Statement of Purpose
As part of its mission "To grow smarter communities, one person at a time," the Metropolitan Library System is committed to developing and maintaining a collection of content and resources that supports smarter learning, smarter working, and smarter living. These concepts are nurtured through the exercise of inclusivity, shared experience, and diversity of thought that are foundational to purpose of the public library, and are underpinned by the Library's Core Values, which govern the policies established by the Commission and the practices set by Library staff.
To this end, the Library will select and maintain a balanced collection of print, non-print, and digital content expressing a wide variety of viewpoints to serve the diverse interests and needs of all the Oklahoma Countians. Collection development and management policies reflect the Library’s Vision to be the community’s hub for critical thinking, creative-problem solving, and life-long enrichment. This policy will:
- Communicate the collection philosophy to library members
- Identify responsibility for the collection
- Provide criteria for the selection, management, and expanded access to content
Responsibility for the Collection
The ultimate responsibility for building, maintaining, and managing the Library's collection rests with the executive director, who may delegate specific responsibilities to staff members with professional expertise and experience. Suggestions from the public are encouraged and are evaluated by the staff based on the Library’s Selection Criteria. The executive director may establish special collections on an as-needed basis to meet the interests and needs of the communities it serves.
Consistent with the Library’s Core Values, each item shall be considered for inclusion in the general collection based on its own merits and its relation to its intended audience. All additions to the general collection, whether purchased or donated, shall be evaluated using the following criteria:
- Appeal to the interests and needs of individuals in the community
- Current trends and timeliness
- Literary, artistic, or graphic presentation
- Reputation or qualifications of the author(s) or creator(s)
- Local demand, interest, impact, or significance
- Accuracy, authenticity, thoroughness, and documentation
- Appropriateness of format(s) for library use
In order to provide members with access to a broader collection than could be made available locally, the Library participates in interlibrary lending networks to share a wide range of resources with other cooperating libraries. Interlibrary loan is an adjunct to—not a substitute for—collection development and maintenance.
- To maintain an active, current, and useful collection, library staff assesses materials systematically throughout the year to determine their relevance to the public, the statements of this policy, the collection as a whole. In addition, the physical condition of items in the collection is continuously assessed to ensure an attractive presentation.
- Criteria used in evaluating whether an item should be removed from the collection may include condition, usage, available shelving space, and whether the item continues to meet the Selection Criteria.
- The Library will provide access to information across the broadest spectrum of disciplines and points of view. By collecting and acquiring publications and related materials representing the widest diversity of ideas, the Library expects to include items which reflect controversial, unorthodox or even unpopular ideas. Neither the Metropolitan Library Commission nor the Library’s staff will, either directly or indirectly, ban or censor any material that otherwise meets the stipulations of this policy. The presence of an item in the Library’s collection does not indicate any endorsement of its content by the Library, the Commission, or the staff.
- Library material will not be labeled to restrict access, and no materials will be separated from the main collection except rare and scholarly items of great value to protect them from damage or theft.
- While the Library's collection is available to all members, decisions about the suitability of any materials for minor children will be the responsibility of their parents or legal guardians. Except as otherwise stated within this policy, the Library assumes no responsibility for restricting any member’s access to items in the collection.
- Pursuant to federal and state statutes, the Library will not purchase, borrow, or otherwise provide access to any material deemed illegal in the state of Oklahoma.
The Library will reconsider the selection or placement of any item within the collection when a registered member completes and submits the Reconsideration Form (available at any library or online). The executive director will send a written response to the individual initiating the request.
As determined by the executive director, special collections may be maintained separately from the general collection for a variety of purposes, including, but not limited to improved access to specific topics, preservation of fragile material, or as part of a collaborative or cooperative agreement with an external organization. By their very nature, these collections attempt to keep materials preserved for an indefinite future. All considerations for the proper display, storage, use, and maintenance of these collections are made with this principle in mind. Special Collections are regularly examined to determine if they continue to support the mission of the Library and if necessary preservation activities are sustainable.
Disposing of Withdrawn Items
All physical items withdrawn from the collection will become the property of the Friends of the Metropolitan Library System.