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Marshall County Library System Collection Development Policy

In its selection of written and other materials, the Marshall County Library System subscribes fully to the principles set forth in the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read Statement, and Intellectual Freedom Statement, and endorses the stand of these documents that the freedom to read is essential to our democracy.  It is the function and duty of the public library to provide the means, whenever possible, through which all persons may have free access to the points of view on all sides of all ideas.
Selection is based on the merits of a work in relation to the needs, interests and demands of the Marshall County community, with consideration given to the costs of individual items versus the breadth of their appeal.
Specific Criteria:  One or more of the following standards will be applied in the selection of individual items:

  1.  Purpose and intent of the material
  2. Importance of the subject matter to the collection.
  3. Contemporary significance or permanent value to the collection.
  4. Price, format, visual appeal, and ease of use.  Accessibility of information.
  5. Historical value.
  6. Scarcity of materials on subject.
  7. Reputation and significance of author.
  8. Reputation and significance of illustrator.
  9. Popular appeal.
  10. Reputation and professional standing of publisher.

Responsibility for the selection of library materials by children rests solely with their parents or guardians.   Selection of items for purchase by the Library will not be curtailed by the possibility that any particular item might be selected or viewed by children.

Materials with an emphasis on sex, or containing profane language will not be automatically rejected.  Selection will be made on the basis of whether the title presents life in its true proportions, whether characters and situations are realistically presented, and whether the title has literary or informational value.  Since the public library serves all the people in the County with public monies, the Library System has a responsibility to provide materials which present all sides of an issue.

Whenever possible, maximum use is made of professional reviewing and selection aids, such as Booklist, Library Journal, and major newspaper and periodical publications, in order to select those titles which will meet the criteria listed above.

Final responsibility for book selection rests with the Director of the Library, who operates within the framework of policies determined by the Board of Trustees.  However, since no one person is omniscient nor fully qualified to determine the reading needs of all persons in all sections of the County, staff members, particularly Branch Managers, are to be consulted on the needs and interests of their communities and are encouraged to make suggestions.  Suggestions and requests from patrons are always welcomed and given serious consideration.
Gifts will be judged on the same basis as purchased materials.  They are accepted without commitment as to final distribution or housing.  Gifts are accepted with the understanding that the Library, if it cannot use them, may at any time distribute them in any way it sees fit.

The request of an individual or group to withdraw from the Library shelves material which has been selected in accordance with the principles of this policy should be made in writing to the Director of the Marshall County Library System.  If, after having the selection policy and the reason for the selection of the material in question reviewed and explained, the person or persons make the request for removal are not satisfied, they request, again in writing, that the matter be taken before the Library Board of Trustees at their next scheduled meeting.  The Board, however, defends the principles of the freedom to read and declares that whenever censorship is involved, no book or other library material shall be removed from the library save under the order of a court of competent jurisdiction.  At its discretion, the Board of Trustees may instruct the Library Director to submit the material in question to a review process, which shall consist of the following:

1.  Where they are available, published reviews of the item will be collected.
2.  Three written professional reviews of the item will be solicited by the Library Director.  These reviews may be from Librarians and/or professional people in some field with expert knowledge of the material covered in the item in question, and how it fits into a Public Library collection.
3.  All these reviews will be presented to the Board of Trustees, and a decision will be made as to the retention of the item.
The material in question shall remain in the collection and available during the review process.

Click here to download printable form.

Citizen’s Request for Reconsideration of Library Material
Author: _____________________________________________________________________
Title: _______________________________________________________________________
Publisher, if known: ___________________________________________________________
Request initiated by: __________________________________________________________
Address: ____________________________________________________________________
City: ________________________________ State: ____________ Zip: __________________
Telephone #:  ______________________  __________________________________________
Email, if available: ______________________________________________________________
Complainant represents:
____ Himself or herself
____ Name of Organization _______________________________________________________
1.  To what in the material do you object?  (Please be specific; cite pages, etc.)
2.  For what age group would you estimate this material was created?  ____________________
3. Would you find it more appropriate for another age group? ___________________________
4.  Is there anything good about the material in your view? ______________________________
5. Did you read/watch the entire title? ____  If not, what parts? __________________________
6. Are you aware of the judgment of this title by literary critics?  Have you read any reviews of it? _______________________________________________________________________________
7. What do you believe is the theme of this material? ___________________________________
8.  In its place, what material of equal literary quality would you suggest that would convey as valuable a picture and perspective of the subject treated?  _______________________________
                                                            ___________________________    __________
                                                            Signature of Complainant                 Date