Collection Development Policy Q&A

1. What kinds of materials are available in Springfield libraries?

The Springfield City Library offers a wide range of materials in a variety of formats, such as books, magazines, newspapers, spoken CDs and cassettes, music CDs, DVDs, and videocassettes. Currently, the library buys in English, Spanish, Russian, and Vietnamese; as the community’s needs change, these languages change. The library also maintains collections of varying sizes in over a dozen languages.

2. Who chooses them, and how are they chosen?

Staff at each branch select some materials for that branch, and other materials are selected by central library staff. Librarians consider requests by users, standard review sources (such as Booklist, School Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly), publishers’ and book distributors’ catalogs and websites, newspapers and magazines, broadcast media, and online sources.

3. What factors are taken into account when choosing material for the collection?

Factors include: the artist’s or author’s reputation and popularity, requests from library users, positive reviews, how the item fits in with the collection, cost, and local interest in the topic or author. Balance – of subject coverage, of points of view, of reading level, etc. – is always a key factor when selecting materials. The library does not add pornography, as judged by community standards, to its collections.

4. Does the public have a role in choosing library materials?

Yes. To suggest something you would like to have added to the collection, submit a materials suggestion form. In addition, every summer the library department will provide well-publicized opportunities for public input about the collection through such methods as surveys, focus groups, branch library advisory committees, and teen advisory boards.

5. If I suggest that something be added to the collection, how will I learn whether or not it has been added?

If the item has been added to the collection, you will be notified when it becomes available for you to borrow. You will also be notified if the item you have suggested has not been added to our collection, but has been borrowed for you from another library.

6. Are all library materials available to everyone?

A library is a place for free exchange of information and ideas. Only a child’s own parent or guardian can decide what material is suitable for reading, listening, or viewing for that child, and parents may wish to establish guidelines for what library materials they deem appropriate for their own children to access. Parents who do not want their child to borrow media materials, such as DVDs, may ask circulation staff to put a message to that effect on their child’s record.

7. How is the decision made to remove material from the collection, and what happens to library materials that are no longer needed?

Standards for “weeding” materials (the process for evaluating materials currently in the collection) include their factual accuracy, whether they have been superseded by another work, how often they have circulated, physical condition, and relevance to community needs and interests. Material removed from the library’s collection may be donated to social service agencies, sold to the public through book sales, sold to commercial firms, sold or transferred to other libraries, offered to library users at no charge, or disposed of.

8. Does the library accept donations of library materials?

The Friends of the Springfield Library, Inc. gratefully accepts donations of books, periodicals, audio and video recordings, and other materials for their book sales, which support library operations and programs. In addition, the library selectively accepts materials to add to its own collections, based on the same standards as those described in question 4.

9. How do I register concerns about materials in the library’s collection?

Questions and concerns about materials in the collection may be brought to the attention of the branch or department manager or supervisor. You may also submit a “Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials” form.

For more information about the library’s collection development activities, please see the full collection development policy.