Collection Policy

Fort Vancouver Regional Library District (District) offers a collection of library materials and information resources (collection) in keeping with its mission and values. The Board of Trustees (Board) has a strong commitment to support the acquisition and maintenance of a balanced library collection.

COLLECTION OBJECTIVES

The collection will be selected and maintained to enable each individual to choose materials and information according to her or his own free choice. The collection as a whole will be a diverse source of information representing as many viewpoints as possible.

The District neither encourages nor discourages any particular viewpoint. Selection of materials does not mean endorsement of the contents or the views expressed in those materials. Material will not be excluded because of the race, nationality, religion, gender, sexual orientation, political or social view of either the author or the material.

Electronic delivery, resource sharing with other libraries and other methods of information access are used by the District to meet patron needs and extend limited resources.

ACCESS

The Board believes reading, listening, and viewing choices are individual, private matters. People are free to select or reject materials for themselves and their own minor children but are not to infringe upon the freedom of others to read or inquire.

The District does not stand in place of the parent (in loco parentis). Parents and guardians have the responsibility to guide and direct the reading, listening and viewing choices of their own minor children.

The collection will be organized and maintained to help people find the materials they want. Materials will not be restricted, sequestered, altered or labeled because of controversy about the author or the subject matter.

The Board considers materials selected under this policy to be constitutionally protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and the Washington State Constitution. If a person claims that a particular item is not constitutionally protected, the burden of proof rests with that person.

If a court having jurisdiction over the District decides that any material in the collection is not protected by these constitutions, such material will be removed immediately. Material under court consideration will remain available until a court ruling is made.

SELECTION

Selection of materials is vested in the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District Executive Director, who may authorize qualified staff to assist. The Executive Director has full authority to use her or his judgment in interpreting this Policy. Materials selected will be deemed to have been selected by the Board.

Criteria to be considered in adding specific materials, including gifts, to the collection include, but are not limited to:

  • collection objectives
  • existing subject coverage
  • public interest
  • community relevance
  • patron requests
  • timeliness of topic
  • audience for material
  • current or historical significance of author or subject
  • support for lifelong learning
  • diversity of viewpoint
  • effective expression
  • creativity
  • imagination
  • reading, listening or viewing enjoyment
  • popularity
  • nature of media
  • quality of production
  • durability of format

Items selected must meet one or more of these criteria but not every item that meets one or more of them will be selected. The District strongly encourages patrons to suggest items, topics or authors they would like to see included in the collection. Requests may be met through resource sharing with other libraries, electronic delivery or other means.

Individual items, which in and of themselves may be controversial or offensive to some patrons or staff, may be selected if their inclusion will contribute to the range of viewpoints in the collection as a whole and if they meet one or more of the criteria listed.

Electronic resources, including subscription databases and links to web sites, are provided through the District web site to increase the depth and breadth of the collection. Some links may be available only within a library building or only to District residents and may require a library card for access. The District is not required to establish or maintain any particular web link.

Criteria used to select web site links shall include, but not be limited to those that:

  • are useful sources of current, consistently maintained information
  • are created by credible authors/producers
  • are well-organized and easily navigable
  • complement the physical collection

The Electronic Information Access Policy covers access to electronic resources within library buildings.

COLLECTION REVIEW

The Board recognizes the right of individuals or groups to question materials in the collection. Such questions may be stated in writing on the Collection Review form. The District will give serious consideration to each opinion so expressed. The form will be sent to the Executive Director, who will refer it to a staff committee for review. Material under consideration will remain available to patrons until a decision is made.

The review committee will give the Executive Director a recommendation based on the judgment of the members of the committee as to whether the material was appropriately selected and made accessible under this policy. Because of the need to meet individual as well as group preferences, the number of forms received will not be a factor in reaching a recommendation. The Executive Director will make a final decision regarding the material and reply to the individual or groups in writing as soon as practical.

DISCARDING MATERIALS

The Board recognizes that discarding materials is an important part of maintaining the collection in order to keep the collection fresh and free of outdated and worn/damaged materials. Discarding materials is vested in the Executive Director, who may authorize qualified staff to assist. Materials discarded will be deemed to have been discarded by the Board.

When discarding materials, the District will consider the same criteria as for selecting materials, as well as physical condition. Materials will not be removed because of controversy. Replacement of materials will be based on collection objectives.

The District is not a library of historical record. To ensure a vital collection of continuing value to the communities we serve, except in the area of local history, materials that are not well used may be withdrawn.

Original Policy: November 29, 1972
Revised and Adopted: October 26, 1981
Revised and Reaffirmed: September 11, 1989
Revised and Reaffirmed: October 14, 1991
Revised and Reaffirmed: August 16, 1993
Revised and Reaffirmed: August 30, 1995
Revised and Reaffirmed: August 14, 2000
Revised: April 21, 2008 (replaces former policy titled "Selecting and Discarding Materials")