General Principles for Selection

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Excerpted from the West Des Moines Public Library Policy Manual, Chapter 3:  Collection Development Policy


The Library Director is responsible for the selection of materials which conform to the Collection Development Policy. Library staff members are involved in the selection process under the Director's supervision. Other interested persons are encouraged to make suggestions and recommendations.

In general, items selected should be useful to the community, and should be representative of the best materials available. The following general criteria should be considered during the selection process:

  • Effective presentation of ideas and/or information
  • Respected authorship
  • Accessible format
  • Quality of construction
  • Permanent value
  • Public appeal or community interest
  • Relationship to materials already in the collection and balance of viewpoint
  • Availability of the same or similar materials in the local area
  • Intended audience
  • Price

The library collection taken as a whole will be an unbiased and diverse source of information, representing as many viewpoints as possible. Subjects will be covered in sufficient depth and breadth to meet anticipated and expressed individual and community needs.

Each item should be evaluated according to its merit. Items will not be excluded because of the race, religion, or political views of the author. Items will not be excluded due to a judgment based on individual passages or images taken out of context. When possible, favorable reviews will be sought in review journals and in the literature of the library and publishing world prior to acquisition.

The library makes no attempt to assume the rightful role of parents in monitoring, controlling, or curtailing the reading, listening or viewing behavior of their children. Parents should be interested and involved in their children’s utilization of library materials. The library does not assume responsibility for the possible misuse of information found in the collections by young readers. Children have access to the entire collection.

The West Des Moines Public Library supports both "The Freedom to Read" statement by the American Library Association and the Association of American Publishers (Appendix A), and the American Library Association's "Library Bill of Rights” (Appendix B).

The library does not acquire resources intended for curricular use, such as textbooks, professional journals and esoteric databases, unless those resources will also be beneficial to the community. Such resources may be added if the information is unavailable in other forms.

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