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Collection Development & Materials Selection (Request for Reconsideration Form)

  1. Introduction

These are the policies and plans used for the development of the collections of the Kenosha Public Library. They define the makeup of the collection, specify what types of library materials are included in the collection, and explain the basis for making collection management decisions. The policy has been developed to serve as a guide for the public about library service as it pertains to the collection, and to inform the public about the principles upon which selection decisions are made. It also provides direction in collection development and material selection for the library’s selectors. This policy does not replace the judgment of library professionals. The stated goals and objectives contained herein will assist them in their selection of available materials. The Kenosha Public Library endorses the American Library Association’s “Library Bill of Rights,” “Freedom to Read,” “Freedom to View” and “Statement on Professional Ethics.

  1. Goals and Objectives

    Materials and resources selected for the Kenosha Public Library are intended to meet the goals set forth in the Kenosha Public Library Mission Statement. The collection and resources are developed to:

    • collection needs, and interests of a diverse public.
    • represent diverse points of view.
    • provide up­to­date information and facts in broad subject areas.
    • support all ages and skill levels in their educational needs whether self­guided or as part of a formal educational program.
    • make available material that encourages personal development, creative use of leisure time, cultural life and supports recreational needs.
    • provide resources for special needs within the community.
    • provide a wide range of current information on community resources.
  2. Responsibility

    • The final responsibility for material selection lies with the Director. The Director delegates to professional staff members the authority to interpret the policy in day­to­day decisions regarding the development of the collection and the subsequent selection of library materials and resources. Staff members are also given the duty to utilize library financial resources in a fiscally responsible manner.
    • Plans for the development of the library collection may be written by library staff as needed. These plans may outline selection, acquisition procedures, reviewing tools, and maintenance of the collection. Collection Development Plans shall be in compliance with and responsive to this policy.
  1. Guidelines

  • The selection of any material or resource does not constitute an endorsement.
  • The Library recognizes that many materials and resources are controversial and could offend some patrons.
  • Selection decisions are not made on the basis of approval or disapproval, but on the merits of the work.
  • Selection decisions are not influenced by the possibility that material may be accessible to children. Responsibility for children’s use of library materials and resources lies with their parents, legal guardians, or caretakers.
  • The Library acknowledges a particular interest in local, county, and state history and government. It takes a broad view of works by and about Kenosha in general, as well as general works relating to the State of Wisconsin. The Library will add to its collection works produced by authors, printers, or publishers with Kenosha connections that meet the purpose and objectives of this policy.
  1. Criteria for Selection

The selectors must consider each type of material in terms of its own kind of excellence and the audience for whom it is intended. No single standard can apply to all acquisition decisions. Some material may be selected primarily for artistic merit, scholarship or value to humanity, while others may be chosen to satisfy the recreational and entertainment needs of the community.

Some library materials are subject to widespread and/or heavy local demand. These high­demand items may or may not meet the general and specific criteria contained in this policy. Selectors give serious consideration to the volume and nature of requests by members of the public. In addition, as the social and intellectual climate of the community changes, materials which were not originally recommended for purchase may become of interest. Such materials will be reevaluated as the need arises.

To build a quality collection, selectors acquire materials according to objective guidelines. They evaluate acquisitions, whether purchased or donated to the library, by examining reviews in one or more of the professional library review media and checking against the standards listed below.

  1. General Criteria

1. Suitability of the physical form for library use

2. Suitability of subject and style for the intended audience

3. Current and/or potential relevance to community needs

4. Appropriateness and effectiveness of the medium to the content

5. Insight into the human and social condition

6. Importance as a document of the times

7. Relation to the existing collection and to other material on the subject

8. Reputation and or significance of the author or illustrator

9. Skill, competence and purpose of the author or illustrator

10. Attention of critics, reviewers and the public

  1. Specific criteria for the evaluation of works of information and opinion

1. Authority

2. Comprehensiveness and depth of treatment

3. Objectivity

4. Clarity, accuracy and logic of presentation

5. Representation of challenging ideas, although it may be an extreme or minority point of view

  1. Specific criteria for the evaluation of works of imagination

1. Representation of important movement, genre, trend or national culture

2. Vitality and originality

3. Artistic presentation and experimentation

4. Sustained interest

5. Effective characterization

6. Authenticity of historical or social setting

  1. Specific library collections and material allocation

1. The allocation of library materials reflects the circulation of library materials by location. The most comprehensive collection is housed at the Southwest Library, which accounts for the largest percentage of total library circulation transactions.

