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Collection Policy

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Philosophy

LA County Library serves one of the nation’s most culturally, economically and socially diverse regions. The Library selects materials which best serve the needs of its varied and complex public.

The Library makes available a broad and relevant collection of materials for information, education and recreation. Our collection currently includes over 7,000,000 books, magazines, DVDs, audiobooks, downloadable eBooks and audiobooks, and CDs. We provide materials of interest to people of differing ages, ethnic groups and lifestyles, both in English and other languages.

In support of the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights and Freedom to Read Statement, the Library affirms the public’s right of access to a broad spectrum of reading, listening and viewing materials, and upholds the right of any individual to secure information, even if the content may be controversial, unorthodox, or unacceptable to others.

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Method

LA County Library selects a broad range of materials to accommodate the diversity of tastes, reading levels, languages and interests of users of all ages. We provide current materials as well as standard authors, titles and subjects. Resource centers and special collections enhance the Library’s ability to serve its community’s needs.

Selection of materials is based on the subject knowledge and expertise of collection development librarians, along with recommendations from the public and other library staff; professional and popular media reviews; and evaluation of review copies from publishers. Budget and space limitations require a focus on materials that appeal to a broad range of users, rather than the academic, highly technical or otherwise specialized collections which are the mission of the area’s universities and research institutions. No materials are excluded or removed from the Library on the basis of the author’s race or nationality, their political, social or religious beliefs. Materials dealing with controversial views are judged as entire works, not on isolated passages or sections.

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Criteria

All materials, whether purchased or donated, are subject to the criteria listed below. An item need not meet all of these standards to be included in the Library’s collection.

 

  • Public interest or demand
  • Relevance to the community
  • Contemporary significance
  • Enduring value
  • Readability and style
  • Treatment of subject for intended audience
  • Physical durability and attractiveness
  • Suitability of the format for library use
  • Creative, literary or technical quality
  • Cost and availability
  • Reviews in the professional and popular media
  • Professional or literary reputation of the author, publisher or producer
  • Circulation of similar materials
  • Relation to existing collection and other materials on the subject
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Gifts and Donations

LA County Library accepts gifts for the Library’s collection that fall within needed subject categories, as determined by collection development librarians and library staff. Donated materials must meet the same selection criteria as purchased materials and are subject to the following limitations:

  • The Library retains unconditional ownership of donated materials. Exceptions are made on occasion at the County Librarian’s discretion for special collections which are loaned to the Library.
  • The Library makes the final decision on the use, distribution or other disposition of the items.
  • The Library reserves the right to decide the conditions of display, housing and access to the materials.
  • Digital materials must be in a format that is compatible with the library’s current platforms.
  • Digital submissions must include signed waiver to donor’s right to distribute the material.
  • If digital material is selected for addition to our collection they will be considered “always available” with unlimited, concurrent use.
  • Donated materials should be no more than three years old and in excellent condition.

Weeding or Withdrawing of Materials

Weeding materials no longer needed is an integral part of maintaining a current and up-to-date collection. A number of the factors governing selection of materials are the same ones taken into account in determining when to remove an item from the Library’s collection. These include:

  • Physical condition
  • Currency of information
  • Usage
  • Availability of other materials on the subject

Languages

While the Library offers materials in a variety of languages, we actively purchase in these languages:

  • English
  • Arabic
  • Armenian
  • Chinese
  • Farsi
  • Korean
  • Tagalog
  • French
  • German
  • Hindi
  • Japanese
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Vietnamese

Formats

The Library purchases many types of materials:

  • Books
  • Magazines and newspapers
  • Audiobooks on CD
  • DVDs
  • CDs
  • eBooks
  • Electronic databases
  • Downloadable audiobooks and eBooks
  • Microforms

Recommend a Title

Recommending a title for our collections enables LA County Library users to request that the Library purchase a particular item, title, or subject. These suggestions are used to help the Library develop collections which serve the interests and needs of the community. Suggested items are not automatically added to the collection, and all suggestions for purchase are subject to the same criteria as other materials. Budget and space constraints may also apply.

Replacements

Materials missing or withdrawn from the Library’s collection are not automatically replaced. The decision to replace items is based on the following criteria:

  • Availability of other copies or editions in the collection
  • Public interest
  • Adequacy of coverage in the subject area
  • Cost and availability
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