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Collection Management Policy


The Willow Springs Public Library endeavors to maintain a collection of materials of both long-term value and current interest according to the needs of our community. The American Library Association’s statements, “The Library Bill of Rights” and “The Freedom to Read” serve as guiding principles for the development and management of the collection.



The library shall maintain a collection of materials for readers of all ages with a broad range of interests and abilities. Selection shall be made by the Director in accordance to the principles outlined above with consideration for the interests of the community; holdings available in partner libraries; price, format, and availability of materials; and the need to keep the collection diverse and current. Both professional book reviews and local demand provide a balance of opinion as a factor in selection.


Materials are added to the collection regularly as the budget permits. These include print and electronic reading materials, audio-visual materials, and educational resource items. New materials and editions are given priority over older or out-of-print materials.


The library’s resources are intended to support but not duplicate the collections of local schools, nor supply the curriculum needs of homeschooling families. The library does not purchase textbooks nor will textbooks be added to the collection. Literature in languages not justified by community needs will not be added to the collection. Religious and political materials of a proselytizing or propagandist nature will not be added to the collection. These types of materials may be accessed through inter-library loan (if available) at the request of the patron.


Library materials age and wear out and must eventually be removed. Deselection or “weeding” is the process that filters out unneeded materials to make room for new items. Final authority for deselection rests with the Director. The library employs the CREW Method (Continuous Review, Evaluation and Weeding), which takes into account the age of the item, time since last circulation, physical condition, relevance to the community, merit or accuracy of the content, redundancy of the material, and availability of the information or content elsewhere. Works that are part of series, of which the greater part is not in the collection, may be removed if the entire collection does not meet the criteria for inclusion in the collection.


Items withdrawn from the collection will be made available to the public in a used book sale, with the exception of materials in very poor condition. Withdrawn items that are not purchased by the public may be given away, recycled, or discarded; subject to all relevant provisions of the Charter of the City of Willow Springs and the statutes of the State of Missouri.


Donated items or materials purchased with donated funds become the property of the library and will be subject to the same selection and deselection criteria as the rest of the collection. The library reserves the right to accept or refuse any donation.


Acceptance and use of gifts of books and other library materials will be determined by the library director. The library has the right to discard any gifts that are in poor physical condition (e.g. brittle paper, water damage, dirt, torn or missing pages).


Values will not be placed on donated items for income tax purposes but receipts will be provided upon request for items in good or better condition. Donors wishing a receipt for donated items are to prepare their own lists. A donor of an item of high value should employ an appraiser for tax purposes.


All library books and audio books have call numbers which designate the appropriate audience age for that item. These designations are as follows:

  • Adult (ages 18+) - AF (adult fiction), AF-LP (adult fiction, large print), ANF (adult nonfiction)

  • Young Adult Senior (ages 14-17, grades 9-12) - YA (young adult)

  • Young Adult Junior (ages 12-14, grades 7-8) - YA (young adult)

  • Juvenile (ages 8-12, grades 3-6) JF (juvenile fiction) - JNF (juvenile nonfiction)

  • Children (infant to age 8, grades Preschool to 2nd) – CF (children’s fiction), CNF (children’s nonfiction)


These designations are based on the book’s ATOS readability-formula Book Level and the Interest Level as assigned by the Renaissance Learning Accelerated Reader Program with consideration for potentially sensitive content as indicated by book publishers and reviewers.


Video designations are based on the rating assigned by the Motion Picture Association. All video ratings are clearly labeled and shelved by genre. Children’s and Family films are considered a genre and shelved together.


Electronic materials such as eBooks, eMagazines, and digital audio books may or may not have age desingations assigned by the publisher or distributer. The Willow Springs Public Library, its Director, staff, and Executive Board have no control over any age or audience-appropriate designations on electronic materials.


Displays and exhibits of materials in designated areas of the library will be limited to materials appropriate for the age group in that area. Adult materials will be displayed only in areas designated for shelving adult materials.



A public library does not promote particular beliefs or views. Individuals are encouraged to examine issues freely and make their own decisions. Addition of an item to the library’s collection in no way represents an endorsement of any theory, idea or policy contained in the material.


The library recognizes that controversial content may offend some library users but maintains the right of readers to examine various positions on complicated subjects. While readers are free to reject material they find offensive, no one has the right to restrict freedom of access to others.


Addition of adult materials to the collection will not be limited by the possibility that such materials may inadvertently come into the possession of minors. Libraries must meet the diverse needs of everyone in their community. They cannot overrule the rights and responsibilities of individuals by deciding who does or does not have access to library materials. Decisions about what materials are suitable for particular children should be made by the people who know them best; their parents or legal guardians.

Parents or legal guardians may restrict borrowing by children under seventeen to preferred materials. The library will not restrict in-house use of materials because of age. Parents and guardians are responsible to monitor minors.


Complaints concerning materials in the collection or requests for reconsideration of library materials must be made in writing. The request will be reviewed by the Director and appropriate staff. Materials will not be removed because of a complaint only. All materials will be judged as a whole rather than by isolated passages. Concerned individuals may request (in writing) a hearing before the Library Board.

The Board reserves the right to limit the length of the presentation and number of speakers. After receiving testimony from the public and the library director, the Board will decide, based on the library’s policies, whether to uphold or override the Director’s decision. The Board of Trustees is responsible for establishing the selection policy. Library materials found to meet the standards in the selection policy will not be removed from public access. The Board will not be asked to rule on individual items that may be subject to a complaint.



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.



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 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. Endorsed January 10, 1990, by the ALA Council.




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. All people, regardless of origin, age, background, or views, possess a right to privacy and confidentiality in their library use. Libraries should advocate for, educate about, and protect people’s privacy, safeguarding all library use data, including personally identifiable information.


Adopted June 19, 1939, by the ALA Council; amended October 14, 1944; June 18, 1948; February 2, 1961; June 27, 1967; January 23, 1980; January 29, 2019. Inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996

Freedom to Read
Library Bill of Rights
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