Selection Policy



The purpose of this selection policy is to guide in the selection of materials and to inform library staff and customers about the principles upon which selections are made for the Holloman Air Force Base Library. The library is tasked to effectively support the Air Force mission by providing materials and services for research, reference, self-evaluation, job information, direct support of professional military and voluntary education programs, as collateral support of school students and the enhancement of leisure time.


General Objectives

Since the military is representative of today's society, it encompasses individuals and groups of every age, level of education, occupation, economic level, ethnic origin, religious background, and political persuasion. Meeting the total informational needs of the community is the responsibility of the library. This is a responsibility that is not taken lightly. The library helps the members of the community to keep up with change in all areas, to educate themselves continually, to become better members of their families and communities, to become socially and politically aware, and to be more capable in their occupations. It should also help them develop their creative abilities and spiritual capacities, appreciate and enjoy literature and art, contribute to the over-all expansion of knowledge, and stimulate their personal and social well-being. All printed and non-printed materials in the library are selected with these basic objectives considered.


Criteria for Selection

Certain factors influence the selection of library materials. These include:

  1. The author's reputation and significance as a writer or subject specialist or authority.
  2. The importance of the subject matter to the collection.
  3. The availability of similar material within the library or the library system, or available on loan from other libraries.
  4. The timeliness and permanency of the material.
  5. Reputation of the publisher.
  6. Price.
  7. Format, including type legibility, binding, etc.
  8. Inclusion in standard bibliographies, indexes, etc.

The following materials will not be included in the library collection:

  1. Legal and medical publication procured and maintained by the office of primary interest.
  2. Textbooks, except as required for collection development.

Selection Aids

Selection aids include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Air University Review
  • Booklist
  • Library Journal
  • New York Times Book Review
  • Publisher's Weekly
  • Wilson Library Bulletin


The library accepts gifts with the understanding that they will not necessarily be added to the library collection. The material which is added to the collection will be judged by the same selection standards as those applied to the selection of new materials for purchase. If gift materials are not considered suitable for any reason, they will be returned to the donor. The library will not provide appraisal of gifts. A receipt of how many items were donated and date will be given upon request.


Controversal Materials

The selection of library materials is predicated on the patron's right to freedom from censorship. Some materials are controversial, and all or part of any of them may offend some persons. Selections for the library will not, however, be made on the basis of anticipated approval or disapproval by any one individual or group of individuals, but solely on the merits of the material and consistent with this selection policy. This library recognizes the rights of each person to approve or disapprove, accept or reject, use or not use, materials in the library, so long as their views are not forced on either the library staff or other library customers. Censorship in any form will be resisted.
Selections will include representative materials in popular demand by recognized or well known authors or authorities in such fields as astrology, ESP, UFOs, handwriting analysis, the occult, popular religion, popular psychology, medical works, etc. All such selections will be consistent with this selection policy.


Objectionable Materials

The library recognizes the right of individuals to question the suitability of materials selected for and included in the library collection. Such questions or objections will be met with courtesy and understanding. If any customer objects to any library material, a Customer's Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials must be completed. Only after this has been accomplished and a final decision reached will any materials be removed from the library.
With respect to the use of library materials by minors, the decision as to what they may read, hear, or view is the responsibility of parents or guardians. Selection of library materials will not be inhibited by the possibility that "objectionable" materials may inadvertently come into the possession of minors. The library staff will not be held responsible for monitoring the use of library materials beyond enforcing the established library use rules, nor will they code, segregate, or in any other way limit access to materials in the collection.


Weeding and Replacement

While the library attempts to retain copies of all standard and important works, it makes no attempt to replace each book withdrawn due to loss, damage or obsolescence. Weeding of the collection is done on a regular basis. The decision to replace a withdrawn title is based on these selection criteria, and may result in an exact replacement, a newer edition, or a different title or subject entirely.
Replacement of lost or damaged material by the customer is similarly subject to these criteria. The library encourages replacement with the same or material of equal value rather than in cash. All proposed replacements are subject to approval by the librarian.
Several factors are considered in both weeding and replacement:

  1. Is the material obsolete and how much other current material on the subject is in the collection?
  2. Does the material have historical value that warrants replacement or retention and possible rebinding?
  3. Is the material indexed?
  4. Is cost of replacement or alternative material prohibitive?
  5. Is the material required for education courses?

The Continuous Review, Evaluation, and Weeding (CREW) method for weeding books will be followed as much as possible. The CREW method can be found in the books Evaluating and Weeding Collections in small and medium-sized public libraries: the CREW Method by Joseph P. Segal.


Children's Materials

A wide variety of materials to satisfy the informational, recreational and cultural needs of children from preschool to age twelve are selected for the children's collection. The library provides for children of different abilities and potentials, as well as from different backgrounds, but emphasizes the selection of quality materials.
The collection consists of picture books, books for beginning readers, fiction and nonfiction books for more advanced readers, reference works, periodicals, and non-print materials. Special attention is given to selection of award winning books such as Newbery and Caldecott, especially those included in the Children's Catalog.
The three local elementary schools utilize the Accelerated Reading Program. An effort is made to have as many of the titles from the three Accelerated Reading lists as possible for our customes. However, all selection criteria are considered when making selections. Not all Accelerated Reading titles are maintained in the children’s collection, just the more popular ones, classics and the titles of more lasting value.