2. The Southwest Library houses the reference collection, including the Kenosha reference and Kenosha author collection, and the largest adult, young adult and Approved, KPL Board of Trustees 3 May 13, 2014 children’s collections.

3. The library has established floating collections for various formats. Floating collections allow materials from one branch to stay at a different branch if an item is returned at a branch other than the checkout branch.

4. The Northside Library houses the second largest collection, consisting of popular materials for all ages and in most formats. Northside rotates the new materials between the Simmons, Uptown and the Bookmobile.

5. The Simmons Library houses popular materials. Some audio and visual materials are purchased for the collection, but most of this type of material comes from a rotating collection initially assigned to the Southwest Library. Simmons Library will not intentionally house unique titles.

6. The Uptown Library houses a popular collection, as well as a collection focusing on computers, literacy, job skills, and ELL (English Language Learners) materials.

7. The Bookmobile contains popular materials drawn from the Northside Library circulating collection, as well as rotating stock from the Southwest Library. There is a small collection of juvenile materials.

  1. The internet, digital resources, and the Library collection

The Kenosha Public Library maintains a website on the World Wide Web in order to meet the goals and objectives outlined in Section II. The library website is designed primarily to provide access to additional Internet resources. A secondary function of the website is to market library programs and services. When possible, the library website will point to existing reliable sources, which provide topical information, such as Badgerlink and recreational resources such as Overdrive. The library will not recreate resources, which already exist on the Internet. Professional librarians, using the general criteria outlined in the Kenosha Public Library Collection Development and Materials Selection Policy, select sites for the library website. A separate Internet Policy covers patrons’ use of the Internet.

1. Specific criteria for selecting Internet sites

  • Preference will be given to nonprofit and noncommercial sites
  • Links will be educational or informational in nature
  • Links should provide accurate, current, and unique information
  • The library website will provide in­depth local information and unique library resources
  • Links from the library website will provide balanced points of view whenever possible

2. Indicators of Site Quality

  • Ease of use
  • Scope of content clearly stated
  • Content is documented, accurate, and verifiable
  • Authorship
  • Headings and annotations are clear and helpful
  • Site is stable and links are up to date
  • Speed of connection
  • Graphics are useful and provide content support
  • Uses standard multimedia formats
  1. Labels and Shelving

Library materials are not marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of the contents, and materials are not sequestered except for the purpose of protecting them from damage or theft.

  1. Request for Reconsideration

The library will reconsider any material in its collection upon written request of a patron, who follows the steps below:

1. The patrons will be given a copy of the Kenosha Public Library Collection Development and Materials Selection Policy, which includes the Request for Reconsideration of Library Material form. This is available at the Information Desk at each library.

2. If the patron wants to pursue the reconsideration, the completed reconsideration form must be submitted to the Head of Collection Development. The Head of Collection Development will notify the patron by letter within two weeks confirming that their request has been received. The Head of Collection Development will appoint a staff committee to review the item being questioned and make a recommendation to the Library Director within 6 weeks of receiving the initial request.

3. The Library Director will decide whether or not the item should be retained and the patron will be informed of the decision within three weeks of receiving the staff recommendation.

4. The patron may appeal the Library Director’s decision to the Library Board within two months after receiving the Library Director's reply.

