Materials Selection Policy
Harris County Public Library has adopted the following policy in accordance with its Mission Statement:
Harris County Public Library provides information and resources to enrich lives and strengthen communities within and beyond our walls.
The Harris County Public Library Materials Selection Policy serves to guide librarians and inform the public regarding the principles on which library materials are selected and maintained.
The Materials Selection Policy supports the democratic principles set forth in the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States:
Congress Shall Make No Law Respecting An Establishment Of Religion, Or Prohibiting The Free Exercise Thereof; Or Abridging The Freedom Of Speech, Or Of The Press; Or The Right Of The People Peaceably To Assemble, And To Petition The Government For A Redress Of Grievances.
The Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution was ratified on December 15, 1791
Harris County Public Library
- Provides free and open access to materials and services without qualification. The only exception is the restriction of circulation of video materials to holders of an Adult library card (18 years and above).
The Library does not serve in place of parents or guardians who have the obligation and right to screen materials for their own minor children.
- Supports the individual’s right to access ideas and information representing all points of view. The Library has adopted the Library Bill of Rights (en Español), as well as statements affirming the Freedom to Read and the Freedom to View.
Further, the Library supports the American Library Association Code of Ethics.
- Includes in the Library’s collection of print, audio-visual and electronic resources materials intended to meet the needs of a large and highly diverse population. These comprise, but are not limited to, the cultural, informational, educational, and recreational needs of the citizens of Harris County.
- Strives to create an environment where customers may seek information on any and all topics without judgment.
All items added to the collection, whether through purchase or donation, are evaluated by the professional staff in order to ensure that the Library’s collection is dynamic and evolving to reflect the needs and interests of the community. Factors which may be considered are value to the existing collection, balance of viewpoints, timeliness, accuracy of information, literary and/or artistic merit, format, durability, and cost. Through Interlibrary Loan and interbranch holds, the Library participates in resource sharing to avoid unnecessary duplication of materials. Selection decisions may be guided by reviews in professional journals, standard bibliographies, popular culture, current events, or customer interest.
Given the necessity of including information on a broad range of topics, it is expected that there may be materials in the collection that are regarded as controversial by some members of the community. Customers wishing to comment on library materials may complete the Request for Reconsideration of Materials Form, available at every branch and online. All such requests are reviewed by the Materials Reconsideration committee, the Deputy Director and the Library Director.
The constraints of space, accuracy, and timeliness require that the collection be continually monitored with items being withdrawn as necessary. Additional factors which may be considered include physical condition, duplication, seldom used items, the publication of a new edition or the introduction of a different format.
All items purchased with Harris County Public Library funds or received by donation are the property of Harris County. Texas state law (Local Government Code, Chapter 263 - Sale or Lease of Property by Counties, Subchapter D - Disposal of Salvage or Surplus, 263.52 Disposition) must be followed in the disposing of County property.
The Library Director is the final authority for the selection, retention, and withdrawal of materials. Authority is delegated to the professional staff of the Materials Selection department to interpret and implement this policy.
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