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Library Policies-Collection Policy
The Iredell County Public Library’s collection consists of a wide range of materials for users of all ages, all educational levels, and all socio-economic backgrounds. The library’s collection represents a diverse range of ideas and opinions on a broad range of topics. The ideas and opinions represented may be unpopular and may not be held by the majority of Iredell County residents. Some may find the ideas and opinions to be offensive or believe that the information represented is false or misleading. However, the library does not censor books or other materials because they may be offensive to some library users.
If residents believe certain materials in the library provide false or misleading information, the library welcomes suggestions of books or materials that express opposing ideas or opinions. The final decision to add any such opposing material to the library’s collection will be made by the library following the same guidelines for any and all additions to the collection.
The library collects and makes available materials in formats compatible with current technologies popular with our patrons. Materials are purchased in the most appropriate format for library use and include print, audio and video formats, digital formats, and historical archives. New formats are considered for the library’s collection when a significant portion of the community has the necessary technology to make use of the format. Availability of items in the format, the cost per item and the library’s ability to acquire and handle the items are also factors in determining when a new format will be acquired. By these same standards, the library may determine that an older format needs to be removed from the collection.
The print collection is comprised of both hardback and paperback editions. Because of their greater durability, most titles are purchased in hardback when available. A large print collection is maintained to serve those patrons with visual challenges. However, far fewer titles are published in large print, so that collection is significantly smaller than our regular collection.
Titles purchased for the audio book collection reflect the same criteria used for selecting print materials. The library purchases both abridged and unabridged versions of fiction and non-fiction titles based on availability and cost, with preference given to unabridged editions. Technical quality and price are major considerations as audio editions of books are generally more expensive than print editions.
The library’s music collection is intended to be representative of the most significant and widely known artists. This collection represents the wide variety of music tastes and interests of our patrons. Edited versions (when available) may be purchased for the juvenile/young adult collection when selections have Parental Advisory warnings.
The library’s video collection consists of popular entertainment titles, children’s, informational, and instructional titles. It includes feature length movies (both children’s and adult) intended for home use which does not violate US Copyright Law (Title 17). Patron requests for specific titles are considered and purchased if the film is appropriate to the collection for the long term.
The library uses its website to provide users with information about and access to library services. The library also provides links from the library website to subscription databases available only to library patrons as well as free resources available to all web users. The library is not responsible for the content of any of these sites.
Online resources are selected using many of the same criteria used to select print and audiovisual materials. The primary criteria for web resources are accuracy and ease of use. Price is also a crucial factor when selecting subscription databases.
The library strives to provide materials for users of all ages. The library does not prohibit children from checking out materials from the adult collection (with the exception of CD-ROMs, VHS, and DVD). Occasionally, materials in the adult collection will be duplicated in the children’s or young adult collections and vice versa if demand warrants (one example would be author J.K. Rowling’s’ Harry Potter series, widely read by both children and adults).
The adult collection is comprised of fiction and non-fiction print and audio materials, recorded music, entertainment, informational, and instructional audiovisual materials, reference works, online databases, and local history materials. Informational and instructional materials in the adult collection are more advanced than those in the juvenile collections, although in some cases materials intended for younger audiences may be purchased for the adult collection if needed to meet the library’s diverse community’s needs.
Juvenile collections are selected using the same criteria as adult materials. The library's goal is to provide materials for a wide variety of interests and reading levels. The Juvenile collection is divided into Easy/Picture books, Beginning Readers, Juvenile (J) fiction and non-fiction and Young Adult (YA) fiction and non-fiction. The juvenile audiovisuals collection is divided into J and YA collections as well. When available, edited editions of music recordings are purchased rather than those bearing Parental Advisory Warnings. However, parents and legal guardians are responsible for minor children’s reading and viewing.
Works of contemporary fiction and classic works of enduring value are included in the collection. Fiction is selected according to popular demand, reputation of the author and publisher, and appropriateness to the library’s patrons.
