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Collection Development

Who We Are

Our Library is a welcoming community where learning and connection grow and lives are enriched. Our mission is to open tomorrow’s doors today through diverse opportunities to learn, create, explore, and have fun. 

At the Core of our Culture We Value: 

  1. Respect – We present civility in all circumstances. 
  2. Relationships – Connections broaden horizons. We are better together than we are alone. 
  3. A Heart of Service – We help each other live and experience our Mission. 
  4. Kindness & Friendliness – We care about each other and all we serve. We demonstrate empathy and compassion. 
  5. Inclusion – We value diversity and the freedom of expression. We provide information without bias or discrimination. 
  6. Collaboration and Flexibility – We work together to achieve the best outcomes and believe that adaptability is necessary to grow. 
  7. A Safe Environment to Explore – The right to free inquiry prospers at our Library. We also foster a right to imagine and innovate, ask and question, seek and find without judgment.

The Library defines its primary role in the community as having four main functions: 1. Popular Materials Center 2. Preschooler’s Door to Learning 3. General, Consumer, and Business Information 4. Independent (lifelong) Learning Center.

Materials Selection Policy

While you can read our entire Selection Policy here, The Joplin Public Library acquires, within our budgetary limitations, all types of Library materials needed to meet its obligations.

The responsibility for selection of Library materials is delegated to the Collection Development Librarian and, under their direction, to those members of staff who are qualified by their education, training, and experience. The judgments of experts, of professionally trained staff members, and of qualified reviewers provide a balance of opinion as the basis for selection. Though a variety of criteria is used for each subject, final decision is based on the value of the material to the Library and its public, regardless of the personal taste of the selectors. 

Addition of an item to the Library’s collection in no way represents an endorsement of any theory, idea, or policy contained in the material.

The Library recognizes that some materials are controversial and that any given item may offend some Library users. The collection must contain the various positions expressed on important, complicated, or controversial subjects, including unpopular or unorthodox positions.  The choice of Library materials for personal use is an individual matter; while anyone is free to reject materials of which he or she does not approve, no one has the right to exercise censorship to restrict the freedom of use and/or access by others. 

How You Can Have a Say

Suggestions from patrons are encouraged and given serious consideration. You can fill out a suggestion form online or in person, and we will let you know whether or not we can purchase the material.   All material added to our collection by suggestion or gift must meet the criteria ordinarily used in choosing items.

Occasionally, a person may be concerned about a particular book or other resources in the Library.  A Comment on Library Resources form may be requested from Library staff in person. This form should be filled out and either returned to a staff member or mailed to the Collection Development Librarian of the Library. A written response from the Collection Development Librarian will be sent within four to six weeks.

Mail to:

Joplin Public Library

Attn: Collection Development Librarian

1901 E. 20th St.

Joplin, MO 64804

We support the Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read Statement, and the Freedom to View Statement in providing free and open access to our materials for all age groups. Patrons are free to reject for themselves materials of which they do not approve, however they should not exercise this right to censor or restrict the freedom of access for others.

Kids and the Library

Being a library cardholder is an excellent chance for your child to discover the world around them, and things out of this world too!  They can journey to the past, and imagine what the future may bring.  There are few things that hold as much promise as a Library card.  It is also a great way to learn about responsibility: How to choose what to read, making sure library materials are returned on time, and caring for items entrusted to them. 

As parent or guardian, you are responsible for what your child reads, and for materials checked out on your child’s library card. Most children’s and teen materials check out for three weeks. The Joplin Public Library makes a broad selection of library materials and information available for everyone, including children and teenagers.  Our selectors seek materials that will provide a range of viewpoints and subject matter. Consequently, while our collection has thousands of items families want, like and need, it also may have materials that some parents may find offensive to them or inappropriate for their children.

We have special areas for children and teens with materials that appeal to various ages and interests, however, children are not restricted to particular areas of the Library. Our staff does not monitor the materials that children choose. Parents or legal guardians are entirely responsible for the reading or viewing choices of their children.

Libraries must meet the diverse needs of everyone in their community. They cannot overrule the rights and responsibilities of individuals by deciding who does or doesn’t have access to library materials. Decisions about what materials are suitable for particular children should be made by the people who know them best — their parents or guardians.

Children mature at different rates. They have different backgrounds and interests. And they have different reading levels and abilities. These factors make it impossible for librarians to set any criteria for restricting use based on age alone. To do so would keep others who want and need materials from having access to them.

Like adults, children and teenagers have the right to seek and receive the information that they choose. It is the right and responsibility of parents to guide their own family’s library use while allowing other parents to do the same.

Parents should discuss rules regarding library use with their children. If you are concerned they will not respect your wishes, it is your responsibility to visit the library with them.

Librarians are not authorized to act as parents. But they are happy to provide suggestions and guidance to parents and youngsters at any time.

Adapted from the ALA pamphlet Kids and Libraries: What You Should Know.