REVISIONS: July 22, 2008, Dec. 16, 2004, Sept. 17, 2002,
ADOPTED: March 20, 2001
POLICY NUMBER: 3.01
RELATED POLICIES: Gift Policy, Disposal of Library Materials Policy, Postings, Petitions and Exhibit Policy; Borrower’s policy
STATUTORY REFERENCE: RCW 27.12.210(9)
SCOPE: This policy designates responsibility for selecting materials for the library’s collection to library staff and provides guidelines for selection.
Statement of Purpose: The Whatcom County Library System exists because of its collection, both physical and electronic. This policy guides the library staff in the management of the library’s collection (books, magazines, audio-visual materials, electronic and other information sources) and informs the public of the principles used by the staff to build and maintain the collection.
Staff may make recommendations for changes to this policy as needed, and a full review will be conducted following the adoption of each long range plan.
- The library’s collections will be designed to meet the particular needs of Whatcom County’s population, taking into account its economy, lifestyle, demographics and the elements of the Library’s Strategic Plan. The Board of Trustees recognizes that within the service area there are groups and individuals with widely separate and diverse interests, backgrounds, cultural heritages, social values and needs. The Board further recognizes that the library serves all the people within the service area of the region regardless of age, race, sex, creed, national origin, sexual orientation, or ideology, including those who are physically or mentally disabled or in institutions. The interests and needs of all are taken into account in the selection of the library’s collection.
- The Board believes that censorship is purely an individual matter and declares that, while anyone is free to reject for themselves materials of which they do not approve, they cannot exercise this right of censorship to restrict the freedom of others to read or inquire. The Board also recognizes that parents have the primary responsibility to guide and direct the reading, listening and viewing of their own minor children. The Library does not stand in loco parentis (that is, in place of a parent, or charged with a parent’s rights, duties and responsibilities).
The Library Board further defends the principles of the freedom to read and declares that whenever censorship is involved, library material shall not be removed from the library save under the order of a court of competent jurisdiction, nor will library materials be sequestered except for the express purpose of protecting them from damage or theft.
The Library Board adopts and declares that it will adhere to and support:
a. The Library Bill of Rights, ALA Council, 1980, reaffirmed 1996.
b. The Freedom to Read Statement, ALA Council, amended 2004;
c. Free Access to Libraries for Minors, ALA’s interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights, amended 2004.
d. The Washington Library Association Intellectual Freedom Statement, ratified 2001.
- To serve Whatcom County’s diverse community, library selectors shall choose a balance of materials representing a wide range of non-fiction topics, fiction genres, authors, performers, and style. The focus of the collection is breadth rather than depth, and materials suitable for the general reader rather than the advanced student or the expert.
Materials acquired by WCLS support library patrons who are:
a. Pursuing life-long learning;
b. Using leisure time to enjoy books and other library materials;
c. Improving skills in daily life and pursuing hobbies;
d. Keeping abreast of new ideas;
e. Examining various sides of issues;
f. Becoming informed citizens of the community, the nation and the world;
g. Improving business success and occupational performance;
h. Discovering and developing creativity.
Over the years, the share of the budget and shelf space allotted to each of these purposes will shift according to use and demand, but each one will always be represented in the library’s collection.
- Materials are selected according to one or more of the following guidelines:
a. Favorable reviews and/or critical acclaim;
b. Community requests and/or anticipated popular demand;
c. Enduring quality and renown;
d. Attention of critics, reviewers and the public;
e. Reputation of author or publisher;
f. Artistic, literary, and/or scientific merit;
g. Practical usefulness;
h. Suitability for the lay person;
i. Contribution to the balance of the collection;
j. Support for school reports;
k. Contribution to a diversity of taste and opinion;
l. Representation of ideas that are unique, alternative, experimental or controversial;
m. Anticipation of new trends in literature, technology, leisure and culture;
n. Durability sufficient to withstand its intended use;
o. Technical quality (nonprint);
- The library accepts gifts of books and other materials or gifts of money for their purchase. (See Gift Policy 3.03).
- The library has an established process for regularly assessing the materials in its collection for retention or withdrawal. Except for local history and local documents, the library does not serve an archival function. (See Disposal of Library Materials Policy 3.02)