  1. Gifts

The Library accepts gifts of materials, but reserves the right to evaluate them in accordance with the criteria applied to purchased materials. Gifts, which do not comply with the Library’s objectives and policies, may be refused. Materials not added to the collection will be offered to the Friends of the Library book sales, or disposed of by other means and not returned to the donor. The Library does not accept gifts of used magazines, textbooks, Reader’s Digest Condensed Books, music cassettes, and abridged books on tape.

Monetary gifts for materials are welcome. Suggestions will be accepted from the donor for purchase of materials in designated areas of interest. Gifts of money or materials may be designated as memorials or to honor a person or an event. No other conditions may be imposed relating to any gift either before or after its acceptance by the Library.

  1. Maintenance of Library Collection

The Kenosha Public Library recognizes the need for continuous evaluation of its collections in response to the changing nature and needs of its community. This collection maintenance is accomplished through the weeding, replacement, rebinding, repair, and duplication of its titles. Maintenance of the collection requires the same study and attention as initial selection.

Materials that no longer meet the stated objectives of the Library will be discarded according to accepted professional practices. The following will be considered when withdrawing materials: physical condition, dated information, availability, permanent value, and user demand. Materials withdrawn from the library collection may be offered to other libraries, to Friends of the Library book sales, or may be disposed of by other means.

Replacements are not automatic for materials withdrawn because of loss, damage or wear. Replacement is considered according to this selection policy and in relation to adequate coverage in a specific subject area, availability of more current or higher quality titles, demand for the title, number of copies held, and cost. Gifts, including memorial items, are subject to this same replacement policy.

Certain collections of the Kenosha Public Library have been identified as high priority items for preservation and recovery from disaster. These items are identified in the Kenosha Public Library Emergency Action and Recovery Plan.

  1. Revision

The Library Board will review this policy at least every two years.

Appendix A


The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.

I. 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.

II. 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.

III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.

IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.

V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.

VI. 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. Amended February 2, 1961, June 27, 1967, and January 23, 1980, inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23,1996, by the ALA Council


The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack. Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label “controversial” views, to distribute lists of “objectionable” books or authors, and to purge libraries. These actions apparently rise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to counter threats to safety or national security, as well as to avoid the subversion of politics and the corruption of morals. We, as citizens devoted to the use of books and as librarians and publishers responsible for disseminating them, wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of the freedom to read.

Most attempts at suppression rest on a denial of the fundamental premise of democracy: that the ordinary individual, by exercising critical judgment, will select the good and reject the bad. We trust Americans to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe. We do not believe they are prepared to sacrifice their heritage of a free press in order to be “protected” against what others think may be bad for them. We believe they still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression.

These efforts at suppression are related to a large pattern of pressures being brought against education, the press, art and images, films, broadcast media, and the Internet. The problem is not only one of actual censorship. The shadow of fear cast by these pressures leads, we suspect, to an even larger voluntary curtailment of expression by those who seek to avoid controversy or unwelcome scrutiny by government officials.

Such pressure toward conformity is perhaps natural to a time of accelerated change. And yet suppression is never more dangerous than in such a time of social tension. Freedom has given the United States the elasticity to endure strain. Freedom keeps open the path of novel and creative solutions, and enables change to come by choice. Every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of our society and leaves it the less able to deal with controversy and difference.

Now as always in our history, books are among our greatest freedoms. The freedom to read and write is almost the only means for making generally available ideas or manners of expression that can initially command only a small audience. The written word is the natural medium for the new idea and the untried voice from which come the original contributions to social growth. It is essential to the extended discussion that serious thought requires, and to the accumulation of knowledge and ideas into organized collections.

We believe that free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture. We believe that these pressures towards conformity present the danger of limiting the range and variety of inquiry and expression on which our democracy and our culture depend. We believe that every American community must jealously guard the freedom to publish and to circulate, in order to preserve its own freedom to read. We believe that publishers and librarians have a profound responsibility to give validity to that freedom to read by making it possible for the readers to choose freely from a variety of offerings. The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution. Those with faith in free people will stand firm on these constitutional guarantees of essential rights and will exercise the responsibilities that accompany these rights.

