Material Selection & Collection Development

Material Selection Policy

The purpose of the Wamego Public Library materials selection policy is to inform the public about the principles upon which selections are made. Materials are selected for the library’s collection to meet the cultural, informational, educational, and recreational needs of the residents of the community.

The library must have a selection policy due to the volume of published materials as well as limitation on the library’s budget and space.

The Library Bill of Rights (Appendix B), The Freedom to Read Statement (Appendix C), and the Freedom to View Statement (Appendix D), which have been adopted by the American Library Association and have been endorsed by the Wamego Public Library Board of Trustees, are integral parts of the policy as it concerns materials selection and library collections.

Responsibility for selection of library materials rests with the library director who operates within the framework of the policies determined by the Wamego Public Library Board of Trustees. This responsibility may be shared with other members of the library staff; 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

Selectors attempt to choose materials that will build a balanced collection which includes a range of viewpoints and opinions. Whether purchased or donated, the main elements considered in the selection of materials are:

  • The individual merit of each item (which may include literary merit, lasting value, accuracy, authoritativeness, timeliness), as determined by reviews, reputation of author (or publisher, in certain areas), and/or hands-on examination. Nonbook formats may also be evaluated for technical or production quality and ease of use, where appropriate.
  • Popular appeal, as determined by patron demand, reputation of author, circulation history of similar materials, or promotion/discussion of the title in public media
  • Appropriateness of material for the library’s clientele. This refers not to the subject matter but to the scope and depth of the treatment of a topic. For example there is a tremendous amount of health information available, but a public library is likely to seek out materials meant for patients and consumers, rather than for medical researchers or health practitioners.
  • Availability of materials through other libraries in the area
  • Budgetary and space limitations

Reviews are a major source of information about new materials. The primary sources of reviews used by this library are Library Journal, School Library Journal, New York Times Book Review, and BookPage. Publisher’s catalogs and promotional materials, patron suggestions, professional publications of recommended titles, and specialized book blogs are also used as selection tools.

InterLibrary Loan

Because of limited budget and space, the library cannot provide all materials that are requested. Therefore, interlibrary loan is used to obtain from other libraries those materials that are beyond the scope of this library’s collection.

Correspondingly, the Wamego Public Library agrees to lend its materials to other libraries through the same interlibrary loan network.

Gifts & Donations

The Wamego Public Library encourages and appreciates gifts and donations of money and materials. The library accepts these gifts with the understanding that they will be added to the collection only if appropriate and needed. If they are not needed because of duplication, condition, or dated information the director can sell or dispose of them as he/she sees fit.
By law, the library is not allowed to appraise the value of donated materials, though it can provide an acknowledgment of receipt of the items if requested by the donor. Donated materials are subject to the same withdrawal criteria of all other library materials, even if they have bookplates in them.


An up-to-date, attractive and useful collection is maintained through a continual withdrawal and replacement process. Replacement of materials is dependent upon current demand, usefulness, more recent acquisitions, and availability of newer editions. This ongoing process of “weeding” is the responsibility of the Adult Services Librarian, overseen by the Library Director, and authorized by the Board of Trustees. Withdrawn materials will be handled in a similar manner and under the same authority as donated materials.

Challenged Materials

The Wamego Public Library recognizes that some materials are controversial and that any given item may offend some patrons. Selection of materials will not be made on the basis of anticipated approval or disapproval, but solely on the basis of the principles stated in this policy.

The responsibility for what a child reads or views rests with the individual’s parents or legal guardians. Selection of library materials will not be inhibited by the possibility that materials may come into the possession of children.

Library materials will not be marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of their contents, and no library material will be sequestered except to protect it from damage or theft.

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