Materials Selection Policy

The Ypsilanti District Library’s mission, “to enrich life, stimulate intellectual curiosity, foster literacy, and encourage an informed citizenry,” is realized through its materials collections in various formats. The Materials Selection Policy defines the values and collection building process which contribute to YDL’s successful implementation of its mission.

The policy also serves as a clear statement regarding the type of materials to be purchased as well as a tool to review procedures for adding new materials and formats in the future. It can help avoid personal bias in selection, while also demonstrating the library’s clear commitment to serving all members of its community. The policy provides guidelines for both acquisition and weeding of materials, and the formal framework within which to address challenged materials. It also helps to assure continuity.


YDL embraces the values articulated in the following documents, and bases this Material Selection Policy on the following library standards, included as Appendices in this policy. Appendices available upon request.

Appendix A. The Library Bill of Rights
Appendix B. Code of Ethics of the American Library Association
Appendix C. Freedom to Read Statement
Appendix D. Freedom to View Statement
Appendix E. Access for Children and Young Adults to Non-Print Materials
Appendix F. Diversity in Collection Development
Appendix G. Expurgation of Library Materials

Further, for more specific interpretations, YDL relies on the Intellectual Freedom Manual of the American Library Association, 6th edition, copyright 2001.

YDL’s selection policy applies to all materials purchased or obtained for public use, including books, magazines, reference material, electronic and audio-visual material and ephemera.

A. Responsibility for Selection

Ultimate responsibility for material selection rests with the Director. The ordinary source from which the great majority of orders originate is, however, the material selectors. Department Heads and Branch heads, as their titles imply, maintain general guidance over the material selection of the entire library within their particular areas.

B. Criteria for Selection
  1. Value of the materials in relation to the whole collection
  2. Accuracy, effectiveness, and comprehensiveness of presentation of subject matter
  3. Current interest or patron demand for subject
  4. Present and potential relevance to community needs
  5. Timeliness
  6. Suitability of the physical format to library use
  7. Suitability of subject and style for the intended audience
  8. Interest the item has received from critics, reviewers and public
  9. Reputation and authoritativeness of the author and/or publisher
  10. Price
  11. Anticipated long-term use of this material
  12. Availability through other avenues, such as Inter-Library Loan, online databases, etc.
  13. Quality of physical characteristics (binding, print size, etc)
  14. Readability
  15. Local interest or local author
  16. Additional Criteria for Electronic Resources

    a) Ease of access, use, and number of access points
    b) Hardware and software requirements, including maintenance
    c) Vendor support and contractual requirements
    d) Comparison of content with other formats available
    e) Networking capabilities
    f) Ownership of product

C. Gifts

Gifts are evaluated in the same manner as materials considered for purchase by the Library.

Gifts in good condition are encouraged and welcomed. Gift books and other materials are evaluated branch by branch using the same selection criteria as other materials. The library makes all decisions as to use, display, storage, or other disposition of donated materials. Gift materials not meeting selection criteria may be given to the Friends of the Library or other organizations, sold, exchanged, discarded or recycled.

The Library gladly accepts monetary gifts, memorials, and bequests, and will make every effort to use these gifts in accordance with the wishes of the donor.

Receipts indicating the quantity and nature of gifts will be provided on request. However, the Library does not provide appraisals or evaluations of gifts for tax purposes.

D. Weeding

Systematic and ongoing removal of materials is necessary in order to maintain a current, accurate library collection. Since withdrawing materials from the collection is selection in reverse, many of the same criteria for selecting materials and the same selection tools are used in the process. In addition, the following criteria may be applied:

  1. Insufficient use
  2. Obsolete or misleading information
  3. Irreparable damage to materials
  4. Changes in local interest
  5. Shelf space availability
  6. Existence of duplicate copies
  7. Existence of new or superceding editions.
A. Policies and Procedures Affecting Access to Library Resources & Services

The central thrust of the Library Bill of Rights is to protect and encourage the free flow of information and ideas.

The Ypsilanti District Library Board rejects the establishment of administrative policies and procedures regulating access to resources, services and facilities, i.e. specific collections, reference services, interlibrary loan, programs, meeting rooms, and exhibit space. Such policies and procedures governing the order and protection of library materials and facilities, and the planning of library programs and exhibits, could become a convenient means for removing and restricting access to controversial materials, limiting access to programs or exhibits, or for discriminating against specific groups of library patrons. Such abuse of administrative procedures or policies is in opposition to the Library Bill of Rights.

