Collection Development Policy
I. The Mission of the Library's Collections
The Cook Memorial Public Library District mission is to provide and promote open access to information, ideas and creative expression and to encourage life-long learning and personal growth.
“Access” is provided in the following ways:
- By collecting and facilitating the use of print, audio-visual materials and electronic information services which are relevant and/or of interest to District residents.
- By making available materials and services from sources outside the Library which support the Library’s mission.
- By creating specialized resources to meet critical needs of District residents.
II. Diversity and Impartiality
The Library is responsible for providing library materials to residents and taxpayers of all ages, backgrounds and opinions. The Library does not seek to exert doctrinal influence over any person by excluding materials from the Library or by denying any citizen access to them. Therefore, the Library's collection will represent broadly the views and preferences available in print, audiovisual and electronic information services. Available resources reflect the various levels of reading skills, library skills and subject familiarity present in the District. Separate collections are created to enhance accessibility. The Library does not restrict any patrons from using any collection because of its content. Parents or guardians who decide that restrictions are appropriate for their children are responsible for imposing and enforcing those restrictions. Librarians do not have “in loco parentis” authority or responsibility. However, the Library has the authority to reasonably address the use of the Internet by minors.
III. General Selection Criteria
Selection is the process whereby works are chosen for the collection on the basis of their ability to meet some anticipated patron desire for facts, ideas or creative expression. Any work must be in a suitable format and physical condition for library use. Such a work may be selected for any of the following reasons: authority of authorship, factual accuracy or authenticity; comprehensiveness and depth of treatment; clarity and logic of presentation; ability to sustain interest; vitality and originality; artistic presentation; ability to fill a gap in the existing coverage of a subject; expression of a challenging point of view; exhibition of a unique style; or importance as an historic document. Frankness of language and/or subject are considered but will not in and of themselves disqualify a work from being selected.
Selection staff develops a written plan for each collection and major subject. These plans relate the mission of the Library to the perceived and anticipated needs of District patrons. The plans indicate areas of collection emphasis and limitation and also consider the availability of resources from other libraries. They outline selection and collection maintenance techniques specific to the particular collection, subject or format. The relative usefulness, convenience and cost of books, audio-visual materials and electronic information services will determine which are needed most to fulfill specific patron needs.
IV. Audiovisual Media
Audiovisual collections are established when: a unique impact may be made by the media in presenting facts, ideas or creative expression; hardware needed to use the media exists within the District, if home use is anticipated; the Library has the ability to meet user expectations for collection variety and quality; and a satisfactory plan to organize, store and circulate the material has been determined.
V. Electronic Information and Digital Services
The Library purchases information products and services which may be loaded into or are accessible through computers and devices. The general selection criteria apply to these products. Additionally, electronic information and digital services are judged for their compatibility with existing systems, ease of use, informational retrieval power and general usefulness. These factors, as well as cost, frequency of access and convenience, will influence whether the library buys the products for local installation, buys a share of the product in partnership with other libraries, or pays a vendor for access to the product.
VI. Internet Access
The Internet is an important and dynamic information resource. Cook Memorial Public Library does not have control over this resource, and it is not responsible for its content, availability, reliability, currency, accuracy or appropriateness of information accessed via its use. The Library recognizes that the Internet contains material that is inappropriate for children and that may be objectionable to some adults. Parents or guardians are afforded the overriding authority and ability to control the information selected and/or accessed by their children. The Library encourages parents to monitor and supervise their children’s network use. Staff is available to assist and instruct patrons on effective Internet use as time permits.
Patron requests to purchase library materials will be considered and may be honored based upon general selection criteria.
VIII. Withdrawals from the Collection
Withdrawing materials is the permanent removal of those materials from the collection. The principles of access and the general selection criteria apply to the withdrawal of materials. Materials may be withdrawn based on lack of use, lack of space, poor condition, or age.
Materials may also be withdrawn if they no longer serve a purpose in the Library's collection. Withdrawn materials may be donated to other institutions, offered on an equal basis to the public through the Friends of the Library Book Sales or discarded. The Library does not make special arrangements to give or sell withdrawn materials directly to patrons.
The same criteria of selection used for purchased items is applied to gift materials. Works given to the Library but not added to the collection may be given to another library for its collection, may be donated to the Friends of the Cook Memorial Library for sale, or may be disposed of in some other manner. Memorial or honor works are selected or approved by selection staff.
X. Procedure for Handling Materials Complaints
The following procedure is intended to provide the most effective communication possible between the Library and an individual or group objecting to an item in the Library's collection and to provide the level of review that will satisfy the objection.
Any person expressing an objection to any item in the collection will be directed to the appropriate department manager. The department manager will discuss the objection with the patron and provide a copy of this Collection Development Policy.
If the patron wishes to have this matter receive further review, he or she must express the objection in writing to the Library Director requesting such a review. The letter must contain the following information:
- The title, author, publisher and format of the item under consideration.
- The nature of the objection citing examples.
- Indication of what parts of the item were read, viewed or heard.
- Assessment of the creator's intention for this work.
- The likely effects of reading, viewing or listening to the work.
- Any special qualifications which the patron may have that bear on the objection to the work.
- The action which the patron would like the Library to take.
- The name, address and telephone number of the patron.
- What organization, if any, the patron represents with respect to this objection.
- Which response is preferred: a written response from the Library Director or a review by a Materials Review Committee formed of staff and trustees.
When the letter is submitted, the Library Director will respond in writing. If a review by a Materials Review Committee is requested, the following procedure will be followed:
- Copies of the letter will be forwarded to all trustees.
- The Library Director will appoint a minimum of two professional librarians on the staff, and at least one trustee will be selected by the Resources and Services Committee Chairman or the President of the Board.
- The findings of the Materials Review Committee, who shall keep minutes of their meetings, will be forwarded to the patron and all trustees by the Library Director.
- The President will schedule a hearing before the full board if the patron so requests.
- Removals are automatically placed on the next Board agenda for consideration.
The Board hearing shall be subject to the Illinois Open Meetings Act and shall be subject to the procedures and rules of order in effect for any meeting of the Board. The President may impose a limit upon duplicate testimony. The decision of the Board of Trustees is final. The Secretary of the Board shall inform the patron requesting the hearing of the Board's findings.
XI. Responsibility and Authority
The Board of Library Trustees establishes the general policies regarding the Library's collection. The Board shall review this policy at least every two years. (75 ILCS 16/30-60) The Board may hear residents' objections to these policies or objections to the inclusion or exclusion of individual works in the collection.
The Board delegates the authority to organize the District's collection-building activity to the Library Director. This includes maintenance of the Collection Development Plans; creation, maintenance and dissolution of collections; materials-budgeting allocations; and selection, withdrawal and arrangement of materials. The Library Director is assisted by professional librarians and other staff who have been trained in accepted principles of selection. No employee may be disciplined or dismissed for the selection of library materials when the selection is made in good faith and in accordance with this policy (75 ILCS 16/30-60).
The Board of Library Trustees supports in principle the Library Bill of Rights, The Freedom to Read Statement, and The Freedom to View Statement of the American Library Association. Copies of these documents are appended to this policy.