Collection and Selection

Materials Selection

The cornerstone of library service is the book collection. Providing a vital book collection—one which has meaning for the public served—requires continuous attention; it means retaining the best of the old and selecting the best of the new. Obsolete titles must be withdrawn; worn books must be replaced; materials to meet special needs must be obtained; duplicate titles must be ordered as needed—these are the elements that contribute to a lively and meaningful book collection.

This policy governs the selection and maintenance of the Miami Public Library’s collection of not only books, but periodicals, pamphlets, newspapers, audio and video materials, or any other materials owned by the library.

The library recognizes its responsibilities to collect such materials, to organize and make available its resources, and to give guidance in the use and interpretation of its collection.


  • To facilitate informal self-education of all people in the community.
  • To enrich and further develop the subjects on which individuals are undertaking formal education.
  • To meet the informational needs of all.
  • To support the educational, civic, and cultural activities of groups and organizations.
  • To encourage enjoyable leisure time reading.

Community Factors

The Miami Public Library serves a variety of people from a fairly large geographic area. Our collection must be broad in subject, comprehensive in viewpoint, and have wide latitude in reading levels.

We also cooperate with other libraries to supplement our book collection. We use the Oklahoma Department of Libraries Catalog for interlibrary loans and Firstsearch/Worldcat and EBSCO databases.

We collaborate with the public schools, as well as the NEO A&M Junior College Library.

Book Selection Policies and Procedures

Ultimate responsibility for book selection rests with the Director, who operates within the framework of policies determined by the Library Board. It is considered desirable to insure maximum participation by staff members in the reviewing process. Wide reading of books is encouraged, since an informed staff contributes immeasurably to intelligent use of the book collection.

The book selection policy is intended to implement the general objectives of the library. The purpose of the selection process is to obtain expertly selected books and other materials to further the library program of giving information, reference assistance, and help to those engaged in educational pursuits, as well as to provide general home reading. In general the library’s policy is to purchase the best books that satisfy the clientele of the library within budget limitations.

Points considered in book selection are literary, educational, informational, and recreational value; authority and effectiveness of presentation; qualities conducive to critical thought and understanding; and available funds and space.

Contemporary and popular authors are included, as well as those who have demonstrated enduring worth. Titles are selected on the basis of content as a whole and without regard to the political opinions or purposes of the publisher. In the case of controversial questions, variety and balance of opinion are sought whenever available.

The criteria for all fields include:

  • Permanent or timely value.
  • Accurate/authoritative information.
  • Clear presentation and readability; literary quality.
  • Social significance.
  • Elimination of the deliberately distorted, sensational or offensive (regarding issues religion, sex, racial prejudice, political ideologies, etc.).
  • Presentation of both sides of controversial issues (abortion, evolution, gun control, etc.).
  • Balance of special group interests with general demand.
  • Inclusion of books of doubtful value occasionally for their timeliness (campaign biographies, flying saucers, popular fiction).
  • Format and price may be deciding factors.

Children and Young Adults

The aim of book selection for children is to choose the best new books and replace and duplicate older titles that have proved their worth. We include books for recreational reading, inspirational books of lasting value, and books of information covering a wide range of knowledge that will satisfy the child’s natural curiosity and widen his interests.

The aim with children and young adults is to contribute to the development of well-rounded citizens of their own country and the world. To this end, readable adult titles are selected that are keyed to young people’s needs and interests, as well as books that will tend to open up new interests in cultural, economic and social fields.

Titles written specifically for young adults are included in the collection. All books are purchased in the hope that they will lead to continued reading in adult fields on as high a level as possible for each individual.

Book Selection Aids

It is impossible to read every book for the library before purchase. The staff, therefore, makes use of selection aids such as basic and current general lists, special bibliographies, and book reviewing journals. No one publication is relied upon exclusively and the critical opinions of reviewers are checked against each other.


The library periodically discards worn or outdated materials, duplicate copies, or materials no longer of interest.

Controversial Issues

Special Aspects of Book Selection

Does not constitute an endorsement of its contents, or of any theory, idea, or policy contained therein.

Questions concerning this policy, or complaints and comments on a specific book should be taken up with the Library Director. A form (see below) will be provided for the patron to list objections to a particular book or other library material. In the event such a complaint cannot be satisfactorily resolved between the patron and the director, the patron should apply to the Library Board. The book or other material in question will be kept on the library shelves and available for check-out until a final determination is made.

Donated Items

  • All gift items must meet the criteria of the library’s Materials Selection Policy.
  • The library cannot make appraisals on gift materials.
  • Donated books and other donated materials become library property and are subject to this policy.