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Home > About the Library > Material, Programs & Services Selection Policy

Material, Programs & Services Selection Policy

Adopted by the Boulder Public Library Commission, April 3, 1991; revised September 3, 2003; revised March 3, 2004.

  1. Purpose
  2. General Selection Policy
  3. Materials Selection Policies by Collection
    1. Reference Collection
    2. Periodicals Collection
    3. Carnegie Library
    4. Adult Collection
    5. Branch Library Collection
    6. Special Services for Homebound and Disabled
    7. Outreach Collection
    8. BoulderReads! Collection
    9. Media Services Collection
    10. Children's Collection
    11. Children's Literature Reference Collection
    12. Special Children's Collections
  4. Selection Policy for Programs and Services
  5. Controversial Materials
  6. Gifts
  7. Collection Maintenance
  8. Requests for Reconsideration of Library Materials

Supporting Documents

I. PURPOSE

The purpose of the Boulder Public Library is to enhance the personal development of Boulder's citizens and to meet their informational needs, recognizing the need for a well-informed citizenry, the individual's capacity for self-improvement, the worth of each person, and the need for human dignity.

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II. GENERAL SELECTION POLICY

The Library selects materials, programs, and services in accordance with guidelines stated by the American Library Association in its Library Bill Of Rights, Freedom To Read and Freedom To View statements.

A. Authority for selection of materials is delegated by the Library Commission to the Library Director and the Director's designated staff, including (but not limited to) these staff positions; the selection librarians in Reference, Children's and Adult Services.

B. Any library materials so selected shall be held to be selected by the Library Commission.

C. The selection of materials is characterized by flexibility, open-mindedness, and responsiveness to the changing needs of the citizens of Boulder. Materials are evaluated as complete works and not on the basis of a particular passage or passages. A work will not be excluded from the library's collection solely because it represents a particular aspect of life, because of frankness of expression, or because it is controversial. All acquisition, whether purchased or donated, are evaluated by the following standards. An item need not meet all of the criteria to be acceptable, nor will any single criterion be decisive. Neither the order of the general criteria nor the order of items in a list of specific criteria indicates relative importance.

D. The following general criteria are used:

  • Present and potential relevance to community needs;
  • Suitability of subject, style and reading level for the intended audience;
  • Suitability of format;
  • Importance as a document of the times:
  • Appropriateness and effectiveness of medium to content:
  • Reputation and/or significance of author, publisher or producer:
  • Positive review in one or more appropriate professional journals:
  • Positive critics' and staff members' reviews:
  • Relationships to existing materials in the collection:
  • Within limits of budgets for materials:
  • Not available, or with limited accessibility, from other lending sources:
  • Insufficient materials available on the same subject:
  • Author or illustrator is local:
  • Enhances a specific collection within the Library:
  • Author or producer is already represented in the collection:
  • Literary and artistic merit:
  • Accuracy of content:
  • Popularity with library patrons.

E. Selection of programs follow the guidelines of the American Library Association's Freedom To View Statement.

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III. MATERIALS SELECTION POLICIES BY COLLECTION

In addition to the general criteria listed in Section II.D., each of the Library's special collections also employs its particular criteria to select appropriate materials.

A. Reference Collection

PURPOSE:

To select and maintain a reference collection that meets the needs of Boulder Public Library users, and, at the same time, to keep the collection at a size that can be efficiently managed and used by the reference staff. (Reference materials do not circulate.)

SELECTION PROCESS:

Reference staff is responsible for the selection of materials and selection factors are based on the needs of the community and include library users' suggestions. The Reference collection comprises electronic resources and print materials, purchased outright or by annual subscription.

SPECIFIC CRITERIA FOR ELECTRONIC RESOURCES:

  • Ease of use
  • Timeliness of updates
  • Licensing restrictions
  • Technical support
  • Hardware and software requirements

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B. Periodicals Collection

PURPOSE:

To supplement and complement the materials in the adult collection. This collection is intended to be more timely and more frequently updated than the adult collection. The periodicals collection comprises subscriptions to electronic magazine databases and print issues.

