Collection Development Policy

Mission Statement:  The Mission of the McVille Community Library is to provide material and services that help the community residents obtain information that meets their professional, educational, cultural and historical needs and serves as a learning and activities center for community residents of all ages.

Introduction: Collection development at the McVille Community Library is founded on the principles of intellectual freedom, diversity, and equal access for all.  The library provides a collection that strives to balance viewpoints across a broad spectrum of opinions and subjects in formats suitable to a variety of learning and recreational interests and skills. Using selection practices that are flexible and responsive to the changing needs of the community, the library builds and maintains collections for the general public while recognizing the needs of special population groups.

Purpose: The purpose of this policy is a statement of principles set forth by the McVille Community Library Board.  It serves as a guide for the library staff in developing the collection of print, audio, technological and other materials intended to meet the community’s information, entertainment and interpersonal wants and needs.  The policy provides a basis for collection development, weeding, and public objection to materials.  Budget limitations necessitate the selection of materials relevant to these needs.

Intellectual Freedom: The McVille Community Library is committed to the principles of intellectual freedom and affirms the American Library Association’s Freedom to Read statement (Appendix 1) and the Library Bill of Rights (Appendix 2).  As such, materials representing diverse viewpoints on topics, including controversial ones, are actively collected.  Selection of an item does not indicate that the Library, its Board, or its Staff agrees with the ideas and viewpoints it presents.

Responsibility for Selection: Ultimate responsibility for the direction, purpose, and scope of collection development rests with the Library Director, under the authority of the McVille Community Library Board.  The Director may delegate library collection development responsibilities to specific library staff members who more closely manage the wide range of services related to particular areas of the collection.  All aspects of collection development are directed toward fulfilling the mission of the McVille Public Library.

The community has a role in shaping the library collection by participating in the collection development process through suggestions and feedback.  Suggestions from members of the community concerning materials selection are welcome and each suggestion will be considered within the framework of this policy.   Item Request form is available at the circulation desk.

Materials selected for the library collection are intended to meet the current and future educational, informational, recreational, and cultural needs of the residents for the library’s service area.  The emphasis will be on acquiring materials of wide-ranging interest to the general public within budgetary limitations. 

Criteria and Selection of Print and Digital Materials: Selection of library material is an active process that applies both to materials purchased by the library and materials donated to it.  The following criteria are used in the selection process to help ensure that all materials in the library are in keeping with its goals and mission and are of use to the community served:

  • Current and anticipated needs and interests of the community
  • Permanence or timeliness of the work
  • Price and/or availability of funds
  • Date of publication
  • Popular interest
  • Relevance to the community
  • Materials by local/ND authors
  • Materials about the city/county/state
  • Relationship to existing collection

The collection will attempt to include a cross-section of media formats, topics, and viewpoints representative of patron needs and interests.

Reviews from professional publications (journals and websites), as well as patron requests are considered in the selection of library materials.

The collection will endeavor to balance special group interests with general demand and to present a balance of viewpoints on all controversial issues.  The inclusion of an item in the library collection in no way represents an endorsement of its contents.

The Library recognizes that many materials are controversial and that any given item may offend some.  It is the responsibility of each individual library user to determine which materials are most appropriate for their needs and consistent with their personal or family values.  Although library users are free to reject for themselves materials of which they do not approve, they may not restrict the freedom of others to read what they choose.

The Library encourages individual and parental oversight in the choice of materials, databases, or internet usage.  Adult responsibility for children’s reading rests with parents or legal guardians.  Materials selection for the adult collection is intended for mature readers and will not be restricted by the possibility that children or young adults may obtain materials which their parents or legal guardians consider inappropriate. 

Consideration is given to adequate availability of materials for those who cannot read regular print or who have other disabilities.

Materials unavailable at this Library but available through cooperative library networks will be borrowed upon request of the user. No fees for Interlibrary Loans.

Reconsideration of Library Materials: Library users occasionally object to titles that have been selected for the collection.  The McVille Community Library Board recognizes the importance of providing a method whereby opinions from the public regarding library materials can be voiced.  Individuals may request reconsideration of a selection decision by completing a Request for Reconsideration form (Appendix 3), available at the Circulation Desk.

The Request will be reviewed by the Library Director, who will respond in writing within four weeks of receipt of the request.  The Director shall provide the complainant with a copy of this policy and inform the individual of the availability of McVille Community Library Board hearing.

