Book Selection Criteria
Can’t find a book you want in our catalog? Please go to our Materials Request Form, or ask a librarian and we’ll try to get it for you. We welcome your requests for a specific book. If the title does not fit our selection criteria, we'll request it from another library. This is called “Interlibrary Loan” or “ILL”. We believe that by encouraging our patrons to participate in the collection development process, we can build a collection that will more accurately reflect the interests and information needs of our Douglas County patrons.
When would you buy a copy of the book I requested?
DCL has established a Collection Development Policy that follows accepted professional practice for selecting a book. If the book you request fits our policy and is available, we’ll buy a copy.
What are the criteria you use for selection?
There are several major measurements we use:
- Does the book fit within the “general” or “public” framework of our collection? We buy books that support the GENERAL interest and informational needs of the community. Esoteric or academic works (including many foreign language books, technical manuals and research materials) are usually ruled out for purchase for this reason. Instead, we’d borrow them from other libraries or “ILL” them for you.
- Is it timely? If the work has a copyright date that’s within the last 2 or 3 years, we usually consider it for purchase. If it’s older, but we can identify it as a “classic,” we’ll probably buy it. But older books are often out-of-print, or the information they contain is dated. Under those circumstances, we would “ILL” the book.
- Is it affordable? Sometimes this is difficult to determine. A book over $50 is on the edge of being too expensive for a circulating collection. But if the reviews, content or advertising for the book lead us to believe there will be a big demand for it, we’d consider buying it.
- Does it contain verifiably accurate information? If it does, it’s a credible information source, and we’d consider buying it. The reverse is also true: some books are published that have verifiably inaccurate information. In such a case, we’d be more inclined to borrow it than buy it.
- Has it received favorable reviews in professional library journals? Then library colleagues have examined the item and determined that the book has a value for public libraries. We’ll probably buy it.
- Is it fiction? We’ll almost always buy it if you ask for it. Even for popular titles, fiction often goes out of print rather quickly. In such cases we’ll initiate an ILL for it.
How much time does it take to get my requests?
It takes anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months depending on whether we purchase or ILL the title. If the item is published and available it takes an average of two weeks. If a title is not available, staff at our reference desks is ready to help you find suitable alternatives.
We value your ideas and opinions, your suggestions and requests. All of them will be given consideration. We will try to have the item in your hand as soon as we can, regardless of whether we buy it or Interlibrary Loan it. Feel free to speak with your branch reference staff if you have any further questions.
November 16, 2011