CHAPTER III - SELECTION OF MATERIALS
The Elisha D. Smith Public Library is primarily a popular materials library. As such, the first criterion for inclusion in the library's collections is public demand. The library’s collections support the leisure, cultural, educational, self-improvement and economic development needs of the library’s service area. Current materials are emphasized over the development of historical collections. The library adds duplicate materials to meet demand. The library acknowledges the important role of the community in collection development by inviting suggestions for purchase, monitoring requests, and evaluating the collections on an ongoing basis.
A. RESPONSIBILITY FOR SELECTION
All materials added to the library collection shall support the principles, vision, and mission of the Elisha D. Smith Public Library:
• A free public library is essential to the public good and improvement.
• All library users are entitled to the highest level of service.
• All library users have a right to privacy and intellectual freedom.
VISION: The Elisha D. Smith Public Library shall enhance the quality of life in our diverse community as we lead with exceptional customer service, a vibrant collection, innovative technology, and responsiveness to the people we serve.
MISSION: The Elisha D. Smith Public Library is a dynamic and responsive community center for our diverse population, offering equal access to materials, programming, services, and entertainment to inspire and enrich while supporting learning for all ages.
Selection of library materials is the responsibility of the Library Director. This process is done under the supervision of the Library Director and effectuated by members of the staff who are qualified by reason of education, training, and experience. The public is encouraged to recommend materials for purchase. The most recently adopted Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read statements as adopted by the American Library Association are incorporated as part of this selection policy. (see Appendix)
B. REQUESTS FOR RECONSIDERATION
Written or oral requests for reconsideration of materials in the library collection may be made by citizens of the library’s service area.
1. Requests for reconsideration may be made directly to library staff members. Staff members shall refer requests to the Library Director. Staff members may not remove library materials from the collection in response to a patron request without the express consent of the Library Director or Library Board of Trustees.
2. A Request for Reconsideration of Materials form is available to assist in expressing concerns about materials. (see last page of this policy, after the Appendix)
3. Citizens may meet with the Library Director to review the objection and the material in question.
4. The Library Director shall decide whether the material will be maintained in the library’s collection or removed.
5. The Library Director’s decision may be appealed to the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees’ decision is final.
C. GENERAL CRITERIA FOR ALL LIBRARY MATERIALS
1. General. Whether purchased or donated, materials added to the collection must meet some of the following criteria based on the discretion of the Library Director:
a. Appropriate format for library use.
b. Suitable subject and presentation for intended audience (not necessarily all library patrons).
c. Author generally accepted as appropriate for public library collections.
d. Contemporary significance or lasting value.
e. Complementary relationship to the existing collection.
f. Scarcity of information in a particular subject area.
g. Community/patron interest or requests.
h. Complementary to established school curricula (MJSD, local private schools, or home schools).
i. Non-availability of otherwise appropriate material elsewhere in the community, particularly if unavailable through Interlibrary Loan, the Winnefox Automated Library Systems consortium.
j. Reasonable price relative to value.
k. Favorable review in one or more publications.
l. Technical or artistic quality.
n. Originality of thought.
o. Conforms to U.S. copyright and trade laws.
2. Controversial material. The library provides a resource where the public can examine issues freely and make independent decisions. The library shall attempt to provide variety and balance of opinion whenever possible on subjects of interest to the public, including materials on various sides of controversial questions. Inclusion of a particular title or subject in the collection should not be considered an endorsement by the library of the viewpoint expressed. A title which meets the selection criteria shall not be excluded because of the beliefs of the author.
3. Gifts of Library Materials. Material donations are welcomed with the understanding that they will be evaluated for addition to the collection on the same basis as purchased materials. It shall be understood that the library may add such donations to its collection, offer them to the Friends of the Menasha Library for their books sales, share them with other appropriate institutions, or recycle them. Cash donations made specifically for the purpose of buying books and other materials for the library may be designated for a specific collection. Donors may request that bookplates acknowledging their gifts be affixed to books purchased with their donations. All gifts of money shall be acknowledged.
