Whitefish Library Policies

Policy 2020 Management and Development of Library Collections

Mission. The mission of the Whitefish Community Library (WCL) is to bring people and ideas together by providing and sharing information, inspiring lifelong learning, advancing knowledge and strengthening our community.


The collection management and development policy serves a number of purposes:

• It guides the Whitefish Community Library and its professional staff in the selection, retention and disposal of library materials.

• It assists the Library in maintaining a collection that meets the multiple and varied interests of its library patrons.

• It serves as a planning device for the Board of Trustees and the Library staff.

• It helps to ensure that the collection is broad and diverse, and includes subjects and ideas that are safe, comfortable, unorthodox and challenging.

• It reflects the breadth of ideas that exist in a free marketplace, and respects the right of its library patrons to explore those ideas for themselves and their families.

• It reemphasizes the commitment of WCL to the principles of intellectual freedom adopted by the American Library Association and expressed in the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read and Freedom to View Statement which are appended to this policy.

The Whitefish Community

The Whitefish Community Library is located in small town in the northwest corner of a large, sparsely-populated state. It is surrounded by mountains, lakes, national and state forests and a well-known national park. Because of its scenic location, it is a popular tourist destination in both summer and winter for such recreational opportunities as hiking, boating, skiing, camping, golfing, white water rafting and mountain biking.

Its population is overwhelmingly white or Caucasian. I.E., 95.8%. About 20 percent of the population is under 18 years of age, and about 14% of its citizens are older than 65. That ethnic and longevity mix is typical of Montana, although the State itself is a bit more diverse because of a number of Indian reservations located primarily in eastern Montana.

The people of Whitefish are markedly better educated than the overall population of Montana. While about the same percentage of the populations has a high school diploma, over 93%, almost 16% more of its citizens have a college degree. I.E., 29% for the entire state vs 46% for Whitefish itself.

It is also slightly wealthier than the average Montana community. Median household income for Montana is $68,994, and the median household income in Whitefish is about $49,870. Per capita income is almost $9,200 more than the state average however. The

Whitefish Community has a number of very wealthy residents, especially for a state like Montana. And it also has a large number of part-time residents, may of them from Canada.

The population in Northwest Montana is significantly more concentrated that the rest of the state, with only 7.1 people per square mile when compared to the rest of the United States, which averages 92.6 people per square mile.

The Whitefish Community Library

Whitefish Community Library has issued over 10,400 library cards. The vast majority of those cards are held by people who live in Whitefish or the surrounding area, but patrons also come from neighboring communities and counties, and out of state. About 16% of the cards have been issued to children, and slightly less than 10% are temporary cards because of the number of part-time residents and visitors who come to Whitefish.

In addition to its regular library card holders, WCL also permits library patrons from the Montana Partnership Consortium (Partners) to check out its materials. That collective of over 30 libraries means that the Whitefish Community Library has users from other Montana communities like Kalispell, Libby, Columbia Falls, Eureka, Polson and Missoula.

The library currently has about 56,000 items in its collection. Almost 30% of those items are E-books or audio materials, which reflects the changing nature of modern libraries. Those electronic materials are available through MontanaLibrary2Go, a statewide consortium of electronic resources available to the general public. About 31% of the Library’s holdings are traditional hardback or paper books for adults; 17.5% of the collection is appropriate for juvenile readers; and the remainder of the collection is made up of materials for young adults, children or media users.

Because the Whitefish Community Library is an active member of the Montana Partnership Consortium (Partners) and its shared resources, the Whitefish Community Library borrowed over 15,000 items from consortium members for its Whitefish patrons in 2017-2018. It loaned 15,200 books and materials to its Partners’ libraries n tat same time period. When the Montana library consortium could not satisfy a patrons’ request, the Whitefish Community Library Interlibrary Loaned 70 items from other libraries throughout the United States or the world. It loaned 102 to other libraries.

In sheer numbers the Whitefish Community Library counted over 80,000 library users in 2017-2018.

Special Collections

The Whitefish Community Library has a substantial collection of written materials about Montana covering its history, its national parks, its Native American tribes, and its authors. It has microfilm of all the editions of the local Whitefish Pilot newspaper back to 2901, and it also has a modest reference book collection. The Library has a few regional maps. It also has a growing collection of larger print books.

Core Collection

The Whitefish Community Library will follow the American Library Association’s guidelines for small libraries in maintaining and developing a core collection of materials for its library patrons.

Future Acquisitions

In purchasing materials for the Whitefish Community Library, the staff will consider, first and foremost, the expressed needs and desires of its patrons. Materials of historical importance will remain an important part of the collections, offset with more contemporary or popular materials. Non-fiction materials will be reviewed periodically to insure that the Library’s holdings are reasonably u-to-date, diverse and informative.

In making its purchasing decisions, the library will consult a number of sources, including:

• Booklist
• Library Journal
• Publishers Weekly
• New York Times Book Review
• Best seller lists from the New York Times and U.S.A. Today
• Pulitzer Prize, Edgar, National Book Award and National Critic’s Choice Award winners and nominees
VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocate)
• School Library Journal
• Video Librarian
• Publishers and distributor catalogs
The Library will also make an effort to include works by local and area authors in its collection, although it may be selective in adding those materials to its holdings because of space limitations.

Donated Materials. Library patrons have played an important role in the development of the Whitefish Community Library’s collection, because of their generous donation of used books, audio tapes and videos. Those donations were especially important in the early days of the Library’s existence as an independent entity in 2011, and they continue to supplement the Library’s acquisitions budget.

In deciding whether to add donated materials to the Library’s holdings, the staff will determine:

• If the donation is currently in the Library’s collection;
• If the donated item should be duplicated in the collection;
• If the donation is in better condition than the Library’s current copy;
• If the donation supplements the Library’s current collection.

Exclusions from the Collection. The Whitefish Community Library does not collect the following items: abridged works, archival materials, dissertations; year books, textbooks; specialized training or curriculum materials; medical materials, except those of a general nature; and genealogy materials, except those of a general nature.

In general, the Whitefish Community Library usually buys appropriate numbers of copies of titles, relying n donations to supplement more popular holdings. If patrons place multiple reserves on a particular book or materials, the Library staff may purchase additional copies.

Collection Maintenance. The Whitefish Community Library collection is continually weeded, and any damaged, outdated or uncirculated materials may be removed. Because of the space limitations, the Library must make room for new acquisitions by removing materials that have not been used by its patrons and no longer seem relevant to the collection. The removed materials will either be sold, recycled or donated to other non-profit organizations for libraries.

Approved by the Whitefish Community Library Board of Trustees on Oct 9, 2019

Anne Shaw Moran Date

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