The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance for the selection and evaluation of materials; to ensure that the collection is balanced and responsive to community needs; and to support the Warwick Public Library’s mission and commitment to intellectual freedom.
Library’s Mission Statement
Our mission is to improve the quality of life in Warwick through learning, personal discovery, and the free flow of information and ideas.
- To provide library materials that are responsive to and anticipate the needs of the community and library users ;
- To support the Library’s mission as stated above;
- To provide the best, most current information in a user friendly arrangement; and
- To build a diverse collection reflecting our community and containing content by and about a wide array of people and cultures to authentically represent a variety of ideas, information, stories, and experiences.
The overall responsibility for the collection and library resources rests with the Library Director and the Manager of Collections. The responsibility for selecting and evaluating is delegated to qualified and knowledgeable staff who employ the criteria outlined in this policy.
Materials are selected to support the library’s mission. Factors considered include:
- Individual merit of each item, including reviews in professional and popular sources
- Popular interest/demand, including hold ratio
- Accuracy of information
- Authoritativeness of writer
- Clear presentation and readability
- Community needs and interest
- Creative/literary quality
- Existing library holdings and holdings of other OSL libraries
- Online, network, and remote access capabilities
- User interface and content of electronic products
- Currency of information
- Cost & availability
Selection aids may include:
- Reviews in professionally recognized periodicals and journals
- Recommendation lists from professional organizations, awards, etc.
- Recommendations from vendors based on current and projected demands
- Purchasing activity of other libraries in OSL
- Advice of recognized authorities in specific subject areas
- Patron requests
The Library does not purchase or acquire textbooks.
Collection Arrangement & Classification
The Library of Congress Classification System is the primary organizational scheme at the Warwick Public Library. Separate collections, such as New Books, the Career Collection, Travel Guides, and Children’s Biographies are considered when the demand and use is high, and access is improved by a separate arrangement.
Ensuring that the collection is easy to access and browse is a priority.
The Library offers access to subscription databases and digital collections. The selection of digital collections will follow the same general criteria as that of our physical collections. The Library also provides access to digital collections that are offered through Ocean State Libraries and through AskRI.
The Library maintains a historical collection containing materials of interest in state and local history. These materials are non-circulating, and considered part of the Reference Department. They are weeded based upon relevance and duplication. Additional titles are purchased for circulation if interest warrants.
Local Author Collection
The Library welcomes the growing opportunities new self-publishing technologies offer local writers for self-expression. The Library maintains a “Local Author Collection” for recent works, those published within the previous three years, written by authors living in Rhode Island. Authors wishing to contribute books to this section must meet the following criteria:
- The item must be bound strong enough for at least 20 circulations.
- Works with CDs or DVDs will not be accepted.
- Contributed books must include the real name of the author, full title, date of publication, summary, place of publication and number of pages so that the item can be cataloged.
- Books become the property of the library and will not be returned.
- Items will be retained on the Local Authors Shelf at the Library’s discretion for up to two years.
As with all materials submitted for consideration, the Library reserves the right to decide not to add an item to the Collection. Author donations are limited to 3 items with only one copy of each title.
See Local Author Donation Form below.
Scope of the Branch Libraries
Branch libraries serve the needs of the communities in which they are located. Collections of the branch libraries concentrate on materials of high interest and demand. They are weeded regularly to make room for new materials.
Limitations & Priorities
The Warwick Public Library recognizes that some materials may cover topics that are controversial or include mature content. Selection of such materials are made on criteria detailed in this policy without bias. Responsibility for the reading/viewing/listening of materials rests with their parents or legal guardians for those who are underage. Selection of materials will not be inhibited by the possibility that materials may come in to the possession of children.
Should you wish to have an item from the Library’s collection re-evaluated, please fill out a Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials form, and the item will be re-evaluated based on the criteria described in this policy.
See Appendix A for the Library Bill of Rights
To ensure the collection continues to provide timely service to the public and support our mission, damaged and outdated materials will be removed from the collection regularly. Factors considered in removing materials from the collection include:
- Physical condition of the material
- Item contains misleading or inaccurate information
- Multiple copies of the title are no longer in demand
- Seldom used materials
- Subject matter no longer of current interest or historical/literary significance
- Old editions replaced by later revisions of non-fiction titles
- Another item or format might better serve the purpose
Collection management staff will coordinate collection maintenance activities with branch library staff supervising activities and making final decisions related to removal of items from their collections, or designate librarians to make these decisions. Discarded materials may be donated to local schools or city agencies, the Friends’ of the Library book sale, Discover Books or Books Are Wings.
In the case that an item is withdrawn from the collection due to loss, damage, or wear, the title will be examined, and based on availability and the criteria in this policy, may or may not be replaced. The replacement of an item depends on both budget constraints and patron demand. As a result, the item might not be replaced.
In order to maintain a strong, relevant, up to date collection, the Manager of Collections will work with staff to provide ongoing collection analysis. Through ongoing quantitative and qualitative methods, staff members will monitor the collection to see whether or not it continues to serve the needs and interests of the public. Evaluation techniques will include but not be limited to the following:
- Usage data (number of checkouts, last checkout date, turnover rate, etc.)
- Collection holding data (age of collection, distribution of materials, etc.)
- Patron and staff recommendations
- Lists of “Best Materials” published by library organizations, library and professional review sources
The Library is able to send requests to other libraries for materials not held within the Ocean State Libraries consortium. Not every item can be obtained through these means, though Library staff will make every effort to arrange for interlibrary loan. There may be a fee associated with such a loan due to shipping costs.
Gifts are evaluated according to the same selection criteria as purchased materials. The Library welcomes gifts in good condition with the understanding that any unneeded, duplicate, or damaged materials may be offered to another library, sold or disposed of. While appraisals of gift materials will not be made, the library will acknowledge their receipt in writing to the donor. Many donated items may be included in the Friends of the Library Book Sale to raise funds to support the Library. The Library does not accept donations of textbooks, encyclopedias, magazines, or videocassettes.
Monetary donations are accepted for the purchase of library materials. In the case of memorial gifts, the library makes every effort to acquire material on a subject specified by the donor. A special bookplate designates memorial gifts.
See Appendix D for Gift Policy
Reconsideration of Library Materials
Patrons may request the Library reconsider materials which they find to be objectionable with the “Request for Reconsideration” form, available at service desks. Users provide personal information, such as name, address, and telephone number, specific information about the material such as title, author and format, and what is found to be objectionable. Users are requested to be as specific as possible. Requests are sent to the Library Director. The Library Director will acknowledge receipt of the form within two weeks.
The Library Director, after reviewing the recommendation, will render a decision as to whether the library material remains on the shelf or is removed from the collection and will notify patron of said decision. A final appeal may be made to the Library Board of Trustees. During the process, the material in question will remain on the shelf and be available for circulation.
See Appendix for Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials Form.