Materials Policy and Procedures

There is a distinct difference between censorship of library materials and selection of library materials to meet established collection development guidelines. The Montgomery County Public Library must operate within a defined budget regarding the ability to purchase library materials. Due to this limited financial constraint, all items published annually or requested by the public may not be purchased or made available for check-out. Only items that best meet the defined guidelines will be selected as part of the current library collection. Donated items, due to the lesser cost of ownership, may be added to the collection when they would not have been included as a purchased item, however, donated items will go through an evaluation process to determine their relevance to the collection as a whole. The Montgomery County Public Library reserves the right to only include purchased and/or donated items that meet collection guidelines which aid in providing public access to a diverse variety of material types, resources, viewpoints, opinions and interests. The public has the right to request reconsideration of items to be included or removed from the collection. However, it is the responsibility of the library to provide open access to a variety of thoughts and viewpoints, items will not be added or deleted based solely on the opinion or thoughts of a single person or like minded group that may agree/disagree with viewpoints presented in a specific resource. Please see the public reconsideration form for further details.

  1. The Montgomery County Public Library will provide a variety of materials to help meet stated goals and objectives. Materials may include: books, periodicals, pamphlets, newspapers, pictures, films, music scores, maps, recordings, videos, digital media, database access, etc.
  2. Materials acquired will meet high standards of quality in content, expression, durability, and format.
  3. The library staff will work to prevent unnecessary duplication of resources available through other avenues and services.
  4. The library will not attempt to furnish materials specific to formal courses of study offered by elementary and secondary schools or by institutions of higher learning. The public library has materials for self-study, but is not designed to primarily furnish required reading for academic study. However, those items may be available through our library via interlibrary loan from other libraries.
  5. Materials will be selected using a variety of methods which may include peer reviews and journals, public recommendations, reader reviews, current popularity of author or subject matter, best sellers and award winning materials, and/or personal viewing by staff.
  6. Final purchasing decisions will be based on a variety of selection criteria which may include current need for subject, local interest, economy of pricing, quality and workmanship, reliability, format availability, and need comparison based on current budget and funding availability.
  7. All materials, except those which are in special demand or cannot be easily and economically replaced, will be loaned for home use under established library regulations and circulation procedures.
  8. The Montgomery County Public Library subscribes to the Library Bill of Rights of the American Library Association.
  9. The Montgomery County Public Library subscribes to The Freedom to Read Statement prepared by the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers’ Council.
  10. Material, which is no longer useful in regard to the stated objectives of the library, will be systematically weeded from the collection according to accepted professional practices, which may include guidelines such as thoroughness of subject covered, accuracy or authority of material presented, current local interest, local need for related materials, current physical condition of item, etc. Such materials will be removed. Most removed materials, unless unfit for further use, will be offered to the public on a first-come first served basis.
  11. Considerations for collection materials may vary between branch locations due to space limitations and differing clientele needs.
  12. Physical location and cataloging specifics will be based on current Library of Congress and/or established OCLC cataloging descriptions. Some items may be eligible for physical locations or cataloging descriptions that could result in multiple physical locations, in this situation, library staff will work to determine the best possible location as compared to similar materials currently in the library collection or the most reasonable location where the local public would likely attempt to look for the materials.

Collection Development, Acquisition, and Weeding Policy

The primary mission of the library collection is to provide for literacy, self-guided learning, and information access for adults and children.

Items will be collected that are of current interest to a wide variety of library patrons of various ages, cultural backgrounds, educational levels, socioeconomic status, and informational needs.

Patrons may request additional materials be added to our collection. Once several requests have been made for the same item, the item will be considered for purchase, based on acquisition and collection guidelines. Items receiving several requests for interlibrary loan will also be placed into consideration for purchase.

Guidelines for material acquisition

Non-Fiction Materials

000s – Technology, Computers, Information

Weed or stop collecting when information is no longer relevant. (Typically 5 years) Some books on how things “were done”, etc. may be kept longer.

100s – 200s – Philosophy, Religion, Supernatural

Can be kept 10 years, some “classic books”, local books, or books on great thinkers can be kept longer. (Do not add books over 7 years old unless they are of specific local interest.)