The library recognizes the importance of fiction and the need to satisfy readers of differing tastes, purposes, interests, and reading levels. With these considerations in mind, continual use is made of book reviews, authoritative discussions of literature, pertinent bibliographies, publishers' announcements, and requests from library customers. These criteria are applied to the selection of titles retained in the permanent library collection. More ephemeral titles are supplied through the lease plan.



Format is not a primary consideration in the selection of library books, although it does of course influence selection, an effort is made to select books which are hard bound. In some instances, when only paperbound editions are available, the library will purchase paperbound editions. Mass-market paperbacks and board books are put in the Paperback Collection. Only books in the traditional rectangle-shape will be added to the collection. No special shaped book, soft plastic or board book will be added to the permanent collection.


Periodicals (Magazines and Newspapers)

While every effort is made to stock those periodicals which are determined necessary to meet the needs of the community served, obviously not every title available can be selected. For this reason, primary emphasis is placed on those titles which are indexed in various periodical indexes, or with such popular appeal that they are essential in any library. Both adult and children's titles are selected.
Because of the wealth of information contained in periodicals in every conceivable field of scholarship, technology and interest, careful consideration is given to get the most for the money and still cover every needed requirement. Where only occasional or moderate interest or need exists, the library will rely on the use of interlibrary loan to fill individual requests. It should be kept in mind that the initiation of a subscription is not a one-time transaction, but commits library funds for the indefinite future. The multiplicity of new serial titles, the potential obligation to maintain back issues, escalating prices, as well as the required space to maintain and store back issues makes a high degree of selectivity mandatory. Therefore, insofar as space and funds permit, and the need exists, back issues of carefully selected titles will be maintained in original copy, microform, or bound hard copy. The decision to retain back issues will be made on the basis of current and future demands dictated by the mission of the installation, professional and voluntary education programs, and the general interests and needs of the community. The back issue policy is regularly reviewed and revised as conditions warrant. Back issues are maintained on an individual title basis, not every title has the same retention period.
Newspapers are treated in a somewhat similar fashion, although the selection is generally not so comprehensive, and fewer back files are maintained. Local newspapers, as well as some few selected major titles such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Air Force Times, etc., The availability of funds, space, and perceived need determine what and how many are selected. Beside cost, another criteria used for selecting newspapers is the availablility of the newspaper online.
The inclusion of magazines and newspapers in the library collection can, in large part, eliminate the need for multiple subscriptions for delivery to offices. Indeed, it is the library responsibility to ensure that not only are all informational needs met, but that they are met as economically as possible. Therefore, every request for subscriptions for delivery to non-library addresses will be evaluated in these terms. If the title is available in the library, in most cases requests for additional subscriptions will be denied.
With the Internet growing every year, there are more full-text periodicals available. This format is preferred for the more scholarly titles and titles used for research. An effort is made to not duplicate what is available online with physical copies which are maintained. Most of the online titles that we have are purchased by ACC or the Air Force for all bases. We have many resources available.


Non-Printed Materials

As with the peridocals, the Internet has made some areas of collection to be in electronic format. ACC and the Air Force purchase all of the electronic resources we have available. We have a collection of e-books available, scholarly databases, and periodical indexes. These electronic resources should only enhance our collection, not replace books. Books that are selected should be evaluated on the premises of what is also available online.
The library collection of sound recordings for the permanent collection will include music on compact disc and books on cassette for both adult and children. Selections are made on the basis of customer interest, available funds, and quality of content. Selection of sound recordings is as broad as possible, with no special emphasis on any one type. Obviously, with the tremendous number of recordings selections must be limited. In every case, however, an attempt will be made to meet customer demands.
Video recordings in all formats are a somewhat different matter. While it is recognized that there is a continuing demand for popular movies, the library is unwilling to attempt to compete with film rental agencies, either on or off base. Just as every book, every magazine, every newspaper, or every sound recording is not selected, the library limits selection of video recordings. First consideration is given to the lasting value of the contents, and their usefulness to the community. Thus, documentaries, classic movies, educational films, self-education and self-motivational films, study aids, etc., are stocked to the extent that funds, space, and staff permit.
Software is a new and growing collection within the library. Every effort is made to have a diversified collection. Only educational software will be purchased. Some of the children’s software is presented in a game format, but it has educational value. The software must present a lesson that teaches a concept, skill or knowledge of a subject.
As with books, sound and video recordings come in a wide variety of subjects and treatments. "X" rated recordings will not be stocked by the library. "R" rated recordings may be stocked, but it is not the responsibility of the library staff to monitor access by customers. The access to videos is the responsibility of the individual customer, parents, or guardians.


Revision of Selection Policy

Any library must be responsive to the needs of the times and the people it serves. Therefore, this selection policy is subject to revision and change at any time as conditions warrant. It will be reviewed and evaluated annually. However, no changes will be made that violate the principles contained in the Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read, and American Library Association Code of Ethics, adopted and amended by the Council of the American Library Association.