The mission of the Dakota County Library is to support lifelong learning by anticipating and responding to community needs for information, to encourage a desire to read, and to enrich the quality of life in the community. The library will provide available and affordable print and non-print materials to meet the interest of all ages and will provide staff, services, and facilities to accomplish this mission.
Purpose of Policy
The purpose of this policy is to guide librarians and to inform the public of the principles upon which decisions are made. A policy cannot replace the judgment of librarians, but stating goals and indicating boundaries will assist them in choosing from the array of available materials. The public, through knowing the principles on which library collections are developed, gains a better understanding of the scope of the collections and why specific items, format, or topics are included or not included.
Library Bill of Rights and Freedom to Read Statements
Free and convenient access to the world of ideas, information and the creative experience is of importance to every citizen today. The Dakota County Library, therefore, incorporates as part of this policy the Library Bill of Rights, adopted by the Council of the American Library Association on January 23, 1996, and the Freedom to Read Statement as revised July 12, 2000 by the Council of the American Library Association, and the Freedom to View Statement endorsed by the American Library Association, January 10, 1990.
The word Materials as it occurs in this policy has the widest possible meaning. It encompasses all formats, including printed or manuscript, bound or unbound, photographed or otherwise reproduced, recorded or transmitted by electronic or optical means, and real objects.
Selection: the decision that must be made either to add materials to the collection or to retain or withdraw material already in the collection, or to acquire licenses for proprietary online databases. Selection does not mean recommendation.
The Dakota County Library acquires, makes available, and encourages the use of materials in all media which:
- Address the information needs of the people of Dakota County.
- Help people know more about themselves and their world.
- Support self-education and lifelong learning, and supplement formal study.
- Stimulate thoughtful participation in the affairs of the community, the country, and the world.
- Enlighten and entertain.
- Give access to a variety of opinions on matters of current interest and encourage freedom of expression.
- Support civic and cultural activities within the community.
- Provide a positive introduction to books, reading, and use of libraries.
Guidelines for Selection
To build a collection of merit and significance, all acquisitions whether purchased or donated will be considered according to guidelines.
The Dakota County Library has collections housed in branch libraries, but linked through an electronic network designed to make its total resources readily available and widely accessible. Selection of materials will vary according to the size and location of specific branch libraries.
Efficient use of available funds is considered in each selection decision.
The library will not attempt to develop a complete research collection. Requests for books not owned by the library, especially for scholarly materials, will be referred to other libraries in the metropolitan area through established channels. The library will actively seek to broaden these sources through agreements with other libraries and groups of libraries.
The library recognizes the purposes and resources of other libraries and media centers in Dakota County and in the metropolitan area and shall not needlessly duplicate functions and materials.
Most library materials are selected on the basis of reviews found in standard selection sources. The library also responds to user requests when it is believed that the materials suggested will be of use in the collection.
The library will always seek to select materials of varying complexity and format because it has a potential public embracing a wide range of ages, educational background, interests, sensory preferences, and reading skills.
The library attempts to meet the needs of the total community, recognizing that some materials may be controversial. It is the responsibility of the individual library user to choose those materials which suit his or her tastes and needs. Although users are free to reject for themselves materials of which they do not approve, they may not restrict the freedom of others to read what they desire.
The responsibility for the materials chosen by children and young people from the library rests with their parents or guardians. Inclusion of materials in the collection will not be inhibited by the possibility that such materials may be accessible to children and young people. Parents and guardians are encouraged to help their children select books and to guide those selections.
Various restrictions may be placed on certain types of library materials to protect them from damage and theft and insure their availability to others.
The library recognizes that some materials it acquires respond to immediate demand and do not have enduring interest or value.
Materials pertaining to local history and authors are given special consideration; however, the library is under no obligation to add everything about local history or everything produced by authors, printers, or publishers with local connections.
The library will consider any material in its collection upon written request of a customer.
Final responsibility lies with the Director. The Director delegates to staff members the authority to interpret and guide the application of the policy in making day-to-day decisions. Unusual problems will be referred to the Director for resolution.
This Materials Selection Policy will be reviewed by the Library Board periodically and amended as necessary.
The Materials Selection Policy was adopted January 8, 1998 by the Dakota County Library Board.