Materials Selection Policy

The purpose of the Highland Park Public Library is to provide all Highland Park residents ready access to a broad collection of materials in a variety of media that record our knowledge, ideas, and culture; to offer guidance and encouragement in their use; and to provide the community with access to reliable and easily available sources of information and reference.
Because of the volume of publishing as well as the limitations of budget and space, the library must have a selection policy with which to meet community interests and needs if it is to fulfill its objectives.
This Materials Selection Policy is used by the library staff in the selection of materials and also serves to acquaint the general public with the principles of selection.
The Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read, and Freedom to View Statements have been endorsed by the Highland Park Public Library Board of Trustees and are integral parts of this policy.

The Highland Park Public Library has served the recreational, educational, and informational needs of the Highland Park community since 1922. During its history the library has grown with its community, adding services and materials in response to user needs and altering the course of its development in order to provide the best possible library service to its user population.
Recognizing that no one library can possibly fulfill all the information and materials needs of its patrons, the Highland Park Public Library has long been a member of area and regional cooperative borrowing and interlibrary loan networks.
Such interlibrary cooperation has a significant effect on local materials selection by providing access to extensive collections of seldom requested technical and specialized materials. This allows the Highland Park Public Library to concentrate its collection development on materials likely to provide broad subject coverage and meet the interests and needs of larger segments of the public served.

The responsibility for selection of materials, as with all library activities, rests with the Library Director, who operates within the framework of policies determined by the Highland Park Public Library Board of Trustees. This responsibility is shared by other members of the professional staff; however, because the director must be able to answer to the Library Board of Trustees and the general public for actual selections made by the staff, she/he has the authority to reject or select any item contrary to the recommendations of the staff.
The library welcomes requests from the public for the purchase of specific materials. Each request is reviewed by the librarian and, if deemed suitable for inclusion in the library’s collection based on the selection criteria stated below, and within the budgetary limits of the library, the material is purchased. If the item is deemed not suitable for purchase, every attempt is made to obtain it for use by the public through our interlibrary loan network.

The choice of materials is based on the experience and knowledge of those staff members selecting materials, the existing collection, the library’s materials budget, and the policies set by the Board of Trustees.
Materials are judged on the basis of the work as a whole, not on a part taken out of context. Reviews in professional journals are used in the selection process and are sought whenever possible. However, the lack of a review or an unfavorable review shall not be the sole reason for rejecting a title that is in demand:

The criteria for selection of non-fiction are:

1. Qualification of the author in the subject field
2. Scope and authority of subject matter
3. Quality of writing (style, readability)
4. Appeal
5. Date of publication
6. Reputation of publisher
7. Organization of content (indices, bibliographies, etc.)
8. Relationship to the existing collection
9. Physical qualities
10. Price

The criteria for the selection of fiction include:
1. Appeal (popular or limited)/Demand
2. Literary Merit
3. Relationship to the collection
4. Reputation of the publisher
5. Reputation of the author
6. Price

Reference material is selected with the goal of satisfying the majority of the information needs within the community. Questions that fall beyond the limits of our collection are referred to larger libraries through the interlibrary loan network. Reference materials are evaluated by the following criteria:

1. Purpose
2. Authority
3. Scope
4. Timeliness
5. Format (Arrangement, indexing, organization, consistency)
6. Suitability for intended audience

A well balanced subject collection of periodicals is maintained as a current and in-depth supplement to the book collection. Selection is based on appeal and demand, the accessibility of a title’s content through indices, the accuracy and objectivity of the editor and authors, its contributions to trends in the field covered, and the preservation of a balanced viewpoint within the collection. Requests for periodical articles that fall outside the scope of the collection may be filled through the interlibrary loan network.
The library maintains a special collection of local history materials, including a clipping file, oral history tapes and transcripts, as well as publications of the municipality, schools, and community organizations. The library actively solicits material for this collection, requesting from all borough departments, boards, commissions, committees, and the council any document prepared for the Borough of Highland Park that contains public information.

