Materials Selection Policy

The Waterford Township Public Library believes there shall be no censorship, for the freedom to read freely from a variety of sources is essential to a democracy. The Waterford Township Public Library subscribes to the  selection principles for books and other library resources contained in the Library Bill of Rights adopted by the American Library Association, and the Freedom to Read Statement endorsed by the American Library Association Council and the American Book Publisher's Council. All materials added to the collection shall be judged on the content as a whole, not by detached excerpts. Personal behavior of the creator of any material shall have no bearing on the selection of the material. There shall be no limitation in Library services because of age, race, color, religion or national origin, or physical limitations.

Maximum effort shall be directed toward maintaining a standard of excellence in materials selection for all segments of the community, striking a balance between public demand and diversity of material. Factual accuracy, effective expression, significance of the subject, sincerity and responsibility of opinion are acceptable criteria for a high standard of quality. The interest and current needs of the community, the individual merit of each item, and the library's existing collection, budget and services are the main factors in selection. The Director, with the aid of the library staff, shall be free to use her or his judgment in the selection, retention and withdrawal of materials within the provisions of the selection policy.

The following selection guides will be used: Children's Catalog, Standard Catalog for High School Libraries, Fiction Catalog, Standard Catalog for Public Libraries, Guide to Reference Books, and bibliographies published by professional associations and organizations. The following current reviewing aids will be consulted as appropriate:Booklist, Library Journal, School Library Journal, Book Review Digest, Publisher's Weekly, Wilson Library Bulletin, New York Times Book Review, Horn Book, and Voice of Youth Advocates. Recommendations and reviews in subject-oriented journals will also be consulted, along with recommendations by other library or subject-area professionals.

The following general criteria will be applied to each item of material being considered for addition to the collection:

  1. The author's reputation and significance as a writer. 
  2. The importance of the subject matter to the collection.
  3. Scarcity of material on the subject, both in the collection and in publication generally. 
  4. Timeliness or permanence of the book. 
  5. Accuracy and authoritativeness. 
  6. Appropriateness for, and ease of use by, the intended audience. 
  7. Reputation and standing of the publisher. 
  8. Community demand 
  9. The price 
  10. Physical quality 
  11. Availability of material elsewhere within an accessible local, regional or state network.
  12. Amount of physical preparation necessary for addition to the collection, including availability on the circulating database
In addition to these general criteria, specific criteria for differing age level materials are given below. 

Both non-fiction and fiction books shall be selected to meet informational and recreational needs. The Library will ordinarily need to devote a considerably larger proportion of the budget to non-fiction as there are many more subject areas to be covered and the prices are greater. The selection of non-fiction will depend upon factual accuracy, usefulness and compatibility with community needs, and collection development needs. The Waterford Township Public Library shall attempt to approach full coverage in the area of local history and much that is written about Oakland County and the State of Michigan for its permanent collection. The Library shall identify other areas of strong community interest, such as genealogy, personal computers, etc., and provide for coverage in these areas in its collection development plans.

Adult fiction shall be selected on the basis of literary merit, significance of and need for the book in the collection. Community demand will also play a strong role in determining emphasis upon the works of specific authors.

Various book formats shall be provided to meet the needs of different segments of the community and shall include large print and paperback as well as standard print.

The need for non-fiction titles for young adults shall be met by materials in the adult and children's non-fiction collections. Space and budget constraints do not allow for duplication of non-fiction titles for a separate young adult collection.

The Library shall provide a separate fiction collection for young adults. Selection of the books shall follow the general guidelines, plus the specific selection criteria outlined for materials published specifically for this age group, as well as suitable adult materials. The majority of titles selected shall be in paperback format to conform to the preference of young adult readers and to provide for maximum use of available shelving space.

Literary merit and validity of theme whether it be fantasy, history, sports, or contemporary life are deemed of prime consideration in the selection of juvenile fiction. Fiction plays in important role in the learning experience of a child through its ability to introduce a wide range of experiences which otherwise may never be encountered by the child. In terms of non-fiction, subjects relating to contemporary issues such as abortion, drug abuse, and sex instruction and education shall not be overlooked due to their potentially controversial nature; rather such material shall be purchased for various levels of maturity and for parents to use with children. An effort shall be made to obtain only material that is authoritative and up-to-date. Where there is a question concerning validity, books or materials will be researched in professional reviewing sources or referred to other knowledgeable professionals for evaluation.

Neither in subject material nor in quantities purchased is the children's collection school or curriculum oriented. Books are chosen for their individual values for individual children. Because of varying backgrounds and abilities of children, a wide range of sophistication and reading levels must be covered so that each child may challenge and enjoy his capabilities to the fullest. Exposure to a broad selection of informational and recreational materials is a good way to stimulate the desire to read and grow intellectually. Final responsibility for an individual child's selection of library materials shall rest with the parent or guardian.

