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Jamestown Philomenian Library
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Materials Selection Policy

General Library Objectives

            The Jamestown Philomenian Library provides free service to all individuals and groups in the community. Materials are selected for their intrinsic worth, their timeliness and their potential usefulness in the community. Print and non-print materials are carefully chosen to aid the individual, of any age, in the pursuit of education, information, research, and creative use of leisure time.

Responsibility for Selection

            Ultimate responsibility for materials rests with the Professional Staff, who operate within the framework of policies established by the Board of Trustees. The Head Librarian selects materials for all age groups - children, young adults and adults.

Types of Material

            Books are, and will continue to be, the basic materials for the public library. In this rapidly changing world, great amounts of information are being contained in other forms. The library is acquiring appropriate materials, regardless of form, and integrating each into its total holdings.

General Selection Policies

            Materials are acquired when judged suitable, meaningful and relevant to the community. Each type of material must be considered in terms of its own merit and the audience for whom it is intended. No single standard can be applied in all cases when making an acquisition decision. While some materials may be evaluated in terms of artistic merit, scholarship or their value as human documents, others are selected to meet the recreational and entertainment needs of the community.

            To build a quality collection, objective guidelines are considered. All acquisitions, whether purchased or donated, are evaluated in terms of the following standards:

1.   Present and potential relevance to community needs.

2.   Insight into human and social conditioning.

3.   Importance as a document of the times.

4.   Relations to existing collection and other material on subject.

5.   Reputation and/or significance of author or creator.

6.   Skill, competence and purpose of author or creator.

7.   Attention of critics, reviewers and the public.


            Gifts of books and other materials are accepted by the Library with the explicit understanding that they are not necessarily to be added to the collection. They may be added as duplicates, as replacement or as new titles. Processing costs and shelf space are considered in addition to other basic criteria before adding gift materials to the library collection.


            A certain amount of duplication is normal. Demand and permanency are considered when purchasing additional copies of a title.


            Materials are not automatically replaced when withdrawn from the collection due to loss, damage or wear. The following criteria are weighed before making a suitable replacement: number of duplicate copies, adequate coverage of a field, similar material available in more current titles, and demand for a particular title.

Young Adult Selection

            Certain fiction titles are selected specifically for young adults and are shelved in an area so labeled. An attempt is made to keep their shelves current and inviting to encourage teenagers to read.

Children’s Selection

            The Library’s goal in children’s materials selection is to make available a collection that satisfies the informational, recreational and cultural needs of children. The same general criteria apply to their collection development.

            Materials directly related to the school curriculum, such as textbooks, will not be purchased. Supplementary materials will be considered for inclusion in the collection if they meet the standard selection criteria.

Intellectual Freedom

            Intellectual Freedom is the term used to express the philosophy, concepts and policies outlined in the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement (copies attached). In particular, it refers to freedom to believe, freedom to express opinions and beliefs and freedom of access to all kinds of recorded knowledge and ideas. By adopting these policies, libraries affirm their commitment to intellectual freedom - a commitment that is central to the role of libraries in a free society.

            The concept of intellectual freedom is sometimes challenged by those who may see or read library materials with which they do not agree. It is anticipated that not all persons in the community will agree with everything they find in the library. It is, therefore, appropriate that the attached “Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials” be made available to individuals upon request.

Policy established 1984