In order to remain responsive to the public need, the library will evaluate new developments in the field of audiovisual formats for possible inclusion in the library’s collection.

In selecting books for children, the library’s objective is to make available a collection that satisfies the informational, recreational, and cultural reading needs of children of preschool age through elementary school. Books are selected that meet the general demands of the majority of children, along with books whose special qualities make them valuable to children with special needs, talents, problems, or interests. Criteria for book selection are the same as for adult materials, with the added requirement of vocabulary suitable to the age of the intended audience.

Young people (grades 7 through 12 approximately) will be served from the general collection but will also have access to materials specially selected to meet the informational, recreational, and emotional concerns of this age group. The Young Adult collection will be fluid, flexible, current, and attractive, containing materials that are 1) in demand, 2) of special quality that will help young adults understand themselves and others, broaden their viewpoints and knowledge of the world, stimulate their curiosity, and expand both their reading ability and reading enjoyment. Emphasis will be on popular browsing materials, primarily paperbacks and periodicals, rather than on school-related materials. The selection criteria for young adult material will be the same as stated for books and other print material.

Since it is impossible for the library staff to read and review personally the large number of books published annually, reviews found in professional, literary, and general periodicals as well as standard bibliographies are used to facilitate the selection process.

Inherent in the selection process is the problem of evaluating the demand and need for duplication of some materials. Duplication of materials will be at the discretion of the Library Director.

Discarding of materials is necessary to maintain a vital, useful, well-kept collection. It takes skill, care, time, and knowledge of the materials to do a competent job of discarding.

Selection of materials for discarding is based on the following criteria:

1. Materials worn out through use
2. Ephemeral materials that are no longer timely
3. Materials no longer considered accurate or factual
4. Materials that have had little recent use and are of questionable value
5. Excess copies of a title no longer in high demand

Replacement of material is not automatic and is based on:
1. The number of duplicate copies
2. Existence of adequate coverage of the subject in the collection
3. Demand for the specific title or subject area

In line with national standards, it is anticipated that approximately 5% of the book collection will be discarded annually.

Disposal of materials discarded from the collection is accomplished according to the following priorities:

1. Material that can be used by another tax-supported library is made available to that library with all responsibility for transfer assumed by the receiving library.
2. Material that can be used by another tax-supported institution, not a library, is made available to that institution, with all responsibility for transfer assumed by the receiving institution.
3. Material that is of no interest to other libraries or other tax-supported institutions but which is judged by the library staff to have possible resale value is kept for the Friends of the Library book sale. The availability of storage space for such material is the deciding factor in how long potential sale material is kept.
4. Material unsuitable for transfer or sale is thrown away.

The Highland Park Public Library is pleased to accept gifts and/or memorial gifts from patrons. Gifts are gratefully and willingly accepted as long as no restriction is placed upon their use:

1. The library is not obligated to retain any gifts that fail to meet its criteria for selection.
2. The library has the right to discard any gifts in poor physical condition (e.g. brittle paper, water or mildew damage, underlining in the text, torn and/or missing pages).
3. The library is not obligated to retain back issues of gift periodical subscriptions that are of limited interest or are not indexed in any standard source.
4. The library has the right to determine suitability for inclusion in the reference or circulating collections.
All donations of books and other library materials will be acknowledged in writing.
The library does not appraise books for income tax purposes.

The Highland Park Public Library recognizes that many materials are controversial and that any given item may offend some patrons. Selection of materials will not be made on the basis of anticipated approval or disapproval, but solely on the basis of the principles stated in this selection policy.

Library materials will not be marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of their contents, and no library material will be sequestered, except to protect it from injury or theft.

Responsibility for the reading of children rests with their parents or legal guardians. Selection of library material will not be inhibited by the possibility that books may come into the possession of children.

Patrons requesting that material be withdrawn from the collection may complete a Request for Reconsideration of Materials“ form. The petition will be placed on the agenda of the next regular meeting of the Highland Park Public Library Board of Trustees. Their decision will be final and the material will remain in the collection in the meantime.

Adopted October 27, 2014
Amended August 13, 2019