Collection Development


The Purpose of the policy is to guide the staff in the selection of materials for the collection and to inform the public.


The mission of the library is to provide information, educational, cultural, and recreational library services to individuals and groups in Independence County. This mission will be fulfilled by the director and staff of the library, under the authority of the board of trustees.

The purpose of a collection development policy is to aid the library staff in selecting and acquiring a useful, representative collection of books and other materials to meet the needs of the community. The policy provides information to the public regarding the principal criteria for selecting materials and for declining to add materials to the collection.

The board of trustees and the library staff believe that the right to read and right of free access to the collection for all persons are essential to the intellectual freedom that is basic to democracy. Therefore, the board has adopted the Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read statement, the Freedom to View statement, and Diversity in Collection Development: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights. These policies are considered a part of this collection development policy and govern the collection and services of the library. (See attached)

The library will acquire, organize, and make available to all its residents books, magazines, paperbacks, newspapers, pamphlets, microforms, audio discs, video discs, and other items.

The library will maintain a current collection of materials, in all fields of knowledge, that are of permanent value, plus other materials on current issues or in demand. Materials will also be selected to meet the needs of business and industry, students, religious groups, and community organizations. The selection of large print materials will be provided to meet the needs of persons with visual handicaps who are unable to use conventional library materials.

Ultimate responsibility for the selection of library materials rests with the director, who operates within the policies approved by the board. The director delegates to staff members the authority to interpret and apply the Collection Development Policy in developing the library collection. Suggestions from patrons are invited and given serious consideration.

All staff members participate in the selection process and contribute their knowledge and experience of library materials and of the community or specialized area (business, technology, government documents, children's materials, juvenile literature, etc.). The library staff recognizes that some materials are controversial and may offend some persons. Selections will not be made on the basis of any anticipated approval or disapproval, but solely on the merits of the work.

Library materials will not be marked to show approval or disapproval, and will not be sequestered. Responsibility for the reading interests of children rests with their parents and/or legal guardians. Selection of materials for adults will not be inhibited by the possibility that the materials may come into the possession of children. The library maintains a collection of materials for pre-school and school age children, but they are not restricted to these collections and have access to all the materials in the library.


Each work must be judged on its own merit and intended audience. All additions to the collection – both purchase and gifts – must be a justifiable cost in terms of anticipated usage and must meet some of the following criteria:

  1. Appeal to the interests and needs of individuals in the community
  2. Permanent value as source materials or interpretations
  3. Availability of the materials elsewhere in the state and region
  4. Clarity and readability
  5. Contemporary significance
  6. Authority of the work
  7. Accessibility to the title through indexes and bibliographies
  8. Relevancy to Arkansas and local heritage
  9. Lack of information in subject area
  10. Popular demand
  11. Price

Evaluations are based on reviews of materials listed below but are not limited to these:

  • Amazon
  • Library Journal
  • Booklist
  • New York Times Book Reviews
  • Children's Catalog
  • Publisher's catalogs
  • Hornbook
  • Publisher's Weekly


The arts collection includes books and audiovisual materials on the fine arts, architecture, antiques, handicrafts, books on price evaluation and identification, landscaping, performing arts, sports, and amusements.


Representative materials on astrology, the supernatural, and other occult matters are included in this collection.


The staff will rely on reviews and also on the interests and requests made by the patrons of the Library. Ratings for audience suitability from the Motion Picture Association of America's system of ratings for feature films will be displayed on the jacket cover of each item. R-rated materials are clearly labeled. Patrons under the age of 18 are not allowed to check out R-rated DVDs.


The collection will contain books and other materials pertaining to the past and present of Batesville and the state of Arkansas. Special emphasis is placed on collecting both fiction and nonfiction materials by Arkansas authors.


The collection of biographies and autobiographies will be extensive. Current reviewed titles promoted as best sellers will be purchased on the basis of merit and local interest.


Basic materials will be collected in the business field. These will include book on how to start and manage businesses and company information. Specific source materials to cover mutual funds, stocks and bonds, and information that would assist someone in becoming employed will be included.


The Library selects materials on subjects of interest to children and youth from preschool through high school. Criteria for selection include literary and artistic qualities, age level vocabulary range, and illustration. Curricular demands are considered insofar as they do not obscure the library's general contribution to the community or attempt to substitute for the development and use of school library resources.


eBooks will be selected using the same Criteria for Selection used to select books and other materials for the Library's collection.


