A. Objective

  1. The objective of the Joplin Public Library is to select, organize and make accessible Library materials to meet the expressed and anticipated needs and interests of the diverse public in the Library District.  As a public service agency, the Library must strive to provide the residents of Joplin with a comprehensive collection of materials in a variety of formats that record human knowledge, ideas and culture; to organize these materials for ready access; to offer guidance and encouragement in their use; and to serve the community with reliable and easily available sources of information and reference.
  2. Materials should be selected and services planned to satisfy residents both as individuals and as members of groups, with concern for all ages, backgrounds, interests, abilities, and levels of education.  Materials and services should be held in sufficient quantity to make the Library a dependable resource for most of the people most of the time.
  3. The Library has an obligation not only to serve its current users but also to search for materials and methods that will meet the needs of community members who have not traditionally been Library users.  Cooperation with governmental, academic, and special resource centers in the area continues to be increasingly important in meeting needs of Library patrons.

B. Priorities of Selection

  1. Materials to meet informational needs, both expressed and anticipated, of patrons of all ages.
  2. Materials to meet the recreational needs of patrons of all ages.
  3. Materials to meet the educational needs of pre-school children, out-of-school adults, and all other patrons who are not served by an educational institution.
  4. Materials to meet the needs of the business community.
  5. Materials to support civic and cultural activities of individuals, groups, and organizations.

C. Selection

  1. The Library should plan to acquire, within its budgetary limitations, all types of library materials needed to meet its obligations.  Library materials include books, pamphlets, documents, periodicals, maps, microforms, audio-visual materials, software, on-line databases, and artifacts.
  2. When lack of funds limits purchases, current in-print publications of lasting value, regardless of format, will be given priority over out-of-print publications.  Reprints are considered as current publications.
  3. Holdings of other area libraries will be considered when selecting subject areas for intensive collection or large purchase items.  Consideration will be given to both the privileges and responsibilities of cooperative acquisition plans and interlibrary loan procedures.
  4. The number of copies of any title shall be dependent upon demand by patrons and the size of the population served.  Demand is a valid factor in materials selection.  Materials that receive poor reviews or no reviews may be purchased if there is demonstrated local demand.  For the purposes of this policy, demonstrated local demand is interpreted as three individual written requests for the item within a three-month period.
  5. While the Library is sympathetic to the needs of students, including home-schooled students, it is not the responsibility of the Library to provide curriculum-supportive materials for them.
  6. The Library will not purchase text books except in cases where no other material on a given subject exists or where the demand of the patrons is greater than can be met by the existing collections.
  7. Materials that should not be acquired or added to the collection include literature in languages not justified by community needs, religious materials designed to be used for proselytizing, or purely propagandistic literature.
  8. Addition of an item to the Library’s collection in no way represents an endorsement of any theory, idea, or policy contained in the material.
  9. The responsibility for selection of Library materials is delegated to the Collection Development Librarian and, under his or her direction, to those members of the staff who are qualified by their education, training, and experience.  The judgments of experts, of professionally trained staff members, and of qualified reviewers provide a balance of opinion as the basis for selection.  Though a variety of criteria is used for each subject, final decision is based on the value of the material to the Library and its public, regardless of the personal taste of the selectors.
  10. In selecting materials, the librarians will use as many selection and bibliographic management tools as possible, including:  book selection periodicals such as Booklist and Publishers Weekly; Books in Print; Public Library Catalog; Children’s Catalog; Book Review Digest; Dewey Decimal Classification; LC Subject Headings; professional journals such as American Libraries and Library Journal; databases such as OCLC; and bibliographies such as Magazines for Public Libraries, Reference Books for Small and Medium-Sized Libraries, and any other useful bibliographic reference works.
  11. Librarians will strive to find a review of any item before considering it for purchase.  However, because only a portion of all published material is ever reviewed, librarians will also consider purchase of items based on advertisements, author tours, television and radio coverage, and direct mail.
  12. If three individuals request an item within a three-month period, the Library will purchase the item regardless of whether the item has been positively reviewed or not, unless such material is not acceptable under other conditions of the Collection Development policy.  For example, the Library will not purchase home schooling curricular materials regardless of the number of requests.  The Library will not purchase for circulation materials which cannot be bound to withstand the stresses of circulation to the public.  Other exceptions may apply. 
  13. In light of the current abundance of vanity publishers and print-on-demand publishers, the Library does not purchase all local authors' works. The Library will accept donations of such works. Decisions to purchase any local author's work is done following the Libary's Collection Development guidelines.

