The Newark Public Library
Collection Development Policy
Adopted by the Trustees of the Free Public Library of the City of Newark on May 31, 2006
Superseding the Policy Adopted on September 24, 1997
Superseding the Policy Adopted on September 24, 1997
The Newark Public Library
A. Resources for Children
The purposes of this document are:
B. The Library and Its Clientele
Newark is the largest city in New Jersey. Before World War II it flourished as a manufacturing center, a business center, a retail shopping center, and an entertainment center, as well as a cultural and educational center. Like many other cities, it suffered decline during the decades following the war. Nevertheless, its cultural institutionsthe Newark Museum, the New Jersey Historical Society, and the Newark Public Librarycontinued to attract users from all over the state, and a the major business enterprises that remained in the city continued to employ personnel from a wide area. Furthermore, Newark gained importance as a center of higher education.
The city’s cultural institutions, together with business enterprises, colleges, and universities, have made a significant contribution to the revitalization of the city that is now in progress. Within the past decade new housing has sprung up in many neighborhoods. Construction of new schools has begun. The City Subway is being expanded. The New Jersey Performing Arts Center, which opened in 1997, has been highly successful. Its success indicates that Newark is regaining its standing as a metropolitan centera desirable destination for visitors from the surrounding area. Indeed, the city’s future depends upon regaining this status.
The primary obligation of a public library is to furnish the resources frequently requested by its constituents for learning and recreation. Public libraries in most communities provide resources in general demand. The Newark Public Library has historically done more. It has provided people living and working both within city borders and in surrounding communities, as well as business enterprises and other cultural institutions, with information and resources not available in smaller institutions. Like public libraries in other metropolitan centers, it has routinely acquired items for which demand is limited. It has developed several collections adequate to support research and a number of others adequate to support advanced study.
Newarkers and others have long depended upon the library to provide not only popular resources, but also scholarly, even esoteric resources. Some have reported that access to such resources has altered the course of their lives.
By continuing to maintain and develop collections that have long drawn people from all over the state to Newark the library serves the interest of all city residents. All stand to benefit from whatever enhances that city’s standing as a flourishing metropolitan center.
Terminology and symbols provided in Guide for Written Collection Policy Statements, by the Subcommittee on Guidelines for Collection Development, Collection Management and Development Committee Resources Section, Resources and Technical Services Division, American Library Association (Chicago: 1989) are used in this document to describe the relative strength of collections:
D. Goals of Collection Management and Development Program
Until its budget allocation for library material was reduced in the early 1990s, the library continued to build collections in the fields of art, New Jerseyana, and business to the Research Level and a number of others to the Advanced Study Level. It also provided ample popular reading material for adults. Since then, for various reasonsfiscal constraints among themit has not continued to do so. Its current collection development goals, however, are:
To achieve these goals the library will endeavor to increase its allocation for library resources every year until it accounts for 15-20 percent of its operating funds.
E. Position on Intellectual Freedom and Censorship
The library subscribes to the positions articulated in the following statements concerning library collections (appended to this document), which have been adopted by the American Library Association.
F. The Library’s Collections: An Overview
1. Branch Library Collections
Branch library collections include:
These collections are not intended to support formal higher education or advanced independent study.
2. Main Library Collections
Main Library collections in the fields of New Jersey studies and art are developed to a level that supports research. The library is a Regional Depository for U.S. government publications and patents. Its U.S. Documents and Patents collections, therefore, are also adequate to support research.
Some items in its Rare Book Collection are also of value for researchers. Support for development of this collection has always been sporadic, however, and it reflects no identifiable emphasis.
The library maintains Study Level collections in most fields. Collection levels for specific Dewey Decimal Classification divisions appear in Section 2.
The library’s World Languages Collection includes general-interest material in eighteen languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Gujarati, Haitian Creole, Hindi, Hungarian, Italian, Korean, Pilipino (Tagalog), Polish, Portuguese(1), Russian, Spanish, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese.
