The purpose of a written Collection Management Policy is to provide guidance to the library staff in the selection of library materials and to inform the general public of the principles upon which those selections are made.

Selection Responsibility

The Library Board is ultimately responsible for materials acquired by the Library. Authority for selection of materials has been delegated to the Library Director and the Director’s designated staff.

Mission Statement

We are your contemporary resource connecting generations through learning and exploring, thereby enriching the community and culture.

Role of the Library

In support of its mission, the Library Board recognizes that no library can “be everything to everybody.” Therefore the following roles that will directly affect the Collection Management Policy have been recognized:

  • Library Role #1: The Library will act as a popular materials center that is responsive to the leisure and recreational reading interests of the citizens of Hardin County.
  • Library Role #2: The Library will act as a pre-schoolers’ door to learning and will introduce children to literature and literacy.
  • Library Role #3: The Library will act as a formal education support center which promotes the advancement of learning for students of all ages in all educational settings.
  • Library Role #4: The Library will act as an independent learning center and will provide resources for individuals who are pursuing learning and information outside formal educational settings.
  • Library Role #5: The Library will promote life-long learning to adults through support of continuing education opportunities such as computer classes, online and print reference, and access to testing and other educational databases with remote access when possible. The library will take advantage of grants and other opportunities to provide materials and programs in order to serve as an employment resource center.
  • Library Role #6: The Library will collect and maintain local and state history and genealogy materials in the Sam H. and Celia M. Watkins History & Genealogy Room.

Intellectual Freedom

The library subscribes to the principles of intellectual freedom as set forth in the United States Constitution, the Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read statement, and Freedom to View.

Constituencies to Be Served

The Community

The Hardin County Public Library serves Hardin County residents of all ages, including those persons living on the Ft. Knox Military Post.

Relationships with Other Agencies

Interlibrary Loan

The library cannot purchase every item of value or all materials which may be requested. Should it be determined that the Hardin County Public Library does not own a requested item, library staff will suggest the requested material be borrowed through the Kentucky Library Network – a consortium of public, academic, special, and school libraries across the Commonwealth.

Schools Pre K – 12

The Hardin County Public Library will support the public, parochial, and private schools by purchasing materials that support their curricula in a general manner such as reading list items which are of interest to the community in general. The Library will not purchase textbooks for specific classes or courses.

Higher Education

The Library is unable to purchase in-depth nonfiction materials of an academic nature or to purchase college textbooks and scholarly journals.

Selection Sources

Library staff shall use review media, standard lists of recommended titles, and information provided by publishers to make suggestions for the purchase of materials. Recommendations by customers shall be taken into consideration, providing suitable reviews can be found to substantiate the purchase. Standard review sources include Library Journal, School Library Journal, Shelf Awareness, Booklist, Public Library Catalog, Fiction Catalog, New York Times Book Review, Publishers Weekly, Good Reads, and USA Today.

Evaluation Criteria

The selection of materials is characterized by flexibility, open-mindedness, and responsiveness to the changing needs of the citizens of Hardin County. Materials are evaluated as complete works and not on the basis of a particular passage or passages.

A work will not be excluded from the library’s collection solely because it represents a particular aspect of life, because of frankness of expression, or because it is controversial.

All acquisitions, whether purchased or donated, are evaluated by the following criteria. An item need not meet all of the criteria to be acceptable, nor will any single criterion be decisive.

Price, perceived interest by others, and continued value to the collection are key factors in determining whether to add a requested item to the collection. The order of the criteria does not indicate relative importance of the criteria.

  • Present and potential relevance to community needs
  • Suitability of subject, style and reading level for the intended audience
  • Importance as a document of the times
  • Appropriateness and effectiveness of medium to content
  • Reputation and/or significance of author, publisher, or producer
  • Positive review in one or more appropriate professional journals
  • Positive critics’ and staff members’ reviews
  • Relationships to existing materials in the collection
  • Limits of materials budget
  • Not available, or with limited accessibility, from interlibrary loan sources
  • Insufficient materials available on the same subject
  • Author or illustrator is a Kentuckian
  • Format is appropriate to Library use and is not easily damaged
  • Paper, binding, print and type size, size and design of item
  • Enhances a specific collection within the Library
  • Author or producer is already represented in the collection
  • Literary and artistic merit
  • Accuracy of content
  • Popularity with library customers
  • Inclusion of indexes, bibliographies, etc.