Additional selection criteria for works of fiction include:
- Vitality and originality
- Artistic presentation
- Sustained interest
- Effective characterization
- Authenticity of historical or social setting
- Representation of important movement, genre, trend or culture
The library acquires materials of both permanent and current interest in all subjects, based upon the merits of a work in relation to the needs, interests, and demands of the community. Each item is evaluated in its entirety and not on the basis of a particular section.
While the library supports lifelong learning, our non-fiction materials are intended to appeal to the lay reader in any given field. The library does not collect textbooks unless they are the best source of information on a given subject.
Reference materials, whether in print or computer-based formats, are those designed by the arrangement and treatment of their subject matter to be consulted for definite items of information rather than to be read consecutively. In selecting materials for the reference collections, the primary criteria are the library patrons’ information needs and the format in which the information is available. Duplicate copies of reference materials may be purchased for the circulating collection if the price is not prohibitive.
Additional selection criteria for reference works includes:
- Comprehensiveness and depth of treatment
- Clarity, accuracy and logic of presentation
- Treatment of subject to age of intended audience
Periodicals are publications issued and received on a regular basis in print, on microfilm, or in electronic format. Periodicals are also called Serials. They include magazines, newspapers, and other regularly published materials.
The library maintains, in its Local History Department, a collection of reference materials covering genealogical research, Iredell County, surrounding counties, and North Carolina. Materials are selected based on their value to researchers in the library’s geographic area and their relationship and relevance to Iredell County.
Donations are accepted based on the same criteria. Materials purchased for the collection are normally in new condition; however, in some circumstances where new copies are unavailable, used and sometimes worn materials will be acquired if they are deemed of particular value to our patrons.
Local History materials may include print, audiovisual, periodicals, brochures, microforms, computer disks, online databases, and loose leaf vertical files. Vertical files may contain clippings of newspaper articles, photos, and both published and unpublished papers. Although the bulk of the Local History collection is non-fiction, some fiction titles, particularly those by Iredell County authors, may be added as part of the permanent collection.
The library identifies and preserves rare materials, using archival storage materials and handling procedures when possible.
Library materials shall be selected and retained in the library on the basis of their value for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all the people of the community in accordance with our mission. The library is also important to those members of the community who have special needs, or whose native language is not English. As a result, special materials need to be selected with those segments of the community in mind. Collection development decisions are made on the basis of staff judgment and expertise by members of the staff who are qualified by reason of education and training and in accordance with professionally accepted guidelines.
Selection tools such as review journals including but not limited to Library Journal, Booklist, School Library Journal, and Hornbook, publishers’ catalogs, and online resources (Amazon, Baker & Taylor, etc.) are used to alert selectors to forthcoming titles and to those titles’ suitability as part of the library collection. Patron requests and recommendations are also taken into consideration as well as coverage in a particular subject area or author’s works. Advertisements are also considered if no review source is available.
Selection criteria may include but are not limited to:
- Popular interest
- Level of material funding
- Library’s mission and service roles
- Informational and recreational needs of users, including patron requests which fall within the parameters of the collection development criteria
- Current usefulness or interest
- Community needs surveys and assessments
- Authority, accuracy
- Importance as a record of the times
- Relevance to the existing collection
- High standards of quality in content and format
- Price and availability
- Format, durability, and ease of use
- Suitability of format for subject and user’s needs
- Local emphasis
Our patrons are encouraged to make suggestions for purchase and to alert us when we are lacking in materials on a given subject. If patrons desire to receive notification when a title becomes available, a form is provided for this.
The library will be responsive to public suggestions of titles and subjects to be included in the collection. Some of the factors considered when adding or removing materials from the library collection include present collection composition, collection development objectives, interest, demand, timeliness, audience, significance of subject, diversity of viewpoint, effective expression, and limitation of budget and facilities. Other factors include physical characteristics and quality of the items.
