Philosophical Foundations of Collection Development
The Newport Public Library (“Library”) makes available a wide diversity of ideas and viewpoints in support of an informed citizenry and a democratic society. The Library supports the individual choice and judgment of its users in seeking information, and upholds the freedom of Library users to read, view and listen to materials of their choosing.
The Library Board of Trustees has adopted and declares that it will adhere to and support the following American Library Association statements and policies:
- The Library Bill of Rights
- The Statement on Labels and Rating Systems
- Freedom to Read
- Freedom to View
- Access to Electronic Information, Services and Networks
- Diversity in Collection Development
The Board of the Newport Public Library further affirms that while anyone is free to reject for themselves books or other Library materials of which they do not approve, they cannot exercise this right of censorship to restrict the freedom to read of others.
History shows that many books that have been most controversial or objectionable to some persons or groups, have, in due course, been recognized to be among those books that belong in public libraries. If an idea is truly dangerous or evil, the best protection against it is a public that has been exposed to it and has rejected it; the worst protection is a public that has been shielded from exposure to it by official or self-appointed guardians.
Selection Criteria and Responsibility for Selection
Ultimate responsibility for materials selection rests with the Library Director who operates within the framework of policies determined by the Board of Trustees. Under his or her direction, selection is delegated to staff who are qualified by reason of education and training. Library materials so selected shall be held to have been selected by the Board.
Librarians use their subject knowledge and expertise in combination with the criteria listed below to select and evaluate items for the collection. An item need not meet all of these criteria in order to be added to the collection.
- Popular interest
- Contemporary significance or permanent value
- Currency of information
- Local emphasis
- Readability or ability to sustain interest
- Treatment of subject appropriate to a particular age group or intended audience
- Reputation of author, publisher, producer, artist or illustrator
- Creative, literary, or technical quality
- Critical assessments in a variety of journals or mention in a recommended list
- Scarcity of materials on a subject
- Format and ease of use
- Circulation statistics
- Cost and availability
- Relationship to existing materials in the collection
- Relationship to materials in other area libraries.
The Library makes purchases in all formats from established vendors with whom it is either contractually bound or who, by custom and practice, represent established publishing companies. Such publishing houses confer authority on published material by ensuring proper cataloging with the Library of Congress, the registration of ISBNs, and by thorough and professional copy editing.
Textbooks published for all age groups are not considered vital resources for a popular materials library. Because of their cost, the pace at which such materials become outdated, and the narrow focus of the subjects therein, requests for textbooks can only be fulfilled by the established norm of requesting materials. Similarly, the Newport Public Library cannot archive or put into circulation textbook donations for the perceived benefit to patrons. All donations can be made through the Friends of the Newport Library.
The Library may consider submissions by authors whose work(s) are published outside traditional avenues. It is helpful if a submission is available as an advanced reader copy (ARC). If an item has already been published, the item must be available through one of the Library’s established vendors. The author(s) may send a copy to the Library for consideration. If the item merits inclusion in the collection based on the General Criteria (above), the Library will purchase the item from one of its vendors. At no time will the Library send, transfer, or otherwise dispense funds to an individual or individuals for published material. All items that are sent to the Library—either as ARCs, published materials, or unsolicited items sent for consideration—become the property of the Library, the disposition of which is in the sole discretion of the Library.
Suggestions for Purchase:
The Newport Public Library strongly encourages input from the community concerning the collection. It is the Library’s intent that suggestions for purchase be used to help the Library in developing a collection which serves the interests and needs of the community. All suggestions for purchase are subject to the same selection criteria as other materials, and are not automatically added to the collection.
The Newport Public Library is grateful for gifts of used or new books and other materials in good condition. However, the Library reserves the right to accept or turn down gifts, and to decide which gifts should be added to the Library collection and which will be sold in the Friends of the Newport Library’s book store. The same standards of selection which are applied to Library purchases will be applied to gifts.
While the Library does not have the budgetary resources to buy multiple copies of every title it owns, it does buy multiple copies of titles that have high patron demand. Titles with reserves or titles with broad popular appeal are generally ordered in duplicate. In some subject areas where patron demand is extremely high, the Library prefers to buy one copy of several different titles instead of buying numerous copies of one title. More variety and depth in the collection can be achieved through this approach.
Systematic evaluation and weeding of the collection is required in order to keep the collection responsive to patrons’ needs, to insure its vitality and usefulness to the community, and to make room for newer materials. Titles are withdrawn from the Library’s collection for the following reasons:
- Damaged, worn or poorly bound materials
- Extra copies which are no longer in demand
- Little used materials
- Out-of-date materials, or materials for which a newer edition is available
- Materials that have been lost
- Subjects, titles or authors that are no longer of interest to the community
- Materials which are no longer appropriate for the collection
- Materials which are now available in electronic format.
- Withdrawn materials which are in good condition will be offered to the Friend’s Bookstore for sale.
- Materials withdrawn from the collection which retain informational value may be offered to local schools or other libraries.
Controversial Material and Intellectual Freedom
The Newport Public Library does not promote particular beliefs or views. The Library provides materials across a broad range of views which may address subjects that are complex or controversial, including unpopular or unorthodox perspectives. Materials that are deemed objectionable by some members of the community are not removed from the Library’s collection without a thorough review.
Parents and legal guardians are the parties responsible for the reading, viewing, and listening habits of their children. The Library does not act in loco parentis. The materials selected for the adult collection is not restricted by the possibility that children may read, view, or listen to items that parents or guardians consider inappropriate.
Concerns about Library materials may be directed to a librarian. If the patron remains concerned after discussing the issue with a librarian, the patron may fill out and submit to the Library Director a Request for Reconsideration Form (Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF). The patron’s objection(s) will be acknowledged by the Library Director as quickly as possible. The patron will be kept informed of the Director’s decision.
In the interest of protecting the individual’s right of access to materials, the Library supports the following: