Collection Development Policy
The purpose of this policy on collection development for Webster Parish Library is to guide in the selection, retention, and removal of materials and to inform the public about the principles upon which selections are made, based on the Webster Parish Library’s Mission Statement:
Webster Parish Library promotes an atmosphere of community, creativity, and learning, and it provides evolving resources, services, and technology to all.
Webster Parish Library strives to ensure a free and equal opportunity to all residents of Webster Parish, both children and adults, and to secure reliable materials and information that allow them to enhance their cultural, educational, vocational, and recreational lives.
Webster Parish is located between several cities with major universities: LSU-S, Southern University - Shreveport, Grambling, and LA Tech. These cities provide a wealth of access to academic resources within 40 miles of either side of the parish. Through observation and community feedback, Webster Parish Library has determined our primary role is popular materials and our secondary role is early childhood literacy with some formal education support for elementary to high school students.
The library system strives to support the principles of the Freedom to Read Statement and the Library Bill of Rights (see appendices) and provides, within financial and spatial limitations, a responsive and stimulating collection of materials to assist in the personal and social development of citizens irrespective of age, race, religion, national background, or economic, social, or professional status.
For items the Library opts not to acquire, the Library will attempt to obtain through Interlibrary Loan.
Choice of materials will result from a variety of professional activities on the part of the library staff. Reviews of new books from both professional journals and popular reviewing media form an important tool in the selection process. Recommendations from the staff and the public are also welcome and evaluated within the framework of the acquisition.
The Library Director will endeavor to budget approximately 10% of the previous year’s operational expenses for library materials in varying formats based upon demand. The acquisitions staff has the final responsibility for the selection of all materials to be incorporated into the library’s collection, regardless of the mode of acquisition. Every endeavor will be made to provide materials that are of both current interest and permanent value, that are up-to-date, that are responsive to the interests and needs of every segment of the community, and that do not discriminate against any political, religious, economic, or social view or group through deliberate exclusion of their views. The library staff shall try to provide for a diversity of materials without exercising either direct or implied censorship.
All acquisitions, whether purchased or donated, are considered in terms of the standards listed below. However, an item need not meet all of the criteria in order to be acceptable. Materials are evaluated on the significance of the entire work rather than individual parts. When judging the quality of materials, several standards and combinations of standards may be used. The following principles will guide selection:
Contemporary significance or permanent value
Accuracy of content
Reputation and/or authority of the author, editor, or illustrator
Relation to existing collection and to other materials on the subject
Price, availability, and demand
Format and ease of use
Scarcity of information in the subject area
Availability of material in the collection in other area libraries
Attention of critics, reviewers, media, and the public
The Library develops collections aimed at the special needs and interests of children (preschool through age 12) and teens (ages 13 - 17). The Library does not act “in loco parentis” (in the place of the parent). The reading and viewing activities of youth under 18 are the responsibility of parents or guardians. Materials selected primarily for children and adolescents are marked accordingly and located in designated areas of the Library.
The Library believes that individuals should have access to more than one viewpoint and that the individual’s personal taste will dictate what they choose to read. It follows that free access to different points of view must be offered. The Library recognizes that many materials are controversial and that any given item may offend some people. Works that present a picture of some problem or aspect of life will at times be controversial, but they will not be excluded because of visual format, language, or frankness.
The Library collects, organizes, and makes available extensive information about the history, residents, and happenings of Webster Parish. The Library takes a broad view of works by local authors and works related to Webster Parish and Louisiana, whether or not such materials meet the standards of selection in other respects.
The Library is not under an obligation, however, to add anything to the collection about Webster Parish or Louisiana or produced by authors, printers, or publishers with Webster Parish or Louisiana connections if it does not seem to be in the public interest to do so.
To maintain the effectiveness of the total collection, the library will attempt to systematically remove materials no longer useful based on the level of demand, physical condition of the item, other titles available on the same subject, currency of information, and availability of space.
Materials cannot be withdrawn until one year after purchase unless lost or damaged. Duplicate copies and other items that are no longer circulating may be reassigned to another branch.
The library does not automatically replace all materials withdrawn because of loss, damage or wear. Need for replacement is weighed with regard to several factors: the level of demand, physical condition of the item, other titles available on the same subject, currency of information, and availability of space.
GIFTS AND DONATIONS
For information on gifts and donations, see the Gifts and Donations Policy and/or the Memorial Donation Policy.
Patrons requesting that material in the collection be reconsidered may complete a ‘Request for Reconsideration of Material Form’. For further information regarding patron reconsideration requests, please see the ‘Request for Reconsideration of Material Policy’.
Freedom to Read Statement
We believe that free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture. We believe that these pressures toward conformity present the danger of limiting the range and variety of inquiry and expression on which our democracy and our culture depend. We believe that every American community must jealously guard the freedom to publish and to circulate, in order to preserve its own freedom to read. We believe that publishers and librarians have a profound responsibility to give validity to that freedom to read by making it possible for the readers to choose freely from a variety of offerings.
The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution. Those with faith in free people will stand firm on these constitutional guarantees of essential rights and will exercise the responsibilities that accompany these rights.
We therefore affirm these propositions:
Publishers, librarians, and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea or presentation they make available. It would conflict with the public interest for them to establish their own political, moral, or aesthetic views as a standard for determining what should be published or circulated.
It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to bar access to writings on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.
There is no place in our society for efforts to coerce the taste of others, to confine adults to the reading matter deemed suitable for adolescents, or to inhibit the efforts of writers to achieve artistic expression.
It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept the prejudgment of a label characterizing any expression or its author as subversive or dangerous.
It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians, as guardians of the people’s freedom to read, to contest encroachments upon the freedom by individuals or groups seeking to impose their own standards or tastes upon the community at large; and by the government whenever it seeks to reduce or deny public access to information.
It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians to give full meaning to the freedom to read by providing books that enrich the quality and diversity of thought and expression. By the exercise of this affirmative responsibility, they can demonstrate that the answer to a “bad” book is a good one, the answer to a “bad” idea is a good one.
Library Bill of Rights
The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.
Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.
All people, regardless of origin, age, background, or views, possess a right to privacy and confidentiality in their library use. Libraries should advocate for, educate about, and protect people’s privacy, safeguarding all library use data, including personally identifiable information.
Board Approved November 3, 2023