The library maintains two discrete collections geared to the interests of the two ethnic groups that predominate in Newark. The collection in the James Brown African American Room is oriented especially toward African Americans. The collection in the Sala Hispanoamericana consists of Spanish-language books of interest to the city’s Hispanic residents.
G. Organization of Collection Management and Development Program
The director of the library bears general responsibility for development and management of library collections, according to the norms established in this document, and appropriately delegates specific responsibilities to subordinates.
(1) The Portuguese materials are housed at the Van Buren branch.
A. Resources for Children
Children’s collections at both the Main Library and the branches include:
These collections, as far as possible, include works reflecting diverse views on controversial topics.
B. Resources for Young Adults
Although young adult collections include many titles on school reading lists, young adults working on school assignments rely primarily upon adult collections.
Young adult collections include:
These collections are not intended to meet all the needs of teenagers whose interests are specialized or highly developed. These young people must turn to adult collections.
Young adult collections, as far as possible, include works reflecting diverse view on controversial topics.
C. Resources for Those With Disabilities
The library generously provides resources in special formats devised to meet the needs of the vision-impaired, the hearing-impaired, and others whose disabilities impede their ability to make optimum use of other library resources.
D. Miscellaneous Categories
The library acquires one copy of all titles on the New York Times and Star-Ledger bestseller lists. It acquires additional copies to meet demand, withdrawing these additional copies as demand wanes.
The Main Library always retains at least one "copy of record" of every bestsellereven if it does not circulatefor the benefit of students of cultural history.
2. English-for-Speakers-of-Other-Languages Resources
The library acquires a significant quantity of self-instruction resources in multiple formats for persons who are learning English as a second language.
3. Adult Literacy Training Resources
The branches as well as the Main Library acquire abundant high-interest, easy-reading materials for adults who are learning to read.
4. African American and Black Studies Resources
Because African Americans constitute the largest ethnic group in the city, the library has for the past thirty years been collecting African-American and Black Studies resources at the Advanced Study Level, verging toward the Research Level. African American and Black studies are interdisciplinary. Therefore, African American studies material appears in most of the library’s subject collections. The library acquires multiple copies of works in this field that are in demand.
Although the library does not endeavor to supply students with textbooks required for courses, it does not exclude from its collections textbooks that are potentially useful outside an academic course.
6. Test-preparation Resources
The library provides self-instruction resources for those preparing to take standardized tests, including civil service examinations, college entrance examinations, and high school equivalency examinations. As far as possible it provides these resources in electronic format because test-preparation books are especially subject to mutilation and theft. Nevertheless, it provides some in print to meet demand.
7. Outlines and Synopses of Literary Works
Outlines and synopses of important writings are acquired when they are deemed to be useful for study or in the provision of information, even though students may sometimes put them to questionable use.
8. Dissertations and Theses
The library acquires copies of all current dissertations related in any way to New Jersey. It applies the usual criteria in deciding whether to acquire other dissertations.
Old works sufficiently important to be reprinted by publishers of recognized standing merit a place in both Research-Level and Study-Level collections. The library acquires these reprints, sometimes even when it owns copies of the original editions.
The library maintains an Introductory Study-Level collection of atlases for reference and a Basic-Level collection of circulating atlases.
The New Jersey Information Center maintains a Research-level collection of New Jersey maps.
The U.S. Documents Regional Depository Collection includes enough maps of various kinds to support research.
11. Music Scores
The music scores collection includes works by all prominent composers of Western art music. It also includes works belonging to other traditions of music, including folk music of many nations, American popular music, jazz, blues, rock.
The collection includes music for most executants (individual instruments, instrumental ensembles, individual voices, and vocal ensembles).
Full scores with parts as well as miniature scores are included, as are hymnals and song anthologies.
12. Art Works
The library maintains a Research-Level collection of Fine Prints, in which many schools and styles of printmaking are represented.
It has also developed a notable collection of artists’ books and pop-up books.
Other graphic art works that it collects include posters, shopping bags, autographs, and book plates.
13. Books Collected As Examples of Fine Printing
The Richard C. Jenkinson Printing History Collection includes books exemplifying fine printing from the Renaissance to the present. The library continues to add finely printed books to this collection.