In some circumstances where the library is unable to purchase materials requested by a patron, Interlibrary Loan, in which materials are borrowed from another library, may be used.
The library recognizes the need for ongoing evaluation of its collection to assure currency and visually inviting and accessible materials. Ongoing maintenance may include removal, replacement, repair, and restoration of library materials. The most cost-effective option is selected when making replacement verses repair decisions.
The circulating collection (those items which may be checked out by our patrons) is not a depository of historical record. To ensure a vital collection of continuing value to the community, except in the area of Local History, materials that are not well-used may be withdrawn at any time.
In order to maintain a collection that is current, reliable, in good condition, well used, and which relates to the needs and interests of the residents of Iredell County, materials are withdrawn on a systematic and continuing basis. Materials may be withdrawn when they are judged to be dated, inaccurate, seldom used, in poor condition, or otherwise no longer appropriate to the collection.
The library uses the Criteria for Selection when determining whether to purchase replacement copies. Withdrawn materials that are not in extremely poor physical condition are given to the Iredell Friends of the Library to be sold for a nominal fee to the public. Some materials, deemed to be of further use, may be relocated to the Bookmobile, Harmony Branch, or other library collection.
Criteria for withdrawal include:
- Materials with obsolete content
- Materials that are infrequently used
- Materials that have no anticipated use
- Materials in poor or irreparable physical condition
- Older editions replaced by new ones
- Materials missing vital parts (pages, discs, etc.)
- Works containing information that has been superseded or presented in newer, more comprehensive or more accessible formats
Gifts of materials may be accepted with the understanding that the same standards of selection are applied to gifts as well as to materials acquired by purchase, and that any gifts may be discarded at the library’s discretion.
Not all gifts will be added to the library collection. The library reserves the right to decide the conditions of display, housing, access and withdrawal of the materials. The library will not appraise gift materials for tax purposes. Gifts in the form of “memorials” or “honorariums” are also subject to the guidelines set forth in the Criteria for Selection. Accepted materials will be designated by a special bookplate with the appropriate inscription.
The Iredell County Public Library:
- Retains unconditional ownership of the gift
- Makes the final decision on the use or other disposition of the gift
- Reserves the right to decide the conditions of display, housing and access to the materials
For monetary gifts, donors may suggest items, subjects or titles to be purchased with their donation but the library reserves the right of final decision.
The Iredell County Public Library does not promote particular beliefs or views. The library provides a resource for the various opinions that apply to important, complex, and controversial questions, including unpopular and unorthodox positions. Evaluation includes the entire work, not just individual parts of the work. Language, situations, or subjects, which may be offensive to some community members, do not disqualify materials, which, in their entirety, are judged to be of value. No library materials shall be excluded because of race, nationality, political, religious, or social views of the author. Not all materials will be suitable for all members of the community.
The library believes that reading, listening to, and viewing library materials are individual, private matters. Each of our patrons is free to select or to reject materials for him or her. The library does not restrict the freedom of others to read, view, or inquire.
Parents have the primary responsibility to guide and direct the reading and viewing of their own minor children. The library does not stand “in loco parentis.”
The library collection is to be organized and maintained to facilitate access. There is to be no prejudicial labeling, sequestering, or alteration of materials except to protect valuable items from injury or theft.
The library recognizes the right of individuals to question materials in the collection. A library patron questioning materials in the collection is encouraged to speak with designated members of the staff concerning such materials. To formally state his/her opinion and receive a written response, a patron may submit the form provided for that purpose. Material that has been questioned will remain in the active collection until the library has made a determination of its status.
The library adopts and declares that it will adhere to and support the Library Bill of Rights, The Freedom to Read, and the Freedom to View statements. This policy shall relate only to materials physically retained by the Iredell County Public Library. Patron access to information obtained electronically from external databases and available publicly on the Internet shall be governed by a separate policy