Materials Selection

1.    Objectives

The primary objective of the library is to serve the needs of the community.  Because the library serves a wide variety of people with a wide range of experiences, education and interests, the library’s materials collection must be diversified enough to encompass a variety of needs, interests and opinions.

2.    Quality and balance in the collection

The ultimate responsibility for ensuring quality and balance in the entire collection to support the needs of the community belongs to the Library Director.  Authority for selection of materials is delegated by the Library Board of Trustees to the Library Director and such members of the library staff as the Director designates. Serious consideration will be given to suggestions for purchase made by citizens of the community within the needs of the collection, as determined by the Library Director.  Any library material added to the library collection shall be held to be selected by the Board of Trustees.

3.    Points of view in the collection

  1. The library will provide a significant source of culture and ideas for the community by providing as many views as possible on all possible subjects.
  2. In an effort to support the obligation of the public library to be a forum for the free exchange of all ideas, and in its pursuit of those library materials which offer the widest possible variety of viewpoints, the library shall not consider the popularity or unpopularity of their authors or their authors’ views.
  3. In areas where there is honest disagreement concerning the truth or wisdom of particular issues, ideas or beliefs, the library shall make an effort to see that the printed, visual or audio points of view on all sides of the issues, ideas or beliefs are represented in the collection.
  4. The frankness of language or controversy of manner used by an author shall not be considered a determining factor for selection.

4.    Recreational materials in the collection

The library will provide a significant source of recreational materials for reading intended for all ages and interests.

5.    Areas of consideration for selection

Specific areas of consideration for evaluating a particular item to determine its suitability for inclusion in the library collection will include the following:

• Relevance to the present and potential needs of the community

• Accuracy, timeliness, currency, and validity

• Current or historical significance of author or subject

• Suitability of the physical form for library use

• Public demand and/or local interest

• Comparison with other available titles in existing collection

• Cost

• Scarcity of materials on the subject

• Comprehension and depth of treatment

• Diversity of viewpoint

• Literary style, importance, or originality

• Cultural significance and critical acclaim

• Sustained interest

6.    Evaluation

Evaluation shall be based on reviews in professional and other literature, and upon the professional judgment of the library staff.

7.    Specific materials

Specific areas of consideration for particular types of materials will include the following:

  1. Periodicals:  Magazines or similar serial publications should be selected after considering the importance of the title and contents to the needs of the community, the number of other titles currently received in the same subject area, and the availability of adequate access through indexes.
  2. Children’s materials: The selection of children’s materials shall follow the same rules and policies as those for other library materials, under the supervision of the Children’s Department Librarian and the Library Director. 
  3. Binding: The type of binding available for a book shall not be considered a problem in the purchase of materials.
  4. Foreign language materials: Standard foreign language materials will be acquired for general reference purposes, but no effort will be made to acquire a large collection of any foreign language.
  5. Microforms and audiovisual materials.  Microforms, audio and visual non-book materials will be acquired as appropriate to the needs of the community.  Such materials will be subject to the same criteria of selection as apply to other materials.
  6. Archives and local history materials: The library will retain, organize and make available all items of any type which may be of interest to the future and may be significant to the history of the community, insofar as this does not interfere with the collections of any historical societies and museums.
  7. Rare books and manuscripts.  No attempt shall be made by the library to acquire single titles or collections of rare books, manuscripts, private papers or incunabula.  Offers of gifts of such items will be subject to the gift policy.
  8. Out of print materials: A reasonable effort will be made to locate and obtain out of print materials, which would be significant for the collection.
  9. Materials of unusual cost.  Items that are requested which cost more than $100.00 shall be referred to the Board of Trustees.  Exception to this shall be made for standards sets of reference books such as encyclopedias.
  10. Multiple copies: It is generally not the policy of the library to obtain multiple copies of titles, but shall be considered in cases of materials with long reserve lists.
  11. Selection vendors: The selection of sources for the purchase of library materials, supplies, furnishings, etc., shall be left to the discretion of the Library Director, who shall consider such factors as discount, service, speed, accuracy, reliability, etc.

Adopted February 21, 2000

Revised and approved October 15, 2018


Adoption of National Statements

The Board of Trustees adopts and declares that it will adhere to and support the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement adopted by the American Library Association, both of which are made a part hereof:

The Library Bill of Rights

The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.

I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.

II. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.

IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.

V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.

VI. Libraries that make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.

Adopted June 19, 1939, by the ALA Council; amended October 14, 1944; June 18, 1948; February 2, 1961; June 27, 1967; January 23, 1980; inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996.

