About the Library — Planning Documents


Collection Development Policy for the Santa Cruz City Public Library System

Section: 1.0 Purpose
Section: 2.0 Service Roles: Strategic Directions
Section: 3.0 Selection of Library Materials
Appendix 1: Freedom to Read
Appendix 2: Freedom to View
Appendix 3: Library Bill of Rights
Appendix 4: Resolution on the USA PATRIOT Act and Libraries
Appendix 5: Library Materials Comment Form

Section: 1.0 Purpose

This document is intended as a framework for collection development throughout the Santa Cruz Public Libraries. It is based on the in-house document Standards for Library Services and Facilities and like that document is expected to be a "living" piece, periodically reviewed and revised as the design of library service in Santa Cruz County evolves.

Section: 1.1 Legal Responsibilities

The Santa Cruz Public Libraries is governed according to provisions of California law, and on the basis of a Joint Exercise of Powers Agreement between the City of Santa Cruz, a charter city, and the County of Santa Cruz, a political subdivision of the State of California.

The Library System is obligated by California and local law to provide free access to information to all people in the County. It also endeavors to provide equal access to information, without regard to residence or economic status.

Collection development is ultimately a responsibility of the Director of Libraries, within the context of the mission statement adopted by the Library Joint Powers Board. The actual day-to-day work of evaluations, selection, and deselection is delegated to the staff of professional librarians.

Section: 1.2 Purpose, Vision, and Mission Statements

Our Purpose
Connect, Inspire, Inform

Our Vision
Transform lives & strengthen communities

Mission Statement
The Santa Cruz Public Libraries enhance Santa Cruz County's quality of life by providing vibrant physical and virtual public spaces where people connect, discover, and engage the mind. All ages have the opportunity to nurture their love of reading, find diverse and relevant resources for entertainment and enrichment, and strengthen community networks.

Section: 2.0 Service Roles: Strategic Directions

The Santa Cruz Public Libraries has identified strategic directions as appropriate to our library system. Not every role can be filled by every branch facility. Some roles overlap and some library activities apply to more than one role. The roles are a Guide for determining which services each branch can reasonably deliver. These roles are not presented in priority order.

Section: 2.1 Reading, Viewing, and Listening for Pleasure

The library features current, high-interest materials, both fiction and non-fiction, in a variety of formats for people of all ages. The library actively encourages the use of its collection. A substantial percentage of this part of the collection has been published within the past five years. The staff are knowledgeable about current popular interests and anticipate publishing trends.

Section 2.2 Lifelong Learning
Finding and Evaluating Information and Reference Services

The library provides timely, accurate, and useful information for community residents to aid in their pursuit of personal and professional interests. The library promotes on-site, telephone, and online reference and information services to assist users in locating information on subjects ranging from practical questions to specialized business-related research. It also supports people pursuing independent programs of learning. The collections emphasize informational materials, and the staff are particularly skilled in using reference tools-both print and electronic, and are prepared to train the public on using library resources. The library works to maintain a high profile as a source of information about community programs and services. To support this service role the library has developed a web-based Community Information Database, which is accessible from the library's home web page.

Section 2.3 Create Young Readers

The library encourages an interest in reading and promotes literacy and learning in young children through services for children and their families. Parents, teachers, and caregivers can locate materials on child care, child development, reading readiness, and parenting. The library's collection has a variety of materials and formats for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers and for adults working with young children. The staff are knowledgeable about early childhood development and children's literature, and early literacy and are prepared to train users of all ages to use library resources.

Section 2.4 Welcoming Place
Community Connections

Each branch is an access point for information about community activities and services. The appropriateness of this role for a branch of the Library System depends upon its geographic location and the specific needs of its service population. Branches are encouraged to work with other community organizations to provide coordinated programs of social, cultural, and/or recreational services.

Section 2.5 Homework Help for Youth under 18

The library provides supplemental support to students at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels. The library offers tours for classes, instructs students on using library resources, and provides on-site, electronic, telephone reference, and community information services. The collection contains materials in a variety of formats to support the educational levels specified above. The staff are knowledgeable about educational programs in the community and work closely with local educators. The library provides these services to enrich the educational resources available to young people and to promote lifelong use of public libraries.

Section: 3.0 Selection of Library Materials

The Collection Development Librarian has responsibility for coordinating the selection of library materials. Direct responsibility for selection and deselection are delegated to individual professional librarians. Specific criteria of selection (and deselection) of materials are enumerated below. (Sec. 3.3)

Section 3.1 Sources

Staff selects materials from general and specialized review media, trade publications, publishers and book sellers, catalogs and flyers, and from inspection of the material itself when possible, based on community needs and interests and in response to library users requests.

Staff selects appropriate electronic resources independently, and also, as a member of various library consortia

Section 3.2 Principles

Materials are selected and retained on the basis of their content, and not on the basis of author origins, background, or views. The Santa Cruz Public Libraries tries to represent all points of view. The System's selection principles follow the American Library Association's "Library Bill of Rights", Freedom to Read Statement, Freedom to View Statement, and Resolution on the USA Patriot Act & Libraries (see appendices 1 to 4).

Section 3.3 Criteria for Selection of Library Materials

  • Level of materials funding.
  • Library's mission and service roles.
  • Informational and recreational needs of users, including patron requests which fall within the parameters of the Collection Development Plan.
  • Collections in special, academic and school libraries to which patrons have access.
  • Community needs surveys and assessments.
  • The authority, accuracy, and accessibility of presentation.
  • The currency of the information in rapidly changing fields.
  • Reputation of author, publisher or issuing body.
  • Importance of item to provide diversity in the collection.
  • Physical quality of material.
  • Suitability of format for subject and user's needs.
  • Inclusion of the work in bibliographies and indexes.
  • Appropriateness of format.

