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Collection Development Policy and Requests for Reconsideration of Library Materials

Collection Development and Reconsideration Policy

Mission and Goals

The mission of Barton County Library is to make its resources available and useful to the people of Barton County. The Library will provide the community with quality staff, resources, programs and service. The Library recognizes these four main fields of responsibility are: 


  1. To select and organize a collection of significant books and other resources to meet the expressed and anticipated informational needs of its patrons


  1. To provide an adequate distribution of these resources


  1. To give competent guidance and assistance in the use of these materials


  1. To provide a vital link with all other libraries in the area, state and nation


 Criteria for Book Selection           

  1. The Director may delegate responsibility for selection to other staff members qualified for the duty by education, training, interest and/or job classification. Selectors judge impartially and evaluate critically. The final authority for the determination of policy to guide the selection and acquisition of library materials rests with the Barton County Library Board of Trustees.


  1. Materials are selected according to the needs and demands of the community. Factors considered include, but are not limited to: collection philosophy, collection composi2tion, popular demand (existing and anticipated), public interest, enduring value, community relevance and diversity of viewpoint.


  1. Selection is made by use of authoritative review, knowledge of the reputation and the vitality of the creator and selection aids such as but not limited to: bibliographical publication, publisher’s advertising and requests of library patrons. No one publication or source is relied upon exclusively, and materials are judged on the basis of the work as a whole, not on a part taken out of context.


  1. Librarians will strive to find a review of items before considering them for purchase. Materials that receive poor review or no reviews may be purchased if there is local demand.


  1. The Library will provide a wide selection of print, non-print, and electronic resources in order to serve a broad spectrum of users. Innovative formats will be acquired and made accessible as they are judged relevant to the collection and the community and as funds and physical space allow.


  1. The Library will collect non-fiction primarily in subject areas of general interest to library patrons, including opposing viewpoints. Less emphasis will be placed upon, but will not exclude, other areas of non-fiction.


  1. Attempts will be made to purchase best-selling fiction materials during the extent of their popularity.


  1. Older titles may be purchased to fill gaps in series or to fill gaps in the collection as budgetary funds are available.


  1. Patrons will be encouraged to utilize items offered through the Missouri Evergreen Consortium to access needed materials when this library does not have a particular title.


  1. The number of copies of any title shall be dependent upon patron demand.


  1. Items in the Library’s collection are shelved in recommended age-appropriate sections. The “Easy”(E) and “Primary” (P) collections are intended for patrons ages 0-8 (birth to 2nd grade), the “Junior” (J) section is intended for patrons ages 8-12 (3rd to 8th grade), the “Young Adult” (YA) collection is intended for patrons ages 13-17 (9th grade to 12th grade), and the “Adult” collection is intended for patrons ages 18+. There may be some variation in the age appropriateness of each collection. In general, decisions to place particular items in the collections are done by the standard of the average person, applying contemporary standards nationwide or the publisher’s suggested age range if available. This statement is required by 15CSR 30-200.015 Library Certification Requirement for the Protection of Minors, subsection (a).

          Patrons are not limited by these recommended age-appropriate sections. All patrons are welcome to checkout any materials in our collections. However, the responsibility for materials used by minor children rests solely with their parents or guardians. The Library does not stand in place of the parents or guardians (in loco parentis) when it comes to access to library collections. It is not the responsibility of the Library, its Board of Trustees, staff, or volunteers to determine which collection minor children should use or what item(s) in the approved collections is suitable for an individual. 

  1. It is not the responsibility of the Library to provide curriculum-supportive materials for students, including home schooled students.


  1. The Library will not purchase textbooks but may purchase study guides.


  1. Materials that will not be acquired or added to the collection include literature in languages not justified by community needs, religious materials designed for proselytizing or purely propagandistic literature.


  1. Addition of an item to the Library’s collection in no way represents the Library’s endorsement of any theory, idea or policy contained in the material.