The Freedom to Read Statement

The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack. Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label "controversial" views, to distribute lists of "objectionable" books or authors, and to purge libraries. These actions apparently rise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to counter threats to safety or national security, as well as to avoid the subversion of politics and the corruption of morals. We, as individuals devoted to reading and as librarians and publishers responsible for disseminating ideas, wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of the freedom to read.

Most attempts at suppression rest on a denial of the fundamental premise of democracy: that the ordinary individual, by exercising critical judgment, will select the good and reject the bad. We trust Americans to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe. We do not believe they are prepared to sacrifice their heritage of a free press in order to be "protected" against what others think may be bad for them. We believe they still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression.

These efforts at suppression are related to a larger pattern of pressures being brought against education, the press, art and images, films, broadcast media, and the Internet. The problem is not only one of actual censorship. The shadow of fear cast by these pressures leads, we suspect, to an even larger voluntary curtailment of expression by those who seek to avoid controversy or unwelcome scrutiny by government officials.

Such pressure toward conformity is perhaps natural to a time of accelerated change. And yet suppression is never more dangerous than in such a time of social tension. Freedom has given the United States the elasticity to endure strain. Freedom keeps open the path of novel and creative solutions, and enables change to come by choice. Every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of our society and leaves it the less able to deal with controversy and difference.

Now as always in our history, reading is among our greatest freedoms. The freedom to read and write is almost the only means for making generally available ideas or manners of expression that can initially command only a small audience. The written word is the natural medium for the new idea and the untried voice from which come the original contributions to social growth. It is essential to the extended discussion that serious thought requires, and to the accumulation of knowledge and ideas into organized collections.

We believe that free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture. We believe that these pressures toward conformity present the danger of limiting the range and variety of inquiry and expression on which our democracy and our culture depend. We believe that every American community must jealously guard the freedom to publish and to circulate, in order to preserve its own freedom to read. We believe that publishers and librarians have a profound responsibility to give validity to that freedom to read by making it possible for the readers to choose freely from a variety of offerings.

The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution. Those with faith in free people will stand firm on these constitutional guarantees of essential rights and will exercise the responsibilities that accompany these rights.

We therefore affirm these propositions:

  1. It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those that are unorthodox, unpopular, or considered dangerous by the majority.

Creative thought is by definition new, and what is new is different. The bearer of every new thought is a rebel until that idea is refined and tested. Totalitarian systems attempt to maintain themselves in power by the ruthless suppression of any concept that challenges the established orthodoxy. The power of a democratic system to adapt to change is vastly strengthened by the freedom of its citizens to choose widely from among conflicting opinions offered freely to them. To stifle every nonconformist idea at birth would mark the end of the democratic process. Furthermore, only through the constant activity of weighing and selecting can the democratic mind attain the strength demanded by times like these. We need to know not only what we believe but why we believe it.

  1. Publishers, librarians, and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea or presentation they make available. It would conflict with the public interest for them to establish their own political, moral, or aesthetic views as a standard for determining what should be published or circulated.

Publishers and librarians serve the educational process by helping to make available knowledge and ideas required for the growth of the mind and the increase of learning. They do not foster education by imposing as mentors the patterns of their own thought. The people should have the freedom to read and consider a broader range of ideas than those that may be held by any single librarian or publisher or government or church. It is wrong that what one can read should be confined to what another thinks proper.

  1. It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to bar access to writings on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.

No art or literature can flourish if it is to be measured by the political views or private lives of its creators. No society of free people can flourish that draws up lists of writers to whom it will not listen, whatever they may have to say.

  1. There is no place in our society for efforts to coerce the taste of others, to confine adults to the reading matter deemed suitable for adolescents, or to inhibit the efforts of writers to achieve artistic expression.

To some, much of modern expression is shocking. But is not much of life itself shocking? We cut off literature at the source if we prevent writers from dealing with the stuff of life. Parents and teachers have a responsibility to prepare the young to meet the diversity of experiences in life to which they will be exposed, as they have a responsibility to help them learn to think critically for themselves. These are affirmative responsibilities, not to be discharged simply by preventing them from reading works for which they are not yet prepared. In these matters values differ, and values cannot be legislated; nor can machinery be devised that will suit the demands of one group without limiting the freedom of others.

  1. It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept the prejudgment of a label characterizing any expression or its author as subversive or dangerous.

The ideal of labeling presupposes the existence of individuals or groups with wisdom to determine by authority what is good or bad for others. It presupposes that individuals must be directed in making up their minds about the ideas they examine. But Americans do not need others to do their thinking for them.

  1. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians, as guardians of the people's freedom to read, to contest encroachments upon that freedom by individuals or groups seeking to impose their own standards or tastes upon the community at large; and by the government whenever it seeks to reduce or deny public access to public information.

It is inevitable in the give and take of the democratic process that the political, the moral, or the aesthetic concepts of an individual or group will occasionally collide with those of another individual or group. In a free society individuals are free to determine for themselves what they wish to read, and each group is free to determine what it will recommend to its freely associated members. But no group has the right to take the law into its own hands, and to impose its own concept of politics or morality upon other members of a democratic society. Freedom is no freedom if it is accorded only to the accepted and the inoffensive. Further, democratic societies are more safe, free, and creative when the free flow of public information is not restricted by governmental prerogative or self-censorship.

  1. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians to give full meaning to the freedom to read by providing books that enrich the quality and diversity of thought and expression. By the exercise of this affirmative responsibility, they can demonstrate that the answer to a "bad" book is a good one, the answer to a "bad" idea is a good one.

The freedom to read is of little consequence when the reader cannot obtain matter fit for that reader's purpose. What is needed is not only the absence of restraint, but the positive provision of opportunity for the people to read the best that has been thought and said. Books are the major channel by which the intellectual inheritance is handed down, and the principal means of its testing and growth. The defense of the freedom to read requires of all publishers and librarians the utmost of their faculties, and deserves of all Americans the fullest of their support.

We state these propositions neither lightly nor as easy generalizations. We here stake out a lofty claim for the value of the written word. We do so because we believe that it is possessed of enormous variety and usefulness, worthy of cherishing and keeping free. We realize that the application of these propositions may mean the dissemination of ideas and manners of expression that are repugnant to many persons. We do not state these propositions in the comfortable belief that what people read is unimportant. We believe rather that what people read is deeply important; that ideas can be dangerous; but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society. Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.

This statement was originally issued in May of 1953 by the Westchester Conference of the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers Council, which in 1970 consolidated with the American Educational Publishers Institute to become the Association of American Publishers.

Adopted June 25, 1953, by the ALA Council and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee; amended January 28, 1972; January 16, 1991; July 12, 2000; June 30, 2004.

Adopted 1996

Reviewed and approved December 15, 2003

Revised and approved September 19, 2011

Reviewed and approved October 15, 2018


Collection Maintenance and Weeding

1.    In order to ensure that the collection remains relevant, in good physical condition, and continues to meet the needs of the community, items will be evaluated on an ongoing basis for potential withdrawal.

2.    Materials to be weeded include the following:

  1. duplicate copies
  2. materials no longer in demand
  3. older editions of works replaced by newer editions
  4. obsolete materials
  5. damaged, soiled, or worn materials
  6. out of date, contain inaccurate information, or are not historically significant

3.    Weeded materials may be discarded or sold at the library or at the Friends of the Ericson Public Library book sale, depending on the condition of the item.

Adopted May 15, 2000

Revised and approved September 15, 2014

Reviewed and approved October 15, 2018



Gift Items

The library gladly accepts the donation of books and other items with the understanding that the library may do with them as it sees fit.  Gifts donated with special conditions or restrictions are generally not accepted.  No gift materials may be added to the collection without approval of the Library Director.

Gift materials will be added to the collection if they are needed and if they meet the selection standards that are applied to all materials added to the collection.  Gifts accepted for the collection become the property of the Ericson Public Library.  Gifts not added to the collection will be disposed of in a way that will be most advantageous to the library.

Upon receipt of gift materials a receipt is given to the donor acknowledging the gift items.  Due to the Internal Revenue Service regulations, the library is prohibited from providing an estimate of monetary value of the donation.  Staff members may give the donor a receipt showing the number and type of items (such as “17 hardcover books”). The library reserves the right to decide when a gift added to the collection must be withdrawn.


The library actively encourages donations as memorials and as tributes to living individuals on special occasions.  Such acts provide the library with an opportunity to add materials or equipment which it might not otherwise be able to afford.  Memorials and tributes are accepted in the form of monetary donations.  The library will make every effort to honor the donor’s wishes regarding the selection to be purchased.  However, the final decision rests with the library in accordance with its needs and selection criteria.    A bookplate will be placed in the item purchased with the memorial and tribute gift funds.  The library will send letters to notify parties of the gift.  In those instances where an individual wishes to donate a memorial book from his personal library, the decision to accept the gift will be made by the Library Director.  If it is not accepted, the book will be returned to the donor.

Acceptance of gifts

Acceptance of any gift, including cash, securities, real or personal  property, will be determined by the Library Board based on their suitability to the purposes and needs of the library, laws and regulations that govern the ownership of the gift, and the library’s ability to meet the requirements, if any, associated with the donation. The Library Board reserves the right to refuse or reject any gift.

Adopted May 15, 2000

Revised and approved September 15, 2014
Reviewed and approved October 15, 2018


Challenges to Library Material

1.    Policy on censorship

  1. The primary purpose of the Ericson Public Library is to purchase, organize and make readily accessible books and other printed, recorded, electronic and filmed materials, to stimulate interest, and give guidance in their free use to everyone in the community regardless of age, sex, race, creed or social, economic and educational level.
  2. In the provision of library materials, broad areas are considered:

1)    Informational—having to serve the community as a center of information by having available authoritative materials for the answering of specific questions.

2)    Educational—to provide reliable materials available to help meet the needs of patrons in their pursuit of formal and informal education.

3)    Recreational—to encourage reading for enjoyable use of leisure time.

  1. The library welcomes comments, suggestions and criticisms of its materials.  However, no citizen in a democracy has a right to prevent another from reading or viewing a specific item by demanding its removal from the library’s shelves.  The Ericson Public Library Board of Trustees declares as a matter of firm principle that no library material shall be removed from this library under any pressure, save after a determination held under procedures set forth herein.
  2. The Ericson Public Library Board of Trustees believes that censorship of library materials is purely an individual matter, and declares that while anyone is free to reject for him/herself books or materials of which he/she does not approve, no person may exercise this right of censorship to restrict the freedom to read of other persons.

2.    Requests for reconsideration of library materials

  1. Serious question of any material in the library collection by any person or group in an effort to have the material removed from the collection must be submitted in writing and signed by an individual person, or an individual person representing a group, and given to the Library Director to be submitted to the Board of Trustees.  Such written statement must be received at least two weeks prior to the regular monthly Board meeting.  A copy of a form to be used for such submission is attached herein.
  2. The Board of Trustees shall consider the material in question, and refer to the Materials Selection and other library policies for guidance concerning the material.
  3. The Library Director shall, on behalf of the Board of Trustees, reply in writing to the person submitting the request for reconsideration within ten days of the date of such Board meeting, citing any decision or action taken by the Board.
  4. If satisfactory resolution of a request for reconsideration is not achieved, a Citizens’ Review Committee shall be enacted to consider the material in question, and to deliver an opinion.  The committee shall be appointed by majority vote of the Board of Trustees and shall include seven people, including the following: a person in charge of library materials at a parochial school; a person in charge of library materials at a high school; a person in charge of library materials at an elementary school; a lawyer; and three others chosen by the Board of Trustees.  The committee will select a chair, set a meeting time, and consider the material in question.  All meetings will be open to the public.  After all meetings deemed necessary by the committee, their opinion of the material in question will be delivered to the Board.
  5. The Board of Trustees will review the decision of the Citizens’ Review Committee and make a final decision on the material.

Adopted June 19, 2000

Revised and approved September 19, 2011

Reviewed and approved October 15, 2018


Statement of Concern about Library Materials


Suspected Theft Attempts

1.    Library staff will notify the police in every case where the alarm goes off and there is reasonable belief that a theft attempt has been made.  It is not a staff member’s responsibility to determine whether or not a person is guilty, or whether or not the library should prosecute.  The policy is the same for adults and minors.

2.    Staff may look through a patron’s purse, book bag, backpack, or other item for library materials only if the patron voluntarily opens such item. 

3.    If the suspected person runs away, becomes violent, threatening, or dangerous in any way, the staff member will not attempt to detain or follow them or do anything that will endanger herself/himself or any library patron.  Allow the person to leave, but try to get a full description of the person and vehicle and notify the police.

4.    The staff member will fill out the Theft Attempt Incident Report and notify the Director in those cases where the police determine there is just cause for detention or arrest, and when the suspected person runs away. 


Adopted December 18, 2000

Revised and approved September 19, 2011

Reviewed and approved October 15, 2018




Date: _____________________________ Time: ______________________________


Staff member: __________________________________________________________


Description of incident:

Give complete details on actions, conversations, names and other people who witnessed the incident, etc.



Loan Periods and Item Limits

1.    Following are the loan periods and renewals for library materials:

                                                  Loan period     Renewal

     Laptops/iPads                         2 hours          no      

     Magazines                             14 days          yes       

     Art prints                                 3 months       yes        

     Books                                     14 days          yes

     DVDs and VHS                      14 days          yes

     All other items                         14 days          yes

2.    Items may be renewed up to three times by telephone, in person or on-line.  Art prints may be renewed once for one month. Items that have a hold list may not be renewed at all.

3.    Special longer loan periods are available for teachers and program planners, patrons on vacations, members of Board of Trustees and others.

4.    Each card holder is limited to 2 adult fiction DVDs, 2 children fiction DVDs, 2 puppets, 6 other audio items (CDs) and 3 art prints.  Limits may be put on non-fiction in demand because of school assignments. There is no limit on fiction books or magazines.

Adopted October 20, 2008

Revised and approved September 18, 2017


Billing, Fines and Fees

The library has a limited collection of materials; timely return is encouraged by charging fines for late return.   It is the responsibility of the patron to bring material borrowed back on time and to pay the fines and fees established by this library.  This policy is to ensure a fair and equitable fine and fee structure and procedure.

Overdue Items and Fines

1.    Fines for all items are ten (10) cents per item per day.  Fines do not accrue on days the library is closed.

2.    The maximum overdue fine that can accumulate for an item is ten dollars ($10) or an amount equal to the cost of the item if the cost is less than ten dollars ($10).

3.    Overdue notices will be printed and mailed or emailed once a week.  The first notice will be sent when the material is at least seven (7) days overdue, a second notice a week later, and a final notice will be sent two (2) weeks after that when the material is at least twenty-eight (28) days overdue. 

4.    Ninety days (90) after the due date, the items will be considered as “Lost” and the patron will be charged the replacement cost of the item and the accumulated fines.

5.    Patrons may not borrow material when they have overdue or lost items, or when their fines have accumulated to $2.00 or higher.  Once a patron has accumulated any fine, all computer privileges are lost until the fines are completely paid.

Lost Items

1.    If materials are lost the patron will be charged the cost of replacing the item.  The patron has the option of getting permission from the Director to replace material.  Fines will be waived if patron pays for or replaces the material.  The patron will be given a dated receipt showing the cost of the item.

Damaged Items

1.    When an item is damaged beyond reasonable repair, the patron will be charged the item’s replacement cost.  Patrons will be notified by phone of damaged materials.  No overdue fines are added to the cost for a damaged item when it is paid for and the patron may keep the item.

2.    Generally, the full cost of replacing an item is charged if it is greatly damaged (wet, mildewed, stained, scribbled, chewed, scratched, broken, etc.).  There will be no charge for audio or video tapes broken during ordinary play.

3.    If minor damage or small markings have occurred, a charge of fifty (.50) cents to one ($1.00) dollar will be charged.

4.    Cost for damaged or lost items:

Bar code                                          $    .50

RFID tag                                          $    .50
Book pocket                                     $    .30

Dust jacket                                       $    .30

Plastic audiobook case                    $10.00

Plastic cassette box                         $  1.50

Plastic CD box                                 $  1.00

Plastic media bag                            $  1.00  (small)

                                                         $  2.50  (large)

Plastic video/DVD box                     $  1.00  (single)

                                                         $  2.00  (double)

Jewel case                                       $  2.00

CD checkout pouch                          $  1.00

Plastic book pocket                          $  1.00

Damaged/missing pieces   Charge will be determined by library staff;  to games, puzzles, etc.  generally full replacement cost

If a patron fails to return library materials for two months or more after the due date the library reserves the right to pursue legal avenues set forth in section 714.5 of the Iowa Code.

If a patron attempts to conceal library materials or equipment either on library premises or outside library premises the library reserves the right to pursue legal avenues set for in section 714.5 and section 808.12 of the Iowa Code.


Library Card Replacement             $ 1.00

Photocopies                                    $   .10- 1.00 (depending on color)

Fax (incoming)                                $   .25 (per page)

Fax (outgoing)                                $ 1.00 for first page, .25 for each additional page

Interlibrary Loan Request               $ 1.25

Laminating                                      $   .30 (per square foot)

Media left in book drop                   $ 1.00 (per item)

Disc Repair                                     $ 1.00 (per disc)

Non-Resident Library Card             $50.00 (per patron)

Adopted September 19, 2011,
Revised and approved January 27, 2014, September 18, 2017