Collection Management Policy

The St. Lucie County Library System seeks to provide the community with information that satisfies educational, entertainment and recreational pursuits through the purchase and organization of books, periodicals, newspapers, audio and video recordings, e- books, databases and other forms of electronic media.Our stated mission, approved by the Library Advisory Board and the Board of County Commissioners "is to advance knowledge, inspire lifelong learning and to strengthen our community." In support of those goals the Library emphasizes the importance of those materials which have contemporary significance and/or permanent value. Materials are chosen, within budgetary limits, to inform, inspire, and to entertain, to help residents develop new interests, to educate and to satisfy free inquiry. The purpose of the St. Lucie County Library’s collection management policy is to provide a general guide for the selection and maintenance of material collections offered by the library and to emphasize the Library’s commitment to intellectual freedom and unrestricted access to information.The policy offers guidance to Library staff and informs the public about general selection principles.

The authority and responsibility for the selection of library materials rests ultimately with the Library Director.  By the Director’s delegation, selected library staff who are qualified by reason of education, training, experience and knowledge of community interests has responsibility for the selection of materials. All staff members and the general public are encouraged to recommend materials for consideration.

Material selection for a public library is a complex process requiring a familiarity with community needs; sound judgment and consultation of review journals and other professional tools; an appreciation for cultural diversity, literary merit, historical accuracy and objectivity; as well as a practical understanding of the economic and spatial constraints on the collection. In support of this process and as a basis for building a collection of enduring merit, all acquisitions, whether purchased or donated, are subject to the guidelines listed below. An item need not meet all of the criteria for acceptance. Some materials may be judged primarily on artistic merit, while others are considered because of scholarship, historic value or ability to satisfy the needs of the community.

General Criteria

a)    Relevance, present and potential, to community needs: the Library makes a conscious effort to obtain materials pertaining to local matters - civic, cultural, artistic, educational, recreational and historic
b)    Local authorship or production
c)    Current and projected demand
d)    Authority, reputation and significance of the author, publisher and/or producer: no item will be excluded because of the race, religion, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, political or doctrinal beliefs or personal history of an author
e)    Accuracy of scientific or historical fact
f)    Overall quality
g)    Literary merit
h)    Insight into human and social conditions
i)    Current and historical significance
j)    Topicality or the importance of material as a document or recording of the times
k)    Relation to the existing collection and other materials on the subject: an effort is made to include significant works to illuminate the different and important sides of  issues
l)    Attention given by critics, reviewers and the public
m)    Reviews from library professional journals and sources
n)    Suitability of presentation for intended audience
o)    Clarity, readability and ease of use
p)    Price as a reasonable value for anticipated use
q)    Space and maintenance requirements
r)    Availability and suitability of physical format for library purposes
s)    In the case of electronic materials, the nature of licensing, technical support, user interface, system resource demands, remote access capabilities and other factors affecting the Library’s ability to make the material accessible to patrons

The Library recognizes that certain materials are controversial and that any item may offend some library user. Selections are made solely on the merits of the works in relation to the goals of building and enhancing a collection that serves the diverse  interests of the community.

Children’s and Young Adult Materials

The Library provides books and other materials suitable for children that are clearly labeled and separate from the adult collection. Young Adult non-fiction, while clearly marked, is interfiled with adult nonfiction. Young Adult fiction does have a designated section, but because of space limitations is frequently adjacent to adult fiction.  Children's and Young Adult material are selected for their merits and not necessarily excluded because of coarse language or frankness. The Library does not deny or limit access to any item because of its content or style. Selection of materials for the Library's collections shall not be inhibited by the possibility that some material may inadvertently come into the possession of children. Responsibility for the reading, listening and viewing of Library materials by children rests with their parents or legal guardians.

Materials Acquired through Interlibrary Loan

The St. Lucie County Library System, via its membership in an interlibrary loan consortium, benefits from the resources of many other libraries throughout the United States. All reasonable efforts will be made to obtain items requested by patrons not in the collection. The Library does not acquire highly specialized or technical materials which can be obtained through interlibrary loan or accessed electronically from non-library sources.

Collection Maintenance

Continual evaluation of library holdings is an essential part of collection development management. To ensure a vital collection of continued value to the community, materials that are judged by the professional staff to have outlived their usefulness are withdrawn. Decisions for removal are based on diminished circulation, physical condition, usefulness and accuracy. Materials which are outdated because of changes in their fields will be discarded unless there is a local demand for historical perspectives on the subject. The Library will retain at least one copy of significant works and works by major authors. Items such as first editions and out-of-print titles of local interest will also be retained for their unique value.

Factors to be considered in removing materials from the collection include:
a)    Physical condition of the material
b)    Items containing misleading or inaccurate information
c)    Multiple copies of titles no longer in demand
d)    Seldom used material not listed in standard bibliographic sources. (e.g. Fiction Catalog, Public Library Catalog, Children’s Catalog)
e)    Subject matter no longer of current interest and lacking historical or literary significance
f)    Non-fiction items that have been replaced by more recent, revised editions

Library Branch Supervisors will supervise all collection maintenance activities and make final decisions related to removal of items from their collections, or designate staff to make these decisions. Removal of worn or outdated materials will be based upon current professional library standards. Before removing the last copy of a title from the collection, Branch Supervisors will send last copies of titles they think should be retained in the collection to the Library Acquisitions Division for review. Discarded materials become surplus property and may be sold by the Friends of the Library for fund raising purposes or discarded in another manner at the Library’s discretion.

Gifts and Donations

A gift for the library collection may consist of (1) library material donations, (2) monetary donations to purchase materials, equipment or support various library activities, or (3) other material donations.

Material Donations

On behalf of the Friends of the St. Lucie County Library Association, Inc., the Library will accept hardcover and paperback books and audiovisual materials if they are in good condition. Donations will be evaluated and, if appropriate, will be added to the collection or put in the Friends of the Library book sale. Proceeds from the book sales are used to supplement Library programs. While donations of quality items are gratefully accepted, neither the Friends nor Library staff can be responsible for the valuation of a gift. We cannot appraise donated materials or indicate a value on the receipt. If desired, the donor may receive a Donation Receipt noting the number and type of materials donated.

Monetary Donations

The Library welcomes support of its activities through gift funds by individuals and organizations. Contributions made directly to the Friends will enable the Library to purchase materials, equipment, or support special programs.

Patron Reconsideration of Materials

Individuals may formally question the suitability of library materials for the collection by filling out a Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials (available here or in any branch library) and including their complete name, address and signature. The form will be forwarded to the Selection Review Committee, which will examine the material in its entirety and determine whether retaining the material would be a violation of the guidelines established in this Collection Management Policy. Once a decision has been made regarding the retention or removal of the material, a letter from the Library Director explaining the decision, and the reasons for it, will be sent to the person who submitted the Reconsideration form. The decision and the response will be completed in a timely manner.

The decision of the Selection Review Committee may be appealed by writing to the St. Lucie County Library Advisory Board in care of the Director of Libraries. The Board will consider an appeal at their next regularly scheduled Board meeting to which both the individual and representatives from the Selection Review Committee will be invited to share their views and concerns. The decision of the Board will be final.

The Library Board endorses the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement adopted by the American Library Association, copies of which are attached to this Policy.
Approved by the Library Advisory Board on December 5, 2013.
Amended and approved by the Library Advisory Board: January 22, 2018