Our Mission: A confederation of community based information centers operating jointly to provide the widest possible range of books and services to meet the diverse needs of each local library's users.

Marin County Free Library selects, organizes, preserves and makes available materials that contribute to the cultural, educational, and recreational enrichment of our diverse community. The Library provides information and a public forum for the exchange of ideas, and affirms each individual's freedom to read and access all library materials and use library services. In keeping with this policy, resources are provided equally to all library users, both adults and children, in keeping with the library's role of providing information and materials.

1. Principles of Selection

  1. The guidelines for the selection and placement of books and other library materials and the providing of library services are based on principles found in the U. S. Bill of Rights. In its selection of books and other materials, the library subscribes fully to the principles adopted by the American Library Association in its Library Bill of Rights, and interpreted in its Diversity in Collection Development, and The Universal Right to Free Expression.
  2. The library does not serve as censor of the reading of any member of the community. The library does not endorse opinions expressed in the materials that are stocked. Indeed, since materials often hold diametrically opposite views, this would be impossible.
  3. It should also be recognized that some materials chosen may be offensive to some patrons but may be meaningful and significant to others. Works being considered should be viewed as a whole, not in isolated parts.
  4. Selection of adult material will not be restricted by the possibility that these materials may come into the possession of children. Responsibility for what children check out rests with their parents or guardians. The library does not act in loco parentis.


2. Selection Criteria

  1. Selection decisions are made on the basis of reviews in the standard review media and other factors, such as collection needs, public demand, community interest, cost, space, and format. Variety and balance of opinion are sought in selection decisions.
  2. Books. Books are selected to create a balanced collection that reflects a diversity of subjects and opinions, as specified in Article II of the Library Bill of Rights
  3. Reference Materials. Factors considered in the selection of reference materials are currency of information, authority, reliability, scope, objectivity, arrangement, ease of use, format, cost, community interests, holdings of the Marin County Free Library and other libraries in the Bay Area.
  4. Electronic Resources. Electronic resources are evaluated for purchase using the same general criteria as reference materials (see ii.). Other criteria include search capabilities, ease of connection, system compatibility, frequency of updates and the configuration of user licenses. Additional factors for evaluation include whether the electronic resource is unique, a duplication or a supplement to an existing source, and whether the resource will be utilized by the entire system or limited to a single branch.
  5. Periodicals. Magazines are purchased in accordance with the wide range of interests of the public and to supplement the book collection. Local and representative national newspapers are purchased within budget and space limitations. Microform files of magazines and newspapers, both current and retrospective, are acquired as funding allows.
  6. Audio and Visual Media. Materials are considered for purchase on the basis of published reviews and the basic standards of technical quality, timeliness, social significance, and public demand, including formats for the disabled. Materials are purchased in a variety of subject categories for children, young adults, and adults. Video categories include contemporary, classics, and foreign films; documentaries; travel; language, instruction, and cultural performances, such as opera, theater, dance, and music. Each branch has a separate collection of videos approved by the Children's Librarian and especially selected for children. Where space allows, this collection is in the Children's Room.
  7. Gifts. The Library's Selection Policy is applied to all gift materials. The Library reserves the right to accept or refuse conditions placed upon gifts of materials or funds.
  8. Special Areas of Purchase. Branches may choose to collect in specific areas of interest to create greater depth of coverage.
  9. In providing materials for student use the library will not purchase multiple copies of individual books or textbooks for school assignments, nor can it duplicate subject materials extensively.
  10. Placement of Materials. Placement of materials within each library is generally based upon assigned classification and appropriate age groupings.
  11. The public has free access to all library materials. Those items which themselves need protection because of rarity, cost, high demand, susceptibility to loss or damage, fragility or format unsuited to heavy use are available on a limited basis.
  12. Patrons can request materials not selected by the library through Inter-Library Loan services.
  13. Deselection criteria. Items are discarded from the collection in accordance with the library's deselection policy.

3. Responsibility for Selection

The ultimate responsibility for selection of materials rests with the Director of County Library Services. (California Education Code Section 19146). The responsibility for selection of books and other materials is shared by every professional member of the staff. All staff recommendations and suggestions from patrons are always welcome and given serious consideration.


* Approved by the Board of Supervisors December 14, 1999