300s – Economics, Real Estate, Investment, Sociology, Political Science

Can be kept 10 years. Books that are about theories or specific movements/time periods in political science may be kept longer. (Do not add books over 5 years old, unless they are of specific interest to history or local patrons)

360s – True Crime

Hardback can be kept for 10 years, “classic” or famous crimes can be longer. The people and the crimes they committed have not changed. (Do not add anything over 7 years old, unless it is specifically of local interest, frequent request). Paperbacks may be kept for 7 years, however condition and available space will determine current availability.

390s – Etiquette

Can be kept for 15 years. (Do not add books over 7 years old due to changes in lifestyle, writing behavior, living choices.)

400s & 800s – Literature, Language, Folklore, Poetry, Plays, and Humor

Can be kept for 20 years, since material does not change. “Classic writers”, historic subjects, etc. may be kept longer. (Do not add anything older than 7 years old unless it is “classic”, of local interest, or of historic nature important to local patrons.) Humor – may be weeded after 10 years, humor writing comedy goes out of style more quickly. (Do not add humor books over 5 years old unless they are of local interest.)

500s – Science

Can be kept for 10 years (do not add anything over 5 years old to prevent adding outdated materials that will be soon withdrawn.)

500s – Geology, Dinosaurs, Tree, Plant, & Insect ID

Can be kept 20 years. Some books can be kept longer if they are of local interest (frequently Kentucky ID books are just not published in more recent versions.) Information on these topics do not change frequently. (Do not add anything over 7 years old, unless it is locally specific, such as Kentucky ID books.)

600s – Technology, Medical, Vet. Medicine

Can be kept 10 years. (Do not add anything over 3 years old to prevent adding outdated materials that will be soon withdrawn.)

600s – Animal Breeds, Cookbooks, Gardening, How To

Can be kept 15 years (some practices and technology for each of these can become outdated). Local interest may be kept longer if that is all that is available. (Do not add anything over 5 years old, unless it is specific local interest.)

600s – Auto Care

Retain these Permanently. The techniques and procedures used in these books for each year model are specific to that make/model, therefore this book will be necessary for the repair. Replacement editions are rarely published, and if they are, once they go out, they return with dirty finger prints, etc. from being under the hood of a car being worked on. (Acquire collective repair manuals, that include multiple vehicles and multiple years in one volume. Do not collect editions for single makes and models, this will fill enormous amounts of shelf space.)

700s – Music, Arts, Sports and Games

These can be kept for 15 years. (Do not add anything over 10 years old). Some “classic” music and art history books can be kept longer. (Books that are more of “biographical” nature, do not add over 7 years old, unless it is of local interest.)

740s – Graphic Novels

These may be kept for 10 years, “classic stories” in graphic form, as well as “cult classic” and locally popular titles may be kept longer. (Do not add anything over 5 years old.)

700s – Price Guides and Identification Guides

These can be kept for 10 years. Hallmark guides, and identification / information guides with no prices can be kept longer. (Do not add anything over 5 years old unless it is of local interest.)

700s – Interior Design, Decorating, Style

These can be kept for 10 years. Typically anything longer than that would be “out of style”. Exceptions would be specific local interest, or items that were written to show historic perspective on style or decoration, these can be kept longer. (Do not add anything over 5 years old unless it is of local interest.)

900s – History, Genealogy

These can be kept nearly indefinite, condition, available space, etc. will guide collection maintenance. (Add items based on need of material and subject matter, local interest, available space, and quality. KEEP ALL MONTGOMERY COUNTY, SERIOUSLY CONSIDER ALL KENTUCKY).

900s – Geography and Government

These can be kept for 20 years. However, information does need to be evaluated for potential change (such as new country lines established, etc.). Some items, such as biographical information about presidents, could be kept longer if no other information is available. (Do not add anything over 7 years old.)


Maintain on shelf based on local interest toward subject, current circulation, condition, appropriateness of material, etc. Information about some historically important figures will remain on shelf long term, while others may be weeded in under 10 years. (Do not add anything over 5 years old, unless it is historically significant or of local interest.)

