Material Selection Policy




The Board of Trustees of the Stevens County Library establishes the policy that materials will be selected and purchased to serve the purposes, interest and needs of the entire area which it serves.  This policy will provide books and other library materials of both current interest and permanent value, for all ages, from preschool through maturity, which will meet their intellectual, educational, informational, cultural and recreational needs.

There should be the fullest practicable provisions of materials presenting all points of view concerning the problems and issues of our time, international, national, and local; and books or other materials of sound factual authority should not be proscribed or removed from library shelves because of ideological, partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

B.                AUTHORITY

The Library Board of Trustees subscribes to the Freedom to Read Statement, The Intellectual Freedom Statement and the Library Bill of Rights of the American Library Association, which enlarges on the previous statements.


It is the responsibility of the Stevens County Library to provide books and other appropriate library materials to all citizens of Stevens County and the surrounding area.  The responsibility for material selection policy lies with the Board of Trustees.  The Board of Trustees delegates to the Library Director and other staff members designated by the Director the responsibility of the selection of material and development of the collection.



In order to fulfill the specific aims of the library in an efficient manner, the selector must gain considerable knowledge of certain local factors, which have some influence on his decisions as to what would be most beneficial to purchase under the circumstances.  The most important of these factors is the library as it stands with its existing collection, budget and services.  Naturally, one can spend only whatever money is available, but it is important that a reasonable portion of the total budget be spent on the collection.  It is recommended in the ALA minimum standards that a MINIMUM of fifteen percent (15%) of the operating budget be spent on the collection.  The Library will exceed this standard to the greatest extent practicable.

The selector should have intimate knowledge of the community served, by the library.  Such knowledge, which would cover a myriad of things such as organizations, homogeneous groupings, employment and technological levels, socio-economic stratification, etc., is necessary in order to provide appropriate materials for the people of this community.

For instance, a concentration of people in a particular occupation or profession might be well served by a plentiful supply of materials in their chosen fields.

No addition to the collection is made simply because the work represents a specific area of subject field.  A book written by an author known to be an expert in his field has an advantage over a book by an unknown author but selection is not made on this basis alone.  Each work is evaluated to the greatest degree possible and either purchased or rejected on its own merit.

The Library does not cater to nor discriminate against any religious group.  Purchase of religious books is limited to those of a general nature or to titles which have become recognized classics and standard reference items.  Materials expounding the principles and practices of specific religious denominations are not purchased.

The existing collection must always be kept in mind when selecting so that subject areas which are either completely void or below standard in content may be filled in with standard works and new materials as they become available.  Care must be taken to avoid over-purchasing in particular areas to the exclusion of other areas that are thinly considered to avoid unnecessary duplication.  Any books, which Stevens County Library does not have, will be requested from other local libraries if possible, through inter-library loan in order to meet as many patron needs as possible.



Patrons and staff are encouraged to suggest titles for consideration for purchase.  Such suggestions will be weighed against normal purchase criteria and if determined to be worthwhile as additions to the collection, will be purchased.  Other materials, either specific titles or subject areas, which are not available in the collection and are not to be purchased at the time, will be requested from other sources, possibly through the inter-library loan process.

A.                NON-FICTION.

Materials selected in this area are the mainstays in filling the Library’s most important aims of information and education.  In the vast multitude of subject fields, innumerable books have been written and new ones are being published every day.  New subject fields previously unheard of are constantly coming forth.  These facts offer the selector a real challenge to attempt to provide the right material for the right person at the right time.  Certain materials have been written which are recognized as authoritative standards in certain fields and so are acquired as a matter of course.  However, the vast majority must be handled in a different manner.  The selector must try to judge impartially and evaluate critically, using the following as the basic criteria:

The authority and competence of the author

Comprehensiveness and scope

Clarity and accuracy of presentation

Degree of accomplishment of purpose

Potential usefulness

Importance as contemporary record

Relation to existing collection

B.                FICTION

In selecting materials for fulfilling the recreational aims of the Library, it becomes necessary to attempt to satisfy a wide variety of readers with great differences in tastes, interest, reading levels and purpose.

