I. General Policy
The purpose of this policy is to provide the Mathews Memorial Library an institutional framework concerning the acquisition of library materials. Through the use of this policy and thoughtful review of potential library materials, the Library will strive to provide the community with various types of media containing valuable information and a wide choice of quality literature.
General Boundaries of the Collection
The Library will acquire materials for the collection that serve the interest and informational needs of Mathews citizens. Currently, the collection stands at 34,000 items including all media. Due to strong public support, the Library has been able to grow at an annual rate of approximately five percent per year. The continued growth of the collection will reflect the broad range of interest and needs of our community, and the different educational levels will be addressed through the implementation of this collection policy.
II. General Priorities and Limitations Governing Selection
Forms of Materials Collected/Excluded
In this age of technological advancement, it is important that the library provide information in different mediums. With this in mind, the library offers its patrons a wide variety of choices and formats. Print formats include fiction and nonfiction books, periodicals, as well as local, national and international newspapers. Print reference materials are a very important part of the library collection and will be purchased on a regular basis.
Books on tape and CDs serve a wide variety of ages and are increasingly popular. The acquisition of items in these formats will also be purchased on a regular basis.
Materials will only be excluded from consideration if they do not provide a reasonable value-added or financial return on their purchase. The professional staff will make these collection decisions.
Languages, Geographical Areas Collected/Excluded
The overwhelming majority of Mathews citizens are English speaking. Because this is the case, that will be the priority in our collection development. However, there is a small but growing population of Hispanic citizens whose needs should be addressed. By beginning to build-up a portion of the collection directed at these citizens, we will be able to better meet their needs.
There is a deep interest in our patrons about local and regional history/culture, and these interests will be reflected in the collection development process.
Chronological Periods Collected/Excluded
It is the aim of the Library to keep the collection as “up-to-date” as possible. Given that many of our patrons are reading for enjoyment, it is important to maintain a collection of the latest and most popular fiction books. The same should be true for the fiction collection we maintain for our younger patrons. It is important that they have access to popular titles.
In the non-fiction section, the Library will concentrate on those materials that have a particular appeal to our patrons. Examples of such would be books on the marine environment, restoring old homes, gardening and home entertaining. These books should be reconsidered occasionally to ensure the accuracy and relevance of the information they contain.
Books that should be preserved regardless of copyright date are those that hold some other historical value, particularly those that have to do with the history of Mathews County and its surrounding areas.
Duplication of Materials
The purchase of duplicate materials will be carefully considered. Given the limited funds available, multiple copies of a book should only be purchased if there is an overwhelming public interest in a title. When this is the case, paperback copies will be considered as an option. It is important to balance the budgetary needs of the institution with the organizational mission to provide patrons with what they want. This should not be done at the expense of the Library’s greater collection “integrity.”
The most important funding consideration for the Mathews Memorial Library is the question of “integrity.” Patron interests and needs are important and must be balanced using available funds. Careful consideration should be maintained when deciding how to spend the money of benefactors and taxpayers. With the greater good in mind and a balanced collection the goal, collection and funding decisions lie at the heart of the library mission.
Regional, National and Local Cooperative Collection Agreements
It is the policy of this institution to enter into those cooperative agreements that will prove beneficial to our patrons. Examples of these are well thought out regional interlibrary loan programs and participation in the “Find-It-Va” online database program that is made available through the Library of Virginia. Any program that may provide literary or educational benefit to our community should be examined for compatibility with the mission of the library. If found to be beneficial, participation in that program should be pursued.
Legal, Regulatory and Policy Requirements of the Institution
The County Board of Supervisors appoints a library governing board of trustees consisting of members. The Board of Trustees is granted all powers necessary for the management and control of a free public library system. The members have control of the expenditures of all money available to the Library, and their decisions will be made in accordance with local, state and national law.
III. General Collection Practices
Collection Responsibilities and Selection Procedures
The Board of Trustees is legally responsible for the selection of all materials for the public library. The Board delegates this responsibility to the library director.
The Mathews Memorial Library encourages gifts of materials or currency from groups and individuals in any form. These gifts must meet collection development policy guidelines before being put in the collection. Gifts donated become the property of the Library. The Library retains the right to dispose of unneeded materials or gifts by selling, exchanging, giving away or disposing of the donation.
The Library cannot be responsible for the appraisal of gifts for income tax or other purposes.
Weeding and withdrawal are important aspects of the collection development policy. The director and staff are responsible for the timely deselection of the collection.
Criteria for weeding are based on content, condition and use patterns of library materials. Items that are outdated, superseded, obsolete or inaccurate will be weeded. Careful examination will be given to materials older than three years in the fields of science, health, medicine, finance, law and inter-related topics. Items that are worn, books whose pages are torn, soiled or missing or with broken spines, torn covers or frayed bindings will be weeded from the collection. These items may be considered for binding or repair if the expense is minimal in light of replacement costs. Materials not circulated for three to five years, unused duplicates, subject not within the scope of collection policy or unneeded volumes or sets of books will be deselected.
Complaints and Censorship
Mathews Memorial Library tries to provide free access for the public to all points of view as long as budget, space and availability of materials will allow. Items will not be included or excluded in the collection because of political views, language; controversial content; the race, religion, or nationality of the author or other responsible party; or the approval or disapproval of an individual or group. The Library will attempt to impartially select materials that represent a wide range of views.
When a complaint is made, the following procedure is to be followed by staff:
Listen calmly and courteously to the complaint. Remember the person has a right to express a concern. Communicate with complainant to explain the need for diversity in library collections and the use of library resources. In the event the person is not satisfied, advise the complainant of the library policy and procedures for handling reconsideration of materials. If patron continues to object to any item in the collection and wants to have the item formally reconsidered, the following procedures will be followed:
- A “Request for Reconsideration of Materials’ form must be completely filled out.
- The Library director will consult with the Library staff concerning the request. The results of this consultation will be shared in writing with the patron in a timely manner.
- Appeals are then sent to the Library Board of Trustees who will examine the case in conjunction with the Director in a timely manner, given time to become familiar with the materials if necessary. The results of the Board hearing will then be shared in writing to the patron.