Personal tools

You are here: Home / About Our Library / Library Policies / Collection Development Policies / Materials Selection

Materials Selection

Policy regarding selection of materials


The Board recognizes that individuals within the community have diverse interests, backgrounds, cultural heritages, social values, and needs. The Board further recognizes that the Library serves all of the people within the community regardless of age, race, national origin, or political or social views.

The Library does not exclude books that are biased, partisan, or anti-social, or which may offend the tastes of some citizens for reasons of frankness of vocabulary or description, unless these books are also below our accepted standards of selection. A balanced collection will represent all points of view on a subject, even those that might be considered extreme. The purchase of controversial items by the Library does not constitute endorsement of the views expressed.

The Board believes that while anyone is free to reject for themselves materials of which they do not approve, this cannot be exercised to restrict freedom of others to read or inquire.

The Perry Public Library supports the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read statements, both of which are included as a part of this policy statement.

Responsibility for Materials Selection

Selection of library materials is and shall be vested in the Director of the Perry Public Library and such members of the staff who are qualified by reason of education, training, and experience.

Selection Guidelines

Materials for the library collection are chosen for a wide variety of reasons such as information, self-education, and the recreational pursuits of library users. The decision to add an item to the collection by purchase is usually the result of selection based on demand or need.
Selection based on demand: Patrons are invited to request the purchase of specific items by the Library. The request of a patron is usually honored if the request conforms to the selection and directional guidelines outlines in this policy statement. The final decision rests with the Director, who must consider the special need of one individual or group against the needs of the whole community.
Selection based on need: Library materials are added to the collection for the purpose of updating and further developing certain subject areas. Materials are selected from reviews, availability lists, vendor catalogs, bibliographies, and local experts.
The decision to include or exclude a particular item in the library's collection is based on a number of considerations, although they may not all be applicable to each item:

  • Timeliness  
  • Effective expression and artistic excellence
  • Evaluations in professionally recognized critical guides
  • Significance of subject
  • Educational and informational value
  • Representation of various points of view
  • Availability of material elsewhere
  • Funds and space
  • Interests and needs of individuals in the community
  • Permanent value as source material
  • Vitality and originality of thought
  • Entertaining presentation
  • Relation to other materials and existing areas of coverage in order to maintain a well-balanced collection
  • Author's reputation or significance
  • Accuracy and authoritativeness of content
  • Appearance on the New York Times best seller list or award lists.

In purchasing new materials, the Library makes a distinction between those which depict prejudice as an aspect of real life and those which offer derogatory stereotypes as valid representations. The latter are not added to the collection. However, materials which authentically portray a period or way of life are accepted even if stereotyping is included. Materials which portray the prejudices of real or fictional characters are also considered acceptable. Materials recognized as classics are acceptable even though they may contain passages widely viewed as objectionable by current standards.

The library does not purchase out-of-print materials for the collection.

Professional and special materials, such as legal, medical, and religious works, are purchased only if they are of general interest.

The Library does not support educational curriculums through the purchase of textbooks. Textbooks may be added to the collection if they provide the best or only source of information on a subject, or to complement an existing area with another perspective.

Genealogical works such as handbooks of procedures, bibliographies of genealogical materials, and historical material of value to genealogical workers are purchased.

No attempt is made to purchase all the works by a certain author.

Periodicals are added to the collection on the basis of need.  Prime consideration is given to those that are indexed or fill a particular void in the library's collection.

The Library provides a balanced viewpoint with national, state, and local newspapers.

The Library provides a representative collection of recordings including musicals, rock, jazz, and country. Audio books, or spoken recordings, are also provided.

Audiovisual material is added to the Library's collection with consideration to patron demand and budget constraints. The Library acquires this material primarily in the most popular format.

It is the aim of the Library to develop a popular collection of art reproductions, selected to reflect the tastes of the community.

Local history materials are confined to the printed word. The Library does not attempt to include artifacts as part of the collection. Books by local authors and books on local matters may be purchased even though they may not meet the standards set forth for the general collection.

The Library accepts gifts of library materials, but reserves the right to evaluate and to dispose of such gifts in accordance with the criteria applied to purchased materials.

Catalogs for two-year and four-year colleges in Iowa are a part of the collection.

Children's materials are purchased by the same general principles that govern selection of adult materials. Responsibility for the choice of reading material for minors rests with their parents or guardians. Selection of materials for the library collection is not restricted by the possibility that minors may obtain materials their parents consider inappropriate, nor are children limited to the children's collection.

Telephone books for Iowa communities and major Midwestern cities are available at the Library.

This resource is supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by State Library of Iowa.