Collection Development Policy


The purpose of the Butler Public Library is to provide all individuals in the community with carefully selected books and other materials  to aid in the pursuit of education, information, research, pleasure, and the creative use of leisure time.

Selection of materials will not be made on the basis of anticipated approval or disapproval, but solely on the basis of the principles stated in this policy. Responsibility for choosing what an individual will read rests with the individual. Responsibility for the use of library materials by children and young adults rests with their parents or legal guardians.

The Materials Collection Policy serves as a guide for the selection and retention of materials for the Butler Public Library. The Policy is designed to support the Library’s Mission Statement.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Butler Public Library is to provide quality materials and services that fulfill lifelong educational, informational, cultural, and recreational needs of the entire community in an atmosphere that is welcoming, respectful, and businesslike.

Responsibility for Selection

The ultimate responsibility for selection of Library materials rests with the Library Director who operates within the framework of the policies determined by the Butler Public Library Board of Trustees. Those staff members who are qualified by reason of education, training, or experience share this responsibility. However, because the Director must be available to answer to the Library Board, and the general public for actual selections made, the Director has the authority to reject or select any item contrary to the recommendations of the staff.

Criteria for Selection

All acquisitions, whether purchased or donated, are considered in terms of the following standards. An item need not meet all criteria in order to be acceptable.

  • appeal to the interests of the community
  • artistic excellence
  • literary merit
  • local interest
  • technical quality
  • quality of presentation
  • reputation and significance of the author, generally and in the local community
  • accurate, authoritative, and objective
  • originality of thought
  • permanent value
  • popular demand
  • relation to existing collections and other material on the subject
  • inclusion of title in standard or special bibliographies or indexes
  • skill, competence, and purpose of the author
  • price, format and ease of use
  • contemporary significance and current usefulness
  • availability of materials at other libraries
  • availability of materials online


Selection of library materials will not be influenced by:

  • The possibility that they may come into the possession of children or young adults
  • The liability of materials to theft or mutilation

Tools used in selection include professional journals, trade journals, subject bibliographies, publishers’ promotional materials and reviews from reputable sources.


The Butler Public Library selects titles on the basis of the content as a whole and without regard to the personal history of the persons involved in making the video.

In no case is any item included or excluded merely because of the race, nationality, political or religious reviews or philosophical stance of the writer.

The Butler Public Library recognizes that some materials are controversial and that any given item may offend some patrons, but selections of titles will not be made on the basis of anticipated approval or disapproval, but solely on the basis of established professional standards and principles stated in this policy.

Materials will not be marked or identified by the library to show approval, disapproval, or any other evaluation of their contents by the library. Parent or legal guardians have sole responsibility for the use of materials by their minor children. Selection of materials for Butler Public Library collections will not be inhibited by the possibility that materials may come into the possession of children.

Interlibrary Loan

The Butler Public Library is a member of the Bridges Library System, and, as such, provides access to materials from other system libraries to its patrons. In return, the Butler Public Library agrees to lend materials to other Bridges System Libraries. The Library also participates in an interlibrary loan network through the State of Wisconsin.

Gifts and Donations

Donations of materials are gratefully accepted with the understanding that the Library may add them to the collection if they meet the established standards for purchased materials, with emphasis on currency, physical condition, and need. All gifts added to the collection must be donated without restrictions and be available for public use. Materials not added to the collection will be made available at no cost to the public or disposed of by other means. The Library cannot place a monetary value on materials for tax purposes, but receipts are available upon request.

Monetary gifts are always welcome and may be designated as memorials. When monetary gifts are intended for the purchase of materials, Library staff will make the determination of what titles to buy, using the same criteria as for all other purchases. Gifts of non-library items ordinarily will not be accepted.

Withdrawal of Materials

An attractive and up-to-date collection is maintained through a continual discarding and replacing process. Materials may be withdrawn from the collection after careful consideration of these factors:

  • Physical condition
  • Currency of information
  • Lack of use
  • Space needs

Although every effort will be made to replace needed materials which are withdrawn, the Library takes the position that it is better to have no information on a subject than to have materials that are inaccurate or in poor physical condition.

Materials withdrawn from the collection may be made available at no cost to the public or disposed of by other means.

Requests for Reconsideration

The Butler Public Library understands that community members have diverse points of view and that some patrons may find some materials offensive or controversial. The choice of Library materials by Library users is an individual matter. While individuals may reject materials for themselves, they cannot exercise censorship to restrict access to the materials by others. Selection of materials will not be made on the basis of anticipated approval or disapproval, but solely on the basis of the principles stated in this policy.

Recognizing that a diversity of materials may result in some requests for reconsideration, the following procedure will be followed to ensure that objections or complaints are handled in an attentive and consistent manner. Once an item has been approved for purchase, based on the selection policy of the Library Board of Trustees and the criteria for selection, it will not be automatically removed upon request.

Patrons requesting that material be withdrawn from or restricted within the collection may complete a “Request for Reconsideration” form which is available from Library staff.

“Request for Reconsideration” form pg.:  

A request for reconsideration form must be completed and returned to a Library staff member. Within 30 days of filing the request, the Library Director and the material selector will review the request and send a written response including a copy of the “Materials Collection Development Policy” to the complainant explaining their decision regarding the request. The response will also inform the complainant that, if desired, the request will be forwarded to the Butler Public Library Board.

Within 30 days following the written response, if it is the desire of the complainant, the request for reconsideration along with the Library Director recommendation will be forwarded to the Library Board.

If so desired by the complainant, the item will be placed on the agenda of a future Butler Public Library Board meeting. Any complainants will be notified of when they may address the Board. The Board of Trustees reserves the right to limit the length of presentation and number of speakers at the hearing.

The Board will determine whether the request for reconsideration has been handled in accordance with stated policies and procedures of the Butler Public Library, including the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read and the Freedom to View Statements. On the basis of this determination, the Board of Trustees may vote to uphold or override the decision of the Director.

The Board of Trustees has final authority in determining the retention or removal of challenged library materials. The complainant will be notified in writing of the Library Board’s decision in the matter.

Request for reconsideration about a particular item will not be considered by the Library more than once within a 12-month period.

During the process of reconsideration, challenged materials remain in the active collection until an official decision is made.

Intellectual Freedom

The Butler Public Library supports the individual’s right to have access to ideas and information representing all points of view. The Board of Trustees of the Butler Public Library has adopted the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, The Freedom to Read, and The Freedom to View statements. These have been adopted and are endorsed by the Butler Public Library Board of Trustees. Please see the Appendices beginning page 39.