Collections & Resources
General Selection Criteria
The Library Director determines the budget allotment for resource selection with Largo City Commission approval, and develops the organizational structure of professional staff who purchase materials. Librarians and Library Assistant IIs are responsible for selecting materials in a designated subject format or genre area.
Since a materials selection policy must be fairly general, professional library staff are to continuously exercise judgment, knowledge, and experience of all library materials and of the community served. Fiction and non-fiction material must be considered in terms of merit and intended audience.
Purchase and gift selections must meet some of the following criteria:
appeal to the interests and needs of individuals in the community
equity, diversity, and inclusivity of subject matter
vitality and originality of thought
accuracy and objectivity
suitability of form
skill, competence, and purpose of the author
need for materials or information in an area
The library will develop a non-fiction collection on a wide range of topics in a variety of formats. Materials shall be considered in terms of contribution to the collection, its value as an information resource, its relevance to the intended audience, and chosen in the optimal format available. Specific criteria for the evaluation of non-fiction include:
comprehensiveness and depth
clarity, accuracy, and logic of presentation
representation of many points of view
The fiction collection provides material for the widest range of interests of the general reading public and those meeting the popular demand in a variety of formats.
Specific criteria for the evaluation of purchase and gift fiction include:
representation of popular trends
vitality and originality
artistic presentation and experimentation
sustained interest or popularity
authenticity of historical or social setting
Selection of resources is done from book reviews in professional and popular journals and magazines, subject bibliographies, annual lists of recommended titles, publishers catalogs, online sources, and patron requests.
Collection and Resources
The Largo Public Library will provide resources, including materials in multiple formats and electronic access to information which meet the educational, cultural, and social needs of our diverse community.
- The Library will provide materials of varying complexity to accommodate a wide variety of ages, interests, and reading levels.
- The Library will purchase current materials and provide access to resources proportionate to demand and use.
- Staff will strive to provide a balance of viewpoints in the collection. An attempt will be made to anticipate future trends. Customer suggestions for purchasing materials are welcomed and considered within the selection criteria.
The Library keeps its collection vital by retaining or replacing useful material, and continuously removing those works which are worn, outdated, contain obsolete information, or are no longer in demand.
The discard process is used:
- to remove physically worn out or damaged volumes,
- to eliminate books containing obsolete information,
- to remove duplicate copies of titles which have waned in popularity, eliminating the most worn or damaged, and
- to remove materials which have not circulated for a set period of time.
Discard is an important aspect of collection development. When library books lose the value for which they were originally selected, they will be removed from the collection. In some instances, materials are kept out of the discard process due to literary perpetuity, local interest, or other special circumstances.
The library provides a diverse collection of materials. The selection of library materials by users is an individual matter. While a person may reject materials for themselves, they cannot impose censorship to restrict access to materials by others.
- Objections or complaints to library materials may be submitted formally by using the Item Reconsideration Request Form (attached). One form per item must be completed.
- The Item Reconsideration Request Form, along with the item in question, and any supplemental information will be provided to the Library Advocacy Board for review.
- The Library Advocacy Board will discuss the item and will submit a written recommendation to the Library Director to remove, relocate, or keep the item.
- The Library Director will make the final decision based on the recommendation of the Library Advocacy Board.
If the Library does not own a particular item, and the publication date is newer than 6 months, patrons may place a new title purchase request through the Library's website under Services or directly at: "Suggest a Title". These requests are received as emails by the collection development staff, and a decision is made whether or not to purchase the item.
Library staff considers the following criteria when approving item purchase requests:
- Publication within the last 6 months
- Public interest or demand
- Enduring subject value
- Physical durability and attractiveness
- Cost and availability from library vendors
- Creative, literary, or technical quality
- Reviews in professional and popular media
- Circulation statistics and/or the availability of similar library-owned materials
For items older than 6 months, please submit an Interlibrary Loan Request.
Donations, Gifts, and Specialized Materials
Largo Public Library welcomes donations of books, DVDs, CDs, audio books, magazines and other media.
- The library accepts gifts with the understanding that they may be given to other organizations, sold, exchanged, or recycled.
- Donations should be clean and in good condition.
- Materials infested with insects or mold/mildew will be destroyed. We do not accept donations of textbooks or encyclopedias.
- On an occasional and temporary basis, the library may stop accepting donations, and will indicate this with a notice at the drop-off entrance.
