The purpose of the Markesan Public Library is to provide all individuals in the community with carefully selected books and other materials to aid them in the pursuit of education, information, research, pleasure, and the creative use of leisure time.
Because of the volume of publishing, as well as the limitations of budget and space, the library must have a selection policy with which to meet community interests and needs.

The materials selection/collection development policy is used by the library director in the selection of materials and also serves to acquaint the general public with the principles of selection.

The Library Bill of rights and the Freedom to Read Statement have been endorsed by the Markesan Public Library Board of Trustees and are integral parts of the policy.

Responsibility of Selection

The ultimate responsibility of the selection of library materials rests with the library director who operates within the framework of the policies determined by the Markesan Public Library Board of Trustees. This responsibility may be shared with other members of the library staff; however, because the director must be available to answer to the library board and the general public for actual selections made, the director has the authority to reject or select any item contrary to the recommendations of the staff.

Criteria for Selection

The selection of materials, whether purchased or donated, are considered in terms of the following standards:

a. Insight into human and social conditions.

b. Importance as a document of the times.

c. Relation to existing collection and other materials on a subject.

d. Popular appeal, best seller lists, and local demand.

e. Suitability of material to the community.

f. Attention of critics, reviewers, and the public.

g. Individual merit of each item.

An item need not meet all of the criteria in order to be acceptable. When judging the quality of materials, several standards and combinations of standards may be used. Some materials may be chosen based on a single standard.

The lack of a review or an unfavorable review shall not be the sole reason for rejecting a title which is in demand. Consideration is, therefore, given to the requests of library patrons and books discussed on public media.

The basic policy for juvenile and young adult book selection is to purchase the best current books, and replace and/or duplicate old titles which have proven their value. Books are provided for all levels of readers in all stages of development. Books are selected to satisfy a child’s natural curiosity, widen his/her interests, entertain, inform, and inspire

Interlibrary Loan

Because of limited budget and space, the library cannot provide all materials that are requested. Therefore, interlibrary loan is used to obtain from other libraries those materials that are beyond the scope of this library’s collection.

Gifts and Donations

The library accepts gifts of books and other materials with the understanding that they will be added to the collection only if needed. If they are not needed because of duplication, condition, or dated information, the director can dispose of them as he/she sees fit. The same criteria of selection which are applied to purchased materials are applied to gifts. Memorial gifts of books or money are also accepted with suitable bookplates placed in the book. Specific memorial books will be ordered for the library on the request of a patron. Book selection will be made by the director if no specific book is wanted. We encourage and appreciate gifts and donations.

Gifts of money, real property and/or stock will be accepted if conditions attached are acceptable to the Library Board of Trustees. These gifts will be administered by the Trustees.

Personal property, art objects, portraits, antiques and other museum objects will be accepted or rejected on the basis of artistic quality, suitability to the purpose and decor of the library, and the availability of space for their display. The library director will present an evaluation of the object to the Library Board of Trustees who will then decide to accept or reject the gift.


Materials which are no longer useful in the light of stated objectives of the library, or are damaged, soiled, or obsolete, will be systematically removed from the collection according to accepted professional practices. Such materials will be destroyed or disposed of according to the discretion of the library director.

Problem Areas

The Markesan Public Library recognizes that some materials are controversial and that any given item may offend some patrons. Selection of materials will not be made on the basis of anticipated approval or disapproval, but solely on the basis of the principles stated in this policy

The collection must contain the various positions expressed on important and complicated issues, including unpopular or unorthodox positions. The public library does not promote particular beliefs or views. It provides a resource where the individual can examine issues freely and make his or her own decision.

Selection of adult material will not be limited by the possibility that books may inadvertently come into the possession of minors. Responsibility for the reading of minors rests with their parents and legal guardians. The library staff will, however, encourage and advise children and young adults with the selection of materials relating to their particular needs and age requirements.
Library materials will not be marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of their contents, and no library material will be sequestered except to protect it from injury or theft.

The library will not attempt to furnish materials needed for formal courses of study offered by elementary and secondary schools and by institutions of higher learning. The public library has materials for self-study, but is not primarily designed to furnish reading required for academic study.

Approved 4/10/1996