The Waterford Township Public Library reserves the right to use gifts of materials in a manner in keeping with its collection and with its selection policy. Materials presented to the Library are not actually free as there is the cost of sorting and selecting, cataloging and preparing them for circulation. Materials considered unsuitable for the collection will be placed in the Friends of the Library book sale or discarded.

The Library accepts donations toward the purchase of memorial or commemorative books. Library staff will select the title in accordance with the donor's wishes regarding the subject specified. The Library may accept a donation for a specific title if the title meets collection needs and selection policy standards. An identifying book plate shall be placed inside the front cover of each memorial or commemorative book.

Non-book materials shall be considered an integral part of the library collection. They shall be provided to add dimension to the book collection and also to provide alternative methods of access to information and recreation. Standards of quality are the same as that set up for the library collection as a whole.

The Waterford Township Public Library shall subscribe to periodicals to meet both informational and recreational needs of adults, young adults, and children. Periodical titles shall be reviewed annually to insure maximum usefulness to the public, taking into consideration the year's budget and the following criteria:

  • community interest
  • accuracy and objectivity
  • accessibility through indexes
  • need as a reference source
  • recommendations from professional sources such as Katz's Magazines for Public Libraries,
  • price

    Space and budget consideration preclude the addition of specialized journals to the collection: such specialized journals are available at special, academic and larger public libraries in the tri-county area. Articles from such journals are readily available through local, regional and state interlibrary loan networks in which the Library participates.

    Backruns of periodicals shall be kept for indexed titles and for a select number of heavily-used, subject-related titles. No attempt shall be made to house extensive historical back runs either in microform or in paper copies, rather backruns will be held for the purpose of providing access to current information in frequently searched periodicals.

    The Library shall subscribe to selected local, metropolitan and national newspapers for news, current affairs and business information. Limited backruns of paper copies of the most frequently consulted papers will be maintained, along with more extensive microform backruns of selected indexed newspapers.

    The library shall meet both recreational and informational needs through the provision of various formats of non-print materials. The exact formats provided may change as patron use patterns and technology itself changes but the standards for selection shall remain constant and shall reflect the same criteria used for print materials.

    Various formats shall be provided as long as they remain useful to the public. Sound recordings shall consist of both music and spoken word to meet recreational, instructional and educational needs of community members of all ages and abilities.

    Various formats shall be provided as long as they remain useful to the public. Documentary, instructional, and educational visual recordings for all ages shall be provided to complement the Library's total collection.  Sources used for selection include Video LibrarianLibrary Journal, and Booklist.

    Collection emphasis for feature/narrative works is on titles of merit and titles based on works of literature. Merit is determined by the recognition conferred in the nomination for, or achievement of, major awards (e.g. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Golden Globe), inclusion in festival selections (e.g. Cannes International Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival) and winning rankings in surveys/polls (e.g. Sight and Sound, American Film Institute). Current releases will not be collected. Selection tools for these works, in addition to those mentioned above, include movie video guides such as Leonard Maltin's Movie and Video Guide and the VideoHound's Golden Movie Retriever.


    The Library shall provide educational, informational and instructional software and database access for use by the public on the Library's public access computers. Selection shall be based on reviews in professional journals, online sources, subject-oriented periodicals or sites, and recommendations from other librarians and educators.

    The Library shall also provide selected materials such as puppets which foster creativity on the part of children. Budget, space considerations and appropriateness to the Library's overall statement of purpose will be taken into consideration in the selection of all materials of this type.


    The reasons for weeding materials from the collection are lack of space, poor physical condition, and outdated information. Occasionally it is necessary to weed materials which have been revealed to be potentially harmful in recommendations of materials or procedures, as in the case of cleaning compounds or science experiments. The primary goal of all weeding is to keep the collection current, attractive, and usable. Standard lists shall be consulted and community needs and the Library's statement of purpose shall be kept in mind before discarding any material which is not in poor physical condition or obviously out-of-date. Materials serving the purposes of the Library, meeting criteria for selection, and related to an existing need or interest, shall not be removed from the collection because of pressure by a group or individual.

    Requests from the public to evaluate library materials deemed from an individual or group point of view to be questionable for any reason shall be presented to the Director in writing on a form obtainable from the Library. Only requests in writing shall be reviewed by the Library Advisory Committee. The materials shall remain available to the public until a decision and recommendation to the Township Board is made. A subcommittee may be organized by the Director for the review of specific materials.