Resource Selection Policy



Free and convenient access to ideas, information, and creative expression is vital to the well-being of every citizen. SEPLSO supports the ALA Library Bill of Rights and Freedom to Read Statement. The guidelines contained within this policy are intended to ensure unbiased and inclusive selection of all subjects and topics from all viewpoints.

The purpose of the Southeastern Public Library System of Oklahoma materials selection policy is:
a) To provide guidelines for the staff as they select materials for the libraries they are responsible for.
b) To acquaint the general public with the principles of selection used to acquire materials for the libraries.

Service Population

SEPLSO provides access to ideas, information and creative works for all residents living or working in its service areas. We recognize the diversity of those we serve. In general, resources are chosen to create a broad collection, and efforts are made to represent varied points of view on controversial topics. All learners are welcome to use our collection in their quest for knowledge, but it is not the aim of the library to serve as a substitute for school, academic or specialty libraries.

Responsibility for Selection

SEPLSO staff members, using the criteria listed below, along with reviews and other standard selection tools, select materials for purchase. Branch Librarians and staff have selection authority delegated to them, but the final authority for selection resides with the Executive Director.

Formats Provided by SEPLSO

SEPLSO strives to provide all relevant formats to users. While books as a format remain a staple of library collections, others come and go. Sometimes formats must be removed from libraries for the sake of cost and space. New formats may also be sampled if SEPLSO believes they will help the library to reach more users. The list below describes the basic formats SEPLSO carries.

  1. Hardcover Books. Books are generally purchased in hardcover editions because of their durability.
  2. Trade Paperbacks. This format includes paperback books which are comparable in size to hardcover editions but which are typically lower in cost. They are preferred in those cases where the hardcover edition is extremely expensive and the title would be either used infrequently or would be removed from the collection in a few years.
  3. Mass Market Paperbacks This format includes paperback books that are smaller in size than the typical hardcover or trade paperback book. This format will only be added to the System’s collections in rare cases. Individual branch libraries may manage paperback-exchange collections at their discretion.
  4. Serials. Serials includes periodicals, newspapers and annuals or continuations retained in the reference collections. They may include the following physical formats: print, microform, and computer-based. Decisions as to retention of back issue periodicals and reference annuals or continuations are made on a title-by-title case. The following factors must be considered in any retention decision: cost; usage rates; shelf space required or computer system compatibility; availability of the title in another format such as microfilm or electronic format. The System generally retains those periodicals that have research value in print format. If back-issues of a particular title are available in database format, the Library may decide to retain print copies for a shorter period of time. Any periodical or newspaper that the Library determines should be retained for historic value may be retained in print format indefinitely.
  5. Microforms. Microforms are used primarily for long-term storage and preservation of historical/genealogy records and newspapers. Specialized microform collections may be purchased to complement the System’s indexes. Reference materials may also be acquired in this format if the storage requirements or cost of the print format would be prohibitive.
  6. Video. Videos are selected in the DVD or Blu-Ray formats. SEPLSO does not purchase, accept or provide videos on VHS or older formats.
  7. Audiobooks. Audiobooks are selected primarily in CD format, but newer electronic formats are often purchased as well. SEPLSO does not purchase, accept or provide audiobooks on cassette or older formats.
  8. Large Print Books. Books printed in larger than 16-point type are defined as large print. The System attempts to provide a variety of titles in this format, particularly in fiction for the purpose of providing an alternative format for visually challenged customers. The large print format may also be considered for those books that are out of print in regular print formats.
  9. Downloadable Materials. Books and music that can be downloaded from home to a computer or other devices such as e-readers and tablets.
  10. Electronic Resources. This format includes on-line databases available via the Internet. Citation databases provide references to sources of information rather than the actual text or information. Full-text databases include complete articles, documents, and any other resources that provide actual text and information.
  11. Other media.

The following are formats that SEPLSO will not carry:

  • Rare books: Since it is the public library's function to make materials available to all users, The System does not collect rare or unusual materials that require special handling.
  • Textbooks: The System does not buy textbooks used by local schools, colleges or universities.
  • Outdated media such as audio cassettes or VHS.
  • Works of art.

Selection Criteria for Purchasing New Materials

The following criteria are considered by selectors when purchasing new materials:

  1. Citizen demand or interest.
  2. Inclusion of an unrepresented or underrepresented subject within the current collection. SEPLSO strives to create a balanced collection that represents all viewpoints and all subjects. Materials that are important documents of the times may be added.
  3. Reputation of the author and publisher. Preference will be given to well-reputed publishers and authors.
  4. Artistic merit. Materials that have achieved recognition with awards or lauded by peers within their profession will receive favorable consideration.
  5. Cost. As SEPLSO strives for responsibility with taxpayers’ dollars, we try to purchase materials in formats that last longer and are reasonably priced.
  6. Professional judgement. Materials that have received positive reviews in standard library reviewing sources will receive favorable consideration.

Because it is not possible to personally read, view, or listen to the large number of books and audio-visual materials published, selectors rely on reviews, lists of award-winning titles and standard bibliographies to guide them in selection. Reviews found in professional and general periodicals, as well as regional newspapers, are the primary source for critical review information.

Policy on Controversial Materials

Responsibility for the reading of children rests with their parents or legal guardians. Selection of library materials will not be inhibited by the possibility that materials may come into the possession of children.

In order to represent the diversity of thought within the System’s service area, it is very important that the System’s collection contain materials representing differing points of view on public issues. The System does not endorse particular beliefs or views, nor does the selection of an item express or imply an endorsement of the viewpoint expressed by the author. Library materials will not be marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of the contents, nor will items be sequestered, except for the purpose of protecting locally significant items from theft or damage.

There may be occasions when a resident of the System’s service area may be concerned about a particular item in the System's collection. If the resident wishes the System to reconsider material that is in the collection, a Request for Reconsideration form is available at branch libraries. This form must be completed in its entirety and returned to a Library staff member who will forward it to the Executive Director. Once the form is received, the Executive Director will form a committee of professional librarians who will meet to review the Statement, as well as the criteria used in selecting the item, and the reasons for including the item in the collection. A written response from the Director will be sent within four weeks.

In the event that the resident who initiated the Request for Reconsideration is not satisfied with the response of the Director, they may arrange to meet to discuss the matter with the Director. This must be done within fourteen days of receiving the written response. If the resident is not satisfied after this meeting, they may ask to be placed on the agenda of the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Southeastern Public Library System of Oklahoma Board.

The Board, after hearing the complaint, may either wish to appoint a special review committee or make a decision regarding the item in question. In either case, a letter will be sent to the resident informing him of the Board's decision. The decision of the Southeastern Public Library System of Oklahoma Board is final.

Policy on Gift Materials

The Library may accept any and all gifts of material, subject to the clear understanding that the disposition of donated material is reserved to the Library based on the same standards used for purchase of resources. Donated items which are not added to the collection will be discarded on the same basis as library resources. If requested, donor recognition labels may be added to gift items.

Collection Maintenance: De-selection, Replacement

De-selection (weeding) and replacement decisions, like selection decisions, are based on the overall goals and mission of the library. The following categories of materials should be considered for de-selection: worn or mutilated items; duplicate copies of seldom used titles; materials which contain outdated or inaccurate information; superseded editions of specific titles; and materials no longer of interest or demand.

Library Bill of Rights

The Freedom to Read Statement

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