4. Duplication of titles is determined by popularity, by the continuing importance of the subject or author, and by available funds.
5. Replacement and binding. The library may replace, repair, or rebind books or other materials which are lost, damaged, non-returned, or worn as need and budget dictate.
6. Withdrawals. To maintain the quality of the collection and fulfill its role as a popular materials center, the library shall engage in a continual program of collection weeding. Factors considered in the weeding decision shall include frequency of circulation, current demand, currency of content, availability of newer and more authoritative materials, the number of copies in the collection, and physical condition. Withdrawn materials shall be transferred to the Friends of the Menasha Library, offered to other libraries, or recycled, depending on their condition at the discretion of the Library Director or his/her designee.
D. GUIDELINES BY FORMAT. All general selection criteria apply as well as these additional criteria established by format. These guidelines apply to the selection of materials for adults, teens, and children with the understanding that materials for those broad collections shall be age-appropriate.
a. Hardbound books are purchased when the library expects them to have lasting value or heavy demand, or when they are unavailable in paperback.
b. Paperback books are purchased when they are deemed likely to encourage greater circulation, they duplicate popular titles or subjects, they are of temporary value, they are available only in paperback, or they are likely to have infrequent use.
c. Textbooks shall only be selected when they supply information in areas in which they may be the best or the only source, or where there is a demand by patrons.
d. The library shall maintain a large print book collection.
e. Audiobooks supplement the book collections. Their selection shall be based on the same general criteria.
f. The library shall contribute to a statewide consortium for the purchase of ebooks and audiobooks available to library patrons for download from a website known as Wisconsin’s Digital Library.
2. Periodicals. Newspapers, magazines, and bulletins shall be selected to supplement the book collection by providing current materials, information not yet in book form, additional reference and research sources, and recreational reading. Selection criteria include: general material selection criteria, community interests, accessibility of content through available indices, representation of a variety of viewpoints.
a. Fraternal and club magazines.
b. Industry and corporate magazines.
c. Religious denominational magazines. The library subscribes to a limited number of major religious periodicals. Generally, no more than one magazine per denomination will shall be accepted.
d. Gift subscriptions. The library shall accept gift magazine subscriptions provided the magazines meet general selection criteria. Gift subscriptions should be in the library's name.
e. Representative regional, national, and local newspapers.
f. Online magazine subscriptions are available to library patrons from Wisconsin’s Digital Library.
g. Indexed access to full-text Post~Crescent articles from 1999 forward is provided online.
3. Vertical file. The library maintains vertical files (filing cabinets) with miscellaneous uncataloged materials such as pamphlets, photographs, documents, maps, clippings, etc. on a variety of subjects, particularly relative to Menasha history, business, and culture. Vertical file materials must meet the same selection criteria as other materials.
4. Music. Musical recordings representing a wide variety of musical style and taste are selected. Composition, arrangement, performer, recording quality, and community interest are considered. Every reasonable effort is made to ensure that the library fully complies with intellectual property laws.
5. Video/Films. The library maintains a collection of video programs of both educational and entertainment nature as digital recordings. The library may acquire public performance rights when available. The library may arrange for copying or off-air taping of programs when such action is deemed legal and suitable. Every reasonable effort is made to ensure that the library fully complies with intellectual property laws.
6. Microfilm and Electronic Data. Periodicals of lasting value to the community are retained on microfilm. The library has a collection of digital photographs, oral histories, and texts online at the UW-Madison Libraries Digital Collections website listed under Menasha Local History Collection and Neenah Menasha Local History Collection.
7. Website. The library creates and maintains a website designed to facilitate access to the library’s collections and services, as well as to facilitate website users’ access to online information and resources.
8. Government documents. Federal and state documents are acquired on the basis of the general selection criteria. They are processed and organized according to their format and subject. Local documents are actively sought and maintained for current and historical value.
