Library Board approved July 16, 2002

This policy supports the Mission Statement of the Oak Park Public Library and sets forth the basic philosophy of materials selection and collection management in this institution.

The primary purpose of materials selection and collection management at the Oak Park Public Library is to anticipate and be responsive to the diverse informational, educational, cultural, and recreational needs of Oak Park residents of all ages and levels of education by providing an up-to-date, carefully selected and well-balanced collection of the best materials available in print, audiovisual, and electronic formats.  The maintenance of the collection involves continuous acquisition and replacement of needed titles and subjects, and the withdrawal of physically worn, unused, and out-of-date materials. Responsibility for the collection rests with the Executive Director in accordance with policies approved by the Board of Library Trustees.

Involved in the selection of materials are such factors as:

  • expressed needs and interests of Oak Park residents
  • professional experience and judgment of the library staff and their knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of the collection
  • staff familiarity with the demographic composition of the community and knowledge of the patterns of use of the collection, as shown in circulation statistics for individual titles and subject areas and in-house surveys of use of library materials
  • the availability of resources in other organizations and libraries, including the respective strengths and nature of the institutions
  • cooperative plans for purchase of library materials

Involved in the selection of individual titles are such factors as: accuracy of the text; significance to current issues or long-term value to the collection; supplementary reference value of nonfiction books; literary merit; appeal to the public; predicted use; reputation of the author or publisher; availability of similar materials in the collection; availability of materials in other libraries; and format and price.

Audiovisual materials are an integral part of the library's collection.  They are selected under the same principles that guide the selection of print materials.

Electronic resources are selected to expand the Library's resources and to improve access to information.  The criteria for selection include the currency and quality of the information, a user-friendly format, compatibility with existing computer services, demand for the resource, cost, and efficiency.  Purchasing electronic resources, the library endeavors to obtain licenses that permit accessing the resources from outside of the library.

The library welcomes gifts of books, audiovisual materials, and money.  Endowed books funds are maintained under the auspices of the Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation. Recommendations for purchase are also welcome. Donated titles will be evaluated and added to the collection in accordance with the criteria described above.  Materials given to the Library become the Library's property and may be disposed of as the Library sees fit. 

Materials selection and collection management incorporate the principles expressed in the Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read and the Freedom to View statements.  It is the responsibility of the library to ensure that the collection represents a wide range of viewpoints.  Materials will not be excluded because of political, social, religious, moral, or other views of the author.  The library recognizes the right of individuals to read or reject materials as they see fit and will not restrict the freedom of others to read what they choose.  Materials are judged on the basis of the work as a whole and are not excluded by reason of a part taken out of context. 

Children are allowed access to the total collection, and the selection of adult material is not restricted by the possibility that children and adolescents may obtain items that parents consider inappropriate.  The responsibility for materials used by children and adolescents rest with parents or legal guardians.