3.001 Material Selection Policy

Replaces 06/17/2014

The Board of Library Trustees recognizes that within Arlington Heights there are groups and individuals with disparate interests, backgrounds, cultural heritages, social values and needs.  The board further recognizes that the library was created to serve all of the people of Arlington Heights regardless of age, race, gender, creed, sexual orientation, national origin, or political or social views.

The Board of Library Trustees understands that some items and resources are controversial and could be offensive, shocking, or boring to some individuals, but may be meaningful and significant to others.  It is in the public interest for the Arlington Heights Memorial Library (AHML) to make available diverse views and expressions, including those which may seem unorthodox or unpopular with the majority.  While everyone is free to reject titles of which they do not approve for themselves and their children, they cannot restrict the freedom of others to choose what to read, hear, or view.

The public library does not advocate for the ideas found in its collection; rather, the public library provides a safe haven for those ideas.  The selection of any item or resource does not constitute an endorsement of its contents by the library.


Selection of materials for the library is done by staff members who have subject or format area specializations.  Ultimate responsibility for the library’s collection resides with the executive director.

Selection Criteria

Each year, far more titles than the library can purchase a published in print, audiovisual, and electronic formats.  Therefore, staff must be selective in what they choose for the library’s collection.  Selectors consider factors such as customer interest, cost, and space.  They also take into account anticipated or existing demand; local interest; reputation and skill of the author, performer, or artist; existing library resources in the subject area; published reviews; availability of titles from other sources; and the physical durability of the item.

Collection Maintenance

The purpose of AHML’s collection is to provide the materials most in demand by the community.  It is not to serve as an archive of historical materials nor as an institute for advanced scholarly or professional research.  To maintain a vital, current collection which meets the needs of the community, continuous review is necessary.  To make space for in-demand materials, less popular items must be withdrawn on a regular basis.

Withdrawn library titles may not be reserved for specific individuals.  Withdrawn items are given to the Friends of the Library to sell or dispose of with proceeds used to benefit the library.

Protection of Public Interest

Any resident has the opportunity to suggest the purchase of a title for the library’s collection.  A resident may also request the reconsideration of an item already in the library’s collection.  Procedures have been established which ensure the serious review of a resident’s request for reconsideration.  Until a decision is reached, an item will remain in the collection.

Frankness of language and/or graphic content is not considered sufficient justification in itself to remove or restrict library items or formats.  Titles with viewpoints or content deemed objectionable by a resident are judged as entire works, not on isolated passages or sections.


Library items are categorized broadly for the purpose of locating them in the adult, teen, children’s, or ESL/Literacy collection.  Otherwise, they are not marked or identified to indicate a suggested audience.  Materials are not isolated except for the purpose of protecting them from damage or theft.