SUPERIOR PUBLIC LIBRARY
MATERIALS SELECTION POLICY
Our Mission: The Superior Public Library helps people in northern Wisconsin achieve personal and community growth by encouraging young readers, inspiring imagination at all ages, and connecting citizens with one another and the broader world.
The Library Bill of Rights and The Freedom to Read Statement have been endorsed by the Superior Public Library Board of Trustees and are included in this policy.
A. Purpose of the Materials Selection Policy
The goal of the Superior Public Library is to make available to all people a wide variety of materials for informational, recreational, and educational purposes. It is the responsibility of the Superior Public Library to provide, within its financial ability, a general collection of reliable materials which embrace broad areas of knowledge and interest‐including both basic works of permanent value and timely materials on current issues.
The purpose of this materials selection policy is to guide library staff in the selection of materials and to inform the general public about the principles upon which selections are made. This policy will be periodically reviewed and updated by the Superior Public Library Board.
B. Basic Considerations of the Materials Selection Policy
The community is recognized to consist of people with varied backgrounds, abilities, educational levels, interests, ethnic origins, religions, value systems, and occupational and recreational needs. Materials available in the library present a diversity of viewpoints, enabling citizens to make informed choices. All major views, including those currently unorthodox or unpopular, are to be represented. Opposing views on controversial topics of public interest should be represented, reflecting balanced and objective presentation of all sides. Inclusion does not constitute endorsement of any particular viewpoint by the library. It is not the policy
of the Board of Library Trustees to exclude resources because of moral, religious, or political prejudice, or to arbitrarily remove resources from the collection because of pressure from any individual or organization. Selection should also not be inhibited by the possibility that certain library materials may inadvertently come into the possession of children.
C. Basis for Materials Selection
All items selected will be considered using at least several of the following criteria:
- Present and potential relevance to community needs
- Representation of diverse points of view
- Contemporary significance or permanent value
- Timeliness of information
- Author’s, artist’s or publisher’s qualifications and/or reputation
- Evaluations in review media
- Relationship of work to the existing collection
- Price, format, and ease of use
- Attention by critics and reviewers
- Quality of production
- Scarcity of information in subject areas
- Availability of materials elsewhere in community‐holdings of other libraries within the community are considered in developing the Library’s collection. For example, the library does not offer textbooks or other school curriculum and in general does not duplicate resources already provided at local academic and special libraries.
- Popular demand‐the Library should make available materials for enlightenment and recreation even if not enduring in value, interest or accuracy. A representative sampling of experimental or short‐lived material should be purchased.
- Patron recommendations for the collection are welcomed and evaluated by the criteria listed above.
Selection Tools and Sources
The library uses a variety of professional journals, publisher catalogs, sales representatives, and website sources that offer reviews and recommendations. Some of the sources used for the selection process include: Booklist, Library Journal, School Library Journal, Goodreads, Publishers Weekly, Amazon, New York Times Best Seller List, newspapers, radio, television, and social media. The library chooses the most appropriate vendors based on criteria such as discount, availability, vendor services, reliability, and speed of delivery.
D. eMedia Collection
The eMedia Collection includes materials in electronic form such as e‐books, downloadable audiobooks, streaming videos, online newspapers/journals, and fulltext databases. The Library acquires items for the eMedia Collection through purchasing perpetual access, annual subscriptions, and selectively adding items that meet the Library’s selection criteria. Most databases are subject to negotiated contracts that stipulate the terms and conditions of access. Items in the eMedia Collection may be removed from the Library’s collection using the same criteria that books or other materials are weeded, e.g., out of date, inaccurate, unnecessary and duplicative, or rely on outdated technology. Many eMedia resources are annual subscriptions, with continued access subject to availability of funds in each budget year.
Selection considerations include:
- Ease of use
- Availability to multiple simultaneous users
- Equipment needed to provide access to the information
- Available in full text
- Technical support and training
- Availability of the physical space needed to house and store the information or equipment
E. Graphic Novel Collection
The Library develops a graphic novel collection of core and popular titles that serve the informational and recreational interests of children, teens, and adults. Graphic novels have gained worldwide literary acceptance and are defined as any self‐contained story in a single binding that usually tells an extended story with text and sequential art. The Library strives to choose graphic novels that serve a wide age range of audiences and that cover a wide range of interest and ideas. It is the responsibility of parents or legal guardians to determine which materials are appropriate for their children. Graphic novels with a rating of E (Everyone) or Y
(Youth Ages 10+) with children as the primary audience are placed in the children's collection. The teen collection includes graphic novels with a rating of T (Teens Ages 13+) and OT (Older Teens 16+), with an emphasis on manga. Those graphic novels with adults as the primary audience, or with a rating of M (Mature), are placed in the adult collection.