Donations can be brought into the library in two ways:
1. Patrons may bring items in through the front door and drop them off at the check-in counter. Please do not bring more materials than you can carry into the library.
2. If a patron has a lot of materials to donate, they may pull their vehicle up to the back staff door and ring the doorbell. A cart may be provided to the patron to unload donations from their vehicle.
Largo Public Library does not pick items up from patron homes.
Sales of Discards
The City of Largo Commission has approved the sale of the library's discards and unusable gift materials through the Friends of the Largo Library with the understanding that this money will be used to benefit the library. No materials can be saved or given to a specific group or individual, without first being made available for sale to the public by the Friends of the Largo Library.
- The library cannot appraise the value of gift books or sign any form regarding their value.
- At the donor's request, the library will give a receipt showing how many items were donated.
- The library will not place gifts of collection materials on separate shelves or in permanent exhibits.
- Except for temporary exhibit purposes, the library will not accept responsibility for the storage of historical documents or objects owned or controlled by groups or individuals.
- The library will not accept museum materials.
- Whenever a gift is not longer needed, it will be disposed of in the same manner as purchased materials.
- Specialized materials of limited community interest will not be considered for addition to the library collection.
- Referral to other library collections and interlibrary loan will be used to supply patrons with materials that are outside the library's popular materials criteria.
Donations are accepted by the Greater Largo Library Foundation (GLLF) for the purchase of memorial books “In Memory Of” the individual named by the donor.
- Donors may designate a specific subject area from which an appropriate book will be selected.
- If a particular title is requested or donated as a memorial, it must meet standard selection criteria.
- A special book plate may be placed on the inside of the memorial book, showing the name of the person for whom the book is given and the year.
The library accepts unique printed materials, photographs and memorabilia relating to the City of Largo. This material includes:
- Family, personal, and business documentation
- Materials reflecting social change: ethnic, racial, gender, political and demographic
- Materials reflecting contacts between people and places of the City of Largo with the rest of the world
- Materials relating to schools, businesses, organizations and other areas of the City of Largo
- Materials relating to Pinellas County will be considered based on their relevance to the collection
Largo Public Library receives numerous requests from local authors to include their books in the library collection.
- The Library wishes to support local authors while maintaining the standards needed in its permanent collections.
- Authors may complete a Collection Submission Request to have their book/item considered for addition to the collection.
- Items submitted will be reviewed by staff selectors based on general selection criteria.
- If the item is selected for inclusion in the collection, it will appear in the library catalog within 3 months of submission.
- Items not selected for inclusion in the library collection will not be returned and will be donated to the Friends of Largo Library.
- Authors will not be notified if/when the item has been added or not to the library collection.
- Submissions must be donated to Largo Public Library. The Library will not purchase submissions.
- Submissions must be accompanied by a completed Collection Submission Request.
- The Library will only accept one copy of any title.
- The submission must be in new condition and published within the last year.
- The Library cannot acknowledge receipt of the submission, nor can staff meet with individuals to discuss their work.
- Items selected for inclusion will rotate out of the collection and be withdrawn based on demand and condition.
- Has the book been carefully and thoroughly copy edited (use of a professional editor is recommended)?
- Has the book been bound and covered in such a way that it will hold up to multiple circulations?
- Has the text been appropriately formatted for easy readability?
- For non-fiction titles, are the author’s professional and/or educational credentials verifiable?
- Are proper citations included for any works referenced, and are all photos and/or illustrations used with permission?
- Has the book been professionally reviewed?
- Does the title have an ISBN?
- Is there a MARC record available for the title?
- Will the book have enduring value with library patrons?
Largo Public Library Bill of Rights
- 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.
- 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.
- Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
- Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
- A person's right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
- Libraries which 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.
The library will protect the quality of the City of Largo's intellectual, cultural, and informational environment by supporting the Library Bill of Rights, and Freedom to Reading Statement, as adopted by the American Library Association.
Freedom to Read Statement
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Adopted June 25, 1953, by the ALA Council and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee; amended January 28, 1972; January 165, 1991; July 12, 2000; June 30, 2004.
Freedom to View Statement
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:
- To provide the broadest possible 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.
- To protect the confidentiality of all individuals and institutions using film, video, and other audiovisual materials.
- 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.
- To provide a diversity of viewpoints without the constraint of labeling or prejudging film, video, and 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.
- To contest vigorously, by all lawful means, every encroachment upon the public's freedom to view.