9. Toys. Toys are made available for circulation to develop learning skills in young children, to encourage creativity and imagination, to make available toys considered too expensive for private purchase, and to encourage library use by families with young children.
10. Video Games. These will be purchased for circulation for popular game systems and with ratings of T for teen or younger.
11. Other types of materials may be collected. New types of collections shall be approved by the Library Board of Trustees.
E. MISCELLANEOUS GUIDELINES
a. In adding titles to the fiction collection, the library responds to popular demand as the most important selection criterion.
b. A collection of classic works of fiction is maintained.
c. A selective representation of foreign fiction published in the English language or in English translation is also maintained. The library will shall selectively collect titles which reflect new trends in the writing of fiction.
d. The library re-affirms its adoption of the Freedom to Read statement. (see Appendix)
2. Foreign language. The library purchases dictionaries and instructional materials on various languages. The library purchases materials in international languages for members of the community whose primary reading language is not English (particularly Spanish materials) and in support of languages taught by the Menasha Joint School District (Spanish, German, and Japanese).
3. Genealogy. The library selectively acquires family histories pertaining directly to local families. A fee may be charged non-local residents for genealogical research work done by the library staff.
4. Health. THE LIBRARY SHALL NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. The library provides non-technical material on health, nutrition, hygiene, and diseases. Books in this area are selected with special concern for their reliability. When there is any uncertainty on the soundness of a book, the staff consults authorities in the field, special bibliographies, or reviews in professional journals. If a title that has had mixed reviews is one that receives strong public demand, it may be purchased.
5. Law. THE LIBRARY SHALL NOT PROVIDE LEGAL ADVICE. The library purchases standard and popular books in the field of law which may be of interest to laypeople.
6. Local history.
a. The library collects copies of all materials which contribute to the knowledge of Menasha, past and present. Reference and circulating copies of significant materials are obtained. The library also collects photographs to supplement the local history collection. Local government documents are collected and organized, but not necessarily cataloged.
b. The library collects non-fiction materials dealing with Wisconsin, past and present. These works are selected on the basis of their subject matter, and not on the residency of the author. Works of fiction by Wisconsin authors follow the general criteria for fiction. Government documents are collected in areas in which there is an expressed local interest.
a. Reference materials are designed to be consulted for definite items of information rather than to be read consecutively. Reference materials are acquired to satisfy the general and more frequently expressed special informational needs of the community which cannot be accessed online.
b. Specific factors considered in reference selection include authority, reliability, scope, timeliness, treatment, arrangement, cost, and existing holdings.
a. The library attempts to maintain a well-balanced collection that represents materials about all the major religions, including their sacred scriptures.
b. Authoritative materials which introduce and explain the basic concepts and practices of the various religions, denominations and beliefs are included in the collection.
c. In addition to material pertaining to particular beliefs, the collection includes basic authoritative studies in the areas of history of religion, theology, comparative religion, and mythology. The collection encompasses popular works on trends, ideas, and movements which are currently taking place in the field of religion.
Approved by the Elisha D. Smith Public Library Board of Trustees, July 27, 2016
Amended by the Elisha D. Smith Public Library Board of Trustees, November 26, 2019
American Library Association, Library Bill of Rights
The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.
I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
II. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
VI. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.
Adopted June 19, 1939, by the ALA Council; amended October 14, 1944; June 18, 1948; February 2, 1961; June 27, 1967; January 23, 1980; inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996.
American Library Association, Freedom to Read Statement
The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack. Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label "controversial" views, to distribute lists of "objectionable" books or authors, and to purge libraries. These actions apparently rise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to counter threats to safety or national security, as well as to avoid the subversion of politics and the corruption of morals. We, as individuals devoted to reading and as librarians and publishers responsible for disseminating ideas, wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of the freedom to read.
Most attempts at suppression rest on a denial of the fundamental premise of democracy: that the ordinary individual, by exercising critical judgment, will select the good and reject the bad. We trust Americans to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe. We do not believe they are prepared to sacrifice their heritage of a free press in order to be "protected" against what others think may be bad for them. We believe they still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression.
