Selection & Reconsideration Policy Toolkit for Public, School, & Academic Libraries
A selection policy should state in broad general terms what a public, school, or academic library is trying to accomplish and then more specifically its objectives of selection. The objective of the selection policy should state its purpose within the context of the strategic plan of the library.
Public Library Selection Policy Objectives
In broad terms the objectives indicate the types of use for which public library materials are intended and organized. Objectives are related to the mission of the public library and its role in the community. These statements often outline the library’s audience and motivation for selecting items.
Example: Public Library Selection Policy Objectives
The library’s materials collection is developed and managed to meet the majority of the cultural, informational, educational, and recreational needs of the library’s service area. The Collection Development Department builds and maintains a patron-oriented collection by anticipating and responding to needs and expectations.
Collection decisions are made in conjunction with the strategic initiatives, especially the following:
- Positioning the library as the preferred partner for lifelong learning
- Embracing diversity
- Developing library services that incorporate both physical and virtual collections
- Committing to excellence in service to improve effectiveness and remove barriers
Public School District Selection Policy Objectives
Objectives are, of necessity, broad and should relate to the mission of the school and its instructional program. Instructional and library materials are selected by the school district to implement, enrich, and support the educational program and personal interests of each student.
Example: School Library Selection Policy Objectives
- To provide faculty and students with materials that enrich and support the curriculum and meet the needs of the students and faculty served
- To provide students with a wide range of educational materials on all levels of difficulty and in a variety of formats, with diversity of appeal, allowing for the presentation of many different points of view
- To select materials that present various sides of controversial issues, giving students an opportunity to develop analytical skills resulting in informed decisions
- To select materials in all formats, including up-to-date, high quality, varied literature to develop and strengthen a love of reading
Classroom Collection Selection Policy Objectives
A classroom collection is defined as an informally arranged group of fiction and non-fiction books collected and housed in a classroom and used by the students assigned to that classroom.
While classroom collections are excellent tools for encouraging reading for pleasure, they should not be seen as a replacement for a quality school library collection and program, as well as a certified, professional school librarian. Because classroom collections serve as part of the curriculum, they should be part of the instructional materials selection and reconsideration policy.
Example: Classroom Collection Selection Policy Objectives
- To provide students with materials that will enrich and support the curriculum and meet the needs of the students served in an individual classroom
- To provide students with a wide range of educational materials with varying levels of difficulty, in a variety of formats, with diversity of appeal, and allowing for the presentation of different points of view
Academic Library Selection Policy Objectives
The main objective of an academic library's selection policy is to provide the college community with a wide range of scholarly materials that are consistent with the institution's mission, curricula/research needs, and academic freedom tenets. A selection policy should include an avenue for collaboration and input from all members of the campus community.
Example: Academic Library Selection Policy Objectives
The library’s selection policy reflects the mission of the college, the academic disciplines at the institution, and the information needs of students, faculty, and staff. The library’s collection:
- Supports the institution's curricular needs
- Recognizes the library’s role in providing for the specialized research needs of student and faculty conducting independent and advanced research
- Assists librarians and faculty who are making decisions about resources including the library’s print collection, digital resources, and databases
- Provides a balanced collection with diverse and differing points of view or intellectual thought
Basic Components of a Selection Policy
Library Mission | Support for Intellectual Freedom | Objectives | Responsibility for Selection | Selection Criteria | Acquisitions Procedures | Special Collections | Selecting Controversial Materials | Gifts and Donations | Collection Maintenance and Weeding | Policy Revision | Reconsideration
Guiding Principles | Statement of Policy | Informal Complaints | Request for Formal Reconsideration | Sample Reconsideration Form | Sample Letter to Complainant | Reconsideration Committees