Table of Contents
History of the Collection
Future Directions and Strategic Initiatives
Parameters of the Collection
Weeding and Replacement
Preservation and Storage
Evaluation of Collections
Review of Policy
Our collections support the educational, leisure reading and general reference needs of the community. We base our acquisition decisions on the utility of the materials to the everyday needs of our customers and their availability elsewhere. We support the economic health of Pittsburgh's workforce by linking workers with job opportunities, training and career advice. We provide resources that encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in our communities. Our reference collections reflect our core strengths especially focusing on local information, history, business and industry. We avoid duplicating the scholarly research collections of the area's university libraries.
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh serves over 1,000,000 citizens of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. The City of Pittsburgh is comprised of 88 distinct neighborhoods, while Allegheny County encompasses 133 separate municipalities. The area is home to many universities and colleges, a large number of health care facilities, new and established high tech industries, and a broad range of other businesses and services. The individuals who make up this community represent many ethnic backgrounds, economic and educational levels and ages. Their leisure reading tastes are as diverse as the types of information they need for work, school, and personal interest.
Originally the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh was to serve that portion of the city which lies south of the Allegheny River. The North Side, formerly the City of Allegheny, received its library service from the Carnegie Free Library of Allegheny. Although Allegheny was annexed to the City of Pittsburgh in 1907, it was not until 1956 that the Carnegie Free Library of Allegheny was merged with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh to provide unified library service throughout the city. Another change in the service area occurred in 1956 when the Board of Commissioners of Allegheny County contracted with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh to permit county residents free use of all CLP facilities and services.
Under the provisions of the Pennsylvania Library Code of 1961, Carnegie Library was designated a District Library Center and a Regional Resource Library. As a District Center, it was to provide advisory services, reference help, in-service training and inter-library loan service to all local libraries in Allegheny County and the northwestern portion of Westmoreland County. (Westmoreland County was incorporated into another district in 1997.) As a Regional Resource Library in the fields of science and technology and business, CLP was responsible for providing in-depth reference and research materials in these areas of knowledge for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In 2000, the designation was changed to Statewide Library Resource Center with an emphasis on overall collections, digitization and virtual reference.
Other partnerships have and will continue to impact Library collections. The Oakland Library Consortium was formed in 1986 among Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University Libraries and the University of Pittsburgh University Library System to focus on resource sharing, document delivery, and joint collection development projects. PALINET is a cooperative membership organization of public, academic and special libraries and museums and archives located in Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The network facilitates union cataloging, resource sharing, cooperative purchasing, and promotes library cooperation. The Allegheny County Library Association is the federated library system designated by Commonwealth Libraries of Pennsylvania. It exists to develop a county-wide plan of sharing resources and services among public libraries in Allegheny County and to encourage and promote cooperation among those libraries and to strengthen their resources. The eiNetwork, a collaboration of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and the Allegheny County Library Association, is an organization that strives to ensure equal opportunity for residents to access information electronically and provides the electronic infrastructure that enables the creation of a seamless educational environment to support lifelong learning.
In 2000, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh completed a comprehensive strategic study that examined the Library, its resources, and services. This process included extensive research and analysis of circulation statistics and demographic information, customer research, and an internal systems and organizational review. This resulted in the reorganization of internal structures to make the Library more flexible and responsive to its customers and an enhanced emphasis on provision of services to targeted populations. Four areas of special focus were identified as strategic initiatives: Consumer Health, Senior Services, Children's and Teen Services. The focus on these areas impacted our collection development and management program as materials were purchased to support programs and services. As new strategic plans are implemented or additional areas of emphasis are identified, collection priorities will reflect the library's priorities.
The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh selects materials for its collection in whatever format is most appropriate in accordance with professionally accepted guidelines. The Library attempts to represent all approaches to public issues of a controversial nature. The Library does not sanction particular beliefs or views, nor is the selection of any given item equivalent to an endorsement of the author or publisher's viewpoint.
Nonfiction Criteria: The Library acquires materials of both permanent and current interest in all subjects, based upon the merits of a work in relation to the needs, interests, and demands of the community. While a single standard cannot be applied to each work, the following general criteria are to be considered when selecting materials for purchase: authoritativeness of the writer and reputation of the publisher; availability of professional reviews; accuracy of information; impartiality of opinion, or clearly stated bias; timeliness of data; adequate breadth and depth of coverage; appropriateness and relevancy of subject to the library's users; popular demand; historical value; availability of similar material within the community and other area libraries; organization and style appropriate to the material and to the library's users; quality of illustrations; special features, such as bibliography and index; durable binding and paper; and value for price.
