Materials Selection Policy
La Crosse Public Library
Purpose of Policy: This policy sets broad guidelines for the selection of library materials that correspond to the library ‘s mission and goals, and has been adopted by the Library Board. It is also used to inform the public and staff about the principles upon which selections are made.
a. “ Selection” refers to the decision to add, retain, or withdraw materials in the library’s
b. “Library Materials” includes a broad range of information and publications in a variety of
formats including, but not limited to:
i. Print: books, documents, magazines, newspapers, pamphlets, and maps.
ii. Audio Visual Media: videos on DVD and Blu-Ray, books on CD and digital audio
player, music on CD.
iii. Electronic Media: databases, software, e-books, downloadable audio books, videos,
and music. The library also provides unfettered access to the Internet. Selected
Internet sites are cataloged and linked to the library’s website.
iv. Other: multimedia kits, educational toys or equipment, video and board games,
microform, accessibility tools and devices, and select audiovisual equipment. The
library also maintains several laptops and iPads for use in the building.
c. “Access” is the availability of materials in a variety of formats for users of all ages, interests,
2. Goal of Materials Selection
Since it is not possible for any library to acquire all materials, this policy is in place to guide,
within physical space and financial constraints, the selection and deselection of materials.
The goal of selection is to provide a diverse La Crosse community with library materials that
reflect a wide range of views, expressions, opinions and interests. Specific acquisitions may
include items that may be unorthodox or unpopular with the majority or controversial in nature.
The Library’s acquisition of these items does not constitute endorsement of their content but
rather makes available its expression. Special attention is given to providing materials that meet
the identified needs and demands of the patrons in the library’s service area, both now and in
the future, that are at varying levels of difficulty, and are in accordance with the library’s mission
This selection policy recognizes the role of the La Crosse Public Library within the larger Winding
Rivers Library System. The Library routinely uses other libraries within the system as a source of
secondary, duplicate copies, or alternative formats of materials and thus extends the scope of
the collection through shared resources.
3. Responsibility for Selection
Final responsibility for the selection of all materials rests with the Library Director, who operates
within the framework of policies determined by the Library Board of Trustees. The Library
Director shall delegate materials selection duties to a staff trained in the principles and practices
of materials selection.
Both the general public and staff members may request or recommend materials for
4. Criteria for Selection
a. Selection of materials may be influenced by many factors, including but not limited
to the following:
- public demand, interest, or need
- contemporary significance, popular interest, or permanent value
- attention by critics or reviewers in a wide spectrum of sources
- budgetary considerations
- physical limitations of the library building
- suitability of the format and construction
- availability of specialized materials in other local libraries
- availability of material through interlibrary loan
- the special needs of library patrons for materials in accessible formats
b. The library supports intellectual freedom and has adopted the following statements as
policy: The American Library Association (ALA) Freedom to Read Statement, the ALA endorsed
Freedom to View Statement, and the ALA Library Bill of Rights, the Statement Against Censorship, and Statement on Racial and Social Equity.
c. Each type of material must be considered in terms of its own merit and the audience for
whom it is intended. No single standard can be applied in all cases. Some materials may be
judged primarily in terms of artistic merit, scholarship, or value to humanity; others are
selected to satisfy the literary, informational, recreational, or educational interests of the
d. The selection of an item does not imply the library’s endorsement of the opinions expressed by its creator, nor does the failure to purchase an item imply library disapproval of those opinions.
e. All librarians have a professional responsibility to be inclusive, not exclusive, in developing
collections. Efforts will be made to provide materials representing a variety of interests,
viewpoints and interpretations.
f. Reviews in professionally recognized resources are a primary source for materials selection,
but not an exclusive source. Other sources will include, but not be limited to, standard
bibliographies, vendor-generated lists, the advice of competent people in specific subject
areas, book lists by recognized authorities, and the judgment of the professional staff.
g. The library keeps its collection vital and useful by retaining or replacing essential materials,
and by removing, on a systematic and continuous basis, those works that are worn,
outdated, of little historical significance, or no longer in demand.
h. Parents and/or guardians of children under the age of 18 have primary responsibility over
determining the appropriateness of any given material. Not all materials within the Library
can be considered age-appropriate for all users. The Library will not be responsible at check
out for determining the appropriateness of any material a child with their own library card
chooses to view or check out, and does not adapt selection based on potential access to all
a. Donated materials shall meet the same selection criteria as purchased materials. The library retains unconditional ownership of all donations and makes the final decision on acceptance, use or disposition. The appraisal of the gift for tax purposes is the responsibility of the donor.
b. Anyone wishing to make a monetary donation should be directed to the Library Director or Business Office Manager. Memorial donations may be designated to one of the following fund categories: 1. Materials and Services, 2. Capital Projects, or 3. Library Board Discretionary Projects. Other fundraising opportunities arise throughout the year for those
who wish to offer financial support of the library. In addition, the Friends of the Library is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that substantially supports programming and events at the library. Donors are invited to consider supporting the Friends financially as well.
c. Donations, whether of materials or of a monetary nature, designated for the Archives Department are directed to the Archives Manager for consideration. Donated materials may come in a variety of formats, the handling of which is left to the discretion of the Archives Manager.
6. Reconsideration Procedure
The Library welcomes patrons’ expressions of opinion concerning materials purchased. Requests
to remove materials will be considered within the context of the policies set forth in this document.
The patron’s choice of library materials for personal use is an individual matter. Responsibility for the use of materials by children and adolescents rests with their parents or legal guardians. While a person may reject materials for himself or herself and for his or her children, they cannot exercise censorship to restrict access to the materials by others.
a. Any patron who resides in the City of La Crosse (defined as the municipality of La Crosse)
who objects to the presence or absence of a work may do so by completing the “Request For Reconsideration” form. The Director and appropriate selector will review the form and the questioned material in its entirety, conducting the necessary research in order to reevaluate the item's appropriateness for inclusion in the Library's collection. This will be followed by a formal discussion between the Library Director, the appropriate selection manager before a decision is reached.
b. No item under reconsideration will be removed pending a final decision by the Board without a formal directive from the Library Board of Trustees. Further, no item will be reconsidered by the Library Board of Trustees if the “Request for Reconsideration” form has not been completely filled out, and if the item has NOT been completely read, listened
to, or viewed.
c. Within 30 days a decision will be made by the appropriate selection manager and Director regarding the retention or removal of the material, and a letter explaining the decision and the reasons for it will be sent to the person who submitted the Reconsideration form. The response will also inform the patron that they may appeal the decision within 30 days.
d. Within 30 days following the written response, if it is the desire of the patron, the Library Director will review the statement and submit it, along with their professional recommendation, to the Library Board.
e. Within 90 days of the filing of the written statement of concern the Library Board will review and take final action on it. In making its decision regarding the concern the Library Board will employ all of the Criteria for Selection listed above, along with the American Library Association’s statements entitled “Library Bill of Rights” and “Library-Freedom to Read
Statement and “The Library Freedom to View Statement.”
f. The decision by the Library Board of Trustees is final. Once an item has been reconsidered and retained OR removed, it will not be reconsidered again. A permanent file will be kept of all records pertaining to any challenged item.