Paris-Bourbon County Library Collection Development Policies

Paris-Bourbon County Library Collection Development Policies

A Message About the Library’s Collection Development Policies and Strategies:

Our collection development policies guide all purchases to ensure a robust collection that ensures a wide variety of ideas, voices, and human experiences and perspectives. Offering these materials is not an endorsement of the materials.

A well-balanced collection will offer every member of the community an opportunity to see their ideas and experiences reflected in the collection, while also offering every member an opportunity to discover and engage with ideas and experiences that are new to them, and/or differ from their perspectives and experiences. The Library purchases and organizes age-appropriate materials into different sections of the library based on professional reviews, publisher recommendations, our collection development policies, and community standards.

As a government agency, the Library is not permitted under the law to remove, or limit access to materials based on topic or viewpoint. Removing or restricting materials in this manner could lead to expensive litigation that we would be extremely likely to lose.

Paris-Bourbon County Library Collection Development Policies

The Paris–Bourbon County Public Library is a Sanctuary library and as such shall select, organize, and maintain a quality collection of library materials and resources in physical and electronic format that will provide a basis for community information, education, recreation, and historical preservation in the Library District.

In support of the overall Library mission, the Paris–Bourbon County Public Library shall continuously develop a collection that represents a wide range of viewpoints and opinions, enriches lifelong learning, contributes insight into human and social conditions, fosters civic engagement, and provides entertainment.

The Library seeks to balance its collection of materials and resources so that it is inclusive rather than exclusive of ideas. In a democratic society, individuals are free to form and express their own opinions. The Library does not take sides on issues but takes seriously its role to provide information on opposing sides of issues, even when they may be controversial. The Library’s acquisition of any given material does not constitute endorsement of the material’s expressed views.

The Library ensures free access to its holdings for all who use the library; people are free to select or reject for themselves any library resource. The responsibility for a minor’s using library resources rests with the parent and/or legal guardian; previewing resources is recommended if a parent or guardian is concerned about content. While one can reject resources for oneself or one’s child, one cannot restrict access to resources for others.

The purpose of the Paris–Bourbon County Public Library collection development/materials selection policy is to guide librarians and to inform the public about the principles upon which selection is made. A policy cannot replace the judgment of the librarian, but stating goals and indicating boundaries will be of assistance in choosing from the array of available materials.

The responsibility for the use of the library collection by minors rests with parents or guardians. The Library affirms its support for and adoption of the principles set forth in the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, its Freedom to View statement, and its Freedom to Read statement.

“Selection” refers to the decision that must be made either to add a resource to the Library or to retain a resource already in the Library. “Library resources” and other synonyms as they may appear in this policy have the widest possible meaning; all forms of displays; programs; and contemporary, recorded mass communication, from the traditional printed forms to the latest developments in non-print media, are therefore included in this definition.

The ultimate responsibility for selection rests with the Library Director operating within the framework of policies determined by the Board of Trustees of the Paris–Bourbon County Public Library. As designated by the Library Director, Library staff may participate in the selection and development of Library resources. These designated staff members are responsible for specific areas of Library’s resources. Other staff members and the public may request resources for consideration.

Selection shall be based on the merits of a resource in relation to the needs and interests of the entire community. Basic to this policy are the “Library Bill of Rights,” the “Freedom to Read Statement,” and the “Freedom to View Statement” as adopted by the American Library Association, and to which this library subscribes. Resources that some portion of the community may find objectionable shall not be automatically rejected.  In its selection of resources, the Library observes flexibility and open-mindedness. Resources are evaluated as complete works and not on the basis of particular components. A resource will not be excluded from the Library’s offerings solely because it represents a particular aspect of life, because of frankness of expression, or because it is controversial.

Based on the services it is expected to perform, it is the responsibility of the library to provide circulating, reference, and resource materials for the public. Special collections shall be developed and maintained when indicated by community interest.

Library selectors choose resources in a variety of formats, age ranges, education levels, reading abilities, languages, and resource types in order to fully serve the recreational and educational needs of Bourbon County residents and library patrons.

An overarching goal of the collection of Library resources is to be broad and diverse, featuring resources covering a wide variety of topics and interests, while maintaining a reasonable wait time on the most popular resources as measured by community interest. Library resources are finite, and not every published resource will be purchased, nor are multiple copies of resources guaranteed to be purchased.

The following collection development sources may be used in the selection process:

  • Library Journal;
  • Publishers Weekly;
  • Kirkus Reviews;
  • BookPage;
  • Booklist;
  • School Library Journal;
  • Newspaper & Periodical Book Reviews;
  • Baker & Taylor Bibliographic File;
  • VOYA:
  • Horn Book; and
  • Other Miscellaneous Sources as Appropriate.

