Materials Selection and Access Policy
Revised January 2000
The Solano County Library offers professional, innovative, cost-effective service by providing library materials, resources, information, entertainment, and life-long learning opportunities to enrich the lives of the people of Solano County.
The Solano County Library provides public library service to people of all ages in a variety of communities of differing interests and concerns. This policy sets guidelines used by the Solano County Library for the selection, access and placement of books, nonprint formats and other materials in its libraries.
General Selection Factors
Four factors govern the selection of materials for the library:
- The needs of the individual and the community – those which are expressed and those which are basic and universal, whether expressed or not.
- The individual merit of each work.
- The Library: its existing collection, budget, and services.
- Adherence to the American Library Association’s, Freedom to Read Statement, Library Bill of Rights and the various interpretations to the Library Bill of Rights such as The Universal Right to Free Expression, Statement on Labeling, Free Access to Libraries for Minors and Access for Children and Young People to Videotapes and other Nonprint Formats
Principles of Selection
The Solano County Library obtains, organizes, and makes available materials which record the thought, expression, knowledge, and opinion of all peoples, which provide information about one’s work, community, the world, and one’s place in it, and which serve the recreational needs of the community.
Materials must be measured by a number of criteria. The basic test for selection of any item is whether it is of proven or potential interest to the people served. Secondary considerations include:
- availability and cost of the item
- amount of similar material already in the collection
- extent to which the materials may be available elsewhere in the community or the Solano, Napa, & Partners (SNAP) library consortium
- physical format of the material
- attention by critics and/or reviewers
- local interest or demand
In choosing materials to suit a variety of tastes, differing viewpoints are included. The Library recognizes that some materials chosen may be offensive, shocking, or of no interest to some library users, but may be meaningful and significant to others. It is understood and emphasized that the library does not endorse opinions expressed in the materials that are collected.
Responsibility for Selection
The ultimate responsibility for materials selection rests by law with the County Librarian (Education Code 27206). The initial responsibility for materials selection lies with the Library’s professional staffs, who operate within the areas of service to adults, young adults, and children. All staff members and members of the general public may recommend material for selection consideration. Professional staff of the Library, in making selections, do so in a manner based upon principle rather than personal opinion, reason rather than prejudice, and judgment rather than censorship. Selection is inclusive rather than exclusive. Variety and balance of opinion are sought whenever available.
Access to Library Materials
The Library provides free access to a variety of materials including but not limited to books, magazines, newspapers, online databases, sound recordings (spoken word and music in cassette and compact disk formats), videorecordings (feature films and educational films), and CD-ROMs. Open access for all users is provided and all materials are made as accessible to the public as possible. The Library does not serve as a censor of the reading, viewing, or listening of any member of the community. The Library recognizes the importance in a democratic society of allowing individuals to form their own opinions on issues, particularly controversial issues and, therefore, acquires materials of a controversial nature. Responsibility for the reading, viewing, or listening of minors rests with their parents or legal guardians. Selection of material is not restricted by the possibility that these materials may come into the possession of minors. The Library does not act in loco parentis.
Placement of Library Materials
Placement of materials within the Library is a professional decision. Criteria for placement include:
- age level
- assigned subject classification
- physical format
- susceptibility to loss or damage
- rarity or cost
The Library labels materials for placement only, not to predispose the user for or against materials. The Library considers the various components of its collections to be elements of one unified collection. In general, the Library does not maintain special interest collections that are separate and apart from the collection as a whole. Materials may be put into the non-circulating reference collection because of cost, format, comprehensiveness, high use or high theft rate.
Items are withdrawn from the collection for several reasons, among them: when they are no longer needed, when their information has become obsolete, or when they are physically worn and not usable.
Donations of materials or funds to enrich the Library collection are welcome. Donated items must meet the same selection criteria as purchased materials. All gifts are evaluated by library staff as to format, condition, quality, and content. No conditions may be placed on gifts by the donor. Funds may be donated for the purchase of materials; however Library staff select the materials. The Library reserves the right to make the final decision on the use or disposition of gifts of materials.
Approved by the Board of Supervisors
County of Solano
State of California
January 4, 2000
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