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Board of Trustees Policy Manual

The purpose of this manual is to provide to the members of the Fairfax County Library (FCPL) Board of Trustees, the Library Administration and staff, all of the basic statutes, regulations and policies pertinent to the overall direction of FCPL

Policy Regarding Selection Of Materials

The selection of library materials shall be based on the Library's mission to meet the educational, informational, and recreational tastes and needs of the community and its citizens. Funding for library materials should not fall below 20% of the Library's annual total expenditure.

  1. The Library shall develop collections of merit and significance, whether acquired by purchase or by gift. Each item of material shall be considered in terms of its value to the collection and the audience for whom it is intended. Reading and language abilities of the citizens shall be considered.
  2. Materials to be evaluated may include a variety of currently appropriate formats. These will include books for young people and adults, in hardcover, paperback, large print, audio and/or digital editions; database services, periodicals, newspapers, films, microforms, maps. The Library shall provide equipment to access these materials for people with disabilities and to maintain these collections. As growth and change occur in these areas, the Library shall re-evaluate the formats which are being acquired or not acquired.
  3. Materials shall be evaluated according to objective standards. Flexibility, open-mindedness and responsiveness are required in the evaluation process. Consideration shall be given to expanding knowledge, changing social values, technological advances, and cultural and language differences where appropriate. As growth and change occur in these areas, the Library shall re-evaluate materials which were acquired or not acquired.
  4. Some materials may be judged primarily in terms of artistic merit, scholarship or their value as human documents; others may be selected to satisfy recreational and entertainment needs.
  5. Different viewpoints on controversial issues may be acquired, including those which may have unpopular or unorthodox positions. The Library recognizes that those materials which offend, shock or bore one reader may be considered pleasing, meaningful or significant by another.
  6. To avoid unnecessary duplication, the availability of materials to the public through other area libraries, community agencies, or reputable online sources shall be considered.
  7. All the Library's circulating collections shall be accessible to all borrowers, regardless of branch location, through an efficient reserve system. Materials the Library has not selected may be able to be borrowed from other libraries nationwide through interlibrary loan.
  8. Recognizing that a materials selection policy can result in complaints from the public who may not understand the reasons why certain items have been included in or excluded from in the collection, the Library shall have  procedures for reconsideration of the item in question (Policy S). Any patron has the right to question the purchase of an item for the library collection.
  9. The Library Board of Trustees supports these American Library Association documents: Library Bill of Rights,12 Freedom to Read Statement,13 and Free Access to Libraries for Minors.14

12 Library Bill of Rights, Addendum 12
13 Freedom to Read Statement, Addendum 13
14 Free Access to Libraries for Minors, Addendum 14


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