The Board of Trustees of the Copiah Jefferson Regional Library has adopted the following materials selection policy to guide librarians and to inform the public about the principles upon which selections are made.

The Mission Statement of the Library guides the selection of materials as it does the development of services and the allocation of resources.

To support this mission, library materials are selected, organized, and made accessible in order to anticipate and meet the diverse needs of the Copiah and Jefferson County citizens.

Library Materials Selection and Censorship

The Board of Trustees of the Copiah Jefferson Regional Library has established the following policy:

The library shall develop collections of merit and significance, whether acquired by purchase or gift.  Each item of material shall be considered in terms of its value to the collection and the audience for whom it is intended.  The Board of Trustees supports the American Library Association’s Bill of Rights, ALA’s Freedom to Read Statement, and the Freedom to View.

Responsibility for the Selection of Library Materials

All professional staff members are encouraged to participate in the selection of library materials.  The Branch Librarians are responsible for seeing that appropriate selection tools are utilized by staff and that proper purchasing procedures are followed.  They also ensure that selectors’ choices reflect the Materials Selection Policy and Collection Development Plan of the Copiah Jefferson Regional Library.

The Branch Librarians and the Director will oversee the selection process, making appropriate selection tools available and tracking the materials budget, to ensure a flow of new materials throughout the year, according to budget allocation.  Suggestions from library patrons are encouraged and seriously considered in the selection process.  Ultimate responsibility for materials selection rests with the Director who operates within the framework of policies determined by the Board of Trustees.

It is recognized, however, that library staff cannot read or even scan all of the materials that are added to the collection yearly.  Librarians must rely on reviews in making their selections, and not all reviewers are top quality.  Therefore, some material might be added unwittingly which might not meet all of the accepted standards of selection.

Goals of Selection

The Copiah Jefferson Regional Library selects, makes available, and promotes the use of library materials, whatever the format, which:

  1. enrich and support the information, recreational, and cultural needs of the users, taking into consideration their varied interests, abilities, and learning styles.
  2. represent differing viewpoints on a subject.
  3. reflect the problems, aspirations, attitudes, and ideals of a multi-cultural society.
  4. support business, cultural, recreational, and civic activities in the community.
  5. stimulate self-understanding and growth.
  6. enhance job-related knowledge and skills.
  7. increase knowledge of and participation in the affairs of the community, the country, and the world.

Criteria for Selection

The changing needs of the citizens of Copiah and Jefferson Counties require that materials be evaluated initially and on a continuing basis.  As a result, materials not initially recommended for purchase may, in fact, be purchased at a later date.  

Materials are evaluated as a whole and not on the basis of a particular section.  While a single standard cannot be applied to each potential item for selection, materials are judged by appropriate criteria.  In some instances, these criteria include artistic merit, scholarship, or the value of the material to the information needs of the community.  In other instances, the criterion may be substantial demand.

To build a diversified collection which supports the Library’s mission, the following objective criteria are used.  These criteria apply to purchased and donated materials.

  1. Availability and suitability of format.
  2. Suitability of subject, style, and level for the intended audience.
  3. Critical reviews.
  4. Reputation of the publisher or producer; authority and significance of author, composer, film maker, etc.
  5. Timeliness or permanence of the material.
  6. Quality of writing, design, illustrations, or production.
  7. Relevance to community needs.
  8. Potential and/or known demand for the material.
  9. Relative importance in comparison with existing materials in the collection on the same subject.
  10. Availability and accessibility of the same material through other library services.

Material Collections/Formats

Fiction Books

Fiction books may be purchased for popular titles or new releases.  Paperback editions may be purchased for supplemental copies or for titles limited to paperback format.   All cataloged fiction books are inter-shelved in the appropriate section regardless of cover format.

Nonfiction Books

Nonfiction books will be purchased in order to update existing collection coverage or in response to increased patron demand.  Paperback editions may be purchased for expensive titles, supplemental copies, or for items that will be weeded within a few years.  All cataloged non-fictions books are inter-shelved in the appropriate section regardless of cover format

Large Print Books

Standard collection development tools are utilized in the selection and acquisition of large print materials.  The collection of large print books are targeted to senior citizens and in general those with visual problems.  Most materials are obtained through discount outlets.  Purchases are limited to designated donations and vendor discounts.

Reference Sources

The Library collects encyclopedias, indexes, almanacs, business directories, and medical information when and where necessary to fill in gaps presented by other sources, such as the Internet. Most materials are obtained through discount outlets.

Uncataloged Paperbacks

Paperback books in current popular fiction and nonfiction may be placed in a stand-alone, uncataloged collection.   No books are purchased for inclusion in this collection; it is made up of donated books.  The books are circulated on a swap basis, and the collection is weeded regularly to keep it fresh and current.


Periodicals are a valuable resource for presenting current trends and ideas and providing materials not available in books.  