Section 3.4 Gifts

Gifts that will enrich the Library's collections are welcomed. Gifts are added to the collection according to the same criteria for selection of purchased materials. (3.3) Materials donations accepted by the Library System are those a library staff materials selector would purchase or replace if funds were available. Donations are final and become the property of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries. The library reserves the right to dispose of unneeded materials and to refuse gifts of materials. Most materials the library is unable to use are given to the Friends of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries for sale or disposal.

In the case of a large collection of material which is to be integrated into the collection:

  • The Collection Development Librarian and appropriate selector will work with the donor group.
  • Materials which are considered outside the scope of the collection as outlined in this Collection Development Plan may be returned to the donor or given to the Friends of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries per the donor's wishes.

Section 3.5 Material Challenges

Santa Cruz Public Libraries provide materials and information presenting all points of view. This applies to all materials collected by the library.

Library Materials Reconsideration Process

  1. Public contacts front line staff. E-comments/complaints go directly to the designated selection librarian with a copy to the Collection Development Librarian.
  2. Front line staff discusses the complaint with the patron and, if necessary, refers the patron to a supervisor or branch manager.
  3. Supervisor or branch manager talks with patron.
  4. If not satisfactory, the patron is asked to fill out the Library Materials Comment Form (see Appendix 5).
  5. Library Materials Comment Form is referred to Collection Development Librarian for referral to appropriate staff.
  6. A patron who wishes to comment further about a specific item additionally has the following options:
    • They may write a letter to the Director of Libraries, who will review the documentation and respond.
    • If still concerned, they may write an appeal of the Director of Libraries' decision to the Chair of the Library Joint Powers Authority Board.

Appendix 1: Freedom to Read

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.

A Joint Statement by: American Library Association
Association of American Publishers

Appendix 2: Freedom to View

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

Appendix 3: Library Bill of Rights

The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.

I. 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.

II. 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.

III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.

IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.

V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.

VI. Libraries that 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.

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

Appendix 4: Resolution on the USA PATRIOT Act and Libraries

WHEREAS, For over half a century the American Library Association has actively sought to protect the freedom of Americans to read and receive information without the threat of surveillance as part of their First Amendment rights to free expression; and

WHEREAS, Privacy: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights states that "The American Library Association affirms that rights of privacy are necessary for intellectual freedom and are fundamental to the ethics and the practice of librarianship" and calls upon librarians "to maintain an environment respectful and protective of the privacy of all users"; and

WHEREAS, The American Library Association opposes any use of governmental power to suppress the free and open exchange of knowledge and information to intimidate individuals exercising free inquiry; and

WHEREAS, The American Library Association, since 2003, has passed resolutions calling for the USA PATRIOT Act to be amended to protect the privacy rights of library users; and

WHEREAS, All the states and the District of Columbia protect the confidentiality of library records; and

WHEREAS, Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act allows the government to secretly request and obtain library records for large numbers of individuals without any reason to believe they are involved in illegal activity; and

WHEREAS, Section 505 of the USA PATRIOT Act permits the FBI to obtain electronic records from libraries with a National Security Letter without prior judicial oversight; and

WHEREAS, Such open-ended searches expose all library users to the search and seizure of their records and to the invasion of their privacy; and

WHEREAS, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Robert Mueller have told Congress that they are not interested in library records and, as recently as April 2005, that Section 215 has never been used to request library records; and

WHEREAS, A comprehensive study of the impact on the public of federal law-enforcement activities in America's libraries, "Impact and Analysis of Law Enforcement Activity in Academic and Public Libraries," found that federal law-enforcement officials have made numerous requests for reader records and other confidential library information; and

WHEREAS, The SAFE Act in both the Senate (S. 737) and House (H.R. 1526) and the Freedom to Read Protection Act (H.R. 1157) contain provisions that would restore the privacy rights of library users; and

WHEREAS, The House of Representatives took a stand against open-ended searches of library records when it passed on June 14, 2005, by a vote of 238 to 187, the amendment proposed by Representative Bernie Sanders to the House FY 2006 Science-State-Justice appropriations bill barring the Department of Justice from using appropriated funds to search library and bookstore records under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act; and

WHEREAS, The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence recently passed legislation (S. 1266) that would vastly expand the government's authority under the USA PATRIOT Act allowing the FBI to issue subpoenas, with no prior judicial oversight, to get any records from any entity; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the American Library Association urges the Senate, in the FY 2006 Senate Commerce-Justice-State appropriations bill, to bar the use of appropriated funds by the Justice Department to search library and bookstore records under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act; and, be it further

RESOLVED, That the American Library Association urges Congress to pass legislation that restores the privacy rights of library users; and, be it further

RESOLVED, That the American Library Association opposes any initiatives on the part of the United States government to constrain the free expression of ideas or to inhibit the use of libraries as represented in the USA PATRIOT Act expansion bill marked-up in secret by the Senate Select Intelligence Committee; and, be it further

RESOLVED, That the American Library Association urges librarians and other library workers, trustees and advocates throughout the country to continue their efforts to educate their users on the impact of Sections 215 and 505 of the USA PATRIOT Act on libraries.

Adopted by the ALA Council
June 29, 2005
Chicago, Illinois

Appendix 5: Library Materials Comment Form

The Library Materials Comment Form can be downloaded here in PDF format, or a paper copy may be requested from any library in the Santa Cruz Public Library System.