Collections Policy

The policy presents the conditions determining the selection, maintenance, retention, and disposal of materials in the lending collections of Dunedin Public Libraries. The policy also identifies the Library’s customers and describes their present and predicted informational, recreational and cultural needs.

The policy is intended to provide guidelines for Collection Specialists, and information for Library customers and other interested persons. The policy consists of an overall statement of the Library’s collecting intentions and guidelines, with Appendices.

Separate policies for individual collections: adult fiction, adult non-fiction, Hot Picks, Taiehu, audiovisual, reference and electronic resources, Children’s, Young Adult, Serials, Council Information Service, Professional, Lending Stack and Asian Languages.

Collection Scope

Public Libraries meet information, educational, cultural, and recreational needs by providing access to records of human thought and achievement in print, audiovisual, and electronic forms. Dunedin Public Libraries recognises that its services must be relevant to the needs of local communities, and sensitive to changing requirements.

1.1 Dunedin Public Libraries is the primary source of library-based information for those Dunedin residents who do not have access to or eligibility to borrow from other library resources in the city (such as the University of Otago Library).

Target markets are therefore: the general public of all ages; subgroups of society including but not limited to the elderly, families, people with disabilities and special needs, Maori, ethnic minorities, the housebound and people living in institutions, the unemployed, young adults, community groups, businesses, cultural organisations, researchers, genealogists, visitors to the city; and any individual seeking information in support of his or her work, continuing education, recreation, or culture.

The requirements of various interest groups are balanced to ensure that, as far as possible, the Libraries can meet all community needs.

1.2 The Library recognises that considerable use is made of the collections by school and tertiary-level staff and students.

While it fills an educational role by supplementing and complementing the learning process, it cannot assume responsibility for providing academic resources such as textbooks or materials to meet the curricula of schools or other learning institutions.

The Library Learning Support Policy (2007) details conditions under which Dunedin Public Libraries undertake to support the provision of services to pre-primary, primary and secondary educational institutions across the city.

1.3 The Library endeavours to meet the standards for library collections set out in the most recent Standards for New Zealand Public Libraries published by the Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa.

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Collection Purpose

The Library’s vision statement is: Dunedin Public Libraries: The best place for learning, leisure and information – the heart and mind of the community.

To meet this vision, the Library outcomes are to provide physical items and information to customers, in accordance with their needs; to enrich Dunedin’s cultural heritage through the development, organisation, and preservation of library collections; and to provide opportunities for the development of literacy and information skills and awareness of library resources.

The Library endorses the Access to Information policy of the Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa.

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Bicultural Statement

Dunedin Public Libraries recognises the unique place of Maori as the indigenous people of Aotearoa - New Zealand and reflects this in a bicultural approach to service design and delivery.

The Memorandum of Understanding between the Dunedin City Council and Kai Tahu, signed in December 2006, formalises the special relationship existing between local iwi and all departments of the Dunedin City Council, including the Library.

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Dunedin Public Libraries first opened its doors on 2 December 1908. This achievement was preceded nearly two decades earlier by the formation of the Free Public Library Association in September 1890.

Initially, a Reference Service and newspapers and magazines for reading were offered. Then in 1909 a children’s service, with some provision for lending stock, was opened, and was followed in 1911 by the opening of a Lending Department.

The library continued to develop on the original site in Moray Place until 1981, when it moved to its present site in the Civic Centre complex adjacent to the Town Hall.

As part of the centennial celebrations, former City Librarian, Mary Ronnie wrote Freedom to Read: A Centennial History of Dunedin Public Library, Dunedin, NZ: Dunedin Public Libraries and The Dunedin Public Library Association, 2008.

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Dunedin City and Community

Dunedin City covers an area of 3350 sq km and has a relatively static population (118,683 at the 2006 census). A sizeable urban area is linked with smaller population centres and a substantial rural area.

Education is a vital and growing part of the economy; other important components include primary production and processing, tourism, health, business services and manufacturing.

The population according to the latest (2006) census figures is predominantly of European origin (73.6%), with Maori comprising the largest minority at 6.0% of the population. Other minority groups are of Asian (5.0%), Pacific Island (2.1%), and other origins.

The numbers of children are increasing in the areas served by the Blueskin Bay and Waikouaiti Libraries, but declining in other parts of the city; while large numbers of people aged 15 to 24 reflect the student population which includes over 20,000 tertiary students studying at the University of Otago.

The numbers of older citizens are also significant and growing, especially in the Mosgiel/Taieri area.

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Library Membership and Use

A majority of Dunedin residents belong to and use the Library. Library statistics 2009-2010 show 66,000 or 53.3% of residents are registered as members.