F. Area Research Collection
The library selects materials related to Superior and Douglas County and maintains them in a separate collection currently called the Area Research Collection. Materials may cover, but are not limited to general historical, geographical, social or demographic, biographical and genealogical works related to Superior and Douglas County. Only rare, historical or unique publications written or illustrated by past or present Douglas County residents will be included in this collection.
The ultimate legal responsibility for selection of library materials rests with the Library’s Board of Trustees. The Library Director is responsible for seeing that the materials selection policy adopted by the Board is carried out. The Library Director in turn, may delegate to professional librarians and other staff members the authority to select materials in accordance with the library’s objectives.
Involved in the choice of materials are the experience and knowledge of those selecting materials, their knowledge of the community (its needs, demands and other library resources), the existing collection, and the library budget. Materials are judged on the basis of the work as a whole, not by a part taken out of context. Reviews in professional journals are used as an aid in the selection or decision process and are sought wherever possible, but the lack of review or an unfavorable review shall not be the sole reason for not selecting a title that is in demand. The Library will be responsive to public suggestion of items and subjects to be included in the library collection.
Parents and legal guardians have sole responsibility for what their children read, view, or hear. Only parents and guardians may restrict their own children’s access to library materials. Selection of library materials will not be restricted by the possibility that materials could come into a child’s possession.
The Superior Public Library gratefully accepts gifts of materials, but with the explicit understanding that they will be added to the Library collection only when they are needed and only when they meet the same standards of selection that are applied to regular library purchases. Gifts are accepted subject to the following limitations:
- The library retains unconditional ownership;
- The library makes the final decision on acceptance, use, or disposition
When the Library receives a cash gift for the purchase of materials, whether as a memorial or for any other purpose, the general nature or subject area of the materials to be purchased may be based upon the wishes of the donor. Selection of specific titles, however, will be made by the library staff in accordance with the needs and selection policies of the library.
Special collections and memorial collections will not be shelved as separate physical entities. Such collections will be accepted only with the understanding that they will be integrated into the general collection. The only form of memorial identification will be a gift plate.
The Library reserves the right to refuse donations.
I. Maintaining the Collection
An up‐to‐date, attractive, and useful collection is maintained by retaining or replacing essential materials, removing, and withdrawing materials (weeding) on a systematic and continuous basis. Materials that no longer meet the selection criteria of the library, including items that have become damaged or obsolete, will be systematically removed from the collection according to accepted professional methods such as those described in manuals such as CREW: A Weeding Manual for Modern Libraries.
Withdrawn materials may be disposed of through book sales, giveaways, or recycling.
The Superior Public Library is not a library of historical record, except as outlined in section F of this policy. To ensure a vital collection of continued value to the community, books and other materials which have outlived their usefulness are withdrawn.
J. Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials
Individuals who reside in the Library’s service area may request reconsideration of a selection decision of library material. To receive consideration by the Library, all requests must be made in writing using the Library’s request for reconsideration form.
The library’s materials about which a request for reconsideration has been made will not be removed from the collection, nor will their use be restricted in any way, before final action is taken by the Library Board on the request.
Within 30 days of the filing of the written request for reconsideration, the chair of the Library’s Collection Development Committee and one other member of the Collection Development Committee appointed by the chair will jointly send a written response to the complainant, explaining in detail their decision regarding the request. The response will also inform the complainant that if they desire, the request will be forwarded to the Library Director.
Within 30 days following the written response, if it is the desire of the complainant, the request will be forwarded to the Library Director who will review the request and submit it, along with their recommendations, to the Library Board.
Within 90 days of the filing of the written request for reconsideration, the Library Board will review the request and take final action on it. In making its decision, the Library Board will consider professional reviews and will employ all of the criteria of selection listed in the library’s Materials Selection Policy, including the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, Interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read Statement and the Freedom to View Statement.
The complainant will be notified in writing of the Library Board’s decision in the matter.
Requests for reconsideration about a particular item will not be considered by the Library more than once within a 12‐month period.
Approved by the Library Board of Trustees on 12/20/2022
Previous versions: 3/17/1998