This material selection policy sets out the guidelines for including material in the Bridgeport Public Library. It has been created by the Bridgeport Library Board and approved by the Bridgeport City Council. The City Council is the Library's legal governing body and has the ultimate responsibility for all library policies and procedures. The Library Board functions as an advisory board.
The Library selects material in accordance with the mission and objectives of service outlined on the Missions and Policies page. The collection will include the best possible balance of honest presentations among the opposing viewpoints on controversial issues. Each title is judged on its own merit and on its value to Bridgeport and its citizens. The Library seeks titles of special current interests which also have value for the future.
The following principals are basic to a useful collection:
Selection is coupled with discard or withdrawal of worn, outdated, and damaged materials.
Material is duplicated when it is still valid and in demand. Paperbacks will be used to satisfy a temporary, heavy demand.
The Library depends on Interlibrary Loan from other library collections in the area of highly specialized materials for individual use so that local funds may be used for materials of greater value to more general users.
Materials to be purchased to meet the objectives of public library service in Bridgeport must adhere to the following standards:
The subject matter must compliment the Library's collection.
The author must be of considerable repute in the field.
Subject matter should have validity and accuracy.
The materials should have value for its timeliness or for its permanency.
The price, format, and ease of use must conform to accepted library practice.
Some materials are essential because of scarcity of published works on the subject in question.
Readability and popular appeal are vital to the collection.
The purpose and intent of the materials must be acceptable. (This would exclude moral and ethical offensiveness, violent and inflammatory presentation of viewpoints on controversial topics, and pornographic or sensational material.)
Use of Book Selection Aids
The librarian uses selection aids such as professional bibliographies and book reviewing journals. No single publication is relied on exclusively. The critical opinions of reviewers are checked against each other when feasible.
Gifts will be accepted on the condition that the librarian has the authority to make whatever disposition he/she deems advisable.
Request for Reconsideration of Material
As a public institution, the Library has an obligation to serve the needs and expectations of the public. Occasionally, a patron may object to an item in the Library's collection. The following procedure has been devised in order to preserve that right, and yet, protect the public right of intellectual freedom. If a serious complaint is made, the patron will be advised of the review process and of this policy's existence.
The patron may request a private interview with the librarian. The appointment will be made at the librarian's convenience with due consideration to the patron's needs. This interview will allow the patron to explain the opposition to the librarian. It will also allow the librarian to clear up any misunderstanding regarding library policies or procedures.
If the patron still has objection, he may then request an official review of the material. He will enter formal complaint in writing. Within thirty days of the request, the Library Board will meet with the patron to review the objection.
If the issue remains unresolved, the Board will then submit a report and recommendation to the City Council for action. The recommendation will be initiated by the Board President, will be signed by the board members, and may be appended by individually prepared dissenting opinions of the Board Members. The City Council will review the request, and the Board's recommendation at their next regular meeting and may set other public hearings as they deem appropriate.