The 2010 Residents’ Opinion Survey found that, of those who had visited the libraries during the previous 12 months, 92% were “satisfied” with the service provided by Dunedin Public Libraries.

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Description of Libraries

There are five libraries: the City Library in Moray Place is the largest Library. Established in 1908, it is the major public library in the lower South Island, and is highly regarded nationally for the quality of its collections and services.

Especially noteworthy are the McNab Collection of New Zealand and Pacific materials, and the Alfred and Isabel Reed Collection of Rare Books and Manuscripts. Complete descriptions of materials contained in both the operational and Heritage Collections are included in the individual collection policies.

7.1 Mosgiel Library, serving the town of Mosgiel and the Taieri community (11,847 residents), is situated in a predominantly rural setting with a population slightly more heavily weighted towards the elderly than the norm (over 25% aged over 65 in 2006). It includes several retirement villages within its community.

7.2 Port Chalmers Library provides for a community whose economy has been largely based on maritime and port activities. Its refurbished library reflects both the town’s seafaring nature and its growing significance as the home of numerous artists. It serves Port Chalmers, Sawyers Bay, Aramoana, and the Inlet – Otago Harbour (2,922 residents).

7.3 Blueskin Bay Library serves Warrington, Waitati, and Evansdale (2,077 residents). Extensions to this very small library are expected to be completed by 2012-13. The local community includes numerous young families. Its collection is particularly strong in subjects of local interest including organic farming and gardening, domestic animals, and craft.

7.4 Waikouaiti Library, established in 1862 as part of the Silverpeaks County, serves the area units of Waikouaiti and Karitane with a combined population of 1,443 according to 2006 census figures. Waikouaiti is a large dormitory suburb of Dunedin with a sizeable population of retired and holiday residents. It also acts as a service centre for the nearby OceanaGold gold mine.

7.5 The services of these five libraries are complemented by two Bookbuses. This service began in 1950 and now makes weekly visits to approximately fifty locations around the wider Dunedin area.

7.6 The Homes Services section began in 1938 as a hospital service and later developed to include housebound people, rest-home residents, and prison inmates from 1978. This latter service was discontinued in 2007 when the prison moved to Milton, outside the city boundaries. The service to hospitals was restructured in 2007 and the library collection replaced with a deposit collection. Today, Home Services operates a fee based service to rest homes and residential centres in Dunedin and Mosgiel, as well as a free service to residents who are unable to access the library collections independently.

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8.1 New materials, and those known to be of perennial interest or in current demand, are shelved in public areas, and an attempt is made for as much of the collections as possible to be accessible for customer selection and browsing.

Because of space limitations however, it is necessary in the City Library for some materials of long-term value to be shelved in basement or other stacks.

Stack items are designated as such because of low demand, poor physical condition, or the number of duplicates in stock. Items required are retrieved promptly.

8.2 The retention of little-used items is not considered part of the role of the community libraries, where the entire stock is housed on publicly accessible open shelves. Network-wide responsibility for this function rests with the City Library.

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Valuation for insurance purposes is revised regularly. Lending collections are depreciated at the rate of 20% of the purchase price over five years.

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Collection Management

10.1 Staff responsible for managing collections

A team of Collection Specialists works under the direction of the Collection Development Librarian. The New Zealand Room Librarian selects for the non-lending reference New Zealand McNab Collection and the Taiehu Collection of Maori material, and an AV Specialist selects non-fiction in this area with the remaining Specialists grouped into three “pods”: fiction, non-fiction and youth. The Collection Development team is supported by another team of Collection Advocates made up of community librarians and other staff in senior customer service roles throughout the network.

10.2 Sources of funding, budgets, and charges

The Library is funded primarily by the Dunedin City Council through rates. Some revenue is generated by charges levied for certain services, and occasional bequests provide additional funding. The libraries attempt to provide materials in the most efficient, timely, and cost-effective manner possible.

10.3 Library collection budgets are regularly reviewed, and funds may be re-allocated to accommodate changing needs.

10.4 Overall responsibility for budget allocations and expenditure rests with the Library Services Manager and the Head of Collection Services.

10.5 Throughout the financial year a Library Finance Committee, consisting of the Head of Collection Services, Collection Development Librarian and Acquisitions Librarian, monitors expenditure. It reports to the Library Services Manager, through the Head of Collection Services. Towards the end of the financial year, this group liaises closely with the Library’s Administration Officer and the Council’s Financial Analyst to achieve an annual nil variance in capital expenditure.

