Collection Development Policy
This document provides the staff and public with an understanding of the purpose and nature of the Library's collection. It explains the criteria staff use for making decisions to add or withdraw items in the collection.
We are dedicated to the free and open distribution of ideas. The Library is primarily a government-funded agency. The First Amendment of the Constitution ensures that ideas, even ideas that some find offensive, cannot be restricted by the government. Furthermore, it is the responsibility of the Library to provide a wide-range of ideas, opinions and information necessary for the functioning of a democratic society. We are dedicated to free and open use for all. No restriction is placed on the use of the Library's collection based on age, race, sex, nationality, educational background, physical limitations, or any other criteria that may be the source of discrimination.
We are dedicated to protecting individuals’ rights to decide for themselves and for their own children what library materials to use. Materials will not be added or removed from the collection, based upon protecting users from the contents of the materials. We strongly encourage all parents who wish to restrict their own children’s use of the Library to establish guidelines for their own children's use of library materials.
The inclusion of any item in the Library's collection does not constitute an endorsement by the Library of the item's contents. The Palm Harbor Community Services Agency Board upholds the principles of intellectual freedom as stated in the American Library Association's "Library Bill of Rights" (see below).
Cooperative Collection Development
To supplement its collection, the East Lake Community Library makes use of materials borrowed from other county libraries through the Pinellas Public Library Cooperative. There is also reciprocal borrowing with neighboring counties throughout Tampa Bay as well as our Interlibrary Loan Service (ILS) for difficult-to-find items.
Interlibrary Loan, however, is not a substitute for the development of adequate collections based on the needs of a member library's service area and patrons. Requests for titles are evaluated for potential use and cost- effectiveness, and may be added to the collection despite the existence of copies in other libraries. In addition, when areas in the collection are inadequate to meet regular patron demand, purchases are made to correct the situation rather than relying on requesting items from other libraries.
The East Lake Community Library also provides online databases and a variety of e-resources, including downloadable books and movies, current periodicals and topics of general interest, providing efficiencies in costs while meeting patron demands.
The Library cannot expect to fill every patron request from its own shelves. Libraries are being used more than ever before, and more is being printed and produced in other formats. The purpose of cooperative collection development is to assist the Library in meeting patron demands for materials that lie outside the scope of the Library's collection.
It is the Library's responsibility to weave many considerations when purchasing an item. These areas include the content, the potential use, the need, the purpose, the medium, and the format of the content to best meet the users need. Other considerations in selecting a format include cost and available space for storage and display. New formats purchased by the Library are based on these user needs. Therefore digital (including online databases and downloadable resources) or print materials may be determined as the best format to provide certain information to Library users.
Materials are selected after professional librarians and other experienced members of the Library staff consult a variety of print and online media reviews. Support staff may recommend titles as well as work on the weeding, ordering, and collection management of the library collections. First, the Library staff attempts to meet patrons' demands. Second, materials are purchased that are both pertinent and timely. Because of limited resources and space and because the Library has access to other libraries' collections, the relevance of materials to our collection is especially considered.
The Library purchases audio-visual materials as part of its collection development. Selection of audio-visual materials will be based on the same criteria used throughout the selection process.
The Library welcomes requests for purchase of materials for the library, and requests will be subject to the same criteria for selection as other considered materials. Selection of materials for the Library collection is an ongoing process which includes the removal of materials no longer appropriate and the replacement of lost and worn materials that are still of value for informational or recreational needs.
The term weeding is used to describe the activity of seeking out items that are no longer useful or appropriate for the collection. These items are then discarded and may or may not be replaced. Weeding the library collection is as much a routine as the acquisition of new books. The purpose of discarding materials from the collection is to maintain an accurate and up to date collection for library patrons. Materials which are inaccurate, outdated, unused, or in poor condition detract from the usefulness and aesthetic appeal of the collection. These materials take up shelf space that could be occupied by needed and requested materials.
Weeding the collection is an ongoing process and is the responsibility of the librarians. The goal of the East Lake Community Library is that each section of the collection is to be weeded on an ongoing basis to keep the collection accurate. Special attention is paid to Medical, Computer Science and Technology, and travel materials, as they become dated rapidly.