D. Selection and Retention of Materials -- Local History Room

  1. In light of the current abundance of vanity publishers and print-on-demand publishers, the Library does not purchase all works about Joplin and Jasper/Newton Counties for inclusion in the Local History room. The Library will accept donations of such works. Decisions to purchase any work will follow the Libary's Collection Development guidelines.
  2. As funds allow, the Library will acquire items of historical or genealogical interest about Missouri, especially southwest Missouri.
  3. As funds allow, the Library will acquire items of historical or genealogical interest about southeast Kansas, northeast Oklahoma, and the northernmost counties of northwest Arkansas.
  4. The Library will give first consideration to shelving items in the Local History Room that are local in interest or that have broad national scope, such as immigration information or census indexes for states.
  5. Items that are rare or fragile or present a risk of theft will be kept locked in glass cases inside the Local History Room or locked in storage.  Such items may be used only under the supervision of Library staff.  Examples of these items include but are not restricted to:  Joplin high school and college yearbooks, old city directories, the Dawes rolls for identifying Native American heritage, and rare books.
  6. Genealogical materials that are references for states other than Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas will be stored alphabetically by state in the storage room adjoining the Local History Room.  These items all have full MARC records in the catalog and may be retrieved by Library staff for patrons wishing to use them.
  7. The Library will not purchase family name books and will accept only those donations of family name books where the family has a strong local connection.

E. Censorship

  1. The Library recognizes the pluralistic nature of the community and the varied needs of Joplin citizens.  A public library does not promote particular beliefs or views.  It provides a resource where the individual can examine issues freely and make his or her own decisions.
  2. The Library recognizes that many materials are controversial and that any given item may offend some library users.  Selection will not be made on the basis of any anticipated approval or disapproval, but solely on the merits of the work in relation to the building of the collection.  The collection must contain the various positions expressed on important, complicated, or controversial subjects, including unpopular or unorthodox positions.  The choice of Library materials for personal use is an individual matter; while anyone is free to reject materials of which he or she does not approve, no one has the right to exercise censorship to restrict the freedom of use and/or access to others.
  3. The selection of adult materials will not be limited by the possibility that such materials may inadvertently come into the possession of minors.  The freedom of access for minors may be restricted only by the child’s own parents or legal guardians.  Upon written request of the parent or legal guardian, the Library will restrict the borrowing by children seventeen and under to materials in the juvenile collection.  The Library will not restrict the in-house use of materials by any patron because of the patron’s age.
  4. The Library affirms the principles of each individual’s freedom to read and view.  No book or other Library material shall be removed from the collection because of a complaint except under the orders of a court of competent jurisdiction.
  5. Each item considered for selection must be evaluated on its own merits.  Works that depict an aspect of life honestly will not be excluded because of frankness of expression, vivid descriptions of sex or violence, the philosophy, politics, or religion of the author, or any other factor which might be objectionable to some Library users.
  6. All materials will be judged as a whole rather than by isolated passages.


A. General Information

  1. The Board of Trustees of the Joplin Public Library created an endowment fund in 1984 for the purpose of receiving and holding gifts, devises and bequests received by the Library.  It is the intention of the Board that the assets in the endowment fund be maintained intact and that the income earned upon the assets held in the endowment fund be disbursed for improvements and betterments to the Joplin Public Library.
  2. Gifts may be made to the endowment fund by designation.
    a. A bequest is a provision in a will or a trust instrument that names the endowment fund of the Joplin Public Library as the recipient or as a partial recipient of an estate.  The donor can specify a dollar amount or a percentage of the estate, a collection of books or other items of personal property, or the remainder of the estate.

    b. A devise is a provision in a will or in a trust instrument that names the endowment fund of the Joplin Public Library as the recipient of a parcel of real estate.

    c. The Library may also be designated as the beneficiary of life insurance policies.
  3. The Library recommends that individuals who are considering naming the Library as a beneficiary of a will or trust consult with an attorney, trust officer, or tax advisor as well as with Library administrators.
  4. The Library Board may, at its discretion, choose not to accept a gift to the Library.

