Materials Selection Policy


The ultimate responsibility for selection of materials lies with the Library Director. The Library Director will delegate to appropriate staff members the authority to interpret and apply the selection policies in daily operations. It is the responsibility of each employee to record and communicate user requests and needs so that they may be considered in selection.


The purpose of this materials selection policy is to serve as an aid for library staff in the selection of materials, and to inform library users of the guidelines in selection principles. A separate policy has been developed for the use of the internet and the acquisition of electronic resources. This policy does not relate to materials provided by internet services.

The types of materials that may be selected are:

  • Books
  • DVDs
  • Periodicals (journals, newspapers and magazines)
  • Government documents
  • Audio books
  • Pamphlets, maps and clippings
Initial responsibility of material selection lies with the staff. Final responsibility of materials purchased with city funds lies with the Library Director.


The basic function of the library is to serve people through print and non-print resources, helping them, as individuals or as groups, to achieve informational, educational, and recreational objectives. In fulfillment of this common function, the library sets the following goals:

  • To select and organize reliable print and non-print materials significant to the people of Red Oak
  • To serve a heterogeneous community of more than 10,000 people who have different cultural, inspirational, informational, and recreational pursuits through building collections of printed and other materials suitable to such a diverse group, within the limitations of budget, space and availability of materials.
  • To fulfill the responsibility in a democratic society by providing each individual with the easiest possible access to informational resources.
  • To provide the means for stimulation and encouragement for children, young people and adults in educating themselves continuously and to promote self-development towards enrichment of their lives.
  • To give guidance in the use of library materials and resources toward meeting the needs of people individually and in groups or organizations.
  • To cooperate with groups and agencies in stimulating and supporting educational, cultural and social awareness activities.
Criteria for Selection

Selection of the materials shall be made in order to build a balanced collection which aids the individual in pursuit of education, information or research, and in the use of leisure time, and which supports the educational, civic, and cultural activities of groups and organizations active within the City of Red Oak.

The Red Oak Public Library subscribes to the selection principles contained in the Library Bill of Rights adapted and amended by the American Library Association (ALA).

The Library recognizes that many materials are controversial and that any given item may offend some borrowers. Responsibility for the reading, viewing and listening by children rests with the parents and legal guardians. Selection will not be inhibited by the possibility that materials may inadvertently come into the possession of children. Selections will be made on the merits of work in relation to the building of the collection and the interest of the community. Materials are evaluated as a while and not on the basis of a particular passage or illustration. The Library strives to offer a collection that provides the widest possible range of viewpoints regardless of popularity of items or viewpoints or the gender, political philosophy, religion, national origin or notoriety of their proponents.

Library materials will not be labeled or identified to show approval or disapproval of the contents and no cataloged book or other item will be sequestered, except for the express purpose of protecting it from injury or theft.

Audio/Visual Materials

Audio/Visual materials are selected in accordance with the general materials selection policy. Certain types of media lend themselves more readily toward certain subject areas, dictated by the industry. As new and improved developments in multimedia occur, consideration will be given to the selection and addition of these materials to the collection.

The following guidelines will apply toward certain media: Media will be selected for adults, young adults and children according to the community needs and demands. Certain popular materials will not be rejected because of their ephemeral nature, nor will they be included solely on popularity. Audio/Visual materials will be selected to meet informational as well as the recreational needs of the community. Media of all types, including education subjects, spoken recordings, popular, classical, and so forth may be selected. Demand will dictate individual types of media selected and subjects emphasized. Acquiring percentages of certain types of media or subjects in a collection will not be followed. A balanced collection will be achieved by the needs of the community.

Acquisition Standards

  1. Contemporary significance or permanent value
  2. Accuracy
  3. Authority of the author in the field
  4. Relation of the work to the existing collection
  5. Price, Format

Evaluation of Works of Information and Opinion
  1. Authority of the author
  2. Comprehensiveness and depth of treatment
  3. Objectivity of approach
  4. Accuracy of information
  5. Clarity and logic of presentation
  6. Representation of varying points of view

Evaluation of Works of Imagination
  1. Representation of important movements, genre, trends or national cultures
  2. Vitality and originality
  3. Artistic presentation and experimentation
  4. Sustained interest
  5. Effective characterization
  6. Authenticity of historical or social setting


The library accepts gifts of materials with the understanding they will be added to the Library collection when needed and if they meet the selection policy criteria. Cash gifts will be used to purchase material based primarily on the needs of the Library. Gifts will be treated as all other materials. Specifically this means that the same criteria for addition or withdrawal from the collection will apply to gift materials as to any other materials in the collection.

Patron Requests

Requests for inclusion of materials are welcome. The Library will consider requests which meet the criteria of the selection policy. Please use our Patron Suggestion Form to submit suggestions for purchase.

Click here to go to the Patron Suggestion Form

Collection Development and Maintenance
The Library will evaluate its collection on a continuing basis in response to the changing nature and needs of the community. The criteria used in the selection of materials will be used in its withdrawal.
In order to maintain the collection in its most useful and attractive condition, the professional staff will consider for withdrawal material that is:

  • No longer in demand
  • Superseded by a newer edition or a more accurate resource
  • In poor condition

Replacement of a withdrawn item is not automatic, the decision to replace will be based on the selection policy. When appropriate, deteriorating items will be repaired

Review and Revision of Selection Policy

The materials selection policy will be reviewed regularly by the Library Director to insure that it meets the needs of the community. Any revisions must be adopted by the Library Advisory Board and approved by City Council.

Materials Challenge

The Red Oak Public Library acknowledges that the freedom to read is a corollary to the constitutional guarantee of freedom of the press. Freedom of access is the essence of democracy and is a necessary safeguard to the freedom to read. The Library shall have available a representative collection of materials of interest to its users whereby individuals can examine issues freely and formulate their own conclusions. A citizen’s right of free inquiry shall be protected against attempts to abridge it.