(Excerpts from the plan adopted in 2007)
I Philosophical Foundations of Collection Development
- The library makes available a wide diversity of ideas and viewpoints in support of an informed citizenry and a democratic society.
- The library supports the individual choice and judgment of its users in seeking information, and upholds the freedom of library users to read, view and listen to materials of their choosing.
- The Library Board has adopted and declares that it will adhere to and support the following American Library Association statements and policies:
- The Board of the Newport Public Library affirms that while anyone is free to reject for him or herself books or other library materials of which s/he does not approve, s/he cannot exercise this right of censorship to restrict the freedom to read of others.
- History shows that many books, which have been most controversial or objectionable to some persons or groups, have, in due course, been recognized to be among those books, which most, rather than least, belong in public libraries. If an idea is truly dangerous or evil, the best protection against it is a public that has been exposed to it and has rejected it; the worst protection is a public that has been shielded from exposure to it by official or self-appointed guardian.
II Selection Criteria
A. Responsibility for Selection
Ultimate responsibility for materials selection rests with the Library Director who operates within the framework of policies determined by the Board of Trustees. Under his or her direction, selection is delegated to staff who are qualified by reason of education and training. Library materials so selected shall be held to have been selected by the Board.
B. General criteria
Librarians use their subject knowledge and expertise in combination with the criteria listed below to select and evaluate items for the collection. An item need not meet all of these criteria in order to be added to the collection.
- Popular interest
- Contemporary significance or permanent value
- Currency of information
- Local emphasis
- Readability or ability to sustain interest
- Treatment of subject appropriate to a particular age group or intended audience
- Reputation of author, publisher, producer, artist or illustrator
- Creative, literary or technical quality
- Critical assessments in a variety of journals or mention in a recommended list
- Scarcity of materials on a subject
- Format and ease of use
- Circulation statistics
- Cost and availability
- Relationship to existing materials in the collection
- Relationship to materials in other area libraries.
III Collection Maintenance
A. Suggestions for Purchase
The Newport Public Library strongly encourages input from the community concerning the collection. It is the library’s intent that suggestions for purchase be used to help the library in developing a collection which serves the interests and needs of the community. All suggestions for purchase are subject to the same selection criteria as other materials, and are not automatically added to the collection.
The Newport Public Library is grateful for gifts of used or new books and other materials in good condition. However, the Library reserves the right to accept or turn down gifts, and to decide which gifts should be added to the library collection and which will be sold in the Friends of the Newport Public Library’s book store.
The same standards of selection which are applied to library purchases, will be applied to gifts.
C. Multiple Copies
While the Library does not have the budgetary resources to buy multiple copies of every title it owns, it does buy multiple copies of titles that have high patron demand. Titles with reserves or titles with broad popular appeal are generally ordered in duplicate. In some subject areas where patron demand is extremely high, the Library prefers to buy one copy of several different titles instead of buying numerous copies of one title. More variety and depth in the collection can be achieved through this approach.
Systematic evaluation and weeding of the collection is required in order to keep the collection responsive to patrons’ needs, to insure its vitality and usefulness to the community, and to make room for newer materials.
Titles are withdrawn from the Library’s collection for the following reasons:
- Damaged, worn or poorly bound materials
- Extra copies which are no longer being used
- Little used materials
- Out-of-date materials, or materials for which a newer edition is available
- Materials that have been lost
- Subjects, titles or authors that are no longer of interest to the community
- Materials which are no longer appropriate for the collection
- Materials which are now available in electronic format.
Withdrawn materials which are in good condition will be offered to the Friend’s Bookstore for sale. Materials withdrawn from the collection which retain informational value may be offered to local schools or other libraries.
E. Requests for reconsideration of Library Materials
The Newport Public Library recognizes the right of individuals to question materials in the library collection. The Library also recognizes that American democracy functions only if the full range of human ideas is accessible to the people. Thus, the library is a marketplace of ideas which are contained in varied and divergent materials.
An individual questioning material in the library collection may ask the library staff about such materials. If, after discussing the issue with a staff member, the patron remains concerned, he/she may fill out a Request for Reconsideration Form.