B. Gifts and Cash Bequests for Materials

  1. A gift to the Library collection may consist of materials (hereafter called gifts-in-kind) or funds for the purchase of materials.  Monetary gifts to the Library should be made to the Library Director.  Funds may be given to acquire materials recommended by the Library or for purchase of specific items suggested by the donor.  The Library recommends that gifts not be earmarked for specific items in order to permit the most flexible use of the donation for the enrichment of the collection.  If the bequest is given in memory or honor of an individual, the age and taste of the person being memorialized or honored will be considered.
  2. Both gifts-in-kind and materials purchased with cash bequests must meet the same selection criteria as regular purchases.  If gifts-in-kind of marginal value are offered, the Library must consider processing and shelving costs before adding such items to the collection.
  3. The Library will acknowledge in writing all cash bequests; the written acknowledgment may be in the form of the standard printed card or by a personal letter from the Director.  In cases of cash gifts in memory or honor of an individual, the Library will also send a written acknowledgment of the gift naming the donor to the individual being honored or to the family of the individual being memorialized.
  4. The Library will provide a receipt of gifts-in-kind to the donor at the donor’s request, regardless of whether or not the gift-in-kind is added to the collection.
  5. An appropriate book plate will be included in each item purchased with gift funds indicating the donor and the purpose of the donation.  A book plate will be included in a gift-in-kind at the request of the donor.

Limitations of Acceptance of Gifts

  1. The Library cannot legally provide a monetary appraisal of any gift for income tax or other purposes.
  2. The Library retains unconditional ownership of the gift and makes the final decision on the use or disposition of the gift.
  3. The Library reserves the right to decide the conditions of display, housing, and access of gift materials.
  4. The current issues of periodicals given as gift subscriptions will be placed on the browsing shelf uncataloged.  Gift subscriptions of three years or longer will be cataloged and shelved with the circulating periodical collection, providing that the periodical meets the conditions of the collection development policy.  In general, gift periodicals will not be cataloged and shelved with the circulating periodicals unless they are indexed in a major periodical index.
  5. The Library will not accept, shelve, or store items considered to be a deposit collection or items on loan.


A. Fund Overview

Cash gifts made to the Joplin Public Library as memorials to someone who is deceased or in honor of a living individual (for a birthday or anniversary, for example) are deposited in Account # 705-0000-451.03-01, the revenue account for Memorial Endowments.  This account is reserved, which means that it cannot be used for operating expenses or other expenses associated with running the Library.  Individual memorial funds within this account that are established in the name of a specific person must always be regarded as permanent funds, and the principal will not be spent.

B. Guidelines for Memorial Acquisitions

  1. The Library will give preference to the family’s and donor’s wishes so far as they can be accommodated within the collection development policy.
  2. Items chosen will appeal to a general audience and will have lasting value for the collection.
  3. Attractive items with eye-catching covers and/or illustrations are preferable as memorials.

C. Process for Receiving Memorial Donations

  1. The donation is deposited into the correct revenue account, the Memorial Endowment fund, and the Library’s revenue record will indicate names of both the donor and the person being memorialized.
  2. The Library sends a printed card, signed by the Director, to the donor acknowledging the gift.  This card is mailed within two days of receipt of the donation.
  3. The Library sends a printed card to the family of the person being memorialized notifying the family of the gift and the name of the donor.  The Library will send only one notification; the donor may specify who is to be notified, but more frequently the family of the deceased will choose who is to receive notification.
  4. The donor or the family may indicate a subject area or format which would be suitable for purchase.  The Library discourages the suggestion of exact titles or specific items as memorial purchases, preferring to choose from within a broader framework so that the item will fit within the parameters of the Library’s collection development policy.
  5. The holdings record for a memorial item will include a field noting names of both donor and person being memorialized.
  6. A list of memorials is printed each month and displayed on the shelf reserved for recent memorial and honor items.  The Children’s Department has its own memorial shelf.  Permanent memorial funds are displayed as a list of donors.
  7. The process by which the Library purchases memorial materials is that for every donation of approximately $25, the Library chooses an item purchased from the Library’s acquisitions budget as a memorial.

D. Perpetual Memorial Funds

  1. If memorial donations for a single individual total less than $1,000, the Library will buy items and insert book plates in each item noting both the person memorialized and the name of the donor.
  2. If memorial donations exceed $1,000, the donations for that specific individual will be considered to be a perpetual memorial, and items will be purchased annually, the number of items to be determined by the amount of interest the fund earns in a year.  For practical purposes, the Library uses 10% as the annual rate of return.  If the amount of donations for [John Doe] totals $1000, the Library will designate $100 in purchases annually as a memorial and include that amount in the annual acquisitions budget.  The book plate for these annual purchases will not include the name of individual donors but will say:  Purchased by the [John Doe] Memorial Endowment Fund.  If the family so requests, the Library will provide on the anniversary date a list of titles of the items purchased during the previous twelve months.

