Farmington Public Library

Materials Selection Policy

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Approved by Advisory Board 12/15/09


1.0 Objectives of the library

The mission of the Farmington Public Library is to provide for the informational, educational, cultural and recreational needs of individuals in the City of Farmington and the surrounding areas.

1.1 Library Bill of Rights

The Farmington Public Library adopts the American Library Association Bill of Rights and is guided by its content and intent in materials selection.

1.2 Objectives of Materials Selection

To further the general objectives above, the library, in its selection policies, emphasizes its educational and informational functions. A book has educational value if it contributes to the positive growth of a person, either as an individual or as a member of society. The library's material selection reflects the importance of books and materials of lasting value.

The library recognizes its obligation to provide reference and nonfiction materials for the direct answering of specific questions, for independent research, and for general information and enlightenment. Fiction works should include standard works, classic titles, and popular titles.

Within the framework of these broad objectives, selection is also based more specifically on the particular needs and interests of individuals in the community served.


2.0 The Community

The library's first responsibility is to meet the needs and demands of individual readers within the service area.

2.1 The Selection Process

Due to the vast number of books and other materials printed each year, the library staff relies on reviews and recommendations from accepted and reliable sources in and out of the field of librarianship.

Library materials are selected at the discretion of the Library Director or his/her appointed agents.


3.0 General

The library's first responsibility is to meet the needs and demands of individual readers within the service area.

To build a collection of merit, materials are evaluated according to one or more of the following standards. An item need not meet all of these criteria in order to be acceptable.

  1. Present and potential relevance to community needs;
  2. Suitability of subject, style and reading level for the intended audience;
  3. Importance as a document of the times;
  4. Appropriateness and effectiveness of medium to content;
  5. Reputation and/or significance of author, publisher or producer;
  6. Positive review in one or more appropriate professional journals;
  7. Relationship to existing materials in the collection;
  8. Within limits of budget for materials;
  9. Not available, or with limited accessibility, from other lending sources;
  10. Insufficient materials available on the same subject;
  11. Author, illustrator or producer is of local significance;
  12. Format is appropriate to Library use and is not easily damaged;
  13. Enhances a specific collection within the Library;
  14. Literary and artistic merit;
  15. Accuracy of content;
  16. Popularity with library patrons.

3.1 Requests from Readers

Consideration is given to requests from readers. Requests are weighed in relation to the general criteria for selection listed above, although important works may be purchased regardless of demand. Requests for specialized material may be met through interlibrary loan rather than by purchase.

3.2 Minority Viewpoints

Minority viewpoints and treatments representing several sides of controversial subjects, whether or not they are popular, may be included. Although the library strives to present a balanced representation of viewpoints, the library is under no obligation to furnish a public platform for every person or group.

3.3 Gifts

Gifts of books and other materials are accepted by the library with the explicit understanding that they are not necessarily to be added to the collection. The library may dispose of gift items by discarding, selling or transfer. When gift materials are being considered, such costs as processing, shelf space, etc. must be considered, as well as the general criteria for selection listed above.

3.4 Censorship

The Farmington Public Library subscribes to the principles embodied in the following statements of the American Library Association, copies of which are appended to and made an integral part of this policy:

  1. Library Bill of Rights,
  2. Freedom to Read,
  3. Freedom to View.

3.5 Duplicate or Multiple Copies

The acquisition of additional copies of a title shall be done at the discretion of the Library Director or his/her appointed agents, based on anticipated or actual demand and usage

3.6 Collection Maintenance

The de-selection, or weeding, of library materials is an integral part of the collection development process. As much care should go into weeding the items in a collection as went into the original selection of them.

Over time library materials become worn, outdated, damaged or lost. Withdrawal and/or replacement of library materials will be determined by the appropriate staff members, who will evaluate whether:

  1. A different item or format might better serve the same purpose;
  2. There remains sufficient need to replace that item, and the item is still available for purchase;
  3. Updated, newer or revised materials better replace a given item;
  4. The item has historical value;
  5. Another agency might better provide a comparable item;
  6. The item continues to meet the general criteria for selection.

In addition to the criteria listed above, accepted and reliable standards for collection maintenance may be consulted and applied.

Withdrawn materials will be disposed of according to the guidelines established in Section 8 of this policy statement.


4.0 General

Adult books are selected for use by the mature reader. The overall merit of a book is the chief criterion for selection, in addition to the general selection criteria previously listed. Works which present an honest picture of some problem or aspect of life are not excluded on the basis of coarse language or frankness, but books written solely to trade on a taste for sensationalism and pornography are not added.

