Collection Policy

Mission and Goals

The Muehl Public Library facilitates access to ideas, information and recreational reading to enhance the quality of life for all the people of the Seymour area. Utilizing this mission statement, it is the goal of this policy to provide guidance in choosing and selecting materials that will be of benefit to patrons of the Muehl Public Library.

Intellectual Freedom Statement

In recognition of the importance of an informed people in a democracy, the Library adheres to the ALA Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read. The library is a place to learn about different points of view, to broaden one's perspective, and to examine issues and ideas in depth. Therefore, the library collects a wide range of materials, ideas, forms of expression, and points of view.

Designation of Responsibility for Materials Selection

The library adheres to a client-centered policy whereby librarians, staff and patrons all have roles in collection development. Specifically, librarians make decisions based on the advice and counsel of fellow librarians, staff, and patrons. Material selectors take into account the current collection's strengths and weaknesses, the recommendations and needs of library patrons in the community, and the quality of materials recommended in finally deciding what should be added and deleted. Communication between librarians and library users is crucial to the success of such a process. Responsibility for initiating such communication lies with librarians.

Criteria for Selection

Librarians and staff shall consider the following criteria in making collection development decisions:

  • Presentation of the material, quality of the writing, and factual content.
  • Authoritative quality of the author and the subject.
  • Need for recreational reading material.
  • Materials will realistically represent our diverse society.
  • Materials will be selected to motivate library users to examine their own attitudes and behaviors and to comprehend their own duties, responsibilities, rights, and privileges as participating citizens in a diverse society.
  • Materials will be selected for strengths, rather than rejected for weaknesses.
  • Biased materials may be provided to stimulate intellectual exploration and to present opposing viewpoints.
  • Critical reviews and recommendations based on examination of materials will be considered and used.
  • Materials acquired should reflect the staff's familiarity with the community, its needs and interests.
  • Holdings of other libraries, budgetary constraints, and the existing collection will be considered.
  • Materials will be based on the whole work, not just sections.
  • Date of publication.
  • Historically significant writings.
  • Physical format -- audio, video, large print, paperback, Playaways.


Gifts are accepted only when they add strength to the collection and when the donor places no significant limitations on housing, handling disposal, or disposition of duplicate, damaged or unwanted items. Monetary evaluations are not the responsibility of the library. All donated items become library property and will be judged by the same criteria as other acquisitions. Unneeded items will be disposed of through established and recognized procedures, which include offering materials to other institutions and/or selling items.

Deaccession, Retention, and Duplication

The library follows a systematic weeding procedure. Its purpose is to maintain an active, useful and current collection. Items of limited use are eliminated to make room for more useful materials. On a regular, rotating basis, librarians and staff review the different assigned areas of the collection. Basic criteria to consider when reviewing an item for withdrawal are:

Use -- Items that have not circulated during a specified number of years may be considered for withdrawal.

Subject coverage -- The relation of the item to others in the same subject.

Superseded editions -- Older editions will not be retained unless they have unique value to the collection.

Duplicate copies -- Duplicates are retained when demand calls for them.

Value to the library -- An item that is dated and obsolete, of low priority, or readily available elsewhere may be considered for withdrawal.

Availability -- Consideration will be given as to whether an item is the last copy available in the library or in the library system.

Well-rounded collection -- Retention is considered for items representing subjects of new or renewed interest and classics or items of historical value significant to the library and to the community. Particularly careful consideration will be given to materials in literature, history and the arts.

Condition -- Materials in poor condition are considered for repair, replacement, or withdrawal.

Reconsideration of Materials

When a library patron requests that an item be removed from the collection, the librarian will inform the patron of the collection development policy and the criteria for acquisitions. The following points will be made in discussion with the patron:

  1. The collection includes a range of opinions.
  2. The library supports the ALA Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement.
  3. If the patron wishes to make a formal complaint, the librarian will provide a form to be completed (online form PDF file). Only formal and written requests will be considered.

If a formal request for reconsideration is presented:

  1. All material will remain in the collection pending review.
  2. The Library Director and a staff member will review the material.
  3. The Director will then make a recommendation to the Library Board who will then render a decision on the material in question.
  4. The patron will be notified of the Library Board's decision within one week of their final verdict.

This policy was approved by the Library Board on January 7th, 2002. Revised March 5th, 2012. Reviewed March 4th, 2013.

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