Hunterdon County Library Vision and Mission Statement
The Hunterdon County Library seeks to nurture a love of reading, build community, and create opportunities for life-long learning.
We are committed to being responsive to the needs of our community. The library promises a welcoming experience and safe space to serve all residents. We are committed to being an engaged community partner by providing high-quality diverse programs, services, and collections to bring people together, to foster literacy, creativity, experimentation and exploration, and lifelong learning.
Purpose of the Collection Maintenance Policy
The Hunterdon County Library Collection Maintenance Policy is a collection of policies and procedures relating to all materials and resources obtained and retained by the library. Collection maintenance is an interpretative set of processes applied by professional librarians to build a collection to meet the informational, educational, and recreational needs of library patrons. The library continually expands the collection in all formats to reflect the needs and interests of the community. All ages, reading levels, and points of view are considered.
This formal policy serves five vital purposes:
It acts as a blueprint for our collection. This policy will guide staff in decision-making regarding the selection, management, and preservation of the collection.
It identifies responsibilities. This policy will clarify responsibilities for developing collections.
It establishes parameters and priorities. This policy will guide staff in developing budgets and allocating resources.
It informs the public. This policy provides transparency regarding the principles guiding our collection development.
It states Hunterdon County Library’s commitment to intellectual freedom. This policy details our responsibility to provide materials and information that express a variety of viewpoints.
The Collection Maintenance Policy will be reviewed on a regular basis.
The Hunterdon County Library System strives to provide a well-rounded, broadly based, and diverse collection of print, non-print, and digital resources across a wide spectrum of subjects, and expressing a range of viewpoints. The library’s collection maintenance objectives are:
To provide resources that inform, educate, entertain, and enrich people as individuals, as families, and as a community.
To include works of enduring value, as well as timely material on current issues.
To provide a balanced collection that represents a variety of viewpoints, opinions, and interests.
To select materials based on community needs, both those expressed and those inferred from user demographics and other evidence of areas of interest.
To be committed to the protection of the democratic ideal of the free flow of information and ideas, and to the right of free access to information for all individuals.
To adhere to the principles outlined in the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read Statement, and Freedom to View Statement.
Responsibility for Materials Selection
The Library Commission
Final authority for the determination of policy in the development of library collections is vested in the Hunterdon County Library Commission.
The Library Director
The Library Director, who operates within the framework of Commission policy, has responsibility for selection, withdrawal of materials, and control of expenditures.
The Director may delegate this responsibility to the professional staff who have training and knowledge in this area, as well as familiarity with community needs and preferences. Responsibility may be further delegated to librarians with specialized knowledge in the needs of adults, teens, or children.
Delegated staff oversee the selection process, utilizing critical reviews and other appropriate selection tools. Delegated staff will also track collection expenditures by selector and selection area, to ensure the even flow of new resources to the library throughout the year.
Intellectual Freedom & Access
The Hunterdon County Library Commission and staff believe that the right to read is an important part of the intellectual freedom that is basic to democracy. The Commission, the Library Director, and the library staff recognize the responsibility of the Hunterdon County Library System (HCLS) to provide materials representing diverse points of view on different topics.
The presence of an item in the library’s collection does not indicate an endorsement of the item’s content. No materials are excluded or removed from the library on the basis of the author’s race or nationality, their political, social or religious beliefs. Selection is made solely on the merits of the work in relation to the collection as a whole and in relation to the needs of library patrons.
The library follows the principles presented in the following:
Library Bill of Rights (American Library Association) http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill
The Freedom to Read Statement (American Library Association) http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/freedomreadstatement
The Freedom to View Statement (American Library Association) http://www.ala.org/rt/vrt/professionalresources/vrtresources/freedomtoview
See Appendices A, B, and C for the full text of these documents.
To build a collection of merit and significance, materials must be measured by objective guidelines. All acquisitions, whether purchased or donated, are considered in terms of the criteria listed below. An item need not meet all criteria to be acceptable.
Materials selection is a discerning and deliberative process, involving general knowledge of the subject and its important literature, familiarity with the library’s collection, an awareness of bibliographies on the subject, and an understanding of the community’s needs and interests. There is no single standard that can be used to evaluate the numerous and varied types of material in the library’s collection; however, the following are general areas of consideration:
The authority, reputation, or significance of the author and/or publisher of the work.
