Material Selection & Access

The public library is the institution in our society which provides material representing all points of view in all fields, including political, social and religious, no matter how controversial or how objectionable these ideas may be to some people. In a democratic society, individuals should feel free to explore any and all ideas in order to decide which are meaningful to them. Therefore, the library, within the limits of selection standards, budget and space, chooses representative material espousing all points of view.

F.1 How is Library Material Selected?

The primary objective of the public library is to serve as a communications center for the total community by providing free and open access to the ideas and information available on all subjects and in all media. Cuyahoga County Public Library selects and makes available material for the enlightenment, cultural development and enjoyment of the public at all ages and levels of ability and interest. All materials are available to all.

F.2 Why Does the Library Select Some Materials and Not Others?

Budgetary and space constraints limit all libraries’ ability to purchase material. Therefore, qualitative selection standards have been developed by specialists in adult, young adult, juvenile and audiovisual services. Librarians evaluate material on the basis of these standards and recommendations from acceptable professional and commercial reviews. Popularity and community demand are among the major criteria for selecting material. Consideration is given to material which may be of interest to a few patrons as well as that of interest to many patrons. Under a cooperative program, Cuyahoga County Public Library obtains, through interlibrary loan, material owned by other libraries.

In accordance with the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights materials on controversial subjects or issues, even if presented in an extreme or sensational manner, are acquired.