Materials Selection Policy
The historic basis for the existence of libraries has been to provide individuals with an opportunity to continue their education by self means. Public libraries have traditionally been the repository within their community of a variety of written and non-written materials and cultural opportunities available to all without charge. To fulfill this mandate for the citizens of Sheridan and Adams Township, the Sheridan Public Library adopts this policy of materials selection.
Library Bill of Rights
The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.
- Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
- Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
- Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
- Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
- A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
- Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use
Principles of Selection
The Sheridan Public Library collects print and non-print materials which chronicle the events and thoughts of mankind. The library director and staff make their selections based on a variety of criteria. First and foremost, the material must be of some perceived value to the community the library serves. Beyond that, the material should, among other things, have a positive review of content from a professionally recognized source, fill a need within the existing collection, fit within current budget constraints and be of substantial physical quality. Materials should be provided in a variety of formats and comprehension levels, should address a variety of issues without regard to their controversial nature, and should always try to reflect the changing needs of library patrons. While the library and staff may not always accept the ideas and values associated with the materials, every effort should be made not to censor or eliminate those materials on the basis of personal beliefs. Many of the materials reviewed may contain parts that are offensive, even to the great majority of patrons, but all items for consideration will be judged as a whole, not just in parts.
While the responsibility for selecting materials rests with the director and the staff, the library cannot be responsible for what patrons choose to read. The materials within the library’s collection are available to all. Especially for children, the responsibility lies with the parents as to what they may read or view.
Placement of Materials
Materials are placed within the library in accordance with the Dewey Decimal Classification System and the best judgment of the library staff. Materials generally considered more appropriate to juvenile patrons and young adult patrons are housed separately from the adult collection. However, all materials are available to all patrons. The only exception to this are materials that need special protection or security based on their rarity, fragility, cost, susceptibility to loss or damage, or materials that are unsuited for heavy usage. These items will be made available upon request and under appropriate supervision.
Removal of Collection Items
Periodically it may become necessary to remove items from the library collection. Removal is commonly done when items become obsolete or are too worn or physically damaged to be repaired. Surplus items may also be periodically culled. Occasionally, items that are considered contrary to the best interests of the community are removed after appropriate review. Citizens of the library district wishing to have an item considered for removal from the collection are encouraged to complete the appropriate Request for Review of Collection Item form attached to this policy and available at the library.
Gifting of Materials
Members of the community are encouraged to donate print and non-print items to the library. Using the criteria outlined above, the director and staff will evaluate the donated items and make a determination as to whether or not to include them in the collection. Items not added to the collection may be placed in the Friends of the Library book sale for disposal. All donated items become the sole property of the library at the time of the donation. Patrons may request a Donation Receipt for items donated to the library.
The Sheridan Public Library reserves the right to add to, delete from or otherwise change the above policy and/or guidelines without notification.