Selection Policies


Best Sellers

Customer suggestions for purchase of titles on the New York Times Bestsellers list, the Courier-Journal, or other recognized bestseller lists are given consideration using general selection criteria. The library maintains standing orders with a few vendors for popular authors. Profiles with these vendors are reviewed annually to guarantee continued compliance with patron needs.

Fiction and Non-Fiction

The library staff makes suggestions for fiction and non-fiction materials in all categories using standard review sources, bibliographies, and customer recommendations.


The library staff makes suggestions for all audio-visual categories based on standard review sources and customer recommendations.


The library staff reviews the list of periodicals annually. Purchase preference is given to titles included in periodical indexes owned by the library. Subscription orders are placed in the summer to begin the following calendar year.


The library staff will make recommendations for the purchase of reference books on an ongoing basis. The list of books on standing order will be reviewed annually. Electronic resources are often more current and will be emphasized in order to provide access equally from all locations and remotely when possible. Reference materials do not circulate.

Juvenile Fiction and Nonfiction

The selection of children’s material will be by review from standard review journals in the field and by publisher’s release materials. Literary quality is a major consideration, but other factors such as readability, accuracy, cost, format, popularity, existing holdings, and budget restrictions are taken into consideration. Fiction is equally important as nonfiction and special attention is given to award winning books. Materials will be purchased in both book and non-book format. Paperbacks, especially popular series, are widely purchased due to their appeal and to supplement the hardback collection.

Special Services for the Homebound/Disabled

This collection will provide special materials in formats, both print and non-print, specifically designed to meet special user populations. Selections for this collection will be based on reviews, cost, format, existing holdings, and budget restrictions.

Special Considerations


All materials will be kept on open shelves, freely and easily accessible to the public. Children are not limited to the children’s room. Responsibility for a child’s reading or viewing rests with the parent or guardian.

Classic Materials

Without regard to current popularity, the library will maintain and continue the development of its collection of classic or important novels, stories, plays and poetry and other works of important authors of all periods. American, British, and other English-language authors will be emphasized, but other regions of the world will be represented. Sources used to develop this collection will include, but not be limited to: prize winning authors (such as the Nobel Prize for literature), lists of prize winning books (such as the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, or the Booker Prize), and other lists of recommended reading on various subjects.


Donations and memorials will be judged and accepted or rejected by the same criteria as other library materials. The Library will not accept as donations or memorials any items that have restrictions that will necessitate special housing, prevent integration of the gift into the collection, or have conditions violating equal access. The Library will only accept as a gift(s) items for which it has final disposition of the item(s). Library staff will not assess the value of donated materials and will not provide a statement for tax-exemption purposes. However, upon request, the library will provide a statement listing general types and quantities of items donated.

Local Authors

The Library will purchase local authors who are published by major presses. Privately printed works will be accepted as gifts and included in the collection should they be found to meet the principles outlined in this policy

Local History

The Library will acquire one copy for reference use (non-circulating) of printed items concerning the history of Hardin County. If an item appears to be of general interest, circulating copies may be purchased. The library will not actively acquire genealogies, but will strive to annually subscribe to an online genealogy search service. Donations of print family histories and cemetery records, maps, pamphlets, etc. will be accepted. The Library will not collect manuscripts, paintings, or other museum objects. Individuals wishing to research individual family histories may be referred to the Brown-Pusey House library and the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives.

Multiple Copies

The Library will purchase multiple copies of popular works to satisfy reserve requests or for anticipated customer demand. Duplicate copies of titles by popular authors in different formats such as e-books, large type, or audio books may be purchased when available to help meet demand. The library will strive to purchase one copy for every seven to nine reserve requests. Popular demand items have a seven-day circulation period.


The library will not make an effort to purchase out-of-print titles. Instead, the customer will be directed to use interlibrary loan to satisfy his/her request.

Reading/Interest Level

The Library will attempt to maintain a variety of reading level difficulties in each subject area.

Requests for Purchase

Customer recommendations are given serious consideration and are judged using the usual selection criteria. The Library does not usually purchase items retrospectively on demand unless there is no coverage in that particular area. Customers are recommended to use interlibrary loan for obtaining materials not available in the general collection

The Collection



Works of fiction will be purchased if they meet the following: positive reviews in standard library review sources, the author is popular with library customers, or is requested by library customers. If the reviews are negative and the item is of little interest, interlibrary loan shall be suggested. The general fiction collection includes representative novels of the past and present that are notable for literary quality, cultural value, or popularity of the author.

The adult fiction collection is shelved using the following genre designations: General Fiction, Mysteries, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Romance, and Western.