Should the complainant feel that the decision of the Director is not supported by the Library’s Collection Development policy, the complainant may request a Library Board hearing by notifying the Director, who will make the necessary arrangements.  Following the hearing, the decision of the McVille Community Library Board will be final.

No works in question will be added to or removed from the collection or from the shelves and no changes in service or policy will be made while the above process is underway.

Materials Withdrawal: Materials withdrawal is an important aspect of collection development.  When library items lose the value for which they were originally selected, they should be withdrawn so that the collection remains vital and useful.  CREW: A Weeding Manual for Modern Libraries is used for materials withdrawal.  These are a few of the guidelines for materials withdrawal:

  • Physically worn out or damaged volumes will be removed from the library collection.
  • Worn or missing standard items will be replaced periodically if relevant.
  • Materials infrequently used or not of lasting value will be withdrawn on an ongoing basis.
  • Obsolete materials include outdated books, superseded editions, superfluous materials, duplicates and worn-out items, will be removed from the collection and disposed of by sale or donation.

Appendix 1 – The Freedom to Read Statement

The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack. Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label “controversial” views, to distribute lists of “objectionable” books or authors, and to purge libraries. These actions apparently rise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to counter threats to safety or national security, as well as to avoid the subversion of politics and the corruption of morals. We, as individuals devoted to reading and as librarians and publishers responsible for disseminating ideas, wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of the freedom to read.

Most attempts at suppression rest on a denial of the fundamental premise of democracy: that the ordinary individual, by exercising critical judgment, will select the good and reject the bad. We trust Americans to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe. We do not believe they are prepared to sacrifice their heritage of a free press in order to be “protected” against what others think may be bad for them. We believe they still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression.

These efforts at suppression are related to a larger pattern of pressures being brought against education, the press, art and images, films, broadcast media, and the Internet. The problem is not only one of actual censorship. The shadow of fear cast by these pressures leads, we suspect, to an even larger voluntary curtailment of expression by those who seek to avoid controversy or unwelcome scrutiny by government officials.

Such pressure toward conformity is perhaps natural to a time of accelerated change. And yet suppression is never more dangerous than in such a time of social tension. Freedom has given the United States the elasticity to endure strain. Freedom keeps open the path of novel and creative solutions, and enables change to come by choice. Every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of our society and leaves it the less able to deal with controversy and difference.

Now as always in our history, reading is among our greatest freedoms. The freedom to read and write is almost the only means for making generally available ideas or manners of expression that can initially command only a small audience. The written word is the natural medium for the new idea and the untried voice from which come the original contributions to social growth. It is essential to the extended discussion that serious thought requires, and to the accumulation of knowledge and ideas into organized collections.

We believe that free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture. We believe that these pressures toward conformity present the danger of limiting the range and variety of inquiry and expression on which our democracy and our culture depend. We believe that every American community must jealously guard the freedom to publish and to circulate, in order to preserve its own freedom to read. We believe that publishers and librarians have a profound responsibility to give validity to that freedom to read by making it possible for the readers to choose freely from a variety of offerings.

The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution. Those with faith in free people will stand firm on these constitutional guarantees of essential rights and will exercise the responsibilities that accompany these rights.

We therefore affirm these propositions:

  1. It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those that are unorthodox, unpopular, or considered dangerous by the majority.

Creative thought is by definition new, and what is new is different. The bearer of every new thought is a rebel until that idea is refined and tested. Totalitarian systems attempt to maintain themselves in power by the ruthless suppression of any concept that challenges the established orthodoxy. The power of a democratic system to adapt to change is vastly strengthened by the freedom of its citizens to choose widely from among conflicting opinions offered freely to them. To stifle every nonconformist idea at birth would mark the end of the democratic process. Furthermore, only through the constant activity of weighing and selecting can the democratic mind attain the strength demanded by times like these. We need to know not only what we believe but why we believe it.

  1. Publishers, librarians, and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea or presentation they make available. It would conflict with the public interest for them to establish their own political, moral, or aesthetic views as a standard for determining what should be published or circulated.

Publishers and librarians serve the educational process by helping to make available knowledge and ideas required for the growth of the mind and the increase of learning. They do not foster education by imposing as mentors the patterns of their own thought. The people should have the freedom to read and consider a broader range of ideas than those that may be held by any single librarian or publisher or government or church. It is wrong that what one can read should be confined to what another thinks proper.

  1. It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to bar access to writings on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.