Fiction Criteria: Works of contemporary fiction, classic works, and novels of enduring value are included in the collection. Fiction is selected according to the following criteria: popular demand; reputation of the author and publisher; availability of professional reviews; appropriateness to the library's users; importance as a document of the times; relationship to the existing collection and to other titles and authors dealing with the same subject; interest and originality of plot and character development; style of writing; quality of illustration; literary merit; inclusion in standard library bibliographies; availability of similar material within the community and other area libraries; the physical qualities of the book; cost; and whether a title is part of an existing series.
Periodicals: Periodicals are publications issued and received on a regular basis in print, microfilm, or electronic format. They form an important part of the Library's collection. The periodicals collection is intended to complement the book collection. Periodicals are selected according to the following criteria: whether the periodical is included or excluded in standard indexing and abstracting resources; cost; requests by library users; whether the periodical has local or regional interest; and whether a subject area needs to be expanded to help balance or enhance the collection, for example when new topics are introduced to a field of study. Periodicals are primarily in English. A few foreign titles are acquired in selected technical areas where long runs of the journal are already owned.
General interest and popular periodicals that provide information of current interest and recreational reading are selected for Branch Libraries. Many of these titles are available for circulation. The Main Library selects special subject oriented titles for reference use that provide in-depth coverage of topics that enhance the overall departmental collections. Additionally, the Main Library features a comprehensive general interest periodical collection in a specially designed area on the first floor.
Periodicals are bound and retained indefinitely when their historic value to the collection is established. The following factors must be considered in any retention decision: cost; usage rates; shelf space required or computer system compatibility; availability of the title in another format such as microfilm or electronic media; and existing indexing in one of the Library's indexing services.
Microfilm are used to: replace little used but important periodicals and newspapers; replace deteriorating print editions; supplement heavily used titles; provide a working copy of valuable materials; and to complete runs or fill gaps in important periodicals. Microfilm is not purchased to replace print copy in which color and line are important. The Library recognizes its responsibility to provide equipment to read and prepare print copies of microform materials.
Reference: Reference materials, whether in print or computer-based formats, are those designed by the arrangement and treatment of their subject matter to be consulted for definite items of information rather than to be read consecutively. They can provide quick, concise, and current information or they may serve as an index to other materials in the collection. Since they are typically used frequently by the public and Library staff to answer specific questions, books in the reference collection are designated for use within the Library.
In selecting for the reference collections, the primary criteria are users' information needs and the format in which that information is available. Computer-based reference resources may be preferred over print publications. Decisions to purchase are based upon content, currency, and ease of use. In addition to the general selection criteria mentioned above, the following must be considered in acquiring materials for the reference collections: favorable reviews or inclusion in basic reference collection guides; reputation of the author or publisher; currency of information; value for the price; and the expense of ongoing maintenance, especially in the case of serial publications that will require frequent updating.
To a very limited extent, items not falling strictly within the reference format but in high demand by library users may be included in the reference collection to allow maximum use, for example, civil service examination review texts, business plans, resumes, etc. Monographs are added to the reference collection only if they present an overview of a subject that is not available in a standard reference tool. Selected reference titles may be circulated at the discretion of the agency head.
Computer-Based Resources: This category includes computer-based information resources available via the Internet or on a locally installed CD-ROM. Digital information and audio content have become increasingly valuable to library users because large quantities of data can be stored, manipulated, and the usage tracked electronically. This material may be available to registered library users at remote locations via the Library's web page. This collection includes, but is not limited to, citation or full-text databases, electronic books and downloadable content. The following criteria should be used when considering computer-based resources for the collection: ease of use by library users, including enhanced searching capabilities; price of print format versus electronic; authority; accuracy; frequency of updating; anticipated demand by library users; training requirements for staff and the public; remote access capability; and licensing fees and usage restrictions.
Databases are made available under the auspices of the eiNetwork and are purchased in one of four ways: 1) selected for statewide access from Commonwealth Libraries as part of the Access Pennsylvania POWER library project; 2) available in all libraries throughout Allegheny County and selected by the Electronic Resources Evaluation Committee of the eiNetwork; 3) available system-wide for all Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh locations; or 4) available at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in individual departments of the Main Library or other agencies.