We therefore affirm these propositions:

1. It is the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those which are unorthodox or unpopular with the majority.

Creative thought is by definition new, and what is new is different. The bearer of every new thought is a rebel until this idea is refined and tested. Totalitarian systems attempt to maintain themselves in power by the ruthless suppression of any concept which challenges the established orthodoxy. The power of a democratic system to adapt to change is vastly strengthened by the freedom of its citizens to choose widely from among conflicting opinions offered freely to them. To stifle every nonconformist idea at birth would mark the end of the democratic process. Furthermore, only through the constant activity of weighing and selecting can the democratic mind attain the strength demanded by times like these. We need to know not only what we believe but why we believe it.

2. Publishers, librarians, and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea or presentation they make available.

It would conflict with the public interest for them to establish their own political, moral, or aesthetic views as a standard for determining what books should be published or circulated. Publishers and librarians serve the educational process by helping to make available knowledge and ideas required for the growth of the mind and the increase of learning. They do not foster education by imposing as mentors the patterns of their own thought. The people should have the freedom to read and consider a broader range of ideas than those that may be held by any single librarian or publisher or government or church. It is wrong that what one can read should be confined to what another thinks proper.

3. It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to bar access to writings on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.

No art or literature can flourish if it is to be measured by the political views or private lives of its creators. No society of free people can flourish which draws up lists of writers to whom it will not listen, whatever they may have to say.

4. There is no place in our society for efforts to coerce the taste of others, to confine adults to the reading matter deemed suitable for adolescents, or to inhibit the effort of writers to achieve artistic expression.

To some, much of modern literature is shocking. But is not much of life itself shocking? We cut off literature at the source if we prevent writers from dealing with the stuff of life. Parents and teachers have a responsibility to prepare the young to meet the diversity of experiences in life to which they will be exposed, as they have a responsibility to help them learn to think critically for themselves. These are affirmative responsibilities, not to be discharged simply by preventing them from reading works for which they are not yet prepared. In these matters values differ, and values cannot be legislated; nor can machinery be devised which will suit the demands of one group without limiting the freedom of others.

5. It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept with any expression the prejudgment of a label characterizing it or its author as subversive or dangerous.

The idea of labeling presupposes the existence of individuals or groups with wisdom to determine by authority what is good or bad for others. It presupposes that individuals must be directed in making up their minds about the ideas they examine. But Americans do not need others to do their thinking for them.

6. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians, as guardians of the people’s freedom to read, to contest encroachments upon that freedom by individuals or groups seeking to impose their own standards or tastes upon the community at large, and by the government whenever it seeks to reduce or deny public access to public information.

It is inevitable in the give and take of the democratic process that the political, the moral, or the aesthetic concepts of an individual or group will occasionally collide with those of another individual or group. In a free society individuals are free to determine for themselves what they wish to read, and each group is free to determine what it will recommend to its freely associated members. But no group has the right to take the law into its own hands, and to impose its own concept of politics or morality upon other members of a democratic society. Freedom is no freedom if it is accorded only to the accepted and the inoffensive. Further, democratic societies are more safe, free, and creative when the free flow of public information is not restricted by governmental prerogative or self­ censorship.

7. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians to give full meaning to the freedom to read by providing books that enrich the quality and diversity of thought and expression. By the exercise of this affirmative responsibility, bookmen can demonstrate that the answer to a “bad” book is a good one, the answer to a “bad” idea is a good one.

The freedom to read is of little consequence when the reader cannot obtain matter fit for that reader’s purpose. What is needed is not only the absence of restraint, but the positive provision of opportunity for the people to read the best that has been thought and said. Books are the major channel by which the intellectual inheritance is handed down, and the principal means of its testing and growth. The defense of the freedom to read requires of all publishers and librarians the utmost of their facilities, and deserves of all citizens the fullest of their support.

