Collection Management Policy Sections 7-9

Selection, Priorities and Customer Demand

7. Selection Criteria

In selecting materials, staff will consider the following criteria in choosing items for the collection.

  • Patron requests.
  • The recommendations of reviews that appear in standard reviewing sources which describe the content and theme of the item and the accuracy of the information presented.
  • The reputation of the author judged by previous works or as an authority on a particular subject.
  • Whether or not the item will have local or regional interest.
  • Whether or not the reading level of the item is appropriate for its intended audience.
  • Whether or not the subject matter is duplicated elsewhere in the collection.
  • The suitability and durability of the format for the Library.
  • The price of the item.
  • The extent to which a work honestly and accurately depicts new, challenging or extreme points of view or deals with subjects that are topical and newsworthy.

8. Priorities for Selection

Following are more detailed criteria for selecting materials in each section of the collection.

  • Fiction
    Because of the importance of keeping materials of current interest as well as current titles, the adult fiction collection emphasizes collecting best sellers in various genres as well as the maintenance of copies of classic fiction. This is an ‘on demand’ collection and multiple copies of new best sellers are purchased to accommodate the number of reserves that are placed on them.
  • Non Fiction
    The nonfiction collection attempts to provide some coverage in all fields of knowledge, including controversial or challenging subjects of interest to the community. The Library purchases materials of general interest and cannot specialize in any subject area or purchase materials at a research level. Staff will also try to identify those subjects that might be appropriate for patrons engaged in lifelong learning and collect titles appropriate to these subjects.

    Factors that are considered when selecting items include: currency and accuracy of the materials; reputation and credibility of the author; patron demand or perceived popularity; the presentation of a controversial or challenging point of view; and the cost. Duplicate copies of nonfiction items are purchased only if there is heavy demand.
  • Children’s Services
    The Children’s collection provides both fiction and nonfiction books, as well as audiovisual materials suitable for preschool through middle school age children.

    The selection of materials is based on reviews, award winning materials such as Newbery and Caldecott winners, patron suggestions and popular materials of high interest. Criteria for selection include the reputation and credibility of the authors, performers, directors or other creators; the quality of the illustrations in picture books, and the presentation of diverse or controversial points of view. The Children’s Services staff may purchase multiple copies of popular book and audiovisual titles, easy reader picture books and award winning books and videos as needed.
  • Audiovisual
    The Library’s audiovisual collection includes music, audiobooks, movies and graphic novels. The collection is provided variously in physical media and in downloadable content that can be played on personal computers and portable devices.

    The Library’s music collection spans a range of musical genres. Selections are based on music reviews, recommendations from staff and patrons, and from lists of current popular titles. Parental Advisory labels placed on physical media by publishers will be retained on library packaging.

    The video collection includes contemporary and classic feature length films; foreign films; popular television series; documentary and “how-to” films or videos on current events or controversial subjects. The Library does not purchase movies rated NC-17.

    The Library will purchase both fiction and nonfiction audiobooks. Staff will focus on best-selling fiction and nonfiction titles that correspond to similar print titles, as well classic literary works. Downloadable content purchased for the use of Library customers through a consortium will include selections made by librarians throughout Montana.
  • Local Authors
    Billings Public Library is pleased to have the works of many local authors in the collection, and wishes to recognize the literary efforts of local authors by including their works in the collection when possible. However, these works must meet the Library's selection criteria and standards as detailed above. Writers interested in having their work included in the Library's collection should make an appointment to discuss it with the librarian responsible for selecting such materials.

9. Customer Demand

Customers are encouraged to request items that the Library does not own and the Library will provide various means for this, from verbal discussions with a patron, patron request links on the Library’s web page and request forms that can be handed out by staff

Requests for the Library to purchase specific items are limited to five per month by any individual cardholder. Requests may not be placed for forthcoming items more than one month prior to the scheduled release date.

Generally one copy of a new item will be purchased unless there is a perceived demand for more. The Library will attempt to obtain those items which are unavailable for purchase, or which are too expensive or unlikely to appeal to a general audience by borrowing them from another library.