"A library is not a luxury but one of the necessities of life."
- Henry Ward Beecher
The Preble County District Library, in rural southwestern Ohio, is composed of seven branch libraries, plus an Administration building, which houses the library office and the Preble County Room. The library provides materials for information, entertainment, and enrichment for the residents of Preble County. The library serves as a standard for American Democracy. The collection reflects the general requests of all its Preble County residents, as well as the diversity of the United States. We want to promote enlightened citizenship, enrich personal lives, and encourage continuous self-education.
Most of our branches are located in small towns or villages because the population of Preble County is spread out over a wide area. The main library is in Eaton, the county seat. The administrative building also resides in Eaton. The Branches are located in Camden, Eldorado, New Paris, West Alexandria, West Elkton, and West Manchester.
It is the philosophy of this library to collaborate with area libraries as much as possible. This increases the resources for our patrons. There are two other public libraries in Preble County. PCDL houses the on-line catalog for Marion Lawrence Memorial Library in Gratis, and all the Preble County School Libraries. The library also subscribes to two interlibrary loan systems: MORE and SEO. Preble County Libraries collaborate in programming, sharing resources, training and other ways as well.
The Preble County District Library has a strong commitment to working with our area educational bodies, genealogy, older adult services, and the disabled. Our collection and the services we provide reflect this commitment. Both circulating and reference materials will be collected at the General Interest/Initial Study level for all subject areas. PCDL follows the Standards for Ohio Public Libraries: to have at least 25% of the collection published within the last 5 years and patron requests to be filled 90% of the time. PCDL Librarians use professional Collection Development Selection Tools to assist them in making valuable acquisitions for the public. The library sees to provide relevant on-line databases, e-books, and other forms of the latest technology to our patrons whenever possible. Because materials are separated by department: Adult, Young Adult, and Youth Departments but audio-visual materials are not, the Preble County District Library will make every attempt to purchase visual materials that are rated to assist patrons with making selection decisions. However, we recognize that neither a library nor the motion picture rating can take the place of an individual's parental judgment.
The Department Heads are responsible for each of their areas of expertise in choosing the materials; The Collection Development Librarian chooses the general adult collections, the Reference and Information Services Librarian chooses reference materials for all ages, the Young Adult Librarian chooses materials for the teens, and the Youth Services Librarian chooses for the children. The Preble County Room is considered a Special Library Collection. The majority of the collection is for research. Its purpose is two-fold, to provide genealogical information on Preble County residents and to preserve the genealogical records of Preble County whenever possible. The scope of the collection includes materials about: Preble County and its neighboring Ohio and Indiana counties and other states and specific counties from where Preble Countians originated, ethnic, and religious groups which have ties to Preble County The collection and preservation of Preble County documents is determined by the Preble County Room Supervisor. The Library Director has the final responsibility for the selection of materials within the framework of this selection policy as adopted by the Preble County District Library Board of Trustees.
Obsolete, damaged, and materials that do not circulate at least 3 times/year are withdrawn from the system. Our local school librarians review materials ready to be removed. Any item the school librarians want for their school collection are given to them freely. Once the material is withdrawn, it then goes to various places for free: Lakengren Library, or it is sent to Better World Books to give to under-privileged communities around the world. PCDL receives a nominal fee for this. The library also holds book sales for the public to further defray the cost of new materials. In situations where the books are damaged and no longer useable or wanted, the library disposes of this material. Our library makes every attempt to salvage and reuse its withdrawn books.
Preble County District Library follows the guidelines of our national library organization, the American Library Association. The American Library Association supports intellectual freedom and opposes censorship. The Preble County District Library Board of Trustees and Staff subscribe to ALA Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statements.
The Library Bill of Rights
1. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
2. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
3. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
4. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
5. A person's right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
6. Libraries that make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.
The Freedom to Read Statement
1. It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those, which are unorthodox or unpopular with the majority.
2. Publishers, librarians and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea or presentation contained in the books they make available. It would conflict with the public interest for them to establish their own political, moral or aesthetic views as a standard for determining what books should be published or circulated.
3. It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to determine the acceptability of a book on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.
4. There is no place in our society for efforts to coerce the taste of others, to confine adults to the reading matter deemed suitable for adolescents, or to inhibit the efforts of writers to achieve artistic expression.
5. It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept with any book the prejudgment of a label characterizing the book or author as subversive or dangerous.
6. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians, as guardians of the people's freedom to read, to contest encroachments upon that freedom by individuals or groups seeking to impose their own standards or tastes upon the community at large.
7. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians to give full meaning to the freedom to read by providing books that enrich the quality and diversity of thought and expression. By the exercise of this affirmative responsibility, they can demonstrate that the answer to a bad book is a good one; the answer to a bad idea is a good one.
Gifts and Material Donations:
Gifts are welcome but without commitments as to final disposition and with the understanding that they may not be added to the collection. The same criteria used for the selection of all materials will be used in evaluating donations. Items not chosen for the collection may be placed in the library's book sale. If a patron wishes to make a donation as a memorial, the library prefers guidance as to the preferred subject matter or genre and a dollar amount. A bookplate will be placed in the book indicating that it is in memoriam.
Every public library will house a material that is objectionable to some of its patrons. If the public library is truly fulfilling its role in a democratic society, this should be expected. The Request for Material Reconsideration form filled out by the patron will be given to the Director. The Director will handle such situations as procedure states. In effort to minimize this from happening, Banned Book Week will be promoted in the community to remind our patrons the role the public library serves.
The complainant may appeal the Director's decision, in which case the Library Director will present the Request for Material Reconsideration form at the next regular Board of Trustees meeting. The Board of Trustees will review the case and communicate their decision directly to the complainant with a copy of the decision sent to the branch where originally filed.