We state these propositions neither lightly nor as easy generalizations. We here stake out a lofty claim for the value of the written word. We do so because we believe it is possessed of enormous variety and usefulness, worthy of cherishing and keeping free. We realize that the application of these propositions may mean the dissemination of ideas and manners of expression that are repugnant to many persons. We do not state these propositions in the comfortable belief that what people read is unimportant. We believe rather that what people read is deeply important; that ideas can be dangerous; but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society. Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.

This statement was originally issued in May 1953 by the Westchester Conference of the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers Council, which in 1970 consolidated with the American Educational Publishers Institute to become the Association of American Publishers. Adopted June 25, 1953;revised January 28, 1972, January 16, 1991, July 12, 2000, June 30, 2004. A joint statement by: American Library Association Association of American Publishers

Subsequently endorsed by: American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression Association of American University Presses Children’s Book Council Freedom to Read Foundation National Association for College Stores National Coalition Against Censorship National Council of Teachers of English Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression


The Freedom to view, along with the freedom to speak, to hear, and to read, is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. In a free society, there is no place for censorship of any medium of expression. Therefore these principles are affirmed:

1. To provide the broadest possible access to film, video, and other audiovisual materials because they are a means for the communication of ideas. Library of circulation is essential to insure the constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression.

2. To protect the confidentiality of all individuals and institutions using film, video, and other audiovisual materials.

3. To provide film, video, and other audiovisual materials which represent a diversity of views and expression. Selection of a work does not constitute or imply agreement with or approval of the content.

4. To provide a diversity of viewpoints without the constraint of labeling or prejudging film video, and other audiovisual materials on the basis of the moral, religious, or political beliefs of the producer or filmmaker or on the basis of controversial content.

5. To contest vigorously, by all lawful means, every encroachment upon the public’s freedom to view. This statement was originally drafted by the Freedom to View Committee of the American Film and Video Association (formerly the Educational Film Library Association) and was adopted by the AFVA Board of Directors in February 1979.

This statement was updated and approved by the AFVA Board of Directors in 1989.

Endorsed January 10, 1990, by the ALA Council

Code of Ethics of the American Library Association

As members of the American Library Association, we recognize the importance of codifying and making known to the profession and to the general public the ethical principles that guide the work of librarians, other professionals providing information services, library trustees and library staffs.

Ethical dilemmas occur when values are in conflict. The American Library Association Code of Ethics states the values to which we are committed, and embodies the ethical responsibilities of the profession in this changing information environment.

We significantly influence or control the selection, organization, preservation, and dissemination of information. In a political system grounded in an informed citizenry, we are members of a profession explicitly committed to intellectual freedom and the freedom of access to information. We have a special obligation to ensure the free flow of information and ideas to present and future generations.

The principles of this Code are expressed in broad statements to guide ethical decision making. These statements provide a framework; they cannot and do not dictate conduct to cover particular situations.

I. We provide the highest level of service to all library users through appropriate and usefully organized resources; equitable service policies; equitable access; and accurate, unbiased, and courteous responses to all requests.

II. We uphold the principles of intellectual freedom and resist all efforts to censor library resources.

III. We protect each library user's right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted.

IV. We respect intellectual property rights and advocate balance between the interests of information users and rights holders.

V. We treat co­workers and other colleagues with respect, fairness, and good faith, and advocate conditions of employment that safeguard the rights and welfare of all employees of our institutions.

VI. We do not advance private interests at the expense of library users, colleagues, or our employing institutions.

VII. We distinguish between our personal convictions and professional duties and do not allow our personal beliefs to interfere with fair representation of the aims of our institutions or the provision of access to their information resources.

VIII. We strive for excellence in the profession by maintaining and enhancing our own knowledge and skills, by encouraging the professional development of co­workers, and by fostering the aspirations of potential members of the profession.

Adopted at the 1939 Midwinter Meeting by the ALA Council; amended June 30, 1981; June 28,1995; and January 22, 2008

Download the Request for Reconsideration of Library Material form.

    Approved, KPL Board of Trustees: 
    Tuesday, May 13, 2014