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Saved by Alaska State Library: Library Development
on June 18, 2008 at 4:26:43 pm
  • Selection Policy--The principles and practices guiding the choice of library materials to add to the collection.
  • Weeding--The process of choosing items to remove or discard from the collection because of age, wear, inaccurate information, etc.

From: Kolb, Audrey. A Manual for Small Libraries in Alaska. Alaska State Library, 1992.

Selection and the Internet

With the availability of Internet and World Wide Web resources, selection increasingly pertains to materials located outside the library facility. Librarians are now called upon to locate and provide easy access to reliable sources of information on “the Net.” Online information resources are essential in supplementing the school library collection by providing coverage on topics that are highly specific, extremely fast changing, or not often requested by your library patrons in general. School library media specialists are instrumental in helping students and staff locate needed information on the Internet by facilitating links to electronic resources that meet the criteria used in purchasing library materials. See WWW – Recommended Sites/W-2 for recommended Internet sites related to major curricular subjects. This sample Material Selection Policy can be used as a model or adapted for use in your district.

Material Selection Policy

In accordance with the "Library Bill of Rights" and its interpretation for school libraries (see appendix at end of this section) and the mission statement of ____________ School District, it is the policy of the Board to provide students and staff access to a wide variety of information resources that support and enhance the curriculum while encouraging interests beyond classroom learning. Information and reading materials will be provided in a variety of print and electronic formats and on a wide range of reading/interest levels, representing multiple points of view.


Although the School Board maintains legal responsibility for all aspects of school management, it is the designated responsibility of the professional school library staff to select library materials in accordance with the policies set forth here.

Purchase recommendations will be guided by:

  • Direct evaluation,
  • Recommendations from recognized selection/review sources,
  • Suggestions made by students and staff.


Materials should support the overall mission of the school district and further the specific educational programs and goals of the school.

Materials should address both the academic needs and personal interests of students and the professional needs of staff. Materials should be selected in light of diverse socio-economic backgrounds, linguistic background of patrons being served, ability and maturity levels, and should be available in a variety of formats to promote reading, listening and viewing skills and preferences.

Things to consider when purchasing materials:

  1. general appeal to library users
  2. authenticity, accuracy, currency of the content
  3. readability/accessibility for intended audience
  4. educational value
  5. degree to which needed to assure a balanced collection
  6. physical format supported by readily available equipment
  7. quality of literary style and/or artistic representation
  8. additional features offered such as indexes, maps, graphics, and other enhancements
  9. construction/packaging that is attractive as well as durable
  10. need for multiple copies/duplicates for materials in high demand

Materials will be purchased to present opposing views on controversial issues in order for students to learn to evaluate and analyze information.

The possibility of resource sharing will be weighed in selection decisions. Materials available from an area library with which there is a resource-sharing agreement will be purchased only if more frequent on-site need dictates.

Gifts will be accepted or rejected on the same basis as purchases are made.

De-Selection/Weeding Procedures

The value of the library collection is maintained only through regular, on-going evaluation of materials in light of changing curricular needs, significant changes in content, new formats for delivering information, new teaching strategies, and the current interests and needs of library users. Materials that no longer meet the criteria for selection should be considered for weeding. Worn and damaged materials should also be weeded or replaced if still current and in demand. Materials that should be considered for weeding include materials that:

  • Are worn and/or damaged
  • Contain outdated or inaccurate information
  • Promote bias and/or stereotypes
  • No longer support the curriculum or current interests
  • Are overrepresented in the collection

Procedure for handling challenged materials

When someone challenges the appropriateness of an item in the collection, the following procedure will be followed to determine any action taken in this matter:

  1. Complainant will submit a completed Request for Reconsideration of Materials Form to the school superintendent who will in turn notify the school board of the complaint.
  2. The superintendent will appoint a library review committee whose members will include the school’s library media specialist and principal, a reading specialist, a classroom teacher, and a district-level administrator.
  3. The library review committee will meet within one week of receiving the completed Request for Reconsideration of Materials Form to determine if the material in question meets the criteria for selection listed in this policy.
  4. The committee’s written decision will be delivered to the superintendent who will then inform the school board of the committee’s determination.
  5. The complainant may appeal the decision of the library review board to the school board who will make the final decision related to the material in question.
  6. Materials under reconsideration will continue to circulate within the library collection while the reconsideration process is underway.
  7. Recommended reading

    • Allen, Christine. “Afterthoughts on Collection Development for New Schools or How Not to Fall for the Easy Way Out Because There Isn’t One.” Book Report, Nov/Dec, 1998, pp. 8..
    • Hughes-Hassell, Sandra and Jacqueline C. Mancall. Collection Management for Youth: Responding to the Needs of Learners. Chicago, IL: American Library Association , 2005..
    • Kachel, Debra E. Collection Assessment and Management for School Libraries: Preparing for Cooperative Collection Development. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1997..
    • Moore, Frank. “The Internet as a Money-Saving Alternative Collection Resource.” Book Report, Nov/Dec. 1998, pp. 47..
    • Valenza, Joyce Kasman. Power Tools Recharged. 125+ Essential Forms and Presentations for Your School Library Information Program. Chicago, IL: American Library Association, 2004..
    • Van Orden, Phyllis. Selecting Books for the Elementary School Library Media Center: a Complete Guide. New York, NY: Neal-Schuman Publishers, 2000..
    • Wasman, Ann M. New steps to Service: Common-Sense Advice for the School Library Media Specialist. Chicago, IL: American Library Association, 1998..
    • Yesner, Bernice L. and Hilda L. Jay. Operating and Evaluating School Library Media Programs: A Handbook for Administrators and Librarians. New York: Neal-Schuman, 1998..

    Request for Reconsideration of Materials Form (PDF)

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