E. Hager Trust Fund

  1. The Library is the beneficiary of the Hager Trust Fund, created by former Joplin Public Library Director Margaret Hager. The Hager Trust was created to purchase items of lasting value for the Joplin Public Library collection.  According to the provisions of the Trust document, the Library may spend the interest generated by the Trust for Library materials.  The principal of the Trust may not be touched.
  2. The Hager Trust contributes money each year, with the amount varying according to the Trust’s income and the needs of the Library. All materials are chosen by the Hager Committee or its designees. Currently, the Collection Development Librarian is assigned that task.
  3. Selection for materials purchased with Hager Trust funds are based on quality and lasting value. Only materials with excellent reviews or other indicators of quality (respected author, quality publisher of nonfiction subject, etc.) will be purchased, and only materials thought to be of value for at least 5 years will be considered. Materials may be print or audiovisual, fiction or nonfiction.
  4. The Hager Trust also provides the Children’s Department with an annual allocation for the purchase of all juvenile award and honor books as well as for other high quality juvenile print materials.
  5. The Hager Trust Fund is managed by the Trust Department of U.S. Bank.  As such it is not included in the Memorial Endowment funds deposited with other library monies through the City of Joplin. The Hager Trust Fund has its own federal tax ID number, and the expenditures and revenues relating to the Trust are not included in the Library’s budget or monthly Board revenue and expenditure reports.
  6. Hager Trust expenditures for materials are reported to the State and Federal agencies as part of the Library’s expenditures for materials. 


A. General Guidelines

  1. In order to maintain an active working collection of high quality, the Library staff will periodically examine the collection for items that should be withdrawn.  Overall authority for weeding of the collection lies with the Director, who in cases of dispute serves as mediator and makes the final decisions.  Whenever necessary, the Director will be consulted before an item is discarded from the collection.
  2. Weeding will be done on a schedule of continual review of the collection on a consecutive basis.  It is the goal of the Library to review the entire collection every two years.
  3. Materials that are weeded from the collection will be disposed of in the most appropriate manner, which may include sale to the public, donation to another library or organization, exchange with another library, or discarding as waste.

B. Criteria for Weeding

  1. Materials in poor physical condition will be weeded; if desirable materials must be discarded because of physical condition, the Library will either replace the item or set it aside for preservation consideration.
  2. Superfluous or unneeded duplicate volumes will be weeded from the collection.
  3. Materials containing information no longer useful or accurate or that are no longer of historical value will be weeded from the collection.
  4. Weeding should not bias the collection in favor of or against any viewpoint.
  5. Weeding will not be done solely on the basis of circulation statistics or past use, although these factors merit strong consideration in evaluating an item.  A public library must give more weight to circulation/use statistics than must a research or academic library.
  6. Periodicals will be reviewed based on use, holdings, indexing, accessibility through electronic means or interlibrary loan, and format.
  7. All items must be evaluated on the basis of their contribution to the wholeness of the collection.


  1. If a Library employee is approached by a patron who wishes to complain about Library materials, the complainant must be treated with dignity and courtesy.  Under no circumstances is any Library employee to express agreement with the patron’s complaint.
  2. The employee should refer the complainant to the Library’s collection development policy.
  3. If the complainant wishes to file a written complaint, the employee should provide the complainant with a copy of the Comment on Library Materials form.  (See Appendix B)
  4. The employee must advise the complainant that no employee has the authority to remove any item from the shelf.
  5. If the complainant insists on seeing someone in authority, the employee should request that the complainant make an appointment after receiving a written response to the Comment form.  (See Appendix B)  Neither the Director nor any Department Head will be expected to discuss a complaint about materials without an appointment.
  6. Librarians are expected to defend the principle of the freedom to read and view as a professional responsibility.  Only rarely is it necessary to defend an individual item.  Laws governing obscenity, subversive material, and other questionable matter are subject to interpretation by courts.  Library materials found to meet the standards set in the selection policy will not be removed from public access.
  7. After receiving a complaint form submitted by a patron, the Library Director or his/her designee will respond to the complaint in a letter addressing all of the items covered in the response form.
  8. The Board of Trustees is responsible for establishing the selection policy.  The Board will not be asked to rule on individual items that may be the subject of a complaint.