The Ypsilanti District Library Board’s position is that the policies and procedures for special collections must not be designed to restrict access and use for any reason other than the physical protection of the materials.

The YDL administration will examine all restrictions of resources or services associated with age, as all are violations of Article V of the Library Bill of Rights and the statement on restricted access to library materials.

For example, privileges associated with library cards should be consistent for all library users, regardless of age. Library policies in which certain patrons, usually minors, are denied library privileges available to other patrons are not endorsed by the Board, as they violate Article V as well as the statement on Free Access to Libraries for Minors (see IV, D).

B. Interlibrary Loan

The Model Interlibrary Loan Code for the United States of the American Library Association recommends that all library patrons be eligible for interlibrary loan, in accordance with Article V of the Library Bill of Rights and the statement Free Access to Libraries for Minors. The Model Interlibrary Loan Code states the importance of considering the needs and interests of all users, including children and young adults. The Ypsilanti District Library will provide the resources to meet the ordinary needs of all its primary clientele, and any members of its clientele are eligible for Interlibrary Loan. When libraries adhere to the Model Interlibrary Loan Code, access to information is protected.

For complete text of The Model Interlibrary Loan Code for the United States, please see

C. Patron’s Right of Access to Libraries

The Constitution of the State of Michigan, Article 8, Section 9, provides for access to public libraries by Michigan residents. The Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, PA 453 of 1976, provides that public accommodations, which include public libraries, may not discriminate against patrons based on “religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, or marital status.”

Because Michigan public libraries are required to provide access to Michigan residents, and because the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act indicates that public libraries may not discriminate based on any of these conditions, a public library board must make all facets of library service available to all residents, regardless of classification.

D. Free Access to Libraries for Minors

The Board of Trustees of the Ypsilanti District Library opposes restricting access to library materials and services for minors and holds that it is the parents –and only the parents-who may restrict their children –and only their children-from access to library materials and services. Parents who would rather their children did not have access to certain materials should so advise their children. The library and its staff are responsible for providing equal access to library materials and services for all library patrons.

The word “age” was incorporated into Article V of the Library Bill of Rights because young people are entitled to the same access to libraries and to the materials in libraries as are adults. Materials selection should not be diluted on that account.

The restriction of certain materials to protect the materials from damage is not hereby opposed, but rather recognized as part of reasonable stewardship. Please see Free Access to Libraries for Minors, available at

A. Challenged Materials: An Interpretation of the American Library Association Library Bill of Rights
The Ypsilanti District Library Board of Trustees supports the ALA position on challenged materials, including this excerpt:
Challenged materials which meet the criteria for selection in the materials selection policy of the library should not be removed under any legal or extra-legal pressure. The Library Bill of Rights states in Article 1 that “Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background or views of those contributing to their creation,” and in Article 2, that “Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.” Freedom of expression is protected by the Constitution of the United States, but constitutionally protected expression is often separated from unprotected expression by only a dim and uncertain line. The Constitution requires a procedure designed to focus searchingly on challenged expression before it can be suppressed. An adversary hearing is part of this procedure.

Therefore, any attempt, be it legal or extra-legal, to regulate or suppress materials in libraries must be closely scrutinized to the end that protected expression is not abridged.

Adopted June 25, 1971; amended July 1, 1981; amended January 10, 1990, by the ALA Council (for full text see

B. Request for Reconsideration

The Board of Trustees recognizes the right of citizens to request that the library reevaluate any item in the collection. Individuals wishing reconsideration of an item must complete and sign a Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials form available at each YDL location or online. The completed form should be forwarded to the Library Director. The Director will appoint a staff committee to research published reviews and evaluate the material being reconsidered. Neither selection nor removal of material will be determined by pressure from a group or individual. The committee will determine if the item under consideration meets the criteria of the library’s materials selection policy and will make a recommendation to the Director as to its disposition. A decision on the material’s status will be made by the Director, who will prepare a written reply to the individual submitting the form. The decision may result in maintaining the same status, changing the location, or removing the item from the collection.

C. Request for Reconsideration Form

Download Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials form »

Policy Approved by the YDL Board of Trustees on December 16, 2004

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