Video Selection Policy

This document is a guide to video collection development and covers the selection and withdrawal of materials.


I. Purpose and Scope of Collection

The collection is established to assemble and to organize a collection of visual non-print materials that are both entertaining and informational. The collection includes materials of interest to adults, teens, and youth.

II. Types of Materials to be Purchased

Materials are selected for the Library's collection with the following areas considered a high priority:

  1. Entertainment, instructional, and "nonfiction" videos for which there is public interest and demand; popular television series that for economic reasons are not freely available to members of the community (ex. cable-only programs).
  2. Titles covered by our motion picture licensing agreements to support our afternoon movie programs.
  3. Award-winning or nominated films, feature films, and international films that because of their content and reviews are or will become "classics".
  4. Videos for family viewing; and,
  5. Local presentations and events.

III. Materials Not Included

Works that achieve their appeal strictly through sensationalism or erotic, scatological, or exploitative means will not be added to the collection. Material that is strictly ephemeral in nature and is dependent upon speedy acceptance encouraged by massive publicity will also not be acquired. Curriculum support materials are not a part of the collection—we purchase instructional materials produced for the lay person.

IV. Selection Criteria

Consideration is given to: popular (and timely) demand for the item; relationship of the material to the existing collection and to other materials available on the subject; the likely attention of critics, opinion makers, and the public to the item; its importance to document our times; the cost of the item as compared with comparable material on the same subject; the cost to benefit compared with an alternative expenditure; and, the availability of the title in the Minerva collection.

The Scarborough Library selects titles on the basis of the content as a whole and without regard to the personal history of the persons involved in making the video. In no case is any item included or excluded merely because of the race, nationality, political or religious views or philosophic stance of the writer. Realistic representation of the human condition that includes material or dialogue that is sexually candid or violent is not considered a valid reason for rejection if the video otherwise meets standards for acquisition.

The Library recognizes that some materials are controversial and that any given item may offend one or more patrons. However, selection of titles will not be made on the basis of anticipated approval or disapproval, but solely on the basis of established professional standards and the principles stated in this policy. Materials will not be marked or identified by the Library to show approval, disapproval, or any other evaluation of their contents by the Library staff.

While every effort will be made to present all aspects of an issue, any film that has the overall intent to belittle or denigrate the ideas, opinions, or practices of individuals or groups will be excluded from the collection unless:

  1. the film accurately portrays events in the context of the historical record; or,
  2. in the judgment of the selector, availability of the film is important to furthering the discussion of issues raised by the film.

For general selection qualities see Appendix I.

The Library affirms that legal guardians have sole responsibility for the use of materials by their minor children. Selection of materials for Scarborough Library collection will not be inhibited by the possibility that materials may come into the possession of children.

The Library does provide patron information in the electronic catalog in the form of MPAA ratings, content annotations, and audience levels if that information is readily available on the package or from an acceptable bibliographic source.

V. Responsibility for Selection

The Library Board of Trustees has the legal responsibility for all materials in the library collection. The Board in turn, has delegated this responsibility to the professional staff as designated by the Library Director. This staff is responsible for the day-to-day development and maintenance of the Library video collection.

Selection decisions are based upon reviews in professional review magazines and books including Library Journal, Booklist, School Library Journal, Video Librarian, and magazines of popular culture.

VI. Weeding and Replacement of Materials

Weeding (de-accession) by virtue of lack of use, accuracy and currency of information, outdated format, damage to the item, loss, or a long overdue status is continuous. Material is discarded in an appropriate manner . Worn or damaged materials of continuing value or needed to extend the coverage of subject/genre in the collection will be replaced.

VII. Acceptance of Gift Materials

Gift materials will be accepted with the understanding that the same selection standards will be applied to gift materials as to those purchased for the collection. Final disposition of the gift(s) is to be left to the judgment of the collection manager.

VIII. Sponsored Films

Films funded by organizations and businesses for a specific purpose are referred to as sponsored films. Films that meet the criteria of film selection and that add scope to the collection will be gratefully accepted, providing no stipulation is made governing their use.

IX. Affirmations of Intellectual Freedom

The Scarborough Library subscribes to the standards set forth in the Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read Statement, and Free Access to Libraries for Minors as adopted by the American Library Association with regard to the loaning of materials to patrons of all ages. The Library does not restrict access to materials by the age of the patron.

X. Procedure for Handling Complaints

When a patron objects to a particular item, the objections shall be made in writing  The party registering the complaint will complete a copy of the Request for Reconsideration of Material" form. The request will be reviewed in keeping with Board policy for the review of materials.

12/16/99;  rev.  02/2013


Appendix I: General Quality Criteria

Some or all of the following may be considered when making a purchase decision:

  • Is the title of present or potential relevance to community interests?
  • Does it fill a weakness of the collection in a particular area?
  • Does it provide insight into human and social needs?
  • Does it accurately present factual information?
  • Is it useful for its intended audience?
  • Does it satisfy public demand resulting from the attention of critics and reviews?
  • Does it provide high quality performances and accurate content?
  • Is it produced with technical skill?
  • Does it provide information or presentation that is unique to or only available in the format?
  • What is the cost effectiveness of one format over another?
  • Is any commercialism minimal, not distracting from theme or content?

12/16/99;  rev.  02/2013