These efforts at suppression are related to a larger pattern of pressures being brought against education, the press, art and images, films, broadcast media, and the Internet. The problem is not only one of actual censorship. The shadow of fear cast by these pressures leads, we suspect, to an even larger voluntary curtailment of expression by those who seek to avoid controversy or unwelcome scrutiny by government officials.
Such pressure toward conformity is perhaps natural to a time of accelerated change. And yet suppression is never more dangerous than in such a time of social tension. Freedom has given the United States the elasticity to endure strain. Freedom keeps open the path of novel and creative solutions, and enables change to come by choice. Every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of our society and leaves it the less able to deal with controversy and difference.
Now as always in our history, reading is among our greatest freedoms. The freedom to read and write is almost the only means for making generally available ideas or manners of expression that can initially command only a small audience. The written word is the natural medium for the new idea and the untried voice from which come the original contributions to social growth. It is essential to the extended discussion that serious thought requires, and to the accumulation of knowledge and ideas into organized collections.
We believe that free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture. We believe that these pressures toward conformity present the danger of limiting the range and variety of inquiry and expression on which our democracy and our culture depend. We believe that every American community must jealously guard the freedom to publish and to circulate, in order to preserve its own freedom to read. We believe that publishers and librarians have a profound responsibility to give validity to that freedom to read by making it possible for the readers to choose freely from a variety of offerings.
The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution. Those with faith in free people will stand firm on these constitutional guarantees of essential rights and will exercise the responsibilities that accompany these rights.
We therefore affirm these propositions:
1. It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those that are unorthodox, unpopular, or considered dangerous by the majority.
Creative thought is by definition new, and what is new is different. The bearer of every new thought is a rebel until that idea is refined and tested. Totalitarian systems attempt to maintain themselves in power by the ruthless suppression of any concept that challenges the established orthodoxy. The power of a democratic system to adapt to change is vastly strengthened by the freedom of its citizens to choose widely from among conflicting opinions offered freely to them. To stifle every nonconformist idea at birth would mark the end of the democratic process. Furthermore, only through the constant activity of weighing and selecting can the democratic mind attain the strength demanded by times like these. We need to know not only what we believe but why we believe it.
2. Publishers, librarians, and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea or presentation they make available. It would conflict with the public interest for them to establish their own political, moral, or aesthetic views as a standard for determining what should be published or circulated.
Publishers and librarians serve the educational process by helping to make available knowledge and ideas required for the growth of the mind and the increase of learning. They do not foster education by imposing as mentors the patterns of their own thought. The people should have the freedom to read and consider a broader range of ideas than those that may be held by any single librarian or publisher or government or church. It is wrong that what one can read should be confined to what another thinks proper.
3. It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to bar access to writings on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.
No art or literature can flourish if it is to be measured by the political views or private lives of its creators. No society of free people can flourish that draws up lists of writers to whom it will not listen, whatever they may have to say.
4. There is no place in our society for efforts to coerce the taste of others, to confine adults to the reading matter deemed suitable for adolescents, or to inhibit the efforts of writers to achieve artistic expression.
To some, much of modern expression is shocking. But is not much of life itself shocking? We cut off literature at the source if we prevent writers from dealing with the stuff of life. Parents and teachers have a responsibility to prepare the young to meet the diversity of experiences in life to which they will be exposed, as they have a responsibility to help them learn to think critically for themselves. These are affirmative responsibilities, not to be discharged simply by preventing them from reading works for which they are not yet prepared. In these matters values differ, and values cannot be legislated; nor can machinery be devised that will suit the demands of one group without limiting the freedom of others.
5. It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept the prejudgment of a label characterizing any expression or its author as subversive or dangerous.