The following principles will be taken into consideration when selecting resources to be added to the collection:

  1. Literary or artistic merit;
  2. Contemporary significance or permanent value;
  3. Accuracy of content;
  4. Authority of the author or producer;
  5. Relation of the work to the existing collection;
  6. Price, format, and ease of use;
  7. Positive reviews in professional journals;
  8. Availability of information in the subject area;
  9. Availability of resource elsewhere, with holdings of other libraries in the area considered in developing the Library’s collection;
  10. Adequate coverage of controversial issues; and
  11. Response to popular community interest, including a representative sampling of experimental or ephemeral material.

When choosing items for the collection, resources are judged as a whole rather than on isolated passages. Resources do not need to meet all the above criteria to be included in the collection and will not be excluded based solely on any of the following:

  • Race, religion, nationality, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or political views of an author or with respect to content;
  • Frankness or coarseness of language;
  • Controversial nature of an item, including visual aspects;
  • Endorsement or disapproval of an item by an individual or organization.

Resources are purchased and developed in the most appropriate format(s) for library use. New formats are considered for the collections when need and interest from the community have been established, budget support is available, and the format can be successfully adapted for library circulation or use.


The Paris–Bourbon County Public Library welcomes patron suggestions for new resources. A patron may do so by completing the suggestion form at the circulation desk or the Title Suggestion form accessible in a patron’s  library account (login at While the Library will fulfill suggestions that meet its selection criteria whenever possible, not every suggestion can or will be purchased or developed.


The Paris–Bourbon County Public Library welcomes the growing opportunities that self-publishing methods offer local writers for expression. Requests are received from local and out-of-area authors to acquire their self-published books. Typically, these works have not been reviewed in standard published sources (Library Journal, Booklist, Kirkus) and may not meet the criteria that the Library normally sets for inclusion in its collections. The Library desires to support local authors while maintaining requisite standards for the permanent collections and have subsequently set specific guidelines for inclusion of self-published materials. Authors wishing to contribute their books to the library must meet the criteria listed below:

Selection Conditions:

  • Authors must be Bourbon County residents, or the book must take place in Bourbon County or otherwise demonstrate a strong local interest.
  • Each book must be approved by the appropriate selector before being accepted for placement.
  • Books may be accepted as donations from the author or publisher; however, at the discretion of the Director or appropriate selector, a book may be considered for purchase if published reviews in standard sources are available or there is strong evidence of appropriateness.
  • Books will not be purchased at patron request unless they have been reviewed in standard sources. Patrons may donate copies of authors’ self-published books. These will be evaluated in accordance with the Library’s gift policy and are not guaranteed inclusion in the collection.

Self-published family histories or other similar genealogical materials will be added at the discretion of the local history/genealogy materials selectors or the Director.

Providing textbooks and curriculum materials is the responsibility of schools and/or students.  Textbooks may be purchased for the collection when they supply information in areas in which they may be the best or the only source of information on the subject. The public library shall not assume responsibility for purchasing textbooks for wide and general distribution.

A gift for the library collection may consist of resources or funds for the purchase of resources recommended by the library staff, or for the purchase of specific resources suggested by the donor and recommended by the staff for inclusion. The library encourages gifts not earmarked for specific resources to permit the most flexible use of the donation for the enrichment of the collection. The Library reserves the right to reject any gifts.

Gift additions shall meet the same selection criteria as purchased resources.  In some cases, titles are received which could not have been acquired from library funds because of budget limitations.

If gifts of marginal value are offered, processing costs and use of shelf space are considered before the gift can be accepted.  Any gift accepted by the Library shall be subject to the following conditions:

  1. The library retains unconditional ownership of the gift;
  2. The library makes the final decision on its own use or disposition of the gift; and
  3. The library reserves the right to decide the conditions of display, housing, and access to the donated materials.

Any offers of substantial worth (i.e., equipment, art objects, special collections, etc.) should be referred to the Library Director. Such offers will be accepted/rejected based on considerations of need, maintenance, precedence, etc. Any gift accepted shall be subject to the conditions of acceptance outlined above.

The library shall not affix a value to any gift accepted.  This is the responsibility of the donor.  The library will acknowledge the gift by letter.  It is the donor’s responsibility to maintain all personal records pertaining to a gift for which he/she is claiming a tax deduction.

The Library Director shall establish procedures for maintaining the collection of resources and retaining it in attractive and usable condition.

It is the Library’s policy not to automatically replace all resources withdrawn because of loss, damage, or wear.  Need for replacement in each case is judged by two factors: (1) the existence of adequate coverage in the field by similar material, especially if there is later and better material; and (2) public interest in the specific title.

Keeping materials in good physical condition is essential.  Decisions must be made continuously on how to handle worn resources: whether to mend, bind, or withdraw them.  Each decision is based on the condition of the resource, current validity of its contents, availability for reorder,and cost of binding versus replacement. Replacement is preferable to binding if costs are comparable.  Binding is preferable to mending if a title is expected to have long-term usefulness, as for example, genealogical material. Mending is done only when need is detected early and the result is an attractive appearance.