An attempt is made to balance the collection among educational, cultural, vocational, and recreational needs of the community served.

In selecting material for general reading, readability, popular appeal, and quality of writing are also considered.


5.0 Purpose

In selecting materials for children, the library's objective is to build a collection that satisfies the informational, recreational, and cultural reading needs and potentials of children from preschool age to approximately age twelve. Materials are included which meet the general demand of the majority of children, along with special materials valuable to children with special needs, talents, problems or interests.

5.1 Criteria

In addition to the general criteria for selection, criteria for selecting children's materials include literary and artistic worth, suitability of content and vocabulary to the age of the readers, and the contribution of the book to the balance of the total collection.

5.2 Curricular Demands

It is not the public library's intent to substitute for the development and/or use of school libraries.

Textbooks are generally not added, but may be added to provide information on subjects when there is little other material available.

5.3 Religious Materials

The library strives to present a balanced representation of various religions including religious customs and traditions.

5.4 Foreign Language

Limited quantities of children's books in foreign languages are purchased. Emphasis is on Spanish and Navajo language books.


6.0 Purpose

The purpose of the library's young adult fiction collection is to aid the adolescent and teenager in the transition from the children's collection to the adult collection, and to provide material of special interest to young adults. For this purpose, young adults are defined as ages thirteen through eighteen.

6.1 Scope

The young adult collection is composed of fiction materials dealing with the particular problems, situations, and interests relevant to young adult library patrons. Items in the collection should attempt to fulfill the recreational and emotional needs of young adults.

6.2 Content

All types of readers must be considered in setting up a young adult collection. The library will strive for a balanced representation of popular genres.

6.3 Profanity and Sexual Content

Although profanity or sexual frankness may be controversial, a book will be considered for purchase if it opens a clearer vision of life, and meets the general criteria for selection.


7.0 Fiction

The library purchases a wide range of fiction titles to satisfy the differing tastes, interests, purposes, and reading levels of library patrons.

The Library Board recognizes the importance of the novel as an educational tool as well as a source of recreation and entertainment. Both classic and popular works are included in the collection.

Some fiction contains a certain amount of vulgar language and frankness of detail in order to accomplish a purpose. A book will not be excluded from consideration for purchase based solely on the inclusion of potentially offensive material.

7.1 Foreign Languages

A limited number of adult books, with a concentration on fiction, are purchased in foreign languages. The emphasis is on titles printed in Spanish.

The library does maintain a collection of materials aimed at learning to speak a foreign language. A variety of languages are included in these learning materials, consisting of both books and recordings. The selection of languages is based upon the perceived or actual interests of the local community. Discrimination or bias is not intended.

7.2 Paperbacks

Paperbacks may be purchased for the general collection if titles are not available in hardback, or if cost warrants a paperback purchase.

7.3 Government Documents

The Farmington Public Library is a partial New Mexico State Documents Depository, a partial United States Federal Depository and a partial United Nations Depository.

In addition to the general criteria for selection, each of these collections is developed and maintained according to the requirements defined by Guidelines for the New Mexico State Depository Library System, U. S. Government Printing Office’s Guidelines for the Federal Depository Library Program, and the United Nations’ Guidelines on Library Management for small and field libraries respectively.

7.4 Multimedia

Non-print formats, such as electronic resources, compact disc, DVD, etc. will be selected according to the same principles applied to the selection of other library materials. The decision to provide a specific format, or eliminate one, is based upon indicators regarding technological trends, to ensure the greatest number of users will benefit.

7.5 Periodicals

Due to the proliferation of online databases as a means for searching and retrieving periodicals, the focus of the Farmington Public Library's periodical collection has moved toward that of a browsing collection, rather than a research collection.

The selection of periodical titles is based primarily upon reviews and recommendations found in professional resources for public libraries. Selection of titles strives for overall balance, in terms of subject matter and viewpoints. Heavier consideration will be given to subjects and publications that are relevant to the library's service population, and for subject areas identified in the library's long range plan.

Newspapers of importance either locally or nationally are purchased as the budget allows, with selection based on demand and usefulness to the library's service population.

7.6 Southwest

All subject areas are included in Southwest collections. General criteria for selection and de-selection of materials are followed for Southwest materials, although out-of-print items and titles of local and regional historical significance are considered more carefully in the weeding process.

The geographical range of the Southwest collection includes all of New Mexico and a portion of the Colorado Plateau, (i.e. Southwest Colorado), Southeast Utah, and Northwest Arizona. Greater emphasis is given to the San Juan Region (Four Corners) than the rest of New Mexico.

