June 2007

This policy sets broad guidelines for the selection of library materials in correspondence with the Library’s mission. It may also be used to inform the public and staff about the principles upon which selections are made.


  • “Selection” refers to the decision to add, retain or withdraw materials in the Library’s collection.
  • The words “book,” “library materials,” or other synonyms as they occur in the policy have the widest possible meaning. This policy covers all items in the Library’s collection regardless of format.
  • “Access” refers to the availability of materials in a variety of formats for users of all ages and abilities.

Goals of Selection:

  1. To provide collections that meet the educational, cultural, informational, business, and recreational needs of the Wixom community.
  2. To offer the broadest, most well-balanced collection possible given the Library’s budget.
  3. To support the needs of all users, recognizing their diverse ages, backgrounds, and interests.

Responsibility for Selection:

The ultimate responsibility for materials selection rests with the Library Director, who operates within the framework of policies determined by the Library Board of Trustees. The Director is assisted by a staff of librarians with professional education and training in the principles and practices of materials selection.

The general public may recommend materials for consideration. These requests are considered carefully based on the standards and selection criteria established in this policy.

General Principles:

  • The Library supports intellectual freedom and has adopted the Library Bill of Rights and the American Library Association Freedom to Read Statement as part of this policy (attached).
  • All librarians have a professional responsibility to be inclusive, not exclusive, in developing collections. Efforts will be made to provide materials representing all viewpoints.
  • Reviews in professionally recognized resources are a primary source for materials selection. Standard bibliographies, book lists by recognized authorities, and the advice of competent people in specific subject areas will also be used.
  • The Library keeps its collection vital and useful by retaining or replacing essential materials, and by removing, on a systematic and continuous basis, those works that are worn, outdated, of little historical significance, or no longer in demand.
  • The Library holds that the choice of reading materials is a purely individual matter. While each library user is free to reject for himself materials which he does not approve of, no one may restrict another’s freedom to read or use library materials.

Selection Criteria:

All library materials are evaluated using the criteria listed here.

  • Public need, both current and future
  • Relation of work to existing collection
  • Need for collection depth, breadth, and variety
  • Serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value
  • Local or regional interest and significance
  • Accuracy of information (The information is current, correct, and as far as possible, free from unfounded or irrational bias. Opposing viewpoints are represented in the total collection, if not always in individual works.)
  • Historical value
  • Authority and reputations of the material’s creators
  • Favorable review by individuals with subject expertise
  • Recognition as an award-winning or “classic” work
  • Quality of production
  • Appropriateness for the intended audience
  • Inclusion in indexes, bibliographies, or other lists of notable materials
  • Price
  • Availability of material elsewhere in the Wixom community
  • Ease of use
  • Popular demand (The Library will make available materials for recreation even if not enduring in value, interest, or accuracy.)
  • Appropriateness of format for library use
  • Shelf space

Guidelines for Specific Areas:

  • Textbooks: Providing textbooks and curriculum materials is generally held to be the responsibility of the schools. Textbooks will be purchased for the collection when they supply information in areas in which they may be the best, or the only source of information on the subject.
  • Religion: The Wixom Public Library does not add proselytizing materials, but encourages popular, authoritative and/or scholarly presentations of ideas and movements in religion worldwide.
  • Children’s Collection: The Children’s collection is designed for pre-school through fifth grade. Particular attention is paid to the inclusion of a wide variety of materials which appeal to different cognitive abilities, learning styles, and age-related interests, and those which foster creativity and cultural understanding. Special emphasis is placed on:
    1. Reading level and vocabulary
    2. Illustrative quality, especially at the beginning levels
    3. Quality of binding and packaging
    4. Award winning titles
  • Teen Collection: The Teen collection is designed for students in grades six through twelve. The Teen fiction and popular magazine collection are designed to provide a transition from children’s to adult reading. Popular demand plays a large role in the selection of some Teen materials, most notably series fiction, magazines, and graphic novels. The Teen non-fiction collection is designed to provide teens with non-fiction materials addressing their popular and academic information needs and interests.
  • Controversial Content: When a book provides a clearer vision of life, develops understanding of other people, or breaks down intolerance, these factors must be weighed against possible harm caused by a single word or passage. Because it is the responsibility of the Library to protect the rights of mature readers, all sides of controversial issues will be covered as far as budgetary constraints and market availability allow.

    To further illustrate the Library’s support of the principles embodied in the aforementioned Library Bill of Rights, the Library will not handle, process, shelve or otherwise mark any material to impose a value judgment. This includes labeling or marking a catalog record.

    Materials for varying levels of education and differing social and religious customs are provided and are included on the open shelves of the collection. Sequestering materials by hiding them from display interferes with a potential user’s access by presenting barriers and subjecting the library patron to unnecessary scrutiny.

    Parents have the primary responsibility to guide and direct the reading and materials selection of their own minor children. The Wixom Public Library does not stand in loco parentis.

    There are those who might demand that the library collection exclude difficult or controversial materials from which they wish to shield children. It is precisely at the point that a child or teen encounters difficult or disturbing information that parents must do their part. Through library materials, some subjects can be approached in a context that will aid the parent in preparing the child for adulthood.

Reconsideration of Materials:

Any patron in the Library’s service area who objects to the presence or absence of a work is encouraged to fill out a Request for Reconsideration of Library Material form. Challenges are taken seriously, and will be reviewed by the professional staff and the Library Board of Trustees. The patron will be informed of the Board’s decision regarding the challenge. Decisions of the Board are final.

Library Bill of Rights

Freedom to Read Statement