Materials are discarded from the collection using the CREW guidelines for weeding. The acronym CREW stands for Continuous Review, Evaluation, and Weeding. Items that are weeded from the collection include ones that are: misleading or factually inaccurate; damaged, soiled or worn; outdated or superseded by a new edition or newer title on the same subject; trivial or have no discernible literary or scientific merit; irrelevant to the needs and interests of the community or contain information that may be obtained more easily elsewhere. Materials that have not circulated in a chosen time period, duplicate titles no longer needed, or damaged materials are also considered for discarding.
Items in damaged or outdated condition will be thrown away. Items in good condition that have been removed from the collection may be sold by the Friends of the Library, used in our local Little Free Libraries, or donated to charitable agencies.
Library Display Policy
The East Lake Community Library plays a vital role at the heart of the community by promoting full and equal access to information. To this end, part of the library’s mission is providing a variety of displays, both physical and virtual, that inform and enrich the lives of people of all ages and diverse backgrounds.
The final responsibility for the display of library materials is held by the Library Director, but day-to-day responsibility is shared by professional and paraprofessional employees throughout the building. Library staff uses the following criteria in making decisions about display topics, materials, and accompanying resources:
• Community needs and interest
• Availability of display space
• Historical, cultural, or educational significance
• Connection to other community or national programs, exhibitions, or events
• Relation to library collections, resources, exhibits, and programs
In addition, the Library draws upon other community resources in developing displays and exhibits, and may partner with other community agencies, organizations, educational institutions, or individuals to develop and present co-sponsored displays and exhibits.
The Library will strive to include a wide spectrum of opinions and viewpoints in library-initiated displays and exhibits, as well as offer displays and exhibits that appeal to a range of ages, interests, and information needs. Library-initiated displays and exhibits should not exclude topics, books, media, and other resources solely because they may be considered to be controversial. Acceptance of a display or exhibit topic by the Library does not constitute an endorsement by the East Lake Community Library of the content of the display or exhibit, or of the views expressed in materials on display.
ccupied by needed and requested materials.
Reconsideration of Library Materials
The East Lake Community Library makes every effort to meet the needs and interests of all of its members; therefore, in accordance with the ALA Library Bill of Rights, it is the policy of the library administration that the only acceptable censorship is self-censorship. However, complaints may be made in writing to the Director who, at his or her discretion, can consider an alternative solution, such as moving the item to a more suitable location in the library.
Upon submission of the Reconsideration of Library Materials form, the Library Director will convene a committee of Board members and staff to review the concerns and respond to the complainant within twenty-one days from receipt of the form. Dependent upon the number of challenges under review, the final determination may take longer than the initial three-week period. A written notice or an email of the committee’s findings will be sent to the Customer as soon as the determination is made.
Individual Library materials shall only be subject to reconsideration under this Policy once every three (3) years, regardless of the number of Customers requesting consideration of a particular title.
Customers may request reconsideration of multiple Library materials, but Library staff will treat each item to be reconsidered as a separate request. The order of reconsideration of such materials will be determined by Library staff and reconsideration of a subsequent item shall only commence when the reconsideration process for the prior item has been completed. Requests for reconsideration of Library materials from different Customers will be processed in the order in which they are received. If a reconsideration of Library materials is in progress and a subsequent request for a reconsideration of materials is received from the same or a different Customer, Library staff will complete the reconsideration in progress before commencing a new review of another item. The Library will conduct no more than two (2) simultaneous reviews.
Please be mindful that each challenge costs approximately $400 in taxpayer dollars for the staff time and effort to read the book in its entirety, seek professional reviews, and discuss the various aspects of the complaint before coming to a resolution.
This form may be viewed HERE or a paper copy may be requested at the front circulation desk or from a member of the Youth Services staff. Please return the completed form in a sealed envelope addressed to: Library Director – Reconsideration of Library Materials.
East Lake Community Library
4125 East Lake Road, Palm Harbor, FL 34685