SPECIFIC CRITERIA:

  • Ease of use
  • Timeliness of subject matter
  • Enhances subject areas in collection
  • Licensing restrictions

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C. Carnegie Library

PURPOSE:

To collect, protect, and make available for research materials relating to the history of Colorado with a special emphasis on Boulder County. Donations are crucial to the collection's usefulness and size.

SPECIFIC CRITERIA

  • Appropriateness of photographs, manuscripts, maps, microforms, oral history tapes, dated newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, ephemera, books, pamphlets, monographs and serials
  • Relationship to Colorado with emphasis on Boulder County
  • No language restrictions

EXCLUSIONS:

The Carnegie does not accept restricted collections or duplicates of materials in our holdings; undated and unidentified photographs of people; newspapers available on microforms; or books by Boulder authors that are outside the scope of this collections policy.

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D. Adult Collection

PURPOSE:

To provide the community with information on subjects of topical as well as continuing interest; differing points of view on contemporary and controversial issues; historically significant points of view; materials for instruction in areas of interest; and materials for entertainment and recreation.

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E. Branch Library Collections

PURPOSE:

To develop and maintain collections and programs specifically serving the residents of the geographic area in which the branch is located. Branch library collections include current and general interest materials on a wide variety of subjects for all ages and are representative of the collection of the entire library system.

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F. Special Services for Homebound and Disabled

PURPOSE:

To provide special materials, print and non-print, specifically pertaining to populations with special needs, such as the elderly and physically disabled. All materials are treated as part of the adult circulating collection. Use of this collection is not intended to be limited to special populations.

SPECIFIC CRITERIA

Positive images for and of target populations;

Informative, current and appropriate materials such as travel guides for disabled persons, home care services information, special medical information and guides.

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G. Outreach Services Collections

PURPOSE:

To meet the needs of culturally diverse populations, focusing on materials that generate dialogues among various communities as well as providing instruction in English as a second language. This collection is partially funded through grants.

SPECIFIC CRITERIA:

Authentic cultural sources and authors

Available in languages other than English

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H. BoulderReads! Collection

PURPOSE:

To meet the print and non-print needs of adult new readers and teachers of adult new readers with age-appropriate, reference, and high-interest materials.

SPECIFIC CRITERIA:

  • Full spectrum of reading levels of adult interests
  • Skill building tools
  • Self-instruction capabilities
  • Life skills and goals content
  • Practical versus theoretical
  • Purchased from special education resources

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I. Media Services Collection

PURPOSE:

To help meet information needs of Boulder citizens by providing access to, and assistance in locating, information and materials in non-print formats such as videotapes, DVDs, audiotapes and compact discs, and other emerging technologies.

SPECIFIC CRITERIA:

The criteria listed includes selection consideration for both the adult and children's collections. An item need not meet all of the criteria to be acceptable, nor will any single criterion be decisive. These criteria do not replace the judgment and expertise of the staff and there may be some instances when selected titles may not fit any of the listed criteria.

  • Emphasize instructional, educational, and informational topics
  • Cost and space considerations
  • Is not commonly available for the general public
  • Contributes to a balance and range of information
  • Feature film selection additional criteria considerations:
  • Represents important historical, multicultural, and/or artistic aspects of film making including classic Hollywood films, award-winning films, foreign language films, animated films, and films by independent and local film makers.

Recorded music selection additional criteria considerations: Represents artists and music of enduring value according to standard resources

  • Introduces the major fields and styles of music with an emphasis on classical music recordings
  • Represents music providing cultural awareness
  • Represents music programmed and performed by local individuals and community groups, including local symphonies, philharmonic organizations and festival groups

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J. Children's Collection

PURPOSE:

To provide materials in various formats to meet the needs of children for recreational, informational, and self-educational use, as well as to supplement formal education curriculums.

Programs are offered to supplement and enhance the use of the collection. This collection is primarily a circulating collection, except for a variety of reference sources including general encyclopedias, and resource materials that support the informational and recreational reading needs of the community.

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K. Children's Literature Reference Collection

PURPOSE:

To facilitate the study of, and to promote expertise in, children's and young adult literature.

This collection supports programming for children, young adults, and adults in the Children's Library. Items in this collection circulate only with special permission from the Youth Services staff.