10.6 The Dunedin City Council Funding Policy, prepared in accordance with the Local Government Amendment Act (No. 3) has determined that 6% of costs incurred in providing library services should be recovered from library users DCC Annual Plan 2010/11). Charges are payable for certain categories of material, including some audiovisual materials and the Hot Picks collection.

10.7 Evaluation of the Collection

Library staff are continuously engaged in assessing and reassessing customer requirements. They do this through formal and informal feedback, the use of focus groups, statistical information provided by the automated library system, and their own professional experience. Collection Specialists, working with Collection Advocates, gain an understanding of collection needs by regular duties associated with the maintenance of the collections. Collection Advocates working in each of the community libraries also ensure that every effort is made to meet local needs and relay these to the Collection Development team.

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Intellectual Freedom

Libraries are forums for the exchange of past and current information, ideas, and knowledge.  In order to fulfil this role they must provide resources presenting differing points of view on all issues, including controversial ones.  The inclusion of materials in the collections does not imply that the Dunedin City Council, Library or its staff endorses those materials or the views expressed.

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12.1 Library materials are provided without regard for the identity or background of their creators.  Materials should not be excluded on political, social, moral, or religious grounds, and should not be removed because of the disapproval or pressure of individuals or community groups.

12.2 Materials banned by the New Zealand censor are not collected.  Books, magazines, and graphic novels which have been classified as restricted or objectionable by the Office of Film and Literature Classification are labelled to indicate content which may disturb.

12.3 Where materials are removed from the open shelves, this is done because of risk of theft or other factors.  The Library endorses the Statement on Intellectual Freedom of the Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa.

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Complaints from members of the public about the inclusion or non-inclusion of certain items in library collections are taken seriously and will be handled in a sensitive and timely manner.  A form titled Objection to Books and Other Library Materials is available at the public desks of all libraries.  The Library Services Manager will ensure that appropriate senior members of staff investigate the reasons for the complaint, and will convey their findings to the complainant promptly, courteously, and confidentially.

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14.1 Selection Tools

Resources used to aid selection include suggestions from the public; trade, library, general, and special interest magazines; publishers’ and booksellers’ catalogues; and national and other bibliographies; in print and electronic media. Selection processes are reviewed from time to time, to take advantage of new procedures made possible by electronic developments.

14.2 Recognising that complete self-sufficiency is impossible, the Library participates in co-operative resource-sharing schemes, both locally and nationally.

14.3 In general, the emphasis is on materials which will be of value to the general public, rather than on academic or research materials. Library materials are selected on the basis of information, educational, recreational, literary, or artistic value or merit.

14.4 Decisions to collect groups of materials or individual items may take into account the holdings, current collection policies and practices, and access and lending policies of other libraries in Dunedin.

14.5 In considering the relative advantages and disadvantages of ownership versus access to information sources, the Library recognises that, for some materials for which there is little demand, mechanisms such as inter-library loans, document delivery services, and the Internet may provide more cost-effective access than purchase.

14.6 Most items purchased by the Library are in the English and Maori languages, but items in other languages are purchased to meet specific educational or cultural needs. A collection of books in the Italian language has been added in response to approaches from the Italian community and a small Asian Languages Collection exists and is augmented by the Window of Shanghai Collection made up of materials donated by the Shanghai Public Library.

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Selection Guidelines

The weight and importance of different criteria vary according to different types of library materials. Criteria include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:

  • Known or expected demand
  • Accuracy, reliability, and currency of information provided
  • Reputation and qualifications of person or persons responsible for the work
  • Reputation of the publisher
  • Scope of the work
  • Ability to fill a known subject gap in the collections
  • Provision of alternative opinion or point of view
  • New or rapidly expanding area of knowledge
  • Significant updating of an older work
  • Known popularity of author
  • Expected status as a ‘standard work'
  • Part of recognised series
  • Literary or artistic merit
  • Expected long-term usefulness
  • Lack of ready availability elsewhere
  • New Zealand or Pacific content or relevance
  • Local interest
  • Favourable reviews
  • Value for money
  • Recognised impact on social or political thought
  • Ease of use in the case of non-print materials
  • Compatibility of digital resources with the library’s IT infrastructure
  • Ease of negotiation of licensing agreements, whether single or consortia
  • Provision for ongoing archival access for digital resources

15.1 Responsibility for Selection

The selection of library materials is a complex and important task, and ultimate responsibility rests with the Library Services Manager.

15.2 Selection decisions are made by Collection Specialists working under the direction of the Collection Development Librarian and the Head of Collection Services. The selection process is co-ordinated and overseen by the Collection Development Librarian.

15.3 Individual purchases costing above $500.00 must be approved by the Collection Development Librarian or the Head of Collection Services, as per the DCC Delegations Manual.

