Materials Selection and Production Policy


The Mission Statement of the Chattanooga Public Library guides the selection of tools and resources for public use, the development of library services, and the allocation of library funds. Our mission is to be a catalyst for lifelong learning. Offering public access to library collections and equipment is the primary way that the library accomplishes that mission.

For the purposes of this document, the term “resource” shall be defined to include, but is not limited to, print, audiovisual, microform, electronic information, as well as related services and networks provided directly or indirectly by the library. In addition, the term “tool” is used to describe equipment used to access existing resources or create new resources. Examples of tools include, but are not limited to computers, mobile devices, software, audio & video recording equipment, or digital fabrication equipment.

This document is used to guide librarians and to inform the public about the principles upon which resource selections are made for inclusion in the collection. In addition to resources, the library offers access to tools which members may use to create, publish, and distribute their own unique content. The library applies the same standards to resources that users produce in the library that it does for resources selected and purchased for public access. The library offers no guarantee that resources created locally will be included in library resource collections; if submitted for consideration those resources will be evaluated by the same criteria applied to all other potential selections.

The Chattanooga Public Library supports the individual’s right to have access to ideas and information representing all points of view. The Chattanooga Public Library Board endorses the principles documented in the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read Statement, Freedom to View Statement, Labeling and Rating Systems, Access to Digital Information, Services and Networks. Code of Ethics, and Core Values of Librarianship Statement. Copies of these statements are attached.


It is the policy of the Chattanooga Public Library that parents or guardians, not the library staff, are responsible for monitoring and approving the selection of materials made by their children. It is the parents or guardians—and only these—who may restrict their children—and only their children—from access to library materials. Selection of materials will not be inhibited by the possibility that materials may inadvertently come into the possession of children. It is also the parents or guardians, not the library staff who are responsible for monitoring and approving the materials their children check out from the library. Please see the Circulation Policy with regard to circulating materials to minors.

So that the Chattanooga Public Library fulfills its mission and provides exceptional public services, some collection development goals include:

  • Providing tools and resources that meet customers’ interests and needs in a timely, cost effective manner.
  • Providing access to a broadly based and diverse collection of resources that can support the roles of the library as a popular materials center, an independent learning center, and a literacy center.
  • Providing public access to internet resources via a high speed connection.
  • Providing a balance of viewpoints on all subjects through its collections and access to resources.
  • Purchasing current materials and providing access to electronic resources proportionate to levels of demand and use, taking care to anticipate and respond to indicators of significant new needs.
  • Practicing and developing innovative collection management techniques in order to maintain the vitality of the library resources.
  • Developing its collection and resources with an awareness of the materials available in surrounding libraries and organizations.
  • Being receptive to customer suggestions, comments, and ideas about the collection and resources.


The Chattanooga Public Library selects tools and resources for its collection and access services in accordance with professionally accepted guidelines. The library does not sanction particular beliefs or views, nor is the selection or public production of any resource equivalent to an endorsement of the author or creator’s viewpoint. All resources are judged as a whole rather than by isolated passages. The library acquires and makes available resources that educate, entertain and enrich persons as individuals and as members of society. To avoid duplicating the role of the academic and the school libraries, area library resources are considered in selecting materials. Chattanooga library users have access on site to materials at the libraries of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Chattanooga State Technical Community College. Within the framework of these broad objectives, selection is based on community needs, both those expressed and those inferred from the study of community demographics and evidence of areas of interest.

There is no single standard that can be used to evaluate all the types of resources included in the library’s collection. Each type of resource will be evaluated in terms of its own qualities and merit for the collection. However, there are some general criteria that the library uses to evaluate, regardless of the format. These are:

  • Authority or significance of the author/producer/publisher/sponsor of the work (training, competence, reputation, etc.)
  • Content of the work (merit, objectivity, accuracy and timeliness of information)
  • Style (clarity, readability, manner of presentation)
  • Comparison with titles in the existing collection and other materials available
  • Suitability and availability for library use
  • Value (reasonable cost, reasonable replacement cost, and format that is practical and reasonable for lending)
  • Evaluation of critics and reviewers
  • Public demand in the library’s service area


Resources are purchased in the most appropriate format for customer use. New formats are considered for the circulating collection when, by industry report, national survey results, and evidence from local requests, a significant portion of the community population is interested in and/or has the necessary technology to make use of the format. Availability of items in the format, the cost per item, and the library’s ability to acquire and handle the items will also be factors in determining when a new format will be collected. Similar considerations will influence the decision to delete a format from the library’s collections. Examples of resource formats collected by the library include, but are not limited to: books and periodicals (hardcover, paperback, audio, and electronic file formats), and audio, video, and interactive digital games (CD, DVD, VHS, streaming, and other electronic file formats).


Reference materials, whether print or electronic, are by their nature designed to be consulted for definite items of information rather than to be read sequentially. They can provide quick, concise and current information or they may serve as an index to other materials in the library’s collection. Since these materials are used daily by the public and the library staff, materials in the reference collection may only be used in the library. Right now, Chattanooga Public Library collects significantly fewer print reference resources due to the availability of this information on the internet.