14. Graphic Novels
The library acquires graphic novels on the basis of the literary or artistic merit and in response to demand.
15. New Jersey Authors’ Works and New Jersey Imprints
A special collection (RaiNJ) includes works by authors identified as living or having lived in New Jersey, as well as those published by small presses in the state, but not those published by major commercial publishers that happen to operate facilities in New Jersey. The collection is selective, not comprehensive.
The library endeavors to acquire resources in the format most conducive to their efficient use.
1. Printed Resources
When a work that is unlikely to circulate heavily is available in both hardback and trade paperback editions, and the paperback edition is significantly less expensive, the library acquires it.
If the staff predicts that a work will have enduring value and will be heavily used, the library generally acquires at least one copy in a hardbound edition, provided that a hardbound edition is available. If additional copies are needed, the library sometimes buys paperback copies.
Some standard works are perennially in high demand and also subject to frequent theft, damage, and loss. When mass-market paperback editions of these works are available, the library acquires a reasonable number of copies andonce a yearreplaces those that have been stolen or lost.
Many serials are acquired in print format. Printed copies of those that contain significant illustrations are retained and, if possible, bound.
Some divisions of the library still acquire pamphlets, although they have become less important as sources of current information than they were before the advent of the Internet.
The New Jersey Information Center clips newspapers and files the clippings under topical headings for the convenience of researchers.
2. Microform Resources
Paper issues of serials that do not contain significant illustrations are frequently discarded and replaced by microfilm.
Unique resources created by the staff or acquired from their creators are microfilmed for preservation. In the future such resources are likely to be digitized.
3. Video Recordings
Videocassettes acquired during the past twenty years remain in circulation; but the library no longer acquires video recordings in cassette format—only in digital video disc (DVD) format. Videocassettes that are worn out or lost, if they are to be replaced, are replaced with DVDs.
The Main Library’s video recordings (both videocassette and DVDs) are housed in a discrete collection that includes old feature films which have stood the test of time as well as current films that have received critical acclaim or attained commercial success. This collection also includes operas, "how-to-do-it" films, and documentaries on a wide variety of subjects.
Branches maintain small collections of video recordings that are augmented by rotating collections.
4. Sound Recordings
The library’s music sound recordings are all in compact disc format. Recorded books are also now acquired in this format only, but some books-on-tape remain in circulation.
5. Electronic Resources
The library increasingly relies on electronic information resources to supply information. Such resources can often be searched in ways that print resources cannot, and some can be made remotely accessible to library patrons.
Certain rare print resources in the Newark Public Librarynotably Newark mapshave been digitized, and more are likely to be digitized in the future.
6. Computer Software
Some applications software is installed on library computers for public use. The library does not acquire software for circulation.
Eighteen languages are represented in the World Languages Collection.
The library also acquires important works written in languages other than English for its Research-Level and Advanced Study-Level subject collections. For the latter English translations, if available, are preferred.
Research-level collections sometimes include both an original work and an English translation.
All collections include some translations. Translations abound in the Main Library’s fiction collection.
G. Selection Criteria
Criteria for choosing individual items to be acquired include:
The weight assigned to particular criteria will vary. For example, criteria 4, 5, and 6 will carry less weight in the selection of items for a Research-Level collection than in the selection of items for a Basic-Level collection, and criteria 4 and 5 will be irrelevant to the selection of literary works.
Criteria 8 and 9 will always carry significant weightirrespective of collection levelwhen the work under consideration (or material on what it covers) is in demand. Relative absence of demand, on the other hand, will carry greater weight in selection of items for Basic-Level collections than for higher-level collections.
H. Purchase of Duplicate Copies
The library does not usually purchase more than one copy of a given work for a given collection unless the staff confidently foresees high demand for it. Additional copies are acquired in response to demand.
I. Replacement of Missing Works
Landmark works of non-fiction, literary classics, literary works by important contemporary authors, and items in demand are replaced as quickly as possible when they are worn out, lost, or stolen. If they are out of print, the library attempts to acquire used copies in good condition.
