Materials Selection Policy
The Clearwater Public Library System Materials Selection policy provides a basis for selection of materials by librarians; informs the public about the principles and criteria upon which these selection decisions are made; and promotes the purposes of the library mission statement:
To meet the informational, educational, recreational and cultural reading, listening and viewing needs and expectations of all citizens and population groups in the community, using a wide array of library formats and materials and a trained and dedicated staff.
The final responsibility for the selection of materials is held by the Library Director, but day-to-day responsibility is centralized with the Collection Development Manager who coordinates the activities of all assigned selectors. Professional and paraprofessionals in the System are encouraged to provide recommendations as is the general public.
The Clearwater Public Library System plays a vital role at the heart of the community by promoting full and equal access to
information, encouraging the love of reading, enabling life-long learning and empowering creativity. It will provide
a responsive connection between the community’s needs, the collections, information technology and diverse
programming. It will strive for a standard of excellence by:
- Providing convenient access to all members of the public through easy to reach,
welcoming and attractive neighborhood branch locations open during the hours of highest public demand.
- Providing an outstanding collection of materials in a variety of formats that is responsive to the
needs of the residents.
- Providing access through public computers to the vast network of information and communication essential
to every citizen today.
- Providing a variety of programs and displays that enrich the lives of people of all
ages and diverse backgrounds.
- Supporting intellectual freedom and access to informational resources for all, while
valuing diversity, maintaining the privacy of its patrons and providing a
safe and secure environment.
- Continuously improving service, utilizing effective management, forging community
partnerships and providing a high quality, professional staff.
Principles and Criteria
- Librarians will use professionally accepted reviewing media to help in the selection of resources in an appropriate format based on customer needs and interests as measured by requests and use studies.
- Potential acquisitions are judged using the following criteria:
1. Current interest or permanent value
2. Relevance of subject, format, and reading level for the intended audience
3. Authority/competence of the author and accuracy of content
4. Relation to already available Library resources
5. Merit in comparison to other resources in the field
6. Quality of content, format, binding
8. Availability elsewhere in the community
9. Positive reviews by critics, staff members or professional journals and/or winner of recognized award(s)
10. Coverage in local or popular media
- The following types of materials will not be routinely purchased:
1. Textbooks, unless they are the only or best available treatment of a subject.
2. Religious works of a devotional nature related to specific denominations.
3. Legal, medical, academic, and other highly technical works which can be found at other institutions.
4. Rare books, except for works pertaining to the Clearwater area, or the State of Florida.
5. Audio or video cassettes, slides, filmstrips, vinyl recordings, and 16 mm films or material
in other formats that have
been superseded in popular use.
6. Multiple copies of specific materials for special school assignments.
7. Government documents are selected under the free depository program.
The Clearwater Public Library welcomes the donation of books, magazines, and audiovisual material.
Material that is not needed by the library will be turned over to the Friends of the Clearwater Library for sale,
with the proceeds going to support library activities. The library will evaluate art work valued at
less than $5,000, furniture, audiovisual equipment, computer equipment, and other related items from individuals,
corporations, and other sources for appropriateness and the needs of the library. Such gifts are accepted
only with the understanding that they may be retained, relocated, or discarded at the discretion of the Library
Director or designated staff. Such gifts cannot be given special housing, but will be integrated in the general library
collection. Internal functional areas, rooms, collections of materials, equipment or furnishings, which are accepted
as gifts by the Library Director, and/or funded by individuals, corporations, or foundations, may be recognized by a
discreet engraved plaque mounted on or near the gift as appropriate, with the name of the donor displayed.
Naming of library internal functional areas, rooms, and major collections is the prerogative of the City Council.
Artwork valued at more than $5,000 will be reviewed by the City's Public Art Review Committee.
Although the Library does not provide appraisals for tax purposes, a quitclaim deed may be issued when
the donated items are delivered. The Library Director will also acknowledge gifts by letter upon request.
We encourage all memorial gifts be donated through the Clearwater Library Foundation. The Foundation will
coordinate with the Collection Development Manager. Both the donor and a designated relative of the deceased
will be notified by letter.
Weeding, Rebinding, and Discarding Materials
Materials which are out of date, in unsatisfactory conditions, or unused may be removed from the shelves.
Designated staff will decide to repair, rebind, replace, or discard each unit based upon its past and anticipated
usefulness to patrons. Disposal of discarded items will be consistent with City of Clearwater Purchasing
Department rules and regulations and with pertinent City Charter provisions and ordinances.
Intellectual Freedom and Censorship
1. The Library preserves the right of citizens to obtain information on all sides of potentially controversial
so that each individual can decide for himself the value of opposing ideas. In representing various
sides of a question,
the public library thus provides the citizen reliable sources of information on which to base
intelligent decisions in his/her daily life.
2. The Library has a responsibility to protect the rights of all patrons: works which may be considered frank
or offensive to some
are included if review material and/or staff opinion suggests that it makes a
significant contribution either to the literary or
informational complexion of the collection or to contemporary thought and style.
3. Only parents and legal guardians have the right and responsibility to restrict the access of their
children to library resources.
Selection of materials is not inhibited by the possibility that particular
works may inadvertently come into the possession of
children and young adults.
4. Labels will be provided only as viewpoint-neutral directional aids to facilitate access by making it
easier for users to locate
materials. The materials are housed on open shelves and are equally accessible to
all users, who may choose to consult or
ignore the directional aids at their own discretion.
5. The Library
Bill of Rights,
Freedom to Read
and Freedom to
View statements are basic to the above policy.
- Procedure for the Questioning of Material Selection by Patrons
In the event a patron questions the inclusion of any item in the Library collection, the following procedure should be used:
1. Patron is referred to a professional staff member.
a. This staff member makes every attempt to satisfy the patron's concern by
clarifying the established selection
policies on an informal, positive, one-to-one basis.
b. After the interview, the staff member notifies the Director in a brief
written statement as to the date,
circumstances, and the result of the patron's concern.
2. A patron who wishes to pursue his/her question further is referred to the Director or his/her
designated alternate as soon as
possible. A concern taken to this level constitutes a formalized complaint.
a. During the interview with the patron, the Director or designated alternate fills out
one copy of the Request for
Reconsideration of Library Material form.
b. The Director then appoints a three-member committee of professional staff members
to review the material in question
and prepare a written recommendation within ten (10) days.
c. The Director makes a decision based on the committee's recommendation.
d. The Director notifies the patron in writing of his/her decision within
five (5) working days of receiving the committee's
3. A patron who wishes to make his/her objection known even further can forward his complaint directly to
the Chairman of the
Library Advisory Board for consideration at the next regularly scheduled Board meeting.
a. A copy of the complaint submitted to the Board is forwarded to the office of
the City Manager.
b. The Library Board sends its recommendation to the Director.
c. The Director then reviews his/her original decision in the context of the
Board recommendation and confirms or sends a
revised opinion to the patron in writing, with a copy sent
to the Library Board and to the office of the City Manager.
The Director's decision on the complaint is final and
without further appeal.