Great libraries make great communities.

Collection Development Policy

Mission Statement:

The mission of the Adams County Library System is to provide all county residents access to library materials and information systems that address the needs and expand the aspirations of county residents for formal and lifelong learning, enrichment and pleasure.

Purpose of the Collection Development Policy:

The purpose of the library’s collection development policy is to assure that the library purchases, within budgetary limitations, the best materials of both permanent and current interest in all subjects. The selection of library resources is a prime activity within the library and is based on the needs and requests of the community which it serves.

Community Description:

Adams County is primarily a rural, agricultural county. Of the 91,292 individuals recorded in the last census, over 70,000 of those lived in a rural setting. As of 2001, the county has a per capita income of approximately $18,000. However, several communities have a per capita income lower than this. 25,546 are age 45 or older. The Hispanic / migrant population represented about 2% of the total 1990 census but is a fast growing (and was significantly undercounted in the last census) segment of our population, and this population increases dramatically during the fruit harvesting season.

Adams County Library System has 5 service locations plus a bookmobile. These include the central library in Gettysburg, one branch library in New Oxford, and three satellite libraries located in Arendtsville, Fairfield and Littlestown. In addition, there is a system member library located in East Berlin. Adams County provides nearly 50% of the operating income received by the library, through a dedicated ½ mill property tax designated for the library by the County Commissioners. Additional funds come through State Aid and other local municipalities. The Borough of Gettysburg has a long history of providing the library with both financial and “in kind” support. The central library is open 7 days a week, for a total of 66 hours per week. It is very well used.

Of the more than 500,000 items circulated in 2003 over 280,000 were circulated from the central library. The satellite libraries are open five days a week for a total of 30hours. Each library has three public access computers which allow access to the Internet, Word and Excel. These libraries have had over 30,000 circulations in 2003.

Internet connectivity came late to Adams County. In 1996, there was only one Internet service provider in all of Adams County and they only provided access to residents of the Borough of Gettysburg. Although, services have improved, the technology infrastructure in Adams County is still in its infancy. Some of the county residents do receive high speed Internet access through the cable company and DSL service is available in one or two of our municipality. However, the vast majority of the county residents still receive Internet access either by dial up or at the library.

Material Selection

Final responsibility for selection of all library materials rests with the Library Director, who operates within the framework of policies determined by the Board of Trustees. However, the Director will delegate to the librarians involved in selection the authority to interpret the policy in making day-to-day decisions. Problems will be referred to the Director for resolution.

Suggestions from other staff members and library users are encouraged and seriously considered. Selection of materials is based on the professional knowledge and judgment of the library staff, whose expertise includes familiarity with all types of materials and familiarity with the strengths and weaknesses of the existing collections, and awareness of the needs of the community. Staff members consult standard bibliographic works and published reviews in professional and general periodicals for evaluations of available materials. Some works will be purchased based on the strength of an author’s or performer’s previous popularity before a written review is available.

The scope of the Adams County Library System’s collection is fundamentally popular and light research materials. No subject area will be purchased at a deeper conspectus basis than 1B * except in the areas of Adams County history and Civil War History.

* The Conspectus process is a librarian tool to analyze the level at which a library collects materials on a subject. The scale runs from 0 (Do not collect) to 5 (The Library collects everything in any language ever published on the subject). 1B is a library conspectus level which can be described as the library will purchase materials in this subject on a recreational research level from a distinct plan on how it fits the community. The library strives to collect items on Adams County history and the Civil War at a slightly more in depth research level. 

Gifts

The library accepts gifts of books and other materials with the understanding that they become the property of the library and are evaluated in the same manner as purchased materials. Acceptance by the library of any gift does not mean that that item will become a part of the collection. Gifts which are not added to the collection will be donated to the Friends of the Library.

Collection Maintenance

The library has an obligation to maintain an up-to-date collection which reflects the reading and research interest of the community. Items can become tattered or can become a hazard to user’s home machines in the case the audio/visual collection. This means that periodically items will have to be designated for discard. Items will be designated for discard based upon whether it is a classic, replacement possibilities, age, use, and whether there are multiple copies of the item. Items which are designated for discard will be reviewed by at least one supervisor before they are removed from the collection. Items will then be made available to the Friends of the Library to determine if they can sell the item. Occasionally, items of a classic nature are not available for replacement. These items in poor physical condition will be designated for rebinding. Rebinding is done one or two times a year at the discretion of the Cataloging Coordinator.

Intellectual Freedom Statement

The library has a responsibility to serve all segments of the community. Materials useful to some may be objectionable to others. Selections are based solely on the merits of the work in relation to building the collections and to serving the interests of readers. The library attempts to represent all sides of controversial issues. Its function is to provide information, not to advocate specific points of view.

Responsibility for what children read rests with the children’s parents and/or legal guardians. Selections will not be inhibited by the possibility that controversial books may come into the children’s possession. In its selection of materials, the library subscribes to the American Library Association’s Freedom to Read Statement and to the Library Bill of Rights (appended).

Reconsideration of Materials

No challenged materials which have been duly selected shall be removed from the library’s collection except upon the recommendation of the Library Director or upon formal action of the Board of Trustees when a recommendation of the Director is appealed. 

Procedure: 

  1. A patron challenging any part of the collection should first be offered a copy of the Materials Selection Policy to read.
  2. If material is still questioned, a copy of the form “Statement of Concern about Library Resources” (form appended) should be filled out completely by the patron.
  3. The Library Director will review the form and make a reply to the person.
  4. If the patron is not satisfied with the reply, he/she should bring the matter to the attention of the Board of Trustees, not less than one week prior to the scheduled meeting.
  5. The Board of Trustees will review the communication, the decision and the issues raised and will respond to the patron when the review process is complete. The Board has the legal responsibility for the collection and its protection under the First Amendment of the bill of Rights of the United States Constitution.