Collection Development

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San Luis Obispo County Library Collection Development Policy

The Collection Development Policy serves as a guide for the selection and retention of materials for the San Luis Obispo County Library system. The Policy is designed to support the Library's Mission Statement "to provide materials and services to people seeking knowledge, lifelong learning, and recreation, as well as to ensure that all patrons of the Library may use those materials and services to the maximum extent possible."

It is the goal of the Library to provide a high quality collection of books and other materials in a variety of formats and languages for all ages that is responsive to the needs and interests of the community. Ultimate responsibility for the selection of all materials rests with the Library Director, who operates within the framework of policies and goals established by the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors and the State Education Code 19146.

San Luis Obispo County is located approximately midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The County is geographically large, covering 3,300 square miles, including collegiate San Luis Obispo to more rural areas focusing on agriculture and tourism. The current population is approximately 270,000; the County is also served by a city library in Paso Robles. The Library's fifteen branches are located in San Luis Obispo, Arroyo Grande, Atascadero, Morro Bay, Los Osos, Nipomo and Cambria, San Miguel, Simmler, Shandon, Santa Margarita, Cayucos, Oceano, Shell Beach, and Creston. A bookmobile also operates in outlying areas. The Library is a member of the Black Gold Cooperative Library System, which includes Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties.

Customer use is the most powerful influence on the Library's collection, and much of the Library's use is from new and popular adult fiction books, children's materials, DVDs and eBooks. Circulation, customer purchase requests and hold (reserve) levels are all closely monitored, triggering the purchase of new items and additional copies of high demand items to be included in the collection. Ultimately, our goals in collection development and management are to:

Professional librarians select all materials to be added to the collection either through established vendors and companies or via donations by customers. Customers and Friends groups are encouraged to recommend titles to be added to the collection. Librarians select materials for each community based on their knowledge of the diverse needs of their customers and the regional and local branch collections. Materials are selected for youth, audio-visual, adult fiction and adult nonfiction/reference (including electronic resources). Selectors also choose electronic content in eBook, magazine and audio books formats.

Materials are selected mainly from reviews in professional journals and other reliable media; examination of materials from publishers; subject knowledge and expertise of Library staff; and recommendations from the public. Consideration is also given to current trends in library usage. Staff also takes advantage of statistics generated from the Integrated Library System and collection aids/tools. Weeding also allows staff to assess purchase needs.

The Library strives to provide materials of interest to people of differing ages, backgrounds and lifestyles. While the majority of the collections are in English, branches with significant demand for foreign language titles may also have small collections in other languages.

New materials are distributed among the branches based on the needs and use patterns of individual communities and to provide equitable distribution throughout the County. The Library affirms the public's right of access to a broad spectrum of reading, listening and viewing materials. In compliance with the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights and its Freedom to Read Policy, the Library makes available information and opinions representing various points of view on topics of public interest and importance.

Selectors consider the following criteria in choosing materials for purchase (not in order of significance):

The circulating collection is not archival. It is reviewed and revised on an ongoing basis to meet contemporary needs. The Library avoids needless duplication of materials available from other Black Gold libraries. Some materials not held by any Black Gold libraries are available via inter-library loan.

The Library purchases:

Materials excluded from the collection include:

Exceptions are made for materials whose content is within the scope of local history/interest.

Maintenance of the Library's collection through continual re-evaluation by professional librarians ensures its usefulness and relevancy to the community. This evaluation depends heavily on the staff's professional expertise in assessing the needs of the community and the overall content of the collection. Circulation statistics are also heavily relied upon when assessing items for withdrawal. Materials determined to no longer be of value are withdrawn from the collection.

Library materials are discarded for one or more of the following reasons:

Replacement of specific missing or discarded worn copies is sought, if possible, if the item is a landmark work of non-fiction, literary classic or literary work by important contemporary author.

Donating Items to the Library:

The Library accepts gifts of new or gently used books, recent magazines, audio-visual and other Library materials that meet the same standards as other materials selected for inclusion in the Library's collection. In accepting donations, the Library reserves the right to decide which items will be added to the Library collection and which will be given to our Friends groups for possible inclusion in their book sales. Receipts for donations indicate the type and number of items donated. The donor is responsible for determining the monetary value of donated items.

Acceptable donated items:

Items unacceptable for donation to the Library:

Requests for Reconsideration:

Library users occasionally question titles that have been selected for the collection. Persons seeking the reconsideration of a book, DVD, compact disc, or other item may complete a "Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials - Book" and "Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials - A.V. Upon receipt of a completed form, Library staff reviews the item for inclusion in the collection in light of the Library's overall objectives, Collection Development Policy, Library Bill of Rights, and American Library Association guidelines on intellectual freedom.

Suggestions for Purchase:

The Library acknowledges the important role of the community in collection development by inviting suggestions for purchase from customers.

Reviewed and Updated 12/2013

©2009 San Luis Obispo County Library