Missing works are identified in six ways: (1) from computer-generated reports of items not returned from circulation, (2) from interlibrary requests submitted by Newark Public Library patrons for titles listed in the catalog, (3) from unfilled requests from other libraries for items listed in the catalog, (4) from patrons’ reports to staff, (5) by staff members’ observation, (6) by formal inventories.
(2) The library is not committed to acquiring these works in sufficient quantity to meet the needs of whole classes reading the same work at the same time.
(3) These are not, however, acquired in sufficient quantity to meet the needs of whole classes reading the same work at the same time.
These are the levels to which the library developed particular parts of its collection before 1990 and to which it plans to begin developing them again.
0 = Out of scope
Biography (collective and individual) is dispersed to all classes, as appropriate. Many items remain in "B" and 920 but will eventually be reclassified.
Purely popular worksfiction(4) or non-fictionthat are not of interest to scholars, other specialists, or students, and which have ceased to circulate are discarded(5).
Guidebooks, directories, manuals, ready-reference sources, and statistical compendia that contain obsolete information are regularly discarded, unless they are likely to be consulted in the future for historical information. Except in Research Level collections few such works are retained.
Duplicate copies of works that circulate infrequently are usually discardedunless the work is important and cannot be easily replacedin which case one duplicate copy is retained as insurance against loss.
Works in the following classes are promptly discarded if they present obsolete information, unless they are landmark works (i.e., works that continue to be read and regularly cited in other works):
004-006 Computer Science
Except in Research Level collections and Advanced Study Level collections, previous editions of a work are discarded when a new edition is acquired.
Books in disrepair are discarded if they can be speedily replaced. Every effort is made to replace worn copies of landmark works.
If the last copy of a work that would not normally be discarded is in poor condition and cannot be speedily replaced, it may still be discarded, provided that
Otherwise, the last copy of a work is not normally discarded.
Items in special collections are not discarded without the prior approval of the director.
De-accessioning of U.S. Government Documents is regulated by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office.
De-accessioning of New Jersey State Documents is regulated by the New Jersey State Library.
(4) The last copy of a work of fiction listed in the H.W. Wilson Company’s Fiction Catalog is not discarded unless it can be promptly replaced.
(5) The Library, however, always retains one "copy of record" of any title that has appeared on the New York Times or Star-Ledger bestseller list.
The library encourages its users to recommend items for purchase. In deciding whether to acquire the items recommended, the staff considers not only users’ recommendations but also other criteria identified in Section II.G of this document.
Users who wish the library to acquire an item the staff has decided not to acquire and those who wish the library to remove an item in its collection must submit a formal written request.
Upon receipt of such a request, the director will convene a panel of librarians on the staff to re-assess the challenged decision, and, after considering their recommendation, will decide whether to accede to the user’s request.
If the director declines to do so, the user may appeal the decision to the Board of Trustees by making a written request to the president(6).
(6) If the user makes such an appeal at a board meeting, when public comments are entertained, the presiding officer will ask him to submit the appeal in writing.
Policy statements concerning library collections adopted by the American Library and endorsed by the Trustees of the Free Public Library of the City of Newark.
The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.
Adopted June 18, 1948. Amended February 2, 1961, and January 23, 1980, inclusion of "age" reaffirmed January 23, 1996, by the ALA Council.
Challenged Materials: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights
The American Library Association declares as a matter of firm principle that it is the responsibility of every library to have a clearly defined materials selection policy in written form that reflects the Library Bill of Rights, and that is approved by the appropriate governing authority.
Challenged materials that 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 I that "Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation," and in Article II, 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 only by 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 a 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, by the ALA Council; amended July 1, 1981; January 10, 1990.
Diversity in Collection Development: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights
Throughout history, the focus of censorship has fluctuated from generation to generation. Books and other materials have not been selected or have been removed from library collections for many reasons, among which are prejudicial language and ideas, political content, economic theory, social philosophies, religious beliefs, sexual forms of expression, and other potentially controversial topics.