Certain Southwest items are designated for locked case. These items are not available for circulation, as they have been determined to be irreplaceable. When economically feasible, efforts are made to provide a circulating copy (or multiple copies) for selected locked titles.

7.7 Electronic Resources

The Farmington Public Library will select electronic resources which complement and enhance the library's print collections. Specific resources will be selected using the same principles used for other library materials, although format and delivery may be more heavily weighted in an effort to provide as wide an opportunity for access as possible.


Discarded materials may be given to other educational or nonprofit institutions for use. Those materials which are badly worn, defaced, or of no educational, informational, or recreational value are destroyed. Withdrawn materials may also be included in the book sales where the revenue is used for the library's needs.


9.0 General

The Farmington Public Library Staff and Board support intellectual freedom and subscribe to the principles of the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights and its statements, Freedom To Read and Freedom To View. The Library staff applies the selection criteria described in this Materials Selection Policy and thus endeavors to provide books and other materials that reflect the diversity of viewpoints within the community.

Library patrons may nominate books or other materials to be either added to or removed from the collection. When a request for reconsideration is made by a patron, this procedure is followed:

9.1 Written Request

A member of the Library staff explains the Materials Selection Policy to the patron, and offers to provide a copy. If the patron wishes, s/he may then submit a written Request for Reconsideration of Library Resources to the Library Director.

9.2 Library Director’s Review

The completed request is reviewed by one or more members of the Library staff who have responsibility for materials selection, and by the Library Director. The Library staff members objectively review the resource in question to ascertain that the selection criteria and principles were applied in the selection process.

The Library Director or a member of the Library staff shall make a written response to the requester within 14 days of the date that the reconsideration request was submitted. The Library Director shall also notify the Library Board of each Request for Reconsideration submitted.

9.3 Appeal

If the requester is not satisfied with the decision of the Library staff, s/he may appeal in writing to the Library Dirictor, who then convenes a Reconsideration Committee. This committee will consist of:

  1. One member of the Library Board;
  2. Members of the Library staff with responsibility for material selection;
  3. Members of the community selected jointly by the Library Board and the Library Director.

9.4 Reconsideration Committee

In reviewing the request for reconsideration, the Reconsideration Committee employs the selection criteria and considers other appropriate information, including professional reviews and recommendations, comments from the Library staff, and comments from the requester.

Library resources are not removed from the collections during the review period. Copies of the material in question may be checked out as evaluation copies for use by the Reconsideration Committee, appropriate staff, or the Library Director.

The Reconsideration Committee will recommend an action to the Library Director, who will reach a decision and inform the requester and the committee in writing of that decision.

9.5 Library Board Review

Should the requester wish to appeal this decision, s/he may make a final appeal in writing directly to the Library Board which will review and rule on the request within thirty days of the final written appeal.



The Farmington Public Library provides various special materials, both print and non-print, which may serve populations with special needs (i.e. elderly and physically handicapped). These materials are treated as part of the regular circulating collection, and use of these materials is not limited to use by any special population.

When appropriate, information may be provided regarding alternative library services, such as the federally funded Talking Book program.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
  4. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
  5. A person's right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
  6. Libraries which 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 18, 1948.

Amended February 2, 1961, and January 23, 1980, inclusion of "age" reaffirmed January 23, 1996, by the ALA Council.

Freedom to Read

  1. It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those which are unorthodox or unpopular with the majority.
  2. Publishers, librarians and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea or representation contained in the books 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 books should be published or circulated.
  3. It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to determine the acceptability of a book on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.
  4. 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.
  5. It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept with any book the pre-judgment of a label characterizing the book or author as subversive or dangerous.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

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; revised January 28, 1972, January 16, 1991, by the ALA Council and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee.

A Joint Statement by: American Library Association & The Association of American Publishers

The American Library Association's Freedom to View Statement

  1. It is in the public interest to provide the broadest possible access to films and other audiovisual materials because they have proven to be among the most effective means for the communication of ideas. Liberty of circulation is essential to insure the constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression.
  2. It is in the public interest to provide for our audiences film and other audiovisual materials which represent a diversity of views and expression. Selection of a work does not constitute or imply agreement with or approval of the content.
  3. It is our professional responsibility to resist the constraint of labeling or prejudging a film on the basis of the moral, religious or political beliefs of the producer or film-maker or on the basis of controversial content.
  4. It is our professional responsibility to contest vigorously, by all lawful means, every encroachment upon the public's freedom to view.
2101 Farmington Ave
Farmington, NM 87401

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