Adult Fiction Materials

  • “Classic” books should be maintained in the collection.
  • Adult fiction will be maintained according to the most recently available Fiction Catalog. Items within this catalog have been deemed as having an appropriate value to various readers. Not all items in this catalog will be or have been purchased, but this will be used as one guide to help determine which items to retain on the fiction shelves.
  • Best selling fiction, currently popular authors and well circulating series collections will be acquired (older publication dates may be acquired when they meet this criteria).
  • When considering other fiction materials, 3 years between publication and current date is a basic guideline for consideration, unless it is a local interest item, “classic”, or in the Fiction Catalog.
  • Donated fiction should meet the above guidelines, however donated materials that are worn, torn, yellowed, scented, etc. will not be kept for the collection.
  • Paperback books will be purchased to meet fiction guidelines (popular authors, popular series, etc.). Nothing over 4 years old will be purchased unless they are part of a series, popular artist, or local interest. Since they have a high turn-over rate and are easily damaged, donated paperbacks will be acquired up to 4 years old, even if they are not a necessary part of a series, etc., as long as they are clean and like new.
  • Currently owned and donated paperback books can be kept up to 5 years old, or older if they are a needed part of a series, a frequently requested author, or other highly popular material. [These books should be relatively clean and in a decent condition for patron usage.]

Juvenile and Teen Non-Fiction Materials

  • Juvenile and Teen non-fiction will be maintained similar to adult Non-Fiction.
  • Items will be acquired based on need for topic, subject, content, local interest, trends in media, events demonstrating a need, etc.

Juvenile and Teen Fiction Materials

  • Currently owned Juvenile and Teen Fiction and Easy Books may be kept if they are 20 years old if they are neat, clean, and the subject matter is relevant. (Some “classic” books may be older than that.) Due to limitation of available space and trendy nature of teen topics, teen books may be weeded more frequently than other collections.
  • Purchase of juvenile and teen fiction will be based on popular authors, currently popular series, materials or subjects that are of particular interest/need, award winners, “best of lists”, public request, etc.
  • Donated Juvenile and Teen Fiction and “Easy” books may be kept if they are 10 years old, since many of the favorites are often difficult to locate. (However, they must be clean and in a nearly new condition.)
  • Board Book publication date is not as important. Condition, construction and moving parts, content of book, are more important to the ability for the book to circulate safely multiple times.

Electronic Media – Movies, Audio, etc.

New release titles movie should be collected based on popular interest and historic interest in subject matter or genre.
Items of local interest will be acquired.
Storage space for alternative media collections is always a consideration.
Is the title or service already available in other formats?
Ability to circulate to large number of patrons in original container, or ability to easily change to another container, should be considered.
Price per number of times item may circulate is a factor.

Weeding Guidelines

  • Consider basic guidelines for broad categories as described above – does item continue to meet those guideline?
  • Look at circulation statistics for item and/or similar items, does this item remain popular or relevant with patrons?
  • Consider condition, cleanliness, overall appearance and appeal to patrons.
  • Consider timeliness of material, appropriateness, and or ability to meet local need.
  • Consider number of copies, other similar items, is same title available in various formats, and how much shelf space is available?
  • Does material still fit within other material types and collections available? Does item fit overall library goals?

Complaints and Reconsideration Requests Regarding Censorship, Removal, or Reclassification of Library Materials

  1. Patron must complete the entire Citizen’s Request for Reconsideration of Library Material. Only one specific item or related series per request.
  2. At least two trained/certified library staff members will review specific material in question. Additional information about the material will be evaluated to include at minimum: reviews, awards and recommended reading lists; and current LC or OCLC cataloging classifications of the material. A decision to maintain current status, re-classify or re-locate the material, or totally remove the material will be made. Request initiator will be notified in writing regarding the decision.
  3. If the material status decision is not satisfactory for request initiator, they may ask to have the material reviewed by a reconsideration committee. The committee will consist of at least one trained library staff member, one member of the public, and one library board member. Committee members will be provided sufficient time to review material in full and schedule a meeting to discuss findings. A recommendation regarding material status will be issued by the reconsideration committee. Request initiator will be notified in writing.

Please note – The length of time required to complete the process may vary depending on length of material, number of copies available for review by individual committee members, and number of requests that have been initiated.