The library’s objective is to have a well-balanced general periodical collection.  Patron and staff suggestions for purchase are evaluated and considered.  Because of space considerations and because increasing numbers of periodicals are available online, the size of the magazine collection will be limited.  Factors to be considered in selection include format, price, intended audience, objectivity and subject matter.

Due to space considerations, most periodicals will be discarded after  six months.  Periodicals of historical or research value will be housed as long as the collection remains relevant to library patron needs.  Usage is continually evaluated, and titles not used are discontinued so that new titles can be acquired.  As budget permits, more titles will be purchased.  

Genealogy/Local History

Genealogy/Local History collections contain such items as books, indexes, records, photographs, manuscripts, family histories, letters, microfilm, local newspapers, clippings, plat books, old phone books, school yearbooks, and items of memorabilia that can be filed in envelopes and placed in a vertical file.  

The library’s objective is to collect as much standardized material relevant to local history, supplemented with specialized materials when such materials can be properly maintained.    Permanency, format, space, demand, and value are important considerations in determining what materials will be housed in this collection.

This collection is heavily dependent on donations.   Purchases in this area are rare and usually involve high volume reference materials.  


A large and growing number of patrons use audio materials.   The selection of titles for audio selection will follow the same guidelines for printed materials.  Patron demand for audio materials will dictate the number of audio materials available at any certain branch.


This collection consists of a mixture of feature films, classic movies, children’s, educational, documentary, self-help, and travel films.  The collection is designed to meet the needs of the various ethnic, economic, educational levels, and age groups of the community.  

The library, in accordance with the objectives of its general materials selection policy, acquires and makes available films to serve the general informational, educational, cultural, and recreational needs of the community.  Emphasis is placed on quality films which will contribute to the long-term appropriateness, expected use, and value of the collection.  

Patron requests for specific videos will be considered and purchased depending on appropriateness and pertinence to the objectives of the long-term development of the collection.  Closed-captioned films are desirable when available to meet the needs of hearing impaired patrons.  

Standard collection development tools are utilized in the selection and acquisition of video materials.  Journal reviews, newspaper reviews, publishers’ catalogs, video publications, and patron requests are possible sources for video selection.

Retrospective development is essential to a balanced collection of appropriate materials.  Areas to be considered are old classics and films which represent outstanding technical and artistic achievement in this media.  Newer movies will be considered relative to their quality and interest level among the patrons.  Balance in the collection should be maintained through purchase of new titles, replacements, and weeding among all categories (features, nonfiction, and children’s.)  The video collection should grow relative to space available and patron demand.


The Library provides personal computers for public use. These computers are equipped with non-circulating software provided for adults focuses on standard office applications of word processing and spreadsheet development.  The library also offers a limited selection of circulating computer software on with a non-fiction, entertainment and/or instructional focus.

Professional Development in the field of Librarianship

Professional materials related to the field of librarianship are retained by the Library to offer resources of the Library’s staff, library professionals, and library paraprofessionals.  These materials are housed in the Library Director’s office but are visible to the public via the Library’s online catalog for selection by patrons and the interlibrary loan community.  Materials purchases in this area are usually limited to the current staff development of the Library’s staff.


The Library does not attempt to acquire textbooks or other local curriculum-related materials except when such materials would also serve the general public.  Sometimes the collection is best developed by adding elementary, secondary or college textbooks in such subject areas as basic math, algebra, and computer skills.  

Children’s Education

When considering selections for children, youth, and young adult collections, special consideration is given to selections that support the local school education programs.  Common Core and Accelerated Readers are examples of such programs.

General Format Guidelines

Digital - Digital Formats are generally considered a supplement to printed materials.  MP3 format is generally avoided.

Library Binding - Library Binding is preferred over hardcover editions when price permits.

Hardcover - Hardcover editions are preferred over paperback formats.

Paperback - Paperback formats are generally selected only when other durable cover options are not available or are cost prohibitive.

Mass Market - Mass Market publications are generally not purchased.  Processing of donated mass market materials is limited.

‘Very Good’ Used - Printed materials in ‘very good’ condition are purchased when available at a lower cost.  These materials are generally purchased to replace existing books or to supplement existing materials.

‘Like New’ Used- DVDs in ‘like new’ condition are purchased when available at a lower cost.  These materials are generally purchased to replace existing DVDs or to supplement existing materials.

Cassettes - Cassettes are no longer purchased or processed.

VHS - VHS and similarly formatted tapes are no longer purchased or processed.

Material Collection Policy Revision

Revisions to this policy are considered and proposed regularly to the CJRL Board of Trustees as areas of the Library’s material collections expand and change characteristics.  Revisions to this policy are prepared every two (2) years by the Library Director who submits proposed revisions to the CJRL Board of Trustees for approval.

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