Thursday, September 10, 2009

Collection Development Policy

I. Introduction:

A. The Collection Development Policy and the Library Mission.

The Odon Winkelpleck Public Library seeks to give service to the residents and property owners of Odon and Madison Township by meeting the informational, recreational, educational, and cultural interest and needs of all the district’s residents, regardless of age, gender, race, creed, nationality, physical ability or formal schooling. This policy supports that mission by outlining plans and procedures for developing and maintaining the library collection.

B. Brief overview of the collection

The Odon Public Library first opened in 1906 with less than 100 books. Since that time, the collection has steadily grown to its present size of almost 20,000 holdings. The collection includes, in round numbers:

Adult fiction books – 6,000
Adult non-fiction books – 4,500
Juvenile and young adult (teen) books 6,000
Magazines (36 subscriptions) – 600
Videos – 1,900
Audio books – 200
Rare books (includes family histories) – 75
Music CDs – 100

As a small, rural library with limited funding, patron donations shape the collection to a greater degree than at larger libraries. In an average year, over 50% of new books and videos added to the collection are donations. Decisions for collection development must take these donations into account.

The demographics of the library district show that only 34% of the adult population has attended college and 11% have earned a 4-year college degree. 99.8% of residents over five years of age are proficient in English, although that may change in the future. (Source: Census 2000 data)

In 2008, the library joined the Evergreen Indiana community, giving local patrons access to the collections of what has become dozens of EI libraries and opening up the local collection to patrons of those libraries. This partnership heightens the need for a well-maintained collection of value to both local residents and the broader community.

II. General Collection Development Policies

The library collects materials in the following formats: books, periodicals, pamphlets, audio books, videos, music CDs, newspaper, and microfilm. Books in electronic format are not currently included in the collection, but public demand for such formats will be considered in future acquisition plans. Family histories are accepted and made available upon request.

Specifically:

A. The library attempts to procure all books containing history of the Daviess County area. Donations of historical accounts for adjoining counties are added to the collection if they are in good condition.

B. The collection is in English with the exception of material intended to aid those studying another language. These exceptions include bilingual picture books and language study aids.

C. Non-fiction book purchases focus on works of a general nature, rarely exceeding a high school reading level. Books covering multiple subjects will be given priority over narrower subject matter. More esoteric works from donors will be evaluated for likely interest to the community. Patron input is considered in choosing subjects to cover and update in the non-fiction section, however, professional reviews are consulted in choosing specific titles for purchase. Textbooks are generally not added to the collection.

D. Fictional acquisitions of all formats are based on public requests and likely popularity with library patrons. Any request from a patron for a particular work is evaluated as to advisability of adding that work to the collection. Donated fiction is evaluated primarily on the basis of condition, currency, being unique to the collection, and of general interest. Condensed books and general romance series (e.g. Harlequin books) will not be added to the collection. Popularity within the EI system (based on number of holdings circulating at the time of the evaluation) is taken into consideration for titles available in multiple EI collections. Preference will be given to hardcover books in purchasing decisions. Paperback books will be accepted from donors and shelved separately. Only one copy of any title will be purchased with library funds, however, donations of the most popular titles may be added to the collection.

E. Fiction genres that attract special-interest readers may be separated from the general fiction for the benefit of those readers. Special fiction collections include inspirational fiction (including donated Christian romance), science fiction/fantasy, and westerns. Paperback and hardcover books are combined for these collections.

F. The library subscribes to the Odon Journal, a weekly newspaper, and preserves it in microfilm format. No newspapers from outside the North Daviess community are included in the collection.

G. Because of the low volume of new material acquired each year and limited staff resources, the library does not accept material from booksellers to preview and return. Standing orders are rare and carefully reviewed on an annual basis.

H. The library does not subscribe to electronic databases but is a supporter of INSPIRE, the Indiana virtual library of periodicals and publications made available to all Indiana residents via the internet. Other offsite material may be accessed using interlibrary loan or free internet resources. Government or individual data available in electronic format will be accessible via a public computer station.

I. Periodicals are made available for one year from date of publication before being discarded. Only material of particularly enduring value and interest to the community will be kept beyond two years.

J. Video purchases are divided between new releases that meet community standards, generally PG-13 or more mild, family-oriented entertainment, and classic movies and musicals. Purchases of new releases will be made at the convenience of the staff, generally allowing local video rental businesses several weeks lead time before the video will be made available at the library. DVD format will be the first choice for new videos.

K. Children’s non-fiction acquisitions will be selected in a similar fashion to adult books, accepting public input into subjects covered while using professional reviews to select specific books.

L. Children’s fiction acquisitions will reflect both patron requests and the recommendations of reviewers, balancing popular series with literature that might be overlooked by young readers. Children’s fiction is divided into three age levels – early/easy, intermediate, and young adult (teen) – based on reading level, interest level, and content.

M. Free material sent to the library by various government and special interest groups will not be added to the collection unless it is in one of the formats generally collected by the library. Brochures and publications will be made available in a designated area.

N. Donated materials which do not fit the selection criteria presented above but are appropriate for a library book sale will be given to the Friends of the Library.

III. Challenged Material.

The library fully supports the quest for knowledge among members of the Odon community. Intellectual freedom is acknowledged and protected. All complaints and challenges will be taken seriously and dealt with according to the procedures that have been set in place. In the event that items are challenged, the following events will take place:

The complainant will be given a form to complete and return to the librarian. No comment will be made about the material to the complainant, community, or press at this time. The library director will be notified immediately of the situation. No further action will be taken until the form is returned.

If the form is returned a meeting will be set up. The library director, a member of the library board, the staff member receiving the complaint, and the complainant will be present. The library personnel will present their criteria for selection and arguments for including the “offending” material in the collection. The complainant will be asked to defend their position. If an agreement cannot be reached, the parties involved will take their arguments to the library board where a decision will be reached. The library board president or an appointed professional will be asked to field questions from the press if a need should arise.

The decision will be documented and upheld by all parties involved.


IV. Maintaining the collection.

In the interest of maintaining an attractive, current, and manageable collection, as new materials are added to the collection, old items must be weeded out on a regular basis.

Specifically:

A. Since fiction acquisitions are based on popularity with the public, de-selection is based on the same criteria. A hardcover, adult, general-fiction book that has not circulated in 10 years will be considered a candidate for removal from the collection. However, any one of the following criteria is grounds for reconsideration: 1) the book is still in print, 2) the author is from Indiana, 3) the title is included in the public library fiction catalog of standard works. Paperback and special collection titles, audio books, videos, and children’s fiction will be subject to similar standards with more or less latitude in circulation data. For example, paperback fiction will generally be weeded if not circulated in two years.

B. Nonfiction material presents a greater challenge for weeding. A book with misleading and inaccurate information is a candidate for de-selection regardless of its age or popularity with the public. Currency and accuracy must be added to the criteria used for de-selection in this area. However, the circulation requirement may be relaxed for material that is still current or considered valuable for reference questions or historic information, even though it seldom circulates. Individual judgments for de-selection will be made by the library staff.
(Last revision date: 10 March 2011)