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Collection Development

This policy may be revised by the Library Board as times and circumstances require.

Selection of Materials

Materials selected for the collection are intended to offer a wide range of subjects, a choice of formats and treatments, and a varying level of complexity so that most individual library needs can be met and service given to individuals of all ages. Selection of materials for adult, young adult and juvenile materials is done from published reviews, annual lists of recommended titles, subject bibliographies, customer requests, publishers’ catalogs and the considered judgment of the staff.

In selecting materials, the contribution they make to the education of the reader, their aesthetic or inspirational value, potential demand, usability, price, and needs of the community are considered. Many works important in our culture contain isolated elements to which some individuals may object. Our selection is guided by the value or impact of the entire work transcending the specific words, phrases, or incidents of which it is made.

Selection decisions are not influenced by the possibility that material may be accessible to use by children. The responsibility for the reading, listening and viewing of library materials by children rests with their parents, legal guardians or caregivers. Selection of any material for the Library’s collection does not constitute an endorsement of its contents.

All materials will be kept on open shelves except items that are in poor physical condition, are extremely rare or expensive, are subject to mutilation or are duplicates.

Maintaining the Collections

Selection is only one aspect of collection development. Rigorous attention must be given to assessing the need for adding, replacing, repairing and discarding materials in every collection. Librarians are expected to use good judgment to remove from the collection whatever no longer serves a need, damaged and out-of-date items, materials for which there has been no use in a given period of time, and those lost by users. Replacement or substitution of these materials reintroduces the selection process.

Gifts and Donations

The Olean Public Library is appreciative of materials offered as gifts, but it reserves the right to evaluate, keep, transfer to another library, sell or discard these materials. Materials that are duplicates of what is in the library’s collection or that are not in keeping with the foregoing statements in selection of materials, may be refused or discarded. The Library can not appraise gifts for their value for tax purposes or other purposes. In the case of memorial gifts, the library staff will assist the donor in selecting material suitable as a gift and a memorial.

Access to Library Materials by Minors

It is the policy of the Olean Public Library that parents or legal guardians, not library personnel, are responsible for monitoring the materials selected by their children. The library will not restrict access to print or nonprint materials at the request of a parent; it is our mission to provide equal access to all of our users. Parents who would rather their child(ren) did not have access to certain materials should advise them of this, or accompany the child(ren) to the library.

Reconsideration of Library Materials

Questions concerning the selection of library materials will be directed to the Library Director. A formal complaint may be made by filling out a Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials form available at the Information Desk.

The Olean Public Library feels strongly that intellectual freedom, the freedom to view, the freedom to read and reach decisions independent of coercion or censorship of any kind is extremely important and the basic privilege of all the library’s patrons. Censorship or parochial thinking is not appropriate to an institution dedicated to preserving free expression of ideas and the search for the truth.