Videos and Digital Videodiscs (DVD): The Library's goal is to provide a balanced collection including instructional, educational, and literature-based videos as well as popular feature films. The following selection criteria are considered for videocassettes and digital videodiscs: favorable reviews in standard library reviewing sources; appropriateness of the subject to the collection; appropriateness to the interests and skills of the intended users; technical quality, i.e. clarity of picture and sound quality; authority and competency of the producer; artistic merit and reputation of the performers; the need for non-fiction and documentaries to present accurate and current information; and cost. Foreign language films titles are chosen based on artistic merit and customer need.
Recorded Books: Recorded instructional, educational, fiction titles and performances that parallel most areas of the general collection are made available. At present, recorded books are purchased primarily in the compact disc format, with emerging technologies, such as MP3 CDs and downloadable audio considered as well. Due to demand, preference will be given to unabridged audio books, but abridgments will be purchased when the unabridged format is unavailable or it is otherwise appropriate. In addition to the general criteria for selection, the following criteria must be taken into account when selecting recorded books: authority and competency of producer; artistic merit and reputation of the reader; technical quality, i.e. sound quality; and value for the price.
Recorded Music: The Library strives to provide a collection of music on compact disc that provides historical depth and contemporary coverage, representing a broad variety of musical genres, and taking into account the demand and interests of our customers. Selections include instrumental and vocal recordings. The following criteria are taken into account when selecting music: authority and competency of producer; artistic merit; technical quality; and cost.
Images: Image collections are available in a variety of formats including photographs, slides, and mounted pictures. As digital images become more widely accessible, these collections are reviewed. The Pittsburgh Photographic Library, established in the 1950s to document the changes that urban renewal was producing, is a unique collection of historic, documentary and fine art photography highlighting Pittsburgh's earliest days and significant events of the past. The original collections include: 1,500 images used to illustrate the book, A Pittsburgh Album, written by Roy Stryker in honor of the city's 1958-1959 bicentennial anniversary; the Bingaman collection of over 1,000 photographs taken in the first quarter of the century by Frank E. Bingaman, photographer for the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph; and the Pittsburgh Photographic Library, a collection of roughly 18,000 photographs which were taken in the early 1950s as a documentation project, and which subsequently gave the repository its present name. The collection contains over 100,000 black & white negatives, photographic prints, glass negatives, glass slides, stereopticon views and color slides housed in a secure location at the Main Library. Preservation and conservation of these materials is particularly important.
Due to finite resources and limited demand, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh does not actively collect the following materials:
Rare Books: Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's existing collection may continue to be sustained. Additions to this collection will focus on material related to Western Pennsylvania and the historical development of the library.
Foreign Language: The Main Library collects a limited amount of materials in foreign languages but these materials are not generally included in branch collections. English as a Second Language (ESL), introductory and instructional materials in foreign languages may be collected at all locations for both adults and children according to customer demand.
Textbooks: While textbooks are not routinely purchased, they are considered when they offer a broad overview of a particular subject not available elsewhere and/or when they are necessary to provide support for school curricula.
Dissertations and Theses: Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh does not collect these items.
Obsolete formats: Beta videotapes, eight-track tapes, LP recordings, etc., are not collected.
Materials are purchased in the most appropriate format for library use. Although much of the Library's collection is offered in the traditional print format, valuable information is increasingly available in audio-visual and electronic formats.
New formats are considered for the collection when industry reports, national survey results, and local requests indicate that a significant portion of the community has the necessary technology to make use of the new format. The following factors must be taken into consideration when deciding whether to add a new format to the collection: availability of items in the format; cost per item; and the Library's ability to acquire, process, and circulate the items in the specific format. Older formats are discontinued when customer needs and technological advances result in obsolescence.
Hardcover Books: Books are purchased in hardcover editions when value and durability are key factors.
Trade Paperbacks: This format includes paperback books which are comparable in size to hardcover editions but which are typically lower in cost. They are preferred in those cases where the hardcover edition is extremely expensive and/or the title would be either used infrequently or would be removed from the collection in a few years.
Mass Market Paperbacks: This format includes paperback books that are smaller in size than the typical hardcover or trade paperback book. Mass-market paperbacks are purchased for recreational reading and the collection both reflects and extends those titles purchased in hardcover.
