and MUSTIE factors. The CREW method of Continuous Review Evaluation and Weeding identifies items for consideration for retention or withdrawal. The MUSTIE acronym represents six undesirable factors that increase the likelihood of withdrawal.

M = Misleading (and/or factually inaccurate)
U = Ugly (worn and beyond mending)
S = Superseded (by a new edition or a material with better coverage of the subject)
T = Trivial (no longer of discernable literary or scientific merit)
I = Irrelevant (to the needs and interest of the community)
E = Elsewhere (found expeditiously through another resource, other format, or ILL)

The following additional weeding criteria may also be considered:

  • Shelf space
  • Sustainability of format
  • Number of copies in the collection
  • Circulation statistics
  • Poor condition due to missing pages, markings, water, or mildew damage
Replacements

The library does not automatically replace materials withdrawn or lost from the collection. Need for replacement is considered in relation to several factors including: the number of remaining copies of the title in the system; existence of newer or better material on a subject; budget constraints; and availability (out of print materials are rarely replaced).

Donations

The library accepts donations in reasonable physical condition that support and further the mission, goals and objectives of the library. WFPL does not necessarily accept all donations. Upon request, library staff will supply a donation receipt for income tax records to the donor, who may fill it out if desired. Library staff does not make recommendations, estimates, or appraisals on the value of donated materials.

Donated materials become property of the library upon receipt and will be considered for addition to the collection in accordance with the selection and assessment criteria described in this Collection Development Policy. Donated items will not be accepted on the condition that they are returned to the original owners if they are not added to the collection. Materials not included in the collection will be transferred, discarded, or recycled following established procedures for disposition. Materials may be given to BCC approved recipient organizations including, but not limited to, the Friends of the West Florida Public Libraries, Inc. and may be sold to benefit the library.

Request for Reconsideration

The library will consider requests for reconsideration submitted by any Escambia County residents or current cardholders of West Florida Public Libraries. Information on cardholder eligibility can be found in the library’s Circulation Policy. Patrons seeking the reconsideration of an item or other library resource are asked to review this policy and the library’s Collection Development Policy. Patrons are asked to complete and submit the Patron Comment on Library Materials form to state any objections to the library material or resource.

Patron concerns regarding library materials that are not resolved through the course of discussion with public service staff shall be referred to the department manager, the Branch Manager, or the Collection Development Coordinator. If unable to address and resolve the patron concern, the completed Paton Comment on Library Materials form will serve as the foundation for the review process.

Materials subject to complaint shall not be removed from use pending final action. Items and resources in question will be reviewed from the standpoint of the concerns expressed, though there is no guarantee that the reconsideration will result in a change of the materials placement in the collection. Librarians and other staff who are qualified by education, training, and experience, may be designated by the Library Director to review the material and provide a recommendation. However, the Library Director is not bound by any recommendation and inherently maintains the ultimate responsibility for the final decision.

Decisions regarding the additions, deletions, and reassignment of titles to other areas of the collection will be governed by this Collection Development Policy and will affirm ALA practices for public access to information. Options include, but are not limited to, explaining why the material will be maintained by the library in its present location, moving the material to a different department of the library (from the Juvenile collection to the Young Adult collection, for example), or other appropriate action.

Upon request, a written response will be sent to the patron explaining the option chosen.

The patron may repeal the director’s decision to the Library Board of Governance.