Materials Selection and Collection Development

The mission of the Lester Public Library of Arpin is to provide all individuals in the community with carefully selected books and other materials to aid the individual in the pursuit of education, information, research, pleasure, and the creative use of leisure time.

Because of the volume of publishing, as well as the limitations of budget and space, the library must have a selection policy with which to meet community interests and needs.

The materials selection/collection development policy is used by the library staff in the selection of materials and also serves to acquaint the general public with the principles of selection. In addition, the library is guided by the philosophy of The Freedom to Read Statement and the Library Bill of Rights.


Scope of the Collection

The collections serve to enhance the cultural, literary, aesthetic and educational pursuits of all library users and are responsive to the needs and reflective of the diversity of the community.

New formats shall be considered for the collection when, by industry report, and evidence from local requests, a significant portion of the community population 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 will also be factors in determining when a new format will be collected. Similar considerations will influence the decision to delete a format from the library's collections.

Responsibility for Selection

Ultimate responsibility for the selection of library materials rests with the Library Director who operates within the framework of policies determined by the Lester Public Library of Arpin Board of Trustees. The Library Director uses appropriate selection tools available and tracks the materials budget to ensure a flow of new materials throughout the year, according to budget allocation. Suggestions from staff members who are not directly involved with selection are encouraged and given serious consideration in the selection process. However, because the Director must be available to answer to the library board and the general public for actual selections made, the Director has the authority to reject or select any item contrary to the recommendations of the staff.

Criteria for Selection

  • fair and unbiased material
  • variety of viewpoints
  • popular appeal/demand
  • existing collection needs
  • needs of the community
  • significant or reputable author or publisher
  • favorable reviews from reputable professional selection sources
  • current ideas and events
  • importance of genre or trend
  • physical limitations of the building
  • price and format

Any one item is not expected or required to meet all or even several of the criteria listed.


Collection maintenance is an ongoing part of the conscientious evaluation of collections and is undertaken with as much care and consistency as the initial selection of materials. Collection maintenance helps to keep the collections current, attractive, responsive, diverse and useful to the needs of the community. This ongoing process of weeding is the responsibility of the Library Director and is authorized by the Library Director.

Materials may be withdrawn from the library collection after careful consideration of these factors:

  • badly worn or soiled condition
  • timeliness and reliability of information
  • lack of use-when there are duplicates, a single copy may be all that is needed
  • superseded by a new edition or better work on the same subject

Materials withdrawn from the collection may be donated, sold or disposed of by other means. Individual items that are being withdrawn may not be saved for specific individuals. All library identifying marks will be destroyed.

Gifts and Donations

Donations of materials are gratefully accepted with the understanding that the library may add them to the collection if they meet established standards for purchased materials, with emphasis on currency, physical condition, and need. All gifts added to the collection must be donated with no restrictions and must be available for public use. Materials not added to the collection will be donated, sold, or disposed of by other means. The library cannot place a monetary value on gifts for tax purposes, but receipts are provided upon request.


The choice of library materials by library users is an individual matter. While an individual may reject materials for himself/herself, he/she cannot exercise censorship to restrict access to the materials by others. Recognizing that a diversity of materials may result in some requests for reconsideration, the following procedures have been developed to ensure that objections or complaints are handled in an attentive and consistent manner.

Any individual expressing an objection to or concern about library material will receive respectful attention from the staff member first approached. This staff member will use his or her own best judgment in attempting to answer the concerns or clarify the situation. The staff member will then give a copy of the Materials Selection/Collection Development policy to the individual. If the individual is still not satisfied with the explanation received, the staff member will offer the option of speaking with the Director.

As a last resort, a reconsideration may be asked for in the following manner:

  1. A "Request for Reconsideration" form must be completed and returned to a staff member at the circulation desk. The form will be given to the Library Director.
  2. The inquiry will be placed on the agenda of the next regular meeting of the Lester Public Library of Arpin Board of Trustees. The Board and the Director will reconsider the item based on any reviews that have been located, the reason(s) the form was filled out and the "Criteria for Selection" in the Materials Selection/Collection Development policy. The Board and the Director will read/listen to/view the item to be reconsidered in its entirety. Comments and the decision regarding the disposition of the material will be written on the original "Request for Reconsideration" form.
  3. A copy of the original "Request for Reconsideration" form with the Board's comments and decision will be mailed to the individual who initiated the request. The Board's decision is final.

Any one item may only be challenged (via "Request for Reconsideration" form) one time. No questioned materials will be removed from the library pending a final decision from the board.

Reviewed and Updated: June 2022