No art or literature can flourish if it is to be measured by the political views or private lives of its creators. No society of free people can flourish that draws up lists of writers to whom it will not listen, whatever they may have to say.

  1. There is no place in our society for efforts to coerce the taste of others, to confine adults to the reading matter deemed suitable for adolescents, or to inhibit the efforts of writers to achieve artistic expression.

To some, much of modern expression is shocking. But is not much of life itself shocking? We cut off literature at the source if we prevent writers from dealing with the stuff of life. Parents and teachers have a responsibility to prepare the young to meet the diversity of experiences in life to which they will be exposed, as they have a responsibility to help them learn to think critically for themselves. These are affirmative responsibilities, not to be discharged simply by preventing them from reading works for which they are not yet prepared. In these matters values differ, and values cannot be legislated; nor can machinery be devised that will suit the demands of one group without limiting the freedom of others.

  1. It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept the prejudgment of a label characterizing any expression or its author as subversive or dangerous.

The ideal of labeling presupposes the existence of individuals or groups with wisdom to determine by authority what is good or bad for others. It presupposes that individuals must be directed in making up their minds about the ideas they examine. But Americans do not need others to do their thinking for them.

  1. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians, as guardians of the people’s freedom to read, to contest encroachments upon that freedom by individuals or groups seeking to impose their own standards or tastes upon the community at large; and by the government whenever it seeks to reduce or deny public access to public information.

It is inevitable in the give and take of the democratic process that the political, the moral, or the aesthetic concepts of an individual or group will occasionally collide with those of another individual or group. In a free society individuals are free to determine for themselves what they wish to read, and each group is free to determine what it will recommend to its freely associated members. But no group has the right to take the law into its own hands, and to impose its own concept of politics or morality upon other members of a democratic society. Freedom is no freedom if it is accorded only to the accepted and the inoffensive. Further, democratic societies are more safe, free, and creative when the free flow of public information is not restricted by governmental prerogative or self-censorship.

  1. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians to give full meaning to the freedom to read by providing books that enrich the quality and diversity of thought and expression. By the exercise of this affirmative responsibility, they can demonstrate that the answer to a “bad” book is a good one, the answer to a “bad” idea is a good one.

The freedom to read is of little consequence when the reader cannot obtain matter fit for that reader’s purpose. What is needed is not only the absence of restraint, but the positive provision of opportunity for the people to read the best that has been thought and said. Books are the major channel by which the intellectual inheritance is handed down, and the principal means of its testing and growth. The defense of the freedom to read requires of all publishers and librarians the utmost of their faculties, and deserves of all Americans the fullest of their support.

We state these propositions neither lightly nor as easy generalizations. We here stake out a lofty claim for the value of the written word. We do so because we believe that it is possessed of enormous variety and usefulness, worthy of cherishing and keeping free. We realize that the application of these propositions may mean the dissemination of ideas and manners of expression that are repugnant to many persons. We do not state these propositions in the comfortable belief that what people read is unimportant. We believe rather that what people read is deeply important; that ideas can be dangerous; but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society. Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.

This statement was originally issued in May of 1953 by the Westchester Conference of the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers Council, which in 1970 consolidated with the American Educational Publishers Institute to become the Association of American Publishers.

Adopted June 25, 1953, by the ALA Council and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee; amended January 28, 1972; January 16, 1991; July 12, 2000; June 30, 2004.

A Joint Statement by:

American Library Association
Association of American Publishers

Subsequently endorsed by:

American Booksellers for Free Expression
The Association of American University Presses
The Children’s Book Council
Freedom to Read Foundation
National Association of College Stores
National Coalition Against Censorship
National Council of Teachers of English
The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression

Appendix 2 – 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.

I. 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.

II. 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.

III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.

IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.

V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.

VI. 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.

VII. All people, regardless of origin, age, background, or views, possess a right to privacy and confidentiality in their library use. Libraries should advocate for, educate about, and protect people’s privacy, safeguarding all library use data, including personally identifiable information.

Adopted June 19, 1939, by the ALA Council; amended October 14, 1944; June 18, 1948; February 2, 1961; June 27, 1967; January 23, 1980; January 29, 2019.

Inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996.

Although the Articles of the Library Bill of Rights are unambiguous statements of basic principles that should govern the service of all libraries, questions do arise concerning application of these principles to specific library practices. See the documents designated by the Intellectual Freedom Committee as Interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights.

Appendix 3 – Request for Reconsideration Form: Please contact the library for form

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