The primary criteria for selecting reference materials are the library users’ information needs. The decision to select print or computer–based resources is based upon cost, content, currency, and ease of use. Other criteria to be considered when acquiring materials for the reference collections include favorable reviews or inclusion in basic reference collection guides, and reputation of the author or publisher.


The world language collection provides materials in Spanish and other languages. Languages collected will be determined by community needs based on demographics and evidence of areas of interest.

Large print books and other specialized media formats are acquired to serve the needs of the visually impaired. In addition, the library takes care to offer specialized access to tools for the differently abled.


The local history department of the Chattanooga Public Library is maintained as a non–circulating collection of genealogy resources and both local and regional history resources. The department develops and maintains these collections to be suitable for research and recreation by genealogists, historians, and local citizens. Genealogy and local history materials are selected and acquired differently than other library collections; most frequently they are acquired by the library as donations. The library does not collect rare or out-of-print materials that are not received as donations.

Local History materials are also weeded differently than the rest of the library collections. It is infrequent that materials are withdrawn or deaccessioned. Items that are damaged or need to be preserved are repaired by staff.


Due to finite resources, there are certain materials that the library currently does not collect, These include, but are not limited to:

  • Abridged Books
  • Musical scores and sheet music
  • Rare Books
  • Textbooks


Responsibility for Selection

Ultimate responsibility for resource selection rests with the Director, who operates within the framework of administrative directives set by the Chattanooga Library Board and within the restraints of the annual budget as approved by the Chattanooga City Council. The Director determines the materials budget allocations, guidelines, and organizational structure for the librarians who select resources.

The Leadership Team oversees the selection process and works with Library Managers in setting yearly objectives. Library Buyers are responsible for choosing appropriate materials for their area and seeing that the collection is developed and maintained.

Selection Tools

Tools used in selection by librarians include professional library journals, trade journals, subject bibliographies, publishers’ promotional materials, and reviews from reputable sources. Librarians should also be aware of materials reviewed in national newspapers and magazines, local publications, the broadcast media, and from reputable sources available via the Internet. The Library will purchase material suggested by customers if the material is available through our normal purchasing sources, is available new, and meets the criteria outlined in this Materials Selection and Production Policy. Customers requesting material must have a current library card that is in good standing.


In order for the library to fulfill its role as a viable community resource it must maintain an up-to-date, useful collection. Systematic weeding is required in order to keep the collection responsive to customer needs, to ensure its vitality and usefulness to the community, and to make room for newer materials.

The following categories of materials are considered for weeding: worn or mutilated items, duplicate copies of seldom used titles, materials which contain outdated or inaccurate information, superseded editions of specific titles, and materials no longer of interest or demand. Withdrawn material is transferred to the Friends of the Chattanooga Public Library in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Friends of the Chattanooga Public Library (Friends) and the Library Board. As outlined in the “De-accessing (Weeding) Library Materials Chattanooga Public Library Guidelines and Procedures,” the Friends identify items that can be sold at their book sales, as well as their online sales program through Amazon and Alibris. Items not wanted by the Friends are given to a vendor (Better World Books) for sale online from which the Friends receive a percentage of the sale. Items that are unable to be sold are recycled.


Gifts of new and used books, audio recordings and other materials are transferred to the Friends in accordance with the MOU between the Friends and the Library Board. The Chattanooga Public Library will acknowledge receipt of donated items, but the Library does not appraise the value of gifts for tax purpose.

Monetary gifts, bequests, and memorial or honorary contributions are welcome. Funds donated will be deposited into the Library’s Gift Fund and used to purchase items in accordance with this Materials Selection and Production Policy. Materials purchased with bequests and memorial or honorary contributions will be identified with special donor plates whenever possible. The donor must provide contact information if the family/recipient is to be notified of the memorial or honorary donation. Suggestions for subject areas or other areas of interest are welcome and will be followed to the extent possible.

Acceptance of donations of equipment, real estate, stock, artifacts, works of art, collections, etc. will be determined by the Chattanooga Public Library Board of Directors based on their suitability to the purposes and needs of the library, laws and regulations that govern the ownership of the gift, and the library’s ability to cover insurance and maintenance costs associated with the donation.


A singular obligation of the public library is to reflect within its collection of resources differing points of view on controversial or debatable subjects. The Chattanooga Public Library does not promulgate particular beliefs or views, nor does the selection of a resource express or imply endorsement of the viewpoint of the author or vendor. All materials will be judged as a whole rather than by isolated passages. Library resources will not be marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of the contents, nor will items be sequestered, or access denied, except for the purpose of protecting resources from damage or theft. No materials are excluded or removed from the Library on the basis of race, nationality, political, social or religious beliefs.

Comments from members of the community about the collection or individual resources frequently provide librarians with useful information about interests or needs that may not be adequately met by existing resources. The library welcomes expression of opinion by customers, but will be governed by this Materials Selection and Production Policy in making additions and deletions to the collection. Formal requests to have titles reconsidered are made by filling out the “Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials” form. Once the form is filled out, print and mail to:

Chattanooga Public Library
Attention: Library Director
1001 Broad Street
Chattanooga TN 37401

Upon receipt of the “Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials” form, the Director will form an ad hoc “reconsideration committee” to review the request and make a recommendation to the Director.

Approved by the Library Board on February 17, 2015


Materials Selection and Production Policy

Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials Form

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