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Deselection of library materials is carried out in order to keep collections up to date, to prevent shelf crowding, and to ensure that the contents of shelves look fresh and attractive. Guidelines for deselection vary between individual collections, and will be specified in individual policy documents. In general, the following criteria are taken into account when decisions are made:

  • Physical condition
  • Outdated, misleading, trivial, or ephemeral nature of content
  • Number of duplicate copies remaining in the collections
  • Expected future use
  • Number of issues since the work was acquired
  • Number of recent issues
  • Status as a standard work or classic
  • Historical or research value
  • Supersession by new edition
  • Information not easily found elsewhere in the collections
  • Availability elsewhere in Dunedin or New Zealand
  • Practicality and cost of repair

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Materials are collected in print, including large print, trade paperback, hardback and electronic formats. Where a choice exists, materials will be purchased in the format deemed most useful or acceptable to the Library’s customers. The adoption of new formats will be subject to careful evaluation. Factors which will be taken into consideration include:

  • Equipment and space considerations
  • Ease of use
  • Reliability
  • Expected permanence
  • Replacement of obsolete formats or technologies
  • Level of demand
  • Cost

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New Zealand Publications

The Library recognises the long term cultural value of New Zealand materials, and in accordance with the selection criteria and available funding, places high priority on their acquisition and retention.

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Multiple Copies

19.1 Multiple copies of the same title are acquired where demand is strong, or where, for the purposes of long-term retention or for other reasons, it is desirable for a title to be represented in different collections.

19.2 The purchase of single copies of several individual titles on the same subject may be preferable to the purchase of several copies of a single title.

19.3 Past demand for the works of particular authors, the level of current interest in a subject, and the experience of the selectors influence decisions about the number of copies to be purchased.

19.4 The number of holds on a title may also be taken into consideration.

19.5 Materials lost or damaged may be replaced if they meet the selection criteria for new materials.

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Acquisition and Purchasing

20.1 The Library endeavours to employ quick, efficient, and cost-effective methods of selection and purchase, and monitors procedures carefully. Suppliers are chosen on the basis of cost, discounts, range and scope of materials offered, speed and reliability of delivery, and general level of customer service.

20.2 To maximise efficiency, the number of suppliers (local, New Zealand, Australian, UK, and USA) is kept as small as possible.

20.3 Standing orders for periodicals, standard reference works, particular series, specific formats, or works by certain authors may be placed where demand is known in advance, or where continuing need or demand seems certain. Standing orders streamline selection and acquisitions processes, and ensure the continuing collection of required titles and categories of materials.

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Disposal of Materials

21.1 Materials no longer required by the Library may be given or sold to other libraries, sold at book sales to the public, or otherwise disposed of as deemed appropriate by the Library Services Manager. The disposal of items which are rare, very expensive, or otherwise of major significance will take place only after discussion with the General Manager – Community Life.

21.2 For practical reasons it is not possible to tag deselected materials for purchase by individual members of the public. Library staff will however assist enquirers to determine the commercial availability and price of required items.

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Gifts and Donations

22.1 Gifts and donations are gratefully received by the Library, and may on some occasions be actively sought. Their retention however is subject to the judgement of relevant Collection Specialists. The Library reserves the right to make decisions concerning suitability for the collections, and acceptance will be guided by the Donations Policy.

22.2 The Library may negotiate with potential donors the conditions of ownership, housing, access, and disposal. Donors may request receipts and printed information about the Library’s donations policy.

22.3 Significant gifts may be acknowledged by individualised or form letters and book plates inserted, where appropriate.

22.4 Where donations are especially large or significant, a formal written agreement states all the conditions of the donation clearly.

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Preservation and Repair

23.1 Where possible, the Library attempts to provide the best possible environmental conditions (eg, light, temperature, and relative humidity) for the proper care of collections.

23.2 When library materials are in need of repair or conservation measures, the Library makes decisions, based on judgements about ongoing need, permanent value, and feasibility and cost of repurchase or replacement, about the best possible treatment.

23.3 Strengthening, conservation, and repair are carried out by the Library’s Bindery and Preservation Unit. Minor mending is also carried out by the Processing team.

23.4 If not able to be repaired or replaced, the content may be retained digitally or by physical copying where copyright allows.

23.5 Detail on the principles and processes of the Library’s Bindery and Preservation Unit is contained in a separate policy.

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This policy will be reviewed within five years or in response to changing conditions such as social, demographic, or community changes, any alteration in the sources or structure of funding, the need to set different priorities, or perceived changes in demand for subjects or formats.

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Collection Policy Documents