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Legal Authority and Staff Responsibility for Selection
The governing body of the library is the Board of Trustees, consisting of seven members who serve without remuneration. The Montgomery County Board of Commissioners appoints four members, and the Judges of the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas appoint three. Each serves for seven years with one Board member appointed annually. The Board sets library policy, appoints staff, acts on the budget recommended by the Executive Director, and is responsible to the public for library activities and services.
The Collection Development Policy is the document containing all of the policies of the Board relative to the collection development of materials. The policy can be amended only by the Board.
The Board delegates responsibility for collection development to the Executive Director who authorizes the Office of Collection Development to select materials. Collection development personnel are library professionals and are knowledgeable in their areas of selection.
The majority of the materials selection process is done on-line through vendor sites. These vendors provide thorough product descriptions which can include cover art, reviews, excerpts, pricing, format information, annotations, and sales or box office figures, all of which facilitate the selection process. Additional materials are selected from print catalogs and mailers, although these account for a small percentage of the total selection process. These items generally augment specialized interests and add to the overall breadth of the library collection. (Appendix B)
Most new book titles considered for purchase originate from weekly on-line lists available on library vendor sites. The Office of Collection Development develops profiles with library vendors concerning the kinds of materials which should be included in selection lists. Specific authors, publishers, series, review sources, formats, and publication dates are examples of parameters set by the Office of Collection Development for vendors to follow when formulating selection lists. Most new audio visual titles considered for purchase are also acquired on-line from library vendor sites without the benefit of vendor profiled lists. Staff members build these lists based on vendor catalogs and topical lists. Other items added to order lists on a weekly basis are patron requests for purchase, staff suggestions, high interest titles reviewed in popular media, and replacements of lost, worn, or high demand materials. The Office of Collection Development welcomes suggestions for purchase from all members of the library's community.
Collection Development staff work with pre-selection committees of librarians from throughout the library system. Depending on the media, committee members either note comments on titles under consideration on the on-line lists or attend a meeting where titles are discussed. Collection Development staff weigh the comments from the pre-selection committees against many other factors before making a final purchasing decision which includes the number of copies and location assignment. Agency profiles filled out by on-site librarians indicate the types and quantities of materials desired by that location. The circulation system provides usage statistics for all included titles. Selectors consult these statistics before purchasing a new edition or when purchasing more items on a subject or by a previously owned author. When applicable, staff research and compare the purchasing patterns of other similar sized libraries. Budget constraints also affect purchases. Strategic goals of the library influence buying patterns as well. Items submitted to the Office of Collection Development by a vendor as best sellers or box office hits are not subject to pre-selection committee comment and are usually ordered immediately. Patron requests for purchase, staff suggestions, high interest titles reviewed in popular media, and special interest lists bypass pre-selection committee comment as well. The Guidelines for Materials Selection listed later in this document apply to all purchases.
Standing orders exist for items such as annual series or for items known to be popular such as bestselling authors and series. Agencies select standing orders. Agencies also select paperbacks, replacements and reference materials themselves. Collection Development staff communicate with agency staff regularly and visit as often as possible.