Materials Management Policy
November 10, 2003
Revised to reflect GCPL FY07–09 Strategic Plan, adopted March 13, 2006
The Materials Management Policy is the guiding philosophy which provides the basis for the systematic development and maintenance of the library's collection. This policy will serve the following functions:
1. To clarify the relationships among the Board of Trustees, the library staff, and the community and to establish their respective responsibilities for the library's materials collection.
2.To provide guidance for the materials selection team to ensure consistency in the selection of responsive collections.
3.To provide customers with information regarding selection and withdrawal principles.
4.To provide information on the library's commitment to the free access to ideas.
Gwinnett County has shifted from a rural farming community of the Sixties, to a suburban destination in the Seventies, to the fastest growing county in the United States during much of the Eighties, to the home of an increasingly culturally diverse population in the Nineties. In the twenty-first century, Gwinnett County is meeting the challenge of continued growth with a commitment to a world class education system, the highest quality of life for its citizens, an infrastructure that supports the needs of present and future populations, a globally competitive business environment, efficient and effective government, and the support of community leaders.
Gwinnett County Public Library's Mission Statement reflects its positive involvement in these ongoing changes:
Gwinnett County Public Library: Supporting your informational, educational, and recreational interests with convenient, creative, customer-friendly access to materials and services.
Gwinnett County Public Library has adopted the following service responses in support of its mission statement for all branch libraries including Virtualville, the library’s online branch: Commons, Current Interest, and Lifelong Learning and Enrichment.
The Gwinnett County Public Library Board of Trustees delegates the authority and responsibility for implementation of this policy to the Executive Director and, under his/her direction, to the Materials Management Director and the professional Materials Management staff, who are specialists in selection and maintenance of library collections. In order to make the best choices from the vast number of titles published or produced, the selection team monitors current demographic trends, an immense variety of popular magazines, newspapers and media, best seller lists, publishers' catalogs/announcements, online resources and traditional library review sources, and attends national and regional conferences and trade shows. In addition, the library encourages customers and staff to submit recommendations by providing a process for receipt and acknowledgment of suggestions. Print, audiovisual and online materials are carefully considered in light of budget and space constraints and these selection or acceptance criteria:
1. Current and anticipated needs and interests of customers.
2. Attention of the media and evaluation by critics and reviewers.
3. Receipt of or nominations for major awards and prizes.
4. Reputation/significance of the author, illustrator, editor, publisher, producer or performer.
5. Suitability of subject, style, and format for intended audience.
6. Contribution to the diversity and scope of the existing collection.
7. Price of material and/or access.
8. Clarity, readability, visual appeal, quality of production.
9. Accuracy and currency of information.
10. Convenience of access and ease of use.
11. Contemporary significance or sustained popularity.
12. Availability of materials elsewhere in the community.
The number and weight of applicable criteria may vary in professional selection decisions.
The library welcomes monetary contributions to the Community Foundation for Northeast Georgia, Gwinnett County Public Library Fund and will acknowledge receipt with a bookplate in a recently acquired title. Library materials with bookplate recognition are subject to the same selection, use and disposition criteria as other items in the collection.
The Materials Management Department develops efficient and cost-effective vendor relationships and acquisition methods and workflow to ensure timely receipt and sufficient quantities of titles/ formats. The selection team actively monitors emerging technologies and takes advantage of lease agreements, consortial purchases and catalogs Internet resources to assure the best value and broadest possible information coverage for customers in the library and from home and/or office twenty-four hours a day.
The library maintains an attractive, up-to-date and useful collection to support the mission and service responses of the library. Essential materials are updated and titles which are worn, outdated, or no longer in demand are removed on a systematic and continuous basis and may be recycled or sold at public sale.
The library offers a wide range of materials representing varying points of view. The library provides readers’ advisory and convenient access to library materials and strives for a diverse collection that reflects the interests of the members of the community. The library endorses the Free Access to Ideas Statement and the Library Bill of Rights.
The responsibility for customer's choice of library materials rests solely with the individual or with the parent or legal guardian of minors. While customers may freely reject materials for themselves or their children, they may not restrict access to these materials by others. The library encourages customers to express interest in its collections and provides a materials review process for communicating formal comments concerning materials to staff and members of the Board of Trustees, who retain responsibility for the final decision in materials reconsideration requests.
Gwinnett County Public Library is a dynamic community agency working cooperatively with schools and other organizations to fulfill mutual and complementary goals for Gwinnett residents. The library may assume a supplementary or referral role for services designated as the primary responsibility of other community agencies. While formal and home schools are responsible for direct curriculum support, the library takes seriously its supplementary role in support of public, private and home school curricula. GCPL provides a variety of titles on popular homework topics, a wide selection of lifelong learning and recreational reading materials for a broad range of reading levels, and a vast array of online proprietary databases, referral and interlibrary loan service for advanced studies.
The Materials Management Policy is reviewed during the library's regularly scheduled strategic planning process to ensure that the library's collections continue to keep pace with changing needs and interests of customers and support the library's Vision Statement:
Gwinnett County Public Library provides resources and services that inform, inspire, enrich and amaze-as we promote community and personal growth.
Gwinnett County Public Library Free Access to Ideas Statement
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Amendment 1, Constitution of the United States
The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States protects the free expression of ideas. Public libraries provide access to those ideas.
By providing access to a wide range of ideas, and information without prejudice, public libraries facilitate informed participation in the democratic process. Libraries are a community resource: they offer the public an opportunity to freely explore all sides of issues and make or confirm their own decisions or opinions.
To accomplish this purpose and fulfill its responsibility to the public, the library strives for a diverse collection that reflects the needs and interests of the members of the community.
As a current interest materials library, Gwinnett County Public Library must balance the responsibility to maintain a heterogeneous collection with the mandate to provide materials that reflect the needs and interests of the total community. Although current interest materials may comprise most of the collection, the library’s mission dictates that minority viewpoints be represented. This balance is best achieved by a self-regulating system driven by the public's use of the collection. The library provides the customer with a wide variety of choices; the customer makes the final decision in the selection process when choosing from the available materials those that best match personal needs and interests.
The Library Board of Trustees therefore affirms these principles:
1. It is in the public interest to maintain a library collection that offers the widest possible diversity of views and expressions, even if some materials could be deemed controversial by some customers. Library staff are directed to select materials without personal bias, in an inclusive process that strives to secure the best available works representing a particular topic or point of view.
2. The library does not endorse or oppose ideas included in the collection, but merely makes them available for customers to use in forming their own opinions.
3. Access to resources within the library is not restricted or denied to anyone. The library does not make judgments concerning what is suitable material for any individual, but offers professional guidance to customers by applying classifications useful in locating specific topics, genres, and age level materials, and by providing other resources to assist customers in matching stated needs with available materials.
4. The rights and responsibilities of parents will not be assumed or abridged by the library system. Parents are wholly responsible for their children's use of the library, and are offered control over their children's check out privileges.
5. The library's collection and policies are intended to protect the public's freedom to speak, listen, read and view.
Adopted February 12, 1996 by the Gwinnett County Public Library Board, most recently revised November 10, 2003.
Library Bill of Rights
The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.
1. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
2. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
3. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
4. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
5. A person's right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
6. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.
Adopted June 18, 1948 by the Council of the American Library Association, most recently reaffirmed January 23, 1996.
 Deleted reference to Information Connection/Literacy service response, covered in the GCPL FY07-09 Strategic Plan by the Commons, Lifelong Learning, and Current Interest service responses.