Attention of critics, reviewers, media, and the public.
Literary, artistic, or technical quality of the item as a whole.
Community needs, both those expressed, and those inferred from user demographics or other evidence indicating areas of interest.
Importance as a document of the times.
Suitability of the subject format and style for the intended audience.
Suitability for library use.
Scarcity of resources on a particular subject, the importance of the subject to the overall collection, and availability elsewhere.
Cost relative to need or merit.
Local interest, including local authors or materials with local emphasis. Hunterdon County authors, illustrators, musicians, and filmmakers are encouraged to donate one copy of their work to the Hunterdon County Library System. Materials will be reviewed to assess which collection and branch location is the best fit for the work. The item will be added, made searchable in our catalog using a local interest statement in the bibliographic record, and made available for patron use
Reviews from professional journals and other review sources.
The extent to which the item supplements, expands on, or supports the existing collection, rather than duplicating it.
Contribution to the HCLS collection as a whole.
Representation of diverse points of view on controversial issues.
Representation of an important movement, genre, trend, or national culture.
Artistic presentation and experimentation.
Collection use and circulation trends.
Varied formats (print, audio, digital) based on anticipated public demand and vendor availability.
The library does not purchase textbooks or technical manuals for the benefit of a single individual. The collection is not developed to support academic study, but rather to serve as a supplementary resource for educational curricula.
New formats will be added to the library’s collection when industry reports, public library practice, and evidence of community demand make it clear that the proposed new format will be broadly accepted and utilized. The library will keep abreast of new formats and, when possible, will acquire and facilitate new ways of accessing content.
Based on the selection criteria outlined above, the library collects and maintains a wide variety of materials to meet the needs of Hunterdon County’s adult community. The adult collection consists of the following categories:
The fiction collection is a major component of the library’s collection. The goal of the collection is to satisfy the reading public’s demand for recreational reading. Fiction is purchased on the basis of positive reviews, anticipated demand, or patron requests. There is a concerted effort to provide a wide range of genres.
The library collects nonfiction at introductory, intermediate and specialized levels, depending on public demand for the subject.
Introductory materials are written primarily for the layman and serve to introduce and define subjects.
Intermediate materials are intended for those with previous subject knowledge.
Specialized materials include works of historical and enduring value, and current research in specific fields of knowledge.
The library subscribes to digital content databases that supplement and expand the reference and periodical collections. Subscriptions are selected and evaluated yearly based on the same content policies as the rest of the collections, paying special attention to usage, accessibility, ease of use and cost.
The library maintains a large print book collection to meet needs of individuals who have difficulty reading, or prefer not to read, conventional size type.
Titles about both current and historical figures are acquired, appealing to the general reader. Analytical or academic biographies may also be collected, determined by local demand or collection need.
The library provides access to feature, educational and documentary films in physical and streaming format. In some instances, physical materials may be judged primarily on artistic merit, scholarship, historic record, or importance in meeting the informational needs of the community. Items are also purchased in response to substantial demand for a specific title.
Physical items are considered for addition to our collection on their merit, and are neither purchased nor excluded because of their MPAA rating. Any rating information included on the packaging is left as is.
Films provided through library-acquired streaming services deliver access to a wide range of subjects, and are provided as a collection. Titles are not individually selected by the library.
Downloadable Digital Content
The acquisition of digital content in e-book and audio formats reflects the library’s print collection by making available titles to satisfy the leisure reading needs of the general public, as well as providing access to popular nonfiction materials. Suggestions for purchase from staff and the public are enthusiastically welcomed and will be considered for acquisition.
Book Kit materials are selected based on the quality of the conversation or discussion that the title may engender. Classics, bestsellers, biographies, or nonfiction titles are eligible for inclusion in the Book Kit collection.
Hunterdon County Library collects both fiction and nonfiction titles in a variety of languages, reflecting the diversity of the county.
Literacy and English as a Second Language
Hunterdon County Library maintains a collection of resource materials to support basic literacy and English as a Second Language instruction. This collection consists of written and multimedia materials, with reading levels from beginner to advanced, and on topics that are appropriate to adult students and their tutors. Collection priorities are to provide resources to assist students in acquiring basic English reading and math skills, coping and life skills, securing leisure reading material, and to provide resource and support materials for tutors.