SPECIFIC CRITERIA:

  • Adult-level reference and other materials about children's literature, children's authors, children's illustrators, children's editors, and children's publishers
  • Professional journals relating to children's and young adult literature and reading
  • Examples of unusual, notable, or dated materials for children
  • Information about children's and young adult reading and the reading process
  • Toy books and other realia relating to children's books
  • Materials about and for the development, planning, and presentation of programs for children, young adults, and adults

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L. Special Collections for Children, Teachers, Parents and Young Adults

PURPOSE

To provide specific and appropriate materials for parents, teachers, and young adults to meet educational, professional and recreational needs. Specific collections include: Parenting Collection, Nostalgia Collection, Teacher's Collection, and the Young Adult Collection.

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IV. SELECTION POLICY FOR PROGRAMS AND SERVICES

Selection of programs follow the guidelines of the American Library Association's Freedom To View statement.

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V. CONTROVERSIAL MATERIALS

The Boulder Public Library subscribes to the principles embodied in the following statements of the American Library Association, copies of which are appended to and made an integral part of this policy: Library Bill Of Rights, Freedom To Read and Freedom To View.

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VI. GIFTS

All gifts are subject to evaluation by the general and specific criteria listed in the policy for the relevant collections. Donors are informed that any gifts to the Library may or may not be added to the collection. Any item which is not added may be donated to another institution where it might be used, or it may be sold in the Library Foundation Book Sale. Monies from such sales are used to benefit Boulder Public Library services and programs.

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VII. COLLECTION MAINTENANCE

As materials become worn, dated, damaged or lost, replacement will be determined by the appropriate staff members, who will determine whether or not:

A. The items is still available and can be replaced;

B. Another item or format might better serve the same purpose;

C. There remains sufficient need to replace that item;

D. Updated, newer or revised materials better replace a given item;

E. The item has historical value;

F. Another networking agency could better provide that or a comparable item.

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VIII. REQUESTS FOR RECONSIDERATION OF LIBRARY MATERIALS

The Boulder Public Library staff and Commission Members support intellectual freedom and subscribe to the principles of the American Library Association's Library Bill Of Rights and its statements on Freedom To Read and Freedom To View. The Library staff apply the selection criteria described in this Materials Selection Policy and thus endeavor to provide books and other materials that reflect the diversity of viewpoints within the community. Library patrons may nominate books or other materials to be either added to or removed from the collection. When a request for reconsideration is made by a patron, this procedure is followed:

A. A member of the Library staff explains the selection policy to the patron. If the patron wishes, s/he may then submit a written Request for Reconsideration of Library Resources to the Library Director.

B. The completed form is reviewed by one or more members of the Library staff who have responsibility for materials selection, and by the Library Director. The Library staff members objectively review the resource in question to ascertain that the selection criteria and principles stated in Section I-VI were applied in the selection process. The Library Director or a member of the Library staff shall make a written response to the requester within 14 days of the date that the reconsideration form was submitted. The Library Director shall also notify the Library Commission of each Request for Reconsideration submitted.

C. If the requester is not satisfied with the decision of the Library staff, s/he may appeal in writing to the Library Director, who then convenes a Reconsideration Committee within 30 days of the date of the appeal. This committee will consist of:

  • One member of the Library Commission to be named by the chair;
  • 3 members of the Library staff with responsibility for materials selection;
  • 3 members of the community selected by a majority of the Library Commission.

D. In reviewing the request for reconsideration, the Reconsideration Committee employs the selection criteria (described above in this document) and considers other appropriate information, including professional reviews and recommendations, comments from the Library staff, and comments from the requester. Library resources are not removed from the collections during the review period. Copies of the materials in question may be checked out as evaluation copies for use of the Reconsideration Committee, appropriate staff or the Library Director.

E. Within 30 days of the Reconsideration Committee's review, as described in D, the Reconsideration Committee will recommend an action to the Library Director, who will reach a decision and inform the requester and the committee in writing of that decision.

F. Should the requester wish to appeal this decision, s/he may make a final appeal in writing, within seven days, directly to the Library Commission which will schedule and conduct a public hearing within thirty days of the final written appeal in order to reach a final decision by majority vote.

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Supporting Documents

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Adopted by the Boulder Public Library Commission, April 3, 1991; revised September 3, 2003; revised March 3, 2004.

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