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Collection development

The Library Director, with the advice of the Library Advisory Board, will set policy and guidelines governing materials selection. This policy will be reviewed and revised, if necessary, on an annual basis by the Library Director and the Library Advisory Board to ensure that both understand, approve, and support the policy. The Library Advisory Board and the library staff recognize the responsibility to provide materials representing diverse points of view. The Ketchikan Public Library subscribes to and supports the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights and the American Library Association Freedom to Read statement.

The Library’s collection is composed of fiction and nonfiction titles that reflect the unique character of this community. It provides educational, recreational, cultural, and research information in a wide variety of formats that include books, magazines, newspapers, maps and pamphlets, as well as non-print material such as DVDs, compact discs, realia, and electronic and online resources. The Adult Division collection concentrates on the needs of the adult lifelong learner by providing popular and high interest fiction and nonfiction materials. A core collection of recommended materials in both reference and general works is augmented by a strong regional collection and well-developed marine, travel, health, crafts/hobbies, cultural, and “how-to” sections. The Children’s Division maintains a strong juvenile fiction and nonfiction collection, which equally represents youth 0-13 years of age and their caregivers. The Teen Room contains young adult fiction and non-fiction, books, DVDs, and CDs. The Ketchikan Public Library does not collect for curriculum support. The Public Library can be an additional source of information and assistance but the school libraries are primarily responsible for curriculum support.

Selection Criteria

Each title is selected on its own merit and the needs of the audience for whom it is intended. Selection is made primarily on the basis of book reviews and other professional tools. Major selection tools for the Ketchikan Public Library include Booklist, Library Journal, School Library Journal, and Kirkus. Works that have won major awards such the Caldecott, Man Booker, and Academy Awards are also considered for selection. Patron requests are given strong consideration. Publishers or dealer’s catalogs and “bestseller” lists are also are used for selection. No single standard exists which can be applied in all acquisition decisions. Some materials must be judged primarily on their artistic merit, some on their scholarship, some on their value as human documents; others are needed to satisfy recreational and entertainment needs. General criteria considered in evaluation and reevaluation of materials for the Ketchikan Public Library include:
•    Funds and space
•    Popular interest and usefulness
•    Authority, effectiveness and currency
•    Attention of reviewers, critics, and public
•    Reputation and/or significance of author
•    Suitability of physical form for library use
•    Availability of similar material in other library collections
•    Overall balance in subject and point of view
Recommendations from library users are encouraged and will be purchased if they meet the above criteria. 
Most items in the Alaska Digital Library collection are selected by a committee of the Alaska Library Network. Patron suggestions are considered by the committee in making their selections.


Cooperative Collection Development

The Ketchikan Public Library is part of the First City Libraries system. This means it shares computer equipment, a common database, and a circulation system, with the Ketchikan Gateway Borough School district. The computer system is fully integrated so each library can tell exactly what titles other libraries own, thereby avoiding needless duplication and facilitating cooperative collection development. Materials owned by member libraries are, in most cases, freely shared with all patrons.

The Ketchikan branch of the Alaska Court System Library maintains a collection of federal and state law and associated materials while the Public Library maintains a collection of materials on Alaska State Law. The Library also collects materials of general interest related to law and the courts, as well as, do-it-yourself business and personal law.

The Ketchikan Public Library also participates in an interlibrary loan program. The library is an active member of the OCLC Network, which provides access to the bibliographic holdings of libraries nationwide.

Weeding & Inventory

Using selection criteria and circulation statistics, librarians select items to withdraw from the collection in an ongoing process.  This ensures that the Library’s collections are relevant and meet the community’s changing needs. A complete inventory of the collection is done yearly.

Selection Responsibility

The Library Director has the final responsibility for maintenance and development of the collection. The Adult Services Librarian is the acquisitions librarian for the adult fiction and nonfiction. Approximately ½ nonfiction and ½ fiction titles are selected for adult interests. The Children’s Librarian is the acquisitions librarian for the children’s and young adult (teen) fiction and non-fiction collections. Approximately 1/2 fiction and 1/2 nonfiction titles are selected for children and young adults. The large print collection is the responsibility of the Outreach Librarian and is primarily popular fiction. Each librarian chooses newly-published, older and replacement titles in their selection area, with input by other staff members as needed.

Collection Maintenance


Materials are reviewed regularly and systematically by the appropriate librarians to assess overall quality and physical condition. Materials of current value but in poor physical condition will be evaluated for mending, rebinding, or replacement. Mending is only done in cases of minor damage or when there is no alternative.




Duplicate titles are added to the collection only under careful consideration and sufficient demand. This situation is driven by budgetary and space constraints.


The library supports conservation and preservation of all historic materials of regional interest. Many books in the Tongass Historical Museum collection have been entered into the First City Libraries union catalog. While the Tongass Historical Museum’s collection does not circulate, it is available for the public to use in-house. Occasionally, an item from the library collection will be donated to the Museum.


Selected donations will be evaluated for inclusion in the collection in the same manner as new materials. Items not selected for inclusion in the collection will be disposed of or given to the Friends of the Ketchikan Public Library to be sold at their book sale. The library cannot legally appraise gifts for tax purposes.

Format of Collections

​•    Reference: Items selected are works in a variety of high interest subject areas, or which are included in standard reference bibliographies for small libraries. This collection is reviewed annually for currency and effectiveness. These items do not circulate so that they will always be available for patron use.
•    Alaskana:  Items of state and local interest are placed in the non-circulating Alaskana collection so that they will always be available for patron use and research.  Extra copies may be placed into general circulation, depending on value and ease of replacement.
•    Magazines: Subscriptions are heavily used in the library and all but current copies circulate. Back issues are generally held for one year for monthly periodicals and 3 months for weekly periodicals.  The Library’s subscription list is reviewed annually and titles are added or dropped according to use.
•    Newspapers: Subscriptions to regional and state newspapers provide patrons with current information. All newspapers are kept for at least two weeks. The Ketchikan Daily News is kept in hard copy until microfilmed. Microfilm copies of Ketchikan papers are retained for research.
•    Pamphlet files: State and local historical items are kept for Alaskan and general interest information. Small items which present shelving problems, or clippings are included as well as information not available in other formats.
•    Maps: The Library topographic maps of Southeast Alaska and some local navigational charts are collected. 
•    Video and audio: Informational, educational, and literary DVDs, CDs and other video and audio materials are collected to provide alternate access to information. Price is a serious consideration in the purchase of videos and audiobooks. Outstanding popular culture and award winning films are included. Critically acclaimed foreign films, independent films and PBS productions are heavily collected.  DVDs and various audio formats are currently being purchased for the collection.
•    Online: The Library is a member of the Alaska Digital Library and through it provides access to a large collection of downloadable electronic and audio books. The Library also provides access to the State’s SLED databases, and subscribes to a small number of electronic databases.
•    Realia: The library collects a variety of items that are not text-based. These items are chosen for their durability, local interest, ease of circulation and storage, and contribution to the library’s mission to supply materials for educational and recreational purposes. This collection includes such things as board games, craft tools, AV equipment, puppets and GPS locator beacons.


Collection development: Project
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