4.10 - Materials Selection

The Royal Oak Public Library provides opportunities for all to learn, connect, create, and innovate.

The Royal Oak Public Library receives funding from the people of Royal Oak to select and purchase collections which are valuable educational resources that inform or entertain, and provide open access to the world of ideas. The resources of Royal Oak Public Library include but are not limited to money, space and personnel. These resources are finite.

A decision to select a particular title or type of material may exclude some other title or material. The policies set forth below are designed to provide direction to professional librarians who have earned an MLS degree from an ALA accredited university and are charged with material selection duties. The Trustees of the Royal Oak Public Library understand that the policies adopted herein are in many instances general in nature and therefore not designed to replace, but rather supplement good judgment.

Objectives of Selection:
The objectives of the Royal Oak Public Library are to select, organize, preserve, and make freely and easily available resources which will aid in the pursuit of education, enlightenment, information and recreation.

Responsibility for Selection:
Library materials selection is vested in the director of the library, with the assistance of members of the professional staff of librarians who select resources in accordance with this Materials Selection Policy.

General Policies:
The Library is a forum for ideas and information. The primary goal of selection shall be to collect materials of contemporary significance and/or of permanent value which will enrich the collections and maintain an overall balance representing many points of view with respect to a given subject. In addition, the library, recognizing that demand is a valid and important factor in selection, shall make available some materials which may be in widespread and persistent demand such as books on the best sellers lists.

The policy of this library shall be to select materials in accordance with the above stated objectives for all people of the community. Materials shall not be excluded because of the origin, background, or the personal views of the author, as outlined in the attached ALA Library Bill of Rights.

Program Support:
The policies set forth in this document apply to materials selected for program presentation or content of programs as well as for the lending and reference collections.

The library welcomes gifts of books and other materials but reserves the right to evaluate, accept and/or reject, and dispose of them in accordance with the selection criteria applied to purchased materials. No conditions may be imposed by the donor relating to gifts, books and related materials made to the library.  In accepting any gift, due consideration must be given to the resources necessary to receive, maintain and make such gifts available to the public.

When the library receives a cash gift for the purchase of library materials, the selection will be made by librarians in consultation with the donor and consistent with the Materials Selection Policy.
Gifts other than books and related materials shall be governed by Royal Oak Public Library Policy 2.10 Monetary and other non-book gifts.

Maintenance of Collection:
The same criteria will be used when removing materials from the collection as are used in their acquisition. In order to maintain the collection in its most useful state, materials which are no longer useful or which are not in a condition suitable for circulation will be removed from the collection. Such materials may be given to other libraries, sold for the benefit of the library, or discarded. Materials disposed of by sale must be pursuant to a public sale. The library is prohibited from selling to individuals by private sale.

Areas of Limited Acquisition:
Textbooks - Textbooks shall be provided only on subjects where there is little or no material available in any other form and where the text is considered enduring and useful to the general public and pursuant to agreements for collaborative services with area schools.
Law and Medicine - Legal or medical resources are collected as they benefit the general public. No attempt shall be made to build a comprehensive legal or medical collection.

Controversial Materials:
The collection shall contain resources which, in the aggregate, provide a balance of the various positions expressed on important, complicated or controversial questions. The public library shall not promote particular beliefs or views.  It shall provide resources so that the individual can examine issues freely and make his or her own decisions.

Materials on controversial questions are to be considered critically in the following regards: The creator of the material should be known or thought to have some competence, be well regarded by esteemed peers, have attained critical acclaim, or some other comparable distinguishing contribution to bring to the subject. Material which is known to be libelous, or marked by distortion of facts, suppression of truth, or propaganda will not be approved for purchase or accepted as a gift.

Certain exceptions to these guidelines are likely to occur. Some titles, which might otherwise be objectionable, are primary sources or documents in the study of historical or contemporary political movements and organizations and may be made available, e.g., The Communist Manifesto and Hitler’s Mein Kampf.  

Request for Reconsideration: 
If a patron objects to the presence of material on the library's shelves or in a library program, he or she may request reconsideration of an item by filling out a form available at the reference desks. The director will make the initial decision on the patron’s request. If the patron is not satisfied with the director’s decision, he/she has the right to appeal to the Library Board. The Library Board will announce the final decision at a public meeting to which the patron will be invited. Fair consideration will be given to every patron’s request.

Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials Form

Adopted: 01/27/98; rev. 02/27/01; rev. 07/27/04; reviewed 06/25/06; revised 09/26/06; revised 07/24/07; rev. 09/23/08; reviewed 07/27/2010; reaffirmed 7/26/2011; reaffirmed 06/24/14, revised 07/26/16; revised 01/26/21.