Requests for Reconsideration

Barton County Library serves people from many walks of life, with a variety of viewpoints and tastes.  Materials are purchased to meet these diverse needs, believing that the right to read and the right of free access to library collections for people is essential to the individual’s freedom of thought.  It is the obligation of the public library to reflect within its collection differing points of view and a variety of types of writing.  The Library does not endorse particular beliefs or views, nor does the selection of an item express or imply endorsements of the viewpoint of the author. 


Consequently, it is inevitable that some patrons will find certain materials in the Library’s collection objectionable.  But, the Library belongs to the entire county and has a responsibility to serve it in all its diversity.  That responsibility includes providing materials that may be offensive to certain patrons.


The Library will attempt to present various points of view for controversial issues, but in no circumstance should it take a public stand.  The Library’s function is not to dictate, but rather to educate and provide materials from which patrons can make intelligent choices and decisions.


As a responsibility of our library service, books and other materials are chosen to cover a wide variety of subjects for the information, education, and enjoyment of the people of our community.  No materials are to be excluded due to the race, nationality, political or religious views of the writer.  No reading matter shall be removed from the library shelves because of doctrinal or social content.


Patron suggestions and recommendations will be considered and utilized by the Library in the ongoing process of collection development. Additionally, Barton County Library cardholders are free to express opinions or concerns about library programs, events or displays. Staff are available to discuss any concerns patrons may have with library materials, programs, events or displays. If a patron’s concern is not satisfied through this process, the patron can complete and sign a Request for Reconsideration Form (See Appendix 1), which is available at the circulation desk.


For a request to be considered, the following are required:  the patron making the request must have read/viewed/heard the entire item, program, event, or display, the patron submitting the request must be a resident of Baton County and hold a valid borrower’s card, the patron must complete the form in full and the patron making the request must submit their name, library card number, address, phone number and e-mail address. Anonymous communications will not be honored. An item, program, event or display will be evaluated for reconsideration only once in a 12-month period.


Once a completed Request for Reconsideration Form is returned to the Library, the board is notified and a formal process begins. During this process, the materials in question will remain in the Library’s collection. 

The Barton County Library is not a judicial body.  Laws governing obscenity, subversive materials, and other questionable matters are subject to interpretation by the courts. Therefore, no challenged material will be removed solely based on a complaint of obscenity or any other category covered by law until a local court of competent jurisdiction has ruled against the material. No material will be knowingly added to the library collection that has been previously determined to be in noncompliance with local laws.

The Library Staff and Library Director will consider each request in terms of the criteria outlined in the library’s materials selection policy, program policy, and the principles of the ALA Library Bill of Rights and related statements, printed reviews, and other appropriate sources. Once a decision is made, the Board will forward a written response to the complainant.

All challenges and the Library Boards decision concerning that challenge will be part of the Library’s public record and posted on the Library’s website. The name of the challenger will not be listed.



Barton County Library accepts gifts and donations with the understanding that gift items will be added to the collection only if they meet the same criteria for selection used for purchased materials.  By accepting gifts, Barton County Library assumes no special obligation to the donors or that the gift will be retained in perpetuity.  Gifts that do not meet the Library’s selection criteria are disposed of in whatever way the Library sees fit.  The Library discourages conditional gifts, but the Board of Trustees may approve special arrangements.  Upon request, the Library will provide the donor with an acknowledgement letter to serve as a tax receipt (See Appendix 1).  The Library is not permitted to place a value on donations.



Materials which no longer meet the stated objectives of the Library, will be withdrawn from the collection.  An item is considered for discard when it is:

  • obsolete or outdated
  • damaged or deteriorated
  • no longer circulating
  • one of many copies of a formerly poplar title.


The Library will follow the standards set forth in the latest edition of The CREW Method:  Expanded Guidelines for Collection Evaluation and Weeding for Small and Medium-Sized Libraries as closely as possible.  Materials that are weeded from the collection will be disposed of in the most appropriate manner, which may include sale to the public, donation to another library or organization, exchange with another library or recycled.  Disposition of library materials weeded will be at the discretion of the Director.