Material Selection Policy
The role of the public library in America today is to provide free and convenient access to the world of information to all people in Fauquier County. To achieve this goal, the Fauquier County Public Library must make easily available all materials, printed and non-printed, and actively promote their use throughout the county.
A fundamental factor in the role of providing information is the selection of materials. The library recognizes the vital importance to every citizen of free and convenient access to the world of ideas, information and creative experience. The very nature of the demands made upon the collection requires that selection be inclusive rather than exclusive. For this reason the selection process must provide materials of every format which:
- Are designed to increase the individual’s ability to function effectively as a productive member of society through education and self-understanding.
- Are of a contemporary nature representing various points of view, which are of current interest and possible future significance, including materials which reflect current conditions, trends and controversies.
- Are sources of materials and thoughtful interpretations which document and illuminate the past.
- Provide a meaningful aesthetic experience, stimulate the imagination, and increase the individual’s potential for creativity
- Extend the individual’s capacity to understand the world in which he lives. Entertain and enhance the individual’s enjoyment of life.
Authority for Selection
The ultimate authority for selection rests with the Library Board through its role in setting and interpreting policy. The responsibility for the selection of materials lies with the library director.
Responsibility of Selection
Selection is to be based upon principle rather than personal opinion, reason rather than prejudice, and judgment rather than censorship. It is the responsibility of the library to provide materials which will enable the citizen to form his own opinions. Every attempt is made to strike a balance between selection of materials according to their demand.
The professional library staff is responsible for the selection of materials to be added or removed. Realizing that the librarians cannot be experts in all fields, materials selection aids are used in combination with personal knowledge of materials and a thorough knowledge of the interest of users and the special interests of the community.
Factors in the Selection of Materials
The general goal of the Fauquier County Public Library is to develop a collection which meets the diverse informational needs of citizens of all ages, ethnic groups and occupations within the county.
An effort must be maintained to select materials suitable in form, level, style, and subject content to meet the needs of the county population. The public library must be responsive to the changes and developments occurring within the makeup of the community and within the field of communications as a whole. The library must strive to select materials in anticipation of the future needs of the community.
The public library, as a tax-supported information agency, has the responsibility to coordinate access to information throughout the community. As such, the library will take into account the various specialized material collections that already exist, in order to avoid duplication and to assume continuing success.
Responsibility for curriculum-related materials belongs properly to the schools. The public library will provide materials which supplement and enrich the reference, research and recreational needs of student users of all ages.
The public library will maintain a collection of materials about local and state historical and information topics of a general comprehensive nature. The collection will be developed as a usable collection for the general public rather than as a depository for rare or highly specific materials. The library will attempt to coordinate collection development in this area with local historical organizations.
Responsibility for materials specifically geared for the blind and physically handicapped belongs properly to the Virginia State Library for the Visually Handicapped. The public library will provide materials which supplement and enrich the reference and recreational needs of those members of the community.
Other libraries in the community provide materials for professional use in specialized subject areas. The public library will coordinate collection development with those libraries and acquire materials in specialized areas if a clear need emerges.
Nature and Quality of Material
Expanding areas of knowledge, changing values, technological advances, and cultural differences require flexibility, open mindedness, and responsiveness in the evaluation and reevaluation of all library materials, old and new. Newspapers, paperbacks, magazines, pamphlets, foreign language materials, films, recordings, and other developing types of materials are acquired and made accessible as they are judged suitable, meaningful, and relevant to the community.
Each piece of material must be considered in terms of its own kind of excellence and the audience for whom it is intended. There is no single standard which can be applied in all cases when making an acquisition decision.
Some materials may be judged primarily in terms of artistic merit, scholarship or their value as human documents; others are selected to satisfy the recreational and entertainment needs of the community.
To build collections of merit and significance, materials will be considered according to objective guidelines. All acquisitions, whether purchased or donated, are considered in terms of the following criteria:
- Suitability of subject and style for intended audience/audiences
- Relation to existing collection and other material on subject
- Suitability of physical form for library use
- Present and potential relevance to community needs
- Appropriateness and effectiveness of medium to content
- Insight into human and social conditions
- Importance as a document of the times
- Reputation and/or significance of author
- Skill, competence and purpose of author
- Attention of critics, reviews, and public
Structure of the Library
Factors influencing selection of materials include budget, space, the content of the present collection and the organizational structure of the library system.
Within the restrictions of the library budget and space available, an emphasis is placed on the quality rather than the quantity of materials purchased, keeping in mind the balance that must be struck between the value of materials and the demand for materials.
The content of the present collection is continuously reviewed so that gaps in various subject areas, areas of special interest, and areas of special format may be filled, replacement of old or outdated materials may take place, and unnecessary duplication may be avoided.
Some materials that are withdrawn from the library collection are offered for sale at the main library and its branches. The balance, with the exception of donated valuable books, are given to the Friends of the Fauquier Library, a 501C3 organization, to dispose of as they see fit.