The authority and responsibility of the Director consists of the following:
Through consortia lending within the Delaware Library Catalog and other statewide and countywide arrangements, the Library is able to provide a far wider range of resources, both physical and digital, to our members than the library would be able to provide on its own. The Library will endeavor to engage in these and other cooperative arrangements to enhance the collections available to its members.
Selection of materials for the Adult Fiction and Nonfiction print collections is primarily the responsibility of the Book Selection Committee. Committee is comprised of professional staff selected by the director who are familiar with the collection, review standard sources and meet monthly to discuss titles and make recommendations for purchase.
Standard review sources include the following: Booklist, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Forecast, Kirkus, and the New York Times Book Review. Other popular resources should also be followed so that staff is aware of new publications that the public may be reading about.
Formats include text, audio, and video, in both physical and digital formats. The Library recognizes the place of non-print formats in the collection as legitimate educational and recreational resources for the community it serves. The Library monitors the development of new formats and, within budgetary and technical limitations, adds these to the collection.
When a patron offers to give books, magazines, or non-print materials to the library, the following guidelines apply. If there is a question about these guidelines, or a special situation, the patron should be referred to the Director.
The library will accept hardcover and/or paperback books and audiovisual materials if they are in good condition. Local history materials are welcome, as are foreign language materials. Appropriate material may be added to the collection, put in the library’s book sales, or, if not in acceptable condition, discarded.
Materials that are moldy, dirty, foul-smelling, yellowed, water damaged, heavily scratched or incomplete will not be accepted. Guidebooks and medical books older than 5 years, encyclopedias, textbooks, outdated electronic media, Reader’s Digest condensed editions, or magazines older than one year cannot be accepted.
The donor will receive a written acknowledgment of the gift upon request. If so requested, the donor must leave name and address and number of books donated. Library staff will not appraise the books or indicate a value in the acknowledgment letter.
All ILL requests for recent material are considered for purchase. In addition, all titles that have been requested through ILL at least three times in a year are given high selection priority. Extra consideration is given to requests for titles published within the last six months, because it is unlikely that these will be available from other libraries.
Titles that have been requested by patrons and considered for purchase, but which do not fit the scope of the collection, are too old, out-of-date, or out-of-print, are submitted to ILL.
ILL may not be used for any title that is owned or on order by the library unless the copy is determined to be missing.
In some subject areas where patron demand is extremely high, the Library prefers to buy one copy of several different titles instead of buying numerouscopies of one title. More variety and depth in the collection can be achieved through thisapproach.
Titles are withdrawn from the Library’s collection through systematic weeding by selectors or because of loss or physical damage. Materials which are withdrawn because of loss or damage are reported to appropriate library staff who decide whether the item should be replaced usingthe same criteria as for selection. Other factors applicable when deciding on replacements include the number of copies of a title available in the Library or in the Delaware Library Catalog, the availability of newer materials on the subject, the importance of the work in its subject area, its listing in standard bibliographies, and its cost.
Systematic evaluation and weeding of the collection is required in order to keep the collection responsive to patrons’ needs, to insure its vitality and usefulness to the community, and to make room for newer materials. For this reason, subject areas should be reassessed for relevancy and currency every three years, at a minimum, although certain areas may require more frequent review.
Weeding identifies damaged items, ephemeral materials which are no longer used, out-of-date materials, extra copies which are not being used, and materials which are inappropriate for the collection. Weeding also helps the Director evaluate the collection by identifying areas or titles where additional materials are needed,older editions which need to be updated,and subjects, titles, or authors that are no longer of interest to the community. Titles can be checked against standard bibliographies in the subject to see if the items have historical or literary value. Holdings that are readily accessible in other libraries may also be considered when making weeding decisions. Withdrawn materials that are in good condition will be put in the book sale. Materials withdrawn from the Reference collection that retain informational value may be transferred to the circulating collection or offered to other libraries through Reference Exchange Lists.
Comments from members of the community about the collection or individual items in the collection frequently provide librarians with useful information about interests or needs that may not be adequately met by the collection. The Library welcomes expressions of opinion by patrons, but will be governed by this Materials Selection Policy in making additions to or deleting items from the collection.
Patrons who request the reconsideration of library materials will be asked to put their request in writing by completing and signing the form entitled “Request for Reconsideration of Library Material.” (Download Form)
Upon receipt of a formal, written request, the Director will notify the County Librarian, and the Board of Commissioners. The Director will appoint an ad hoc committee composed of the Library Director, Assistant Director, a representative from the Library Staff and representatives from the Book Selection Committee. The committee will make a written recommendation to the Director who in consultation with the Board will then make a decision regarding the disposition of the material. The Director will communicate this decision and the reasons for it, in writing, to the person who initiated the request for reconsideration at the earliest possible date. The Director will inform the Board and the County Librarian of all requests for reconsideration of library materials and their disposition.
In the event that the person who initiated the request is not satisfied with the decision, he/she may appeal for a hearing before the Board by making a written request to the President of the Board. The Board reserves the right to limit the length of presentation and number of speakers at the hearing. The Board will determine whether the request for reconsideration has been handled in accordance with stated policies and procedures of the Library. On the basis of this de-termination, the Board may vote to uphold or override the decision.
Rehoboth Beach Public Library | Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials
Adopted June 18, 1948, by the ALA Council; amended February 2, 1961; January 23, 1980; inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996.
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.
We therefore affirm these propositions:
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.
Therefore these principles are affirmed:
This statement was originally drafted by the Freedom to View Committee of the American Film and Video Association (formerly the Educational Film Library Association) and was adopted by the AFVA Board of Directors in February 1979.
This statement was updated and approved by the AFVA Board of Directors in 1989.
Endorsed January 10, 1990, by the ALA Council