The Herrin City Library endorses the Library Bill of Rights and its interpretations as guiding principles for the selection of materials, the maintenance of the library’s collection, challenges to selections, and for related decisions about the accessibility of library materials and services. The library hereby adopts these documents and the other related documents that follow this policy as addendum to its policies on library service and the library’s collection. The purpose in building a collection is to make available to all people who enter the library as comprehensive a collection of recorded knowledge as possible within the limits of funds available and the needs of the community. An effort is made to include information representing all sides of controversial issues as such material becomes available. The criteria for the selection of controversial materials are the same as for any other materials. Controversial materials have no distinguishing labels and are shelved in the general collection. Responsibility for the reading choices of children rests with their parents or legal guardians. An open shelf policy will be followed at all times. Within these guidelines, the librarians use their professional judgment to determine the materials which best meet the objectives of the library and the needs of its patrons.


It is the goal of the library to own or have ready access to a sufficient number of informational resources with sufficient scope, depth, relevance, and accuracy in a variety of useful formats for the purpose of providing information; education and instruction; cultural experience and growth; and meaningful recreation to the library’s public.

The words “library materials,” as they occur in this policy, have the widest possible meaning. Every form of the permanent record is to be included, whether printed or audio; bound or unbound; photographed or otherwise reproduced on tapes, discs and pictures in the form of photographs, paintings, drawings, etc. “Selection” refers to the decision that must be made either to add a given title to the collection or withdraw one already in the collection. The library recognizes that many books, magazines, and newspapers are controversial and that any given item may offend someone. Selections will not be made on the basis of any assumed approval or disapproval, but solely on the merit of the work as it relates to the library’s purpose and as it serves the needs and interests of the community as a whole. Library materials will not be marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of the contents, and nothing will be sequestered except for the express purpose of protecting it from mutilation or theft. The responsibility for the reading of minors rests with their parents or legal guardians. Selection of library material will not be limited by the possibility that it may come into the possession of minors. This policy will be continuously reviewed by the library staff and the Library Board of Trustees to ensure that it continues to meet the needs and desires of the library and its community.


The purpose of this policy is to guide the library staff in the selection of materials of current significance and lasting permanent value for inclusion in the library collection. It is also the purpose of this policy to guide the library staff in selecting materials for withdrawal from the collection.



The responsibility for the selection of library material is vested in the Library Director and under his/her direction the Children’s Librarian, who is qualified by reason of professional education and training. The general objectives in materials selection are to carry out the library’s goals of providing the community with a variety of significant media to meet their informational, educational, and recreational needs.

The Director will not establish a material selection committee with the ability to veto individual purchases. Such committees are frequently utilized to limit the scope of collection development and to ensure that “questionable titles” are excluded from purchase. Selection committees may be formed, however, to discuss collection principles and to ensure that the collection is being broadly developed and coordinated.


The Director will establish, subject to the approval of the Library Board of Trustees, the annual allocation of funds for purchasing library materials. Allocations will include, but not be limited to, funds for the purchase of standing orders, periodicals, non-print media, direct orders for the adult collection, and direct orders for the juvenile collection.




     Materials are to be selected in accordance with one or more of the following criteria:

  1. Popular demand
  2. Contemporary significance or permanent value
  3. Scope and authority of the subject matter
  4. Reputation and/or authority of the author, editor, or illustrator
  5. Literary merit
  6. Relationship to the existing collection and to other materials on the subject
  7. Price and availability
  8. Format and arrangement
  9. Scarcity of information in the subject area
  10. Availability of material in the area
  11. Attention of critics, reviewers and the media

Responsibility for Selection

Overall responsibility for collection development rests with the Library Director, who operates within this framework of policies determined by the Library Board of Trustees. Typically, the Library Director delegates or shares this responsibility with the Children’s Librarian. No employee may be disciplined or dismissed for the selection of library materials when the selection is made in good faith and in accordance with the written policy required to be established pursuant to Illinois Library Law. Suggestions from patrons are welcome and will be considered using the same criteria as all other selections. All requests are given serious consideration. An attempt will be made to borrow through interlibrary loan any requested item which is out of print, or that the library determines does not meet the criteria for purchase.


Since it is impossible and unreasonable for the selection staff to read and review personally the large number of library materials being introduced each year, the selection staff must rely upon the assistance of professional selection aids.  The following are generally recognized professional guides to the selection of library material and may be used to facilitate the selection process:

  1. Professional library journals such as Booklist, Library Journal, and School Library Journal
  2. Magazines of general interest such as Time, Newsweek, American Heritage, and Smithsonian
  3. Journals in specific fields of interest such as Scientific American, Byte, American History Illustrated, and Business Week.


  1. Local History: The library acknowledges a particular interest in the local history of the area and in the works of local authors and artists. Everything reasonably obtainable will be acquired and preserved.
  2. Legal and Medical: The library purchases general legal and medical materials intended for the citizen or general reader.
  3. Religion: The library will attempt to acquire major works representing all doctrinal beliefs without prejudice.
  4. Textbooks: Textbooks will be acquired for the collection when they are the best, or only, source of information on a subject deemed of interest to library users. The library will not attempt to acquire texts to provide basic curriculum support for the public or private schools in the area, but will acquire supplemental study materials for students.


Library patrons are invited to submit requests for the purchase of new items at the circulation desk. The library’s selection staff will periodically review requests made by patrons for new materials and purchase the items deemed appropriate for inclusion in the collection. A patron request for the purchase of an item will not automatically cause the item to be ordered. Patron requests must meet the same criteria as other selections.


The library welcomes gifts and donations of materials and money for improving the library’s material collection with the understanding that donated material and money become the sole property of the library, which makes the final decision on the disposition of the gift and donation.

The decision to include a gift in the library’s collection shall be made by the Library Director or Children’s Librarian, who will be guided by the same principles and criteria applied to the selection of an item for purchase.  

Monetary donations and memorial contributions will be expended in an appropriate subject area if requested by the donor. Memorial plates will be included in memorial volumes if desired by the donor.

The library will furnish appropriate acknowledgment for donations upon request, either in the form of a receipt for cash or a letter for materials. The library will not attempt to appraise or establish a value for the worth of donated material.

          (See also the Policy on Gifts and Donations.)            


The library’s selection staff will be responsible for periodically reviewing the library’s collection for the purposes of weeding, rebinding, or repairing materials. Materials no longer useful to the library’s collection will be discarded as having no value.

     The following general criteria will be used to select items for discard:

  1. Dated material with little or no permanent value
  2. Rarely used material with little or no permanent value
  3. Misleading or factually inaccurate material
  4. Materials worn beyond reasonable mending or repair
  5. Material superseded by a new edition or a better title
  6. Trivial material of little or no permanent value
  7. Material of lasting value will be repaired or rebound if necessary.


Patrons who wish to lodge a complaint about a library item or request the withdrawal of a title from the library will be asked to place their complaint or request in writing and submit it to the Library Director. When a written complaint is filed, the Library Director will review the complaint and respond to the patron. If the patron is not satisfied with the Library Director’s response, the decision of the Library Director may be appealed to the Library Board of Trustees.