Jerseyana & Genealogy
Newly published material and donated publications (old or new) that pertain to New Jersey in general, the Central NJ/Piedmont/Highlands regions, or, specifically, to Hunterdon County will be considered for inclusion in Hunterdon County Library’s collection. Titles pertaining to notable individuals from, or related to, the aforementioned regions will also be considered.
The collection serves as an entry point for those wishing to research the history and development of Hunterdon County and the communities within the county, or trace family relationships. Researchers may be referred to outside entities for access to more advanced resources.
Materials in this collection are non-circulating.
The periodicals collection is developed to meet demand for general reading, entertainment, reference value, and current data in subject areas. Collections shall include a representative selection of popular magazines, professional journals, and newspapers in both print and digital formats.
Youth Services Collection
The Youth Services collection serves youth from infancy through grade 6. The collection provides a broad range of materials to stimulate interest and satisfy curiosity across the spectrum of age, interest, and ability. A variety of viewpoints and treatments is sought. The library’s collection supplements, but is not intended to support, any specific educational curriculum.
Material is selected from respected review sources based on excellence of various factors, including text, illustrations, information content, format, interest, and suitability for children.
While physical format is not a barrier to inclusion in the collection, some formats are avoided for practical reasons. These include pop-up and mechanical books, spiral bound volumes, and books or periodicals designed to be written in, cut apart, or otherwise altered by the reader.
Books in a series are evaluated in terms of their own merit, and may be acquired without the inclusion of other titles in the same series.
Parents and legal guardians have full responsibility for overseeing their children’s use of library materials.
The teen collection, geared to the reading interests of young people grades 7 through 12, consists primarily of materials which widen the boundaries of an adolescent’s thinking, enrich his or her life, and help fulfill emotional and recreational needs. Titles selected for this collection may duplicate titles in the children’s or adult collections. Quality books written for teens with controversial themes and treatments are not excluded.
Requests for Purchase
Hunterdon County Library seeks to develop collections which serve the interests and needs of the community by inviting cardholders to request materials for purchase. All suggestions for purchase are subject to the previously outlined selection criteria. Items are not automatically purchased and added to the collection. If the Library does not purchase a requested title, every effort will be made to fill the request through interlibrary loan.
Gifts & Donations Materials Policy
The library welcomes donations of materials, and donations of money designated for the purchase of materials, with the following stipulations:
New or used donated materials are subject to the same criteria as purchased materials.
Materials are accepted with the understanding that they become the property of the library, and may be utilized or disposed of at the library’s discretion.
The library will provide written acknowledgement of donated materials upon request.
The library does not appraise books or materials, and no dollar value shall be assigned to any donated materials.
Reconsideration of Library Materials
Any patron may request that the Hunterdon County Library (HCL) review a selection or withdrawal decision. Procedures for reconsideration of a material are outlined in the Hunterdon County Library Procedure for Resource Reconsideration. Those who wish reconsideration of a specific title should complete the HCL Reconsideration of Library Materials and Electronic Resources Form, and read the additional supplied materials. Supplied materials include: the Hunterdon County Library Procedure for Resource Reconsideration, HCL Collection Management Policy, the American Library Association (ALA) Library Bill of Rights, and the ALA Freedom to Read Statement.
Collection Maintenance: Withdrawal of Materials
To maintain an up-to-date and useful collection in the space allotted for print materials, ongoing evaluation and judicious withdrawal of items from the collection by professional staff is necessary. Materials are withdrawn if they have little or no use, have been superseded by a more recent edition or better work on the same subject, or if they are in poor physical condition. Selectors will make replacement decisions about material withdrawn due to loss or physical damage.
The Library’s designated staff will evaluate the materials for replacement and/or discard on an ongoing basis, using a variety of tools such as collection management software, or the CREW (Continuous Review, Evaluation and Weeding https://www.tsl.texas.gov/ld/pubs/crew/index.html) evaluation method developed by Joseph P. Segal.
Materials withdrawn from the Hunterdon County Library System will be disposed of in a manner consistent with their quality and condition.
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