Collection Development Policy
Ozark Regional Library offers materials with choices of format, treatment (e.g., age appropriateness), language, and level of difficulty. “Materials” has the widest possible meaning and includes but is not limited to print, audiovisual, and digital formats. “Collection” is defined as materials selected for the Library system; those selected materials might be owned, housed, leased by the Library, made accessible via download, or accessed via the Library’s website. “Selection” refers to the decision that must be made to add a given item to the Library’s collection. The Library gives preference to materials based on popular demand, relevance/quality, availability, and space.
Materials are deselected from the collection to maintain the collection’s usefulness, currency, and relevance. The disposition of deselected materials will be based on the needs of the Library system.
The Library will offer a wide-ranging collection that represents a diversity of age, background, religion, ethnicity, culture, education, socio-economic level, and lifestyle. The Library will provide without bias a collection of print, non-print and electronically accessed materials to meet the informational, educational, recreational, and cultural needs of all patrons within our service area. The Library’s collection is fundamental to its ability to achieve its mission.
When selecting materials for the Library, the needs and desires of the patrons are placed above the personal views or objection of the material selector. Selection of particular materials does not imply that the Library agrees with or endorses said materials’ contents in any way, shape, or form. The Materials Selection Committee for Ozark Regional Library includes the Library Director, Head of Programming, Head of Technical Services, and Library Services Coordinator.
Every effort is made to have materials representative of, and of interest to, the Library system’s various patron groups, even when the content or views expressed in these materials may be unpopular or may be deemed inappropriate by some patrons or Library staff. The responsibility to read/view or not read/view specific materials found in the Library rests with the individual patron. The responsibility for selecting what a minor may read or view lies solely with the parent or legal guardian. No Library staff member, nor any other person, group, or organization should be allowed to restrict an individual’s access to materials.
Methods of Materials Selection
Each type of material will be considered by the Materials Selection Committee in terms of its own merit as a whole and for its intended audience. All selections, including purchases and gifts, must meet some of the following criteria:
- Appeal to the educational, informational, cultural, and/or recreational interests and needs of individuals in the community
- Style and readability
- Permanent value as source material or interpretation
- Vitality and originality of thought
- Contemporary significance
- Literary and/or artistic merit
- Accuracy and objectivity
- Suitability of physical format
- Relation to other materials in the collection
Treatment or the Age Appropriateness of Material Selection
The library collections for patrons under age 18 are split into the “E” collection, which is intended for ages birth to Kindergarten, the “ER” collection, which is intended for 1st grade through 2nd grade, the “J” section which is intended for patrons 3rd grade through 8th grade, and the “YA” collection which is intended for patrons in 9th grade and above. There may be some variation in the age appropriateness of each collection. In general, decisions to place particular items in the collections are done by the standard that the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the material, taken as a whole, has a tendency to appeal to ages birth through 2nd grade for “E” materials (including “ER” materials), 3rd through 8th grade for “J” materials, and 9th grade and above for “YA” materials; and/or the publisher’s suggested age range where available. This statement is required by Missouri Regulation 15 CSR 30-200.015.
Patrons are not limited by the age recommendations listed above because they may not align with a child’s reading level or needs. Therefore, all patrons are welcome to check out materials from any collection in the Library. Library staff does not supervise children because Library personnel do not know what materials parents or legal guardians consider appropriate for their child and cannot be responsible for their selections. Responsibility for a minor’s reading must rest with the parent or guardian, not with the Library, its Board of Trustees, staff, or volunteers.
Materials selected for the Adult and Young Adult collections are intended for more mature readers. Note that checkouts to minors of materials from these collections are allowed with the signed parental permissions on a minor’s library card form. Separate collections are available for children and young people, but it is not the responsibility of the Library, its Board of Trustees, staff, or volunteers to determine which collection they should use or what materials in the approved collections are suitable for an individual.
Replacement and Maintenance
The Library keeps its collection vital and useful by retaining or replacing essential material and removing materials which are worn, outdated, of little historical significance, or no longer in demand on a systematic and continuous basis.
Gifts and Memorials
The Library will encourage and accept gifts with the understanding that gifts of materials will be added to the collection only if they meet the same standards required of purchased materials. Gift materials not meeting those standards (those which are out-of-date, duplicates of materials already in the collection, or in an unsuitable format) may be given to other organizations, sold, or recycled. When a gift is no longer relevant to the collection it will be disposed of in the same manner as purchased materials.Requests for Reconsideration, Withdrawal, or Addition of Materials
Objections to the presence or absence of library materials, or associated displays, programming, or events, will be referred to a supervisor. If a patron wishes, they will be provided with the Library’s “Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials, Displays, or Events” (attached). In the case the Library receives a request to add or withdraw materials, displays, programming, or events, the appropriate department head will examine the identified component, check professionally recognized reviews, and determine whether it conforms to the standards of the Materials Selection policy stated herein. After a recommendation is submitted to the Materials Selection Committee by the appropriate department, the Materials Selection Committee will meet to make the final decision whether or not to add, withdraw, or restrict materials and send the requester the final decision and reasoning in writing within 30 days of receipt.
Requests for reconsideration forms may only be filed by patrons of the Library who reside within the Library’s legal service area, may contain only one challenge per form, and must be filled out completely to be formally addressed. Challenges to children’s materials, displays, programming, and events may only be filed by patrons who are a parent or legal guardian of a minor. Materials subject to objection will not be removed from the collection prior to the Committee’s final decision.
If challenges are duplicated within a year of a previous reconsideration request, the original decision will hold for the material, display, program, or event challenged.
All materials challenges will become public record; however, the name of the challenger will be redacted for privacy purposes.
Approved by Board of Trustees 06/21/23