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Selection Policy for Library Materials

In support of its mission, the Library selects, maintains and provides access to information, services and materials in a variety of formats to fulfill the educational, informational, recreational and cultural needs of all people of Prince George’s County. 

Policy Statement

Selection of library materials and resources is delegated to the Chief Executive Officer by the Board of Library Trustees. The Chief Executive Office appoints qualified professional
staff to select materials and resources for the Library System. The Board of Library Trustees of PGCMLS has adopted and included as appendices to this
Selection Policy the following documents.

  • The Library Bill Of Rights (American Library Association)
  • The Freedom To Read Statement (American Library Association and Association of American Publishers)
  • Freedom To View Statement (American Library Association Film & Media Round Table)
  • Materials and resources will not be excluded because of the race, nationality, sex, sexual orientation, or the political, social, or religious view of the author.
  • Choice of library materials and resources for personal use is an individual matter. Any customer is free to reject materials for their own use if that customer does not personally approve of them.
  • The freedom of access for a minor to library materials and resources may be restricted by the minor’s parent or legal guardian.
  • If a customer requests that an item be removed from the collection, the material will remain in the collection until all review procedures are followed and an official decision is made by the Board of Library Trustees.

Goals of Selection

PGCMLS acquires, organizes and makes available materials and resources in a variety of formats which:

  • Meet the informational and recreational needs of the community
  • Support cultural, recreational, business, and civic activities in the communit
  • Contribute to an individual’s self-understanding and growth
  • Supplement learning needs of the population from birth to grade twelve
  • Support lifelong learning for all ages
  • Support workforce development
  • Offer knowledge of and insight into a wide range of human and social conditions
  • Present a variety of viewpoints and opinions on a subject
  • Inspire and cultivate a love of books and reading

In addition, the specific aim of the Children’s collection is to provide materials and resources in a variety of formats which will anticipate and meet the diversified needs, interests, tastes and backgrounds of children from infancy through age twelve. The specific aim of the Teen collection is to provide materials and resources for young people ages twelve through eighteen. Recognizing that adolescence is a period of rapid physical, mental and emotional growth, and taking into account the many levels of maturity and sophistication of this age group, materials and resources are selected which vary in format, content and reading difficulty.


Criteria for Selection

There is no single standard which can be applied to all materials included in the Library’s collection. Some materials are selected to meet informational and educational needs. Others
may be evaluated primarily in terms of their artistic merit or chosen to satisfy customer demand. Materials are evaluated as a whole rather than on the basis of a particular section or
isolated passage. Works which present an aspect of life honestly will not be excluded because of frankness of expression. To build a diversified, customer-focused collection which supports the Library’s mission, certain criteria are used:

  • Demonstrated or anticipated customer demand
  • Relevance to community needs
  • Critical reviews and evaluations of material
  • Suitability of subject, design, and format for users
  • Accessibility of information for intended audience
  • Comprehensiveness, currency, authority, and depth of treatment of subject
  • Relation to existing material in the collection
  • Availability of same or similar material in other collections to which the library system can provide access
  • Reputation of author, publisher or issuing entity
  • Literary, artistic, or other recognized merit
  • Physical quality of material
  • Price and availability of material

Titles are acquired in multiple formats when appropriate, including print, audio, DVD/Blu-Ray, and digital resources, as space and budgets allow. At times, a digital edition
may be deemed more appropriate than the print edition depending on accessibility, ease of use, and cost-effectiveness. 


Policy for Selection of Books from Local Authors

Works donated by local authors who are current residents of Prince George’s County and the surrounding area (Montgomery County, Howard County, Anne Arundel County, Calvert
County, Charles County, and the District Of Columbia) will be considered for the Library’s collection using the criteria stated in the Selection Policy for Library Materials.

Special Collections
The mission of PGCMLS Special Collections is to explore our past, inspire conversations, and anticipate the stories to come. These collections provide access to traditional library
materials including books, periodicals, microforms, digital content, vertical files, photographs, pamphlets, and other ephemera. To build special collections which support this mission, certain criteria are used:

  • Demonstrated or anticipated enduring value relevant to the collection.
  • Suitability of subject, design, and format relevant to the collection.
  • Accessibility of information for the intended audience.
  • Comprehensiveness, currency, authority, and depth of treatment of subject.
  • Relation to existing material in the collection.
  • Availability of same or similar material in other collections to which the library system can provide access.
  • Physical quality of material.

The Library System maintains three Special Collections focusing on various unique aspects of the Prince George’s County experience from a historical perspective.

  • The Prince George's Room
    • This collection focuses on the general history of Prince George’s County with an emphasis on genealogy and local architecture.
  • The Sojourner Truth Room
    • This collection focuses on local African American history with an emphasis on the African American Incorporated Towns of Prince George’s County.●
  • TUGWELL ROOM
    • This collection focuses on the history of Greenbelt, Maryland, a New Deal-era planned community.

Criteria for Withdrawing Materials from the Collection
In order to keep the library collection current and responsive to community needs, materials will be withdrawn when they are:

  • No longer timely or accurate
  • Superseded by a new edition
  • No longer in demand
  • Worn or damaged

Withdrawn items which are in good condition may be sold, with proceeds benefiting the library.


Approved, September 2019