Paperback books purchased through the selection process and identified as trade paperbacks (i.e. most works classified as inspirational fiction) are given full MARC cataloging and are shelved in the appropriate area of the fiction collection. Mass-market paperback books purchased through the selection process are cataloged using a brief MARC record and shelved with the paperback books.

The paperback collection is weeded frequently to keep the collection in good repair, the selection current, and the size manageable.

Corner Books

Corner books are paperback books that have been donated to the library which are in good shape to be added to the circulating collection. They are a special collection which is maintained separate from the main paperback collection and are not catalogued but count as circulation.


Non-fiction titles are acquired to provide for the general knowledge requirements of the community. The needs will be assessed on an ongoing basis through surveys and collection circulation data. As the needs change, acquisition information will be revised so as to remain relevant. Items will be stored on open shelves per the Dewey Decimal System so as to be accessible to all patrons.


Picture Books/Easy Readers

New picture books and easy readers will be purchased on a regular basis for children from ages birth to third grade. These books will be kept in an area separate from the remainder of the juvenile collection. Multiple copies of Caldecott Award winners will be purchased and housed in a separate area. No school texts will be purchased.

General Fiction

This area will contain general fiction suitable for students from third to eighth grade. These will include classics as well as popular titles. Multiple copies of Newbery Award winners will be purchased and kept in a separate area.


Juvenile non-fiction items will be purchased to meet the general educational and recreational needs of children from third to eighth grade. This collection is designed to supplement a child’s education, not to be a part of the formal education.

Young Adult


The YA fiction collection is designed to appeal to eighth through twelfth grade readers. Purchase decisions will be made based on reading level and popularity with this age group. If funds permit, multiple copies of classics required for high school literature may be purchased in paperback format.


The YA non-fiction collection is designed to appeal to eighth through twelfth grade readers. Purchase decisions will be made so as to supplement the educational needs of this age group. No school texts will be purchased.

Large Print

Large print materials are selected for patrons who have difficulty reading standard print. Items are selected based on ease of handling, appropriate type size, visual contrast, and white space. Typical genres for large type include: Science Fiction; Romance; Mystery; Western; and Biography.

Web Based Reference Sources

More emphasis will be placed on electronic reference sources as they continue to outweigh the advantages of print. Databases are selected in order to provide access to quality, current information to both library locations as well as to patrons remotely from their homes. The types of databases included are e-book databases, research databases, professional collection resources, testing services, legal resources, employment services, and genealogy search services. The database selections are reviewed periodically for relevance to the community.



Music CD’s are selected based on community demand. All styles of popular music are represented.


Audio books in CD format are selected based on community demand. Selections of both fiction and non-fiction titles are included.


The DVD collection is designed to meet the educational and recreational needs of the community through films. Selections will be made on the basis of community demand for classic films, educational and instructional programs and children’s programs.

Home schooling

Hardin County has a large home schooling population. The library will work closely with this community to purchase supplemental materials for their educational needs. Anyone involved in home schooling should contact the library representative directly to request materials for their needs. The needs will be assessed and if the items fit within the scope of the collection, the items will be purchased.

Graphic Novels

Graphic novels are selected for the children’s collection, the YA collection and the adult collection based on community demand.


Subscriptions to periodicals are maintained to supplement the book collection and provide information which may never be published in book form. The range of titles is reviewed annually and revised based on patron demand for titles.

Collection Maintenance

Repair and Rebinding

If useful materials are damaged the following procedures will be used: light damage will be repaired in-house. If more serious damage occurs, the item will be sent to a bindery, if funds are available.


Items withdrawn due to loss or damage are not necessarily replaced. Popular or classic titles in condition too poor for circulation will be replaced per the current operational policy.


Weeding of the collection shall be completed per the library standard Crew Method.

Request for Reconsideration of Materials

The library is a unique institution charged with being an unbiased repository of recorded expression. While the board has delegated the responsibility for selection and evaluation of library materials to the director and such staff as he/she may designate, they have the legal responsibility for the collection and its protection under the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution.

Customers with complaints about materials should initiate the following Procedures:

  1. Complete a Statement of Concert about Library Resources form.
  2. Completed form will be reviewed by the director and appropriate background material gathered.
  3. The director will bring the matter to the attention of the board, along with her/his recommendation.
  4. The board will review the matter and vote with as little delay as possible.
  5. The board will issue a formal response to the complainant at a regularly scheduled meeting.
Download the Statement of Concern About Library Resources.