The fiction collection provides books (primarily in English and Spanish) for the wide range of interests of the general reading public, including classics in the field, titles representing periods of writing, and those meeting the popular demand for recreational reading.


The library acquires selective general reference genealogy and books on basic "how to" searching. The library will own a comprehensive collection of genealogy and local history materials for Independence County. After these primary needs are met, additional resources from throughout Arkansas will be collected.


Gifts may include all forms of print or non-print materials. They are accepted on a selective basis and are evaluated according to the selection policy of the collection in which they are to be housed. The library reserves the right to decide whether a gift should be added to the collection, disposed of through exchange, sold, or discarded.


The Library will maintain a strong collection in American, western, and Arkansas history. The remaining history collection will be basic with emphasis on individual histories of nations (world history).


The Library will select and maintain a collection of materials published in large print for patrons with visually impaired handicaps. The Library will collect many best-selling large print general fiction titles, as well as new publication in the genres of romance, mystery, western, and inspirational fiction. A sampling of the best contemporary literary fiction and selected nonfiction titles will round out the collection.


The Library will purchase standard and popular materials which deal with the philosophy of law and particular types of law, such as real estate, taxes, marriage and divorce, and probate for the lay reader.


The literature collection, which includes essays, poetry, plays, letters, humor, and criticism of these forms and of an author's works, will be basic. Literature in other languages will be bought in translation and in selected cases in the original.


Criteria to be considered in selecting magazines will depend upon the following:

  1. Accessibility through online databases
  2. Need in reference work
  3. Price
  4. Subject demand


Materials specifically written for the lay person are collected in the field of medicine. The collection will include the Physician's Desk Reference, no more than three (3) years old, and a Merck Manual, no more than five (5) years old and current books dealing with healing through natural ways.


The general policy is to avoid duplication of materials. When funds permit, multiple copies may be acquired.


Local and state newspapers are acquired, as well as the Wall Street Journal.


Trade and Mass Market paperbacks will be collected. Trade paperbacks are purchased when hardcover editions are not available, yet there is public demand for the items. Mass market paperbacks are either purchased or added by donation to meet patron demand in a browsing collection. Selectors use the guidelines set forth in this policy when adding titles to the paperback collections.


The collection will be suitable for meeting the needs of the general public.


The Federal Internal Revenue Service has involved the public libraries in distribution of tax information and tax forms. The Library will continue to subscribe to this free service.


Textbooks are rarely purchased or added to the collection, except in special areas when those titles are the best in the subject field for reference and research.


The collection will include atlases, travel guides, literary travel writings, personal reminiscence travel books, and geographical descriptions, which may include technical descriptions of the agricultural and economic conditions of a region. Travel guides will be replaced on a staggered basis, with each guide replaced at least every two years, depending upon available funds, to keep the collection current.


This policy is applicable in all situation where materials are added to the collection.


Responsibility is with the Library Director.


The Library Bill of Rights – American Library Association

The Freedom to Read Statement – American Library Association

The Freedom to View Statement – American Library Association

Diversity in Collection Development: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights

Approved by the Independence County Library Board on May 13, 2016

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.
  7. Adopted June 19, 1939, by the ALA Council; amended October 14, 1944; June 18, 1948; February 2, 1961; June 27, 1967; January 23, 1980; inclusion of "age" reaffirmed January 23, 1996, by the ALA Council.

The Freedom to Read Statement

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:

  1. It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those that are unorthodox, unpopular, or considered dangerous by the majority.

    Creative thought is by definition new, and what is new is different. The bearer of every new thought is a rebel until that idea is refined and tested. Totalitarian systems attempt to maintain themselves in power by the ruthless suppression of any concept that 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 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 that 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 efforts of writers to achieve artistic expression.

    To some, much of modern expression 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 that 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 the prejudgment of a label characterizing any expression or its author as subversive or dangerous.

    The ideal 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, they 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 faculties, and deserves of all Americans 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 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.


Freedom to View Statement

TheFREEDOM 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 access to film, video, and other audiovisual materials because they are a means for the communication of ideas. Liberty 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, or 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.

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.
  • Hours of Operation

  • |
  • Sunday CLOSED
  • |
  • Monday - Thursday 9:00 am to 6:00 pm 
  • |
  • Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm | Saturday - 9:00 am to 4:00 pm