Some examples of censorship may include removing or not selecting materials because they are considered by some as racist or sexist; not purchasing conservative religious materials; not selecting materials about or by minorities because it is thought these groups or interests are not represented in a community; or not providing information on or materials from non-mainstream political entities. Librarians may seek to increase user awareness of materials on various social concerns by many means, including, but not limited to, issuing bibliographies and presenting exhibits and programs. Librarians have a professional responsibility to be inclusive, not exclusive, in collection development and in the provision of interlibrary loan. Access to all materials legally obtainable should be assured to the user, and policies should not unjustly exclude materials even if they are offensive to the librarian or the user. Collection development should reflect the philosophy inherent in Article II of the Library Bill of Rights: "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." A balanced collection reflects a diversity of materials, not an equality of numbers. Collection development responsibilities include selecting materials in the languages in common use in the community the library serves. Collection development and the selection of materials should be done according to professional standards and established selection and review procedures.
There are many complex facets to any issue, and variations of context in which issues may be expressed, discussed, or interpreted. Librarians have a professional responsibility to be fair, just, and equitable and to give all library users equal protection in guarding against violation of the library patron’s right to read, view, or listen to materials and resources protected by the First Amendment, no matter what the viewpoint of the author, creator, or selector. Librarians have an obligation to protect library collections from removal of materials based on personal bias or prejudice, and to select and support the access to materials on all subjects that meet, as closely as possible, the needs, interests, and abilities of all persons in the community the library serves. This includes materials that reflect political, economic, religious, social, minority, and sexual issues.
Intellectual freedom, the essence of equitable library services, provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause, or movement may be explored. Toleration is meaningless without tolerance for what some may consider detestable. Librarians cannot justly permit their own preferences to limit their degree of tolerance in collection development, because freedom is indivisible.
Adopted July 14, 1982, by the ALA Council; amended January 10, 1990.
Evaluating Library Collections: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights
The continuous review of library materials is necessary as a means of maintaining an active library collection of current interest to users. In the process, materials may be added and physically deteriorated or obsolete materials may be replaced or removed in accordance with the collection maintenance policy of a given library and the needs of the community it serves. Continued evaluation is closely related to the goals and responsibilities of all libraries and is a valuable tool of collection development. This procedure is not to be used as a convenient means to remove materials presumed to be controversial or disapproved of by segments of the community. Such abuse of the evaluation function violates the principles of intellectual freedom and is in opposition to the Preamble and Articles I and II of the Library Bill of Rights, which state:
The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.
The American Library Association opposes such "silent censorship" and strongly urges that libraries adopt guidelines setting forth the positive purposes and principles of evaluation of materials in library collections.
Adopted February 2, 1973, by the ALA Council; amended July 1, 1981.
Expurgation of Library Materials: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights
Expurgating library materials is a violation of the Library Bill of Rights. Expurgation as defined by this interpretation includes any deletion, excision, alteration, editing, or obliteration of any part(s) of books or other library resources by the library, its agent, or its parent institution (if any). By such expurgation, the library is in effect denying access to the complete work and the entire spectrum of ideas that the work intended to express. Such action stands in violation of Articles I, II, and III of the Library Bill of Rights, which state that "Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation," that "Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval," and that "Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment."
The act of expurgation has serious implications. It involves a determination that it is necessary to restrict access to the complete work. This is censorship. When a work is expurgated, under the assumption that certain portions of that work would be harmful to minors, the situation is no less serious.
Expurgation of any books or other library resources imposes a restriction, without regard to the rights and desires of all library users, by limiting access to ideas and information. (See also other Interpretations to the Library Bill of Rights, including Access to Electronic Information, Services, and Networks and Free Access to Libraries for Minors.)
Further, expurgation without written permission from the holder of the copyright on the material may violate the copyright provisions of the United States Code.
Adopted February 2, 1973, by the ALA Council; amended July 1, 1981; January 10, 1990.
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 individuals devoted to reading and as librarians and publishers responsible for disseminating ideas, 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 larger 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, reading is 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 toward 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:
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 that 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 of 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, by the ALA Council and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee; amended January 28, 1972; January 16, 1991; July 12, 2000; June 30, 2004.
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:
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.
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