Weeding is selection in reverse: the withdrawal of resources no longer suitable for or useful in the collection. Weeding is a thorough and conscientious effort to achieve a well-balanced collection and it should be a continuous and consistent process. Library staff review resources regularly for condition, relevance, and frequency of use to maintain dynamic collections that meet patron interests and information needs. Resources withdrawn from the Library collections become the property of the Friends of the Paris–Bourbon County Public Library and may be sold in a sale or bookstore, donated to local non-profit organizations, or recycled. Criteria for the removal of library resources from a location or the overall collection include, but are not limited to::

  1. Physical condition of the resource;
  2. Slow-moving resource;
  3. Resources containing subject matter no longer of current interest;
  4. Multiple copies of titles no longer in demand;
  5. Old editions replaced by later revisions of non-fiction titles;
  6. Items containing information that is no longer timely, accurate, or relevant;
  7. Space limitations of the Library; and
  8. Retention of local resources by Bourbon County and Kentucky authors.


Individuals or groups may occasionally question the suitability of particular resources of the Library.  Review procedures have been established so that members of the community (those who reside or own property in Bourbon County) may formally express concerns about Library resources. Such concern shall be expressed in writing to the Library Director on the form “Request for Review of Library Resource.”

Resources that are under review will remain accessible pending final determination.

Some providers/consortia of electronic collections may offer either no option for review or a process that is different from that defined in Paris–Bourbon County Public Library policy. The Library will act in accordance with the established policies, processes, and procedures of such providers/consortia.

Paris–Bourbon County Public Library Review Procedure:

The completed request and review form and a copy of the resource in question will be reviewed at the Director’s discretion, with the inclusion of any staff members as deemed appropriate. The request and review will be treated objectively and as important matters. General acceptance of the resource will be established by consulting authoritative lists and critical reviews in light of the Library’s collection development policies.   The resource will be reviewed comprehensively in consideration of:

  • The Paris–Bourbon County Public Library collection development policies and Board-adopted Sanctuary Library resolution;
  • The ALA Bill of Rights
  • The ALA Freedom to Read Statement;
  • The ALA Freedom to View Statement;
  • Professional reviews of the item in question; and
  • Inclusion of the resource by other libraries.

Within 30 days following receipt of the Request for Review, the Director will notify the requester of the progress of the review. Such reviews are subject to the Library’s resources and other obligations at the time, and no period of review or date of decision can be guaranteed. Based on the results of the review, the Director will make a decision regarding the questioned resource, including any action to be taken, and communicate that decision to the requester.

Appeal Procedure:

In the event the requester wishes to appeal the decision of the Director, the Board of Trustees will serve as the final arbiter. The requester must inform the Director in writing of the desire to appeal.

The Board’s responsibility is not to independently review the resource in question, but rather to verify that Library collection development policies and procedures were properly followed. As such, the Board shall consider the following:

  • Submitted request for review form
  • Communication between the Director and the requester
  • Paris–Bourbon County Public Library collection development policies and Board-adopted Sanctuary Library resolution
  • The ALA Bill of Rights
  • The ALA Freedom to Read Statement
  • The ALA Freedom to View Statement

The Board’s decision is final. The Director will convey the Board’s decision to the requester.

The library attempts to acquire genealogical resources that will be of interest to the community. Resource selection is the sole responsibility of the Director, though suggestions from local genealogists will be considered. All care will be taken in the case of weeding the genealogy collection; however, physical condition may warrant selective weeding. No genealogical resources from the reference genealogy collection may be checked out. In addition, no genealogy resources may be requested through Interlibrary Loan.


  • These resources should fall within the parameters of the selection policy for the collection.
  • Only resources covered by paid viewing rights for public performance will be shown, in accordance with state, federal, and international laws regarding copyright and intellectual property. Other materials that do not fall under the jurisdiction of such paid rights will not be shown without express release or permission from the creator(s) and/or copyright owner(s) of the material in question.
  • A library staff member or volunteer should be present at all times during library-sponsored viewing
  • Unrated films will not be shown unless they fall into the category of local-interest/high-interest documentary. Non-rated documentaries will be shown only at adult programs (those designed for ages 18 and over).
  • All programming will generally show only films for the appropriate age group, and will be advertised accordingly. In other words, only those films bearing a G or PG rating will be shown for elementary-school-aged participants; films shown for teens must bear G, PG, or PG-13 ratings.
  • The showing of films must not be in any competition with any local for-profit theater.

LIBRARY-SPONSORED PERFORMANCE MUST BE HANDLED CAREFULLY. The collection itself is a diverse collection of resources presented in a non-judgmental atmosphere so that each patron may choose according to his/her personal beliefs or need for information. Library-sponsored performance is different in that often only one viewpoint is presented within a single performance. For this reason, library-sponsored performance must not present the political or religious beliefs of one group alone.