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Materials Selection Policy

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The purpose of the Wellington Public Library materials selection policy is to guide the librarians and to inform the public about the principles that are guides in the selection of materials.  A policy cannot replace the judgment of the librarian, but the statement of goals and boundaries will assist in choosing from the wide variety of available materials.

Materials selection seeks to maintain a balanced collection of materials that satisfies the educational, informational and recreational needs of our community.  The library will not attempt to collect scholarly materials, rare books or manuscripts. 

The Wellington Public Library endorses the Library Bill of Rights adopted by the American Library Association as it pertains to materials selection and library collections.  It is included as an appendix to the materials selection policy.

The word “book”, “library materials”, or other synonyms used in this policy have the most encompassing meaning as possible.  This includes but is not limited to books, periodicals, audio recordings, video recordings, and electronic media.

“Selection” refers to the decisions that are made to add a given book or item to the collection as well as to the decision to retain a book or item that is already in the collection.

Responsibility for material selection lies with the Library Director and to those staff members to whom that responsibility has been delegated.  Patron suggestions are accepted and given consideration with the general criteria of the materials selection policy.  Unusual problems or deviation from the policy will be referred to the director for consideration. 

Materials of contemporary significance and of permanent value are the primary objectives of book selection.  The Library will always have a sense of responsibility to both the present and the future in adding materials that enrich the collections and maintain an overall balance.  The Library also recognizes its duty to make available materials for the information and recreation needs of our community even though these materials may not have an enduring interest or value. 

The Library realizes that many books are controversial and that any item could offend some patrons.  Selections will be made on the merits of the entire work and not on the basis of a particular passage. 

Parents and legal guardians are responsible for their children’s reading.  Selection will not be limited by the possibility that adult books may be read by children.  Children’s books will be selected with the age and educational level of the children in mind.

Guidelines for selection:

(1)   Because Library patrons represent a wide range of backgrounds, educational levels, ages and reading skills the Library will select materials of varying complexity.

(2)   The Library will not acquire textbooks or other curriculum-related materials except those that will also serve the general public.

(3)   Legal and medical works will be acquired only if they are useful to the lay person.

(4)   Standard book selection tools as available to the librarians will be used in the selection of materials.

(5)   The following general criteria are considered in selecting materials:

a.       permanent value

b.      contemporary significance:  attention of the public, reviewers, and critics

c.       popular interest

d.      reputation of the author

e.       comprehensiveness and depth of the work

f.        reputation of the publisher

g.       date of publication

h.       relationship to the present collection

i.         artistic merit

j.        insight and/or perspective into human and social conditions

k.      price

l.         local interest or relevance


All types of media that are used infrequently and of no lasting value will be withdrawn periodically from the collections.  Obsolete materials include books with outdated information, superseded editions, duplicates and worn-out items.

Patron Input Regarding the Collection

Wellington Public Library welcomes input from the public regarding the contents of the collection.  Patrons wishing to suggest titles for acquisition should fill out a Purchase Suggestion form.  Suggestions will be considered for purchase in accordance with the materials selection policy.

In the event that a patron requests that a specific work in the collection be removed from the library, the following steps will be taken.

  1. The Library Director, or in the Director’s absence, the staff member on duty, and the patron will discuss the patron’s concerns for the request.  The Director or staff member will explain the material selection policy. 
  2. Should the patron still be unsatisfied, he/she will be provided a copy of this policy and a reconsideration form.  The patron will fill out in full the reconsideration form, giving the specific data required
  3. The material for reconsideration will not be removed from the shelf until a final decision has been on its status.
  4. Upon receipt of the signed form, the Library Director will examine the material in question, the issues raised, and the circumstances involved.  The Library Director will then notify the Library Board that a reconsideration request has been made.  The Director will then, in consultation with one Library Board member and a one person from the community will review the work in its entirety, together with reviews of the material.  After that time a decision to retain or remove the material in question will be made.
  5.  The Library Director will respond in writing to the complainant within two weeks of receipt of the reconsideration form.  At this time the complainant will be informed of the availability of a Library Board hearing.
  6. If the complainant desires a hearing by the Library Board, the material reconsideration form and other relevant materials such as book reviews will be presented to the Library Board at its next regular meeting.
  7. The Library Board will review the materials and reconsideration form listing the patron’s objections.  The final resolution of the matter will be made by the Library Board based on the materials selection policy and the recommendation of the Library Director and the chosen consultants.  This decision will be final and the complainant will be notified in writing of the decision.