Novels have become an extremely vigorous form of literature and are constantly subject to change and innovation by authors.  Their contents range over the entire field of human experiences and imagination.  Time honored criteria used in fiction selection, such as plot, style, characterization, authenticity, etc., have become less valid in recent years due to the innovative handling of this literary form by new writers.  Some works may be termed “objectionable” by would-be censors but it is the Library’s policy to let each individual reader determine what is objectionable to him rather than to sacrifice this basic freedom to someone else.

Most novels are normally purchased based on reviews by the recognized book-review media. Patron demand for any particular title is not sufficient reason for purchase.  However, light, ephemeral fiction will be purchased in quantities related to reader interest and the purchase of such will not jeopardize the purchase of material needed to improve the general collection.  The Library will provide the patrons with Best Sellers, fiction and non-fiction, as shown in one of the generally accepted Best Seller lists.

C.                 NON-BOOK MATERIALS

1.                  PERIODICALS

The Library subscribes to many periodicals.  New titles will be added where interests are ascertained and as the budget permits.

2.                  NEWSPAPERS

Newspapers from various cities are received regularly to provide current and area reference materials not otherwise available.

3.                  AUDIO AND VIDEO MATERIALS

Audio and video materials are purchased as public interest indicates and as budget permits.  The great majority of our audio and video materials are for home use only, and viewing them in any other setting is illegal.  Patrons are responsible for any infringement of copyright laws and regulations.

D.                GIFTS AND BEQUESTS

The Stevens County Library is pleased to accept gifts and bequests of library related materials.

Gifts of materials are accepted by the Library with the understanding that they may or may not be added to the Library’s collection. The decision to include gift materials will be based on the following considerations:

The Library needs the title or added copies of the title

Gifts made to the library become the sole property of the library and remain so until they are either added to the collection or until a decision is made by the library administration as to the appropriate disposition of such items.

Please understand that the Library cannot make a dollar evaluation of the gifts. If you need a list of titles given, it should be made before donation of the materials. The list will be certified at the time of the donation.


E.                 DESELECTION

The Stevens County Library Board of Trustees recognizes the need to continuously evaluate its collections in response to the changing nature and needs of its community through the weeding and replacement of its titles.  Weeding is a task that takes skill, care, time and knowledge of the materials to be discarded.  Weeding is a necessary adjunct of selection since it systematically eliminates unnecessary items; outdated or superseded materials; titles infrequently used, no longer of interest, or in demand; unnecessary duplicates; and worn out or mutilated copies.




All complaints to staff members shall be reported to the Director, whether received by telephone, letter or in personal conversation.


1.                  INFORMAL

If the Library Director is unable to satisfy the patron, the Director shall contact the complainant and attempt to resolve it informally.


If the complaint is not resolved informally, the complainant shall be supplied with a standard printed form “Citizen’s Request For Reconsideration of a Book or Other Library Material,” (See Appendix for form) as well as copies of the “Library Bill of Rights” (See Appendix) and “The Right to Read.” (See Appendix)  The reconsideration form is to be completed prior to further consideration of a complaint.

If the formal request for reconsideration has not been received by the Director within two weeks of the initial complaint, the circumstance shall be considered closed.  If the request is returned, the reasons for selection of the specific work shall be re-examined by the appropriate staff.

Upon receipt of a completed reconsideration form, the Director will call together a committee of five to consider the complaint.  The committee may consist of patrons, community members, and or staff.  The Director shall design a committee appropriate to the material under reconsideration.

The committee shall meet to discuss the material, and shall prepare a report on the material containing their recommendations on disposition of the matter.

The Director shall notify complainant of the decision and send a formal report and recommendation to the Library Board of Trustees.  If the committee decides to keep the work that caused the complaint, the complainant shall be given an explanation.  The Director will acknowledge the decision and make changes, if recommended.

If the complainant is still not satisfied, he/she may ask the Director to present an appeal to the Library Board of Trustees, which shall make a final determination of the issue.