Serials: Serials are publications issued in successive parts bearing numeric or chronological designations and intended to be continued indefinitely. This format includes periodicals, newspapers and annuals or continuations retained in the reference collections. They may include the following physical formats: print, microform, and computer-based. Many sets of serials are retained for their historical importance. Subject specialty directories should be reviewed to determine if a pattern of retention within the set is adequate based on user needs. For example, every third or fifth year of a directory run may suffice to provide historical coverage.
Government Documents: Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh was established as a selective Federal Depository in 1895. The Library collects Government Printing Office material in paper, microform and as electronic data. The deposit program is supplemented by selections of Federal publications issued by executive, judicial and legislative agencies and quasi-governmental bodies. Selections are made based on the publications' reference or research value. In general, categories of materials of a highly technical nature are not selected unless they fall within the interest of local business and industry. Federally issued indices, finding aids and bibliographies or commercially published publications are emphasized. The Library has made a major effort to acquire substantial sets of depository government document in micro format, thus establishing a broad basis for preservation of the existing print document collections. Access will be provided to electronic government information as it becomes available. The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has been a U. S. Patent depository library since 1902.
Microforms: Microforms are used primarily for long-term storage and preservation of out-of-print local history books*, periodicals, newspapers, and some in-house indexes. Specialized microform collections may be purchased to complement the library's indexes. Reference materials may also be acquired in this format if the storage requirements or cost of the print format would be prohibitive. *In accordance with copyright provisions.
Pamphlets and Clippings: Pamphlets and clippings are collected selectively and primarily represent information of local current or historical interest, or federal, state, or local government document information. They should not duplicate materials available in other formats.
Video/Digital Videodisc: Entertainment, instructional and educational films are available for video viewing in either the VHS or DVD format.
Audio Cassettes: Although audio cassettes are not the preferred format, selected unabridged titles are included in the Library's collection.
Compact Discs: Musical recordings are most readily available and useful on compact disc. Therefore, the Library will collect recorded music primarily in this format. Unabridged recorded books will also be purchased on compact disc.
Large Print Books: Books printed in larger than 16-point type serve a variety of purposes including making materials accessible to those with visual impairments, learning disabilities and other special needs. The Library attempts to provide a variety of titles in this format, including fiction, popular non-fiction, and limited reference titles.
Computer-Based Resources: This format includes on-line databases available via the Internet and limited CD-ROM resources mounted on local computer servers. Citation databases provide references to sources of information rather than the actual text or information. Full-text databases include complete articles, documents, and any other resources that provide actual text and information. The increased availability of information in digital formats allows users to manipulate data in ways that may not be cost-effective in other formats. The ability to use Boolean searching techniques and to download information provides flexibility for customers and staff. Electronic books make it possible for customers to access a wide range of reference and reading materials on-line and via portable reading devices. Downloadable audio books and music make it possible for customers to list to fiction, nonfiction and music on personal computers or portable devices.
The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's customer base includes individuals of all ages. Special materials for children and teens take into consideration developmental and educational needs as well as demand for recreational reading and literacy materials. The needs of seniors for materials in special formats and/or on particular topics are also addressed by the Library's collections. Materials for adults include items appropriate for business, leisure, home and personal use.
Donated materials are subject to the same thoughtful review as purchased materials. Timeliness, usefulness, out-of print status, and condition are among the criteria considered. The Library reserves the right to decide which items are added to the collection and to dispose of gifts as it deems appropriate. The Library also reserves the right to decline gifts. When gifts of over 50 items are presented for addition to any agency's collection they must be approved by the Coordinator of Collection Services.
Weeding is an integral part of effective collection development. An active and continuous weeding program is essential in maintaining a viable and useful collection. Materials are withdrawn from the Library's collection through systematic deselection or because of loss or physical damage. The following categories of materials should be considered for weeding: worn or mutilated items; duplicate copies of seldom used copies; materials which contain outdated or inaccurate information; superseded editions of specific titles; and materials no longer of interest or in demand.
Before discarding material of local interest, agencies should contact the Pennsylvania Department. Periodical and serial runs that are withdrawn should be offered to Oakland Library Consortium partners, Carnegie Mellon University Libraries and the University of Pittsburgh University Library System.
In order to represent the diversity of thought within the community, it is very important that the public library's collection contain materials representing differing points of view. The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh does not endorse particular beliefs or views, nor does the selection of an item express or imply an endorsement of the viewpoint expressed by