Selection Policy


This policy is a statement of principles by the Board of Directors, Dickinson Area Public Library.  It serves as a guide for the library staff in developing the collections of both print and nonprint materials. It provides the procedures for public objection to materials held and for suggestions for collection improvement.


“Materials” are those items considered for addition to the library’s collections.  “Materials Selection” refers to the decision to add material to the collection or to retain materials already in the collection.  It neither refers to reader guidance, nor details specific types of materials to be added.

Goals Of Materials Selection

Materials selection aims at maintaining a collection of materials for meeting the informational, reference, research, educational and recreational needs of the

Dickinson Area Public Library community.  Budget limitations necessitate the choosing of materials relevant to these needs.

Responsibility For Selection

Final responsibility for materials selection rests with the librarian who functions within the framework of policy adopted by the Library Board of Directors.  The responsibility for selection may be delegated to other professional members of the staff.

Suggestions from members of the community concerning materials selection are welcome.  Each suggestion will be considered within the framework of this policy.

General Principles

The public library is a forum for information and ideas.  The following basic principles will guide its materials sections:

  1. Books and other library resources will be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community.
  2. Materials will not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
  3. Materials will not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.  Within reason materials and information provided will present the various general points of view on current and historical issues.
  4. 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 may obtain materials which their parents or legal guardians consider inappropriate.  Separate collections are available for children and young people.
  5. Materials unavailable at this library but available through cooperative library networks will be borrowed upon the request of the user.
  6. Textbooks or other curriculum-related materials are acquired only when they serve the general public.
  7. Consideration is given to the adequate availability of materials for the visually handicapped.

Specific Principals

 The following general criteria are considered in selecting materials:

Adult Materials

  1. Permanent value
  2. Contemporary significance: i.e. attention of critics, reviewers and the public
  3. Popular interest
  4. Widely regarded reputation of author
  5. Comprehensiveness and depth of treatment
  6. Clarity, accuracy, and logic of presentation
  7. Reputation of publisher
  8. Date of publication
  9. Relationship to existing collection
  10. Artistic merit
  11. Insight and/or perspective into human and social conditions
  12. Availability elsewhere in the community
  13. Price

Children’s And Young People’s Materials

In addition to the criteria for adult materials, consideration is also given to the following:

  1. Appropriate content
  2. Appropriate vocabulary for the general age group
  3. Determined value for stimulating the informational, recreational and cultural reading interest of children and youth.    

Gifts and donations are always welcome. 

Acceptance will be based on the following criteria:

  1. All such items must meet the same criteria listed under SPECIFIC PRINCIPLES as purchased items
  2. Attached conditions of the donor as to use, location or disposition will not b permitted
  3. Funds may be designated for the purchase of materials by general subject area
  4. All gifts, when accepted, become the property of the Library and may not be reclaimed by the donor
  5. Unneeded donations will not be retained
  6. The receipt of specific items will be acknowledged, but no statement of financial value for tax or other purposes will be made
  7. All gifts should be left at the Library or mailed to the attention of the Librarian.

Withdrawal Of Obsolete Materials

Materials infrequently used and not of lasting value will be withdrawn on a periodic basis from the collections.  Obsolete materials include: out-moded books, superceded editions, superfluous duplicates, and worn-out items.  Such materials will be removed from circulation and disposed of in accordance with established board policy.

Reconsideration Of Library Materials Policy

The choice of library materials by a library user is an individual matter. While a person may reject certain materials for themselves or their dependents, they may not restrict access to those materials by other library users.

The Dickinson Area Public Library Board of Directors recognizes that some materials may be controversial or offensive to some library users. The Board recognizes the importance of providing a method whereby opinions and/or complaints regarding materials selection can be voiced.  The procedures enumerated below have been developed to ensure that requests of those who disagree with materials represented in the collection or about materials not represented in the collection may be handled in a consistent manner.

 Individuals living in the library’s service area may request a selection decision be reconsidered by submitting a written Request for Reconsideration of Material form. This form is available at the Circulation Desk and will be added to the library’s website. Upon completion, the form may be mailed or delivered electronically to the Library Director.  Upon receipt of the signed form the Library Director will:

  1. Review the material in question as soon as possible after the material is returned to the library.
  2. Examine the material in question, the issues raised, and the circumstances involved.
  3. Consult with the library staff including the librarian who made the selection and the Assistant Director.
  4. Make a decision to remove from the collections, reclassify to a different collection, or retain in the original collection the material in question.
  5. Respond in writing to the complainant within fifteen business days of review.
  6. Provide the complainant with a copy of this policy and inform the individual of the availability of an appeal to the Library Board.

Should the complainant feel that the decision of the Director is not supported by the policy, the complainant may appeal to the Library Board of directors by notifying the Library Director in writing. The Library Director shall include the complaint on the agenda of the next Library Board meeting. The Library Board will reconsider the decision based on whether it conforms to the Materials Selection Policy. The board may, at it’s discretion, appoint a committee or independent advisory board to review the material and the complaint and make a recommendation to the board. The decision of the Library Board will be final and will remain in effect for three years.

During the review process, the library will take appropriate action to ensure that the material continues to be available.

Technical Services Policy

Classification And Cataloging:

Books are classified by the Unabridged Dewey Decimal System, with Library of Congress subject headings, and cataloged on OCLC (On-line Computer Library Center).  Library of Congress full Marc records will be used whenever possible.

Books should be processed and released to the public as soon as possible without unnecessary delays. Any item purchased by or accepted by the library will be cataloged to the used in the library collection.  In no case does the cataloger serve as a censor of library materials

Non-book materials are also cataloged on OCLC.


Repairs, mending, and binding should be done as needed and the entire collection should be kept in good condition at all times.



The collection should be weeded periodically to replace or eliminate certain materials.  All discards will be withdrawn from OCLC to keep the institution computer tape record current.  All discards may be disposed of as the librarian sees fit, providing there is no conflict with the laws governing the disposal of surplus public property.  Useable books may be sold at nominal charge or donated to public institutions and agencies where requested.

Reference Policy

No materials classified as Reference Materials will circulate except at the discretion of the Librarian.


The library phones are for business calls, and all calls should be kept short.  Cell phones may be used in the lobby area.

Patrons will not be paged unless in the case of an emergency.