The ideal of labeling presupposes the existence of individuals or groups with wisdom to determine by authority what is good or bad for others. It presupposes that individuals must be directed in making up their minds about the ideas they examine. But Americans do not need others to do their thinking for them.
6. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians, as guardians of the people's freedom to read, to contest encroachments upon that freedom by individuals or groups seeking to impose their own standards or tastes upon the community at large; and by the government whenever it seeks to reduce or deny public access to public information.
It is inevitable in the give and take of the democratic process that the political, the moral, or the aesthetic concepts of an individual or group will occasionally collide with those of another individual or group. In a free society individuals are free to determine for themselves what they wish to read, and each group is free to determine what it will recommend to its freely associated members. But no group has the right to take the law into its own hands, and to impose its own concept of politics or morality upon other members of a democratic society. Freedom is no freedom if it is accorded only to the accepted and the inoffensive. Further, democratic societies are more safe, free, and creative when the free flow of public information is not restricted by governmental prerogative or self-censorship.
7. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians to give full meaning to the freedom to read by providing books that enrich the quality and diversity of thought and expression. By the exercise of this affirmative responsibility, they can demonstrate that the answer to a "bad" book is a good one, the answer to a "bad" idea is a good one.
The freedom to read is of little consequence when the reader cannot obtain matter fit for that reader's purpose. What is needed is not only the absence of restraint, but the positive provision of opportunity for the people to read the best that has been thought and said. Books are the major channel by which the intellectual inheritance is handed down, and the principal means of its testing and growth. The defense of the freedom to read requires of all publishers and librarians the utmost of their faculties, and deserves of all Americans the fullest of their support.
We state these propositions neither lightly nor as easy generalizations. We here stake out a lofty claim for the value of the written word. We do so because we believe that it is possessed of enormous variety and usefulness, worthy of cherishing and keeping free. We realize that the application of these propositions may mean the dissemination of ideas and manners of expression that are repugnant to many persons. We do not state these propositions in the comfortable belief that what people read is unimportant. We believe rather that what people read is deeply important; that ideas can be dangerous; but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society. Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.
This statement was originally issued in May of 1953 by the Westchester Conference of the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers Council, which in 1970 consolidated with the American Educational Publishers Institute to become the Association of American Publishers.
Adopted June 25, 1953, by the ALA Council and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee; amended January 28, 1972; January 16, 1991; July 12, 2000; June 30, 2004.
Elisha D. Smith Public Library
Request for Reconsideration
The Elisha D. Smith Public Library Board of Trustees has established procedures for the citizens of its service area to address concerns about library materials. Completing this form is the first step in those procedures. Return this completed form to Library Director, Elisha D. Smith Public Library, 440 First St, Menasha, WI 54952.
Address:______________________________________ City and Zip: ________________________________
Phone: _______________________________ Email: _____________________________________________
Do you represent yourself? An organization? If so, which organization?
Type of material you would like reconsidered (book, DVD, audio): ___________________________________
Title of material: __________________________________________________________________________
Author of material: _________________________________________________________________________
What brought this material to your attention?
Have you examined it in its entirety?_____ Are there specific pages, tracks, disc numbers that you find objectionable? ____ If so, please list them here:___________________________________________________
Why do you find this objectionable? (Use reverse side as needed.)
Is this work more appropriate for a particular age group?____________________________________________
Is there anything good about this work?_________________________________________________________
Do you think this work should:
be moved to another collection in the library
be removed from the library
If you want this work removed, is there another work you would recommend that would convey as valuable a picture and perspective of the subject treated?
Other comments: (Use reverse side as needed.)
The Library Director will review your request, gather information, and respond to you. You may meet with the Library Director to review the material in question. The Library Director shall decide whether the material will be kept in the library’s collection or removed. The Library Director’s decision may be appealed to the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees has the final decision. If a Request for Reconsideration of Material is appealed to the Board of Trustees, it becomes part of the public record, including the name of the individual making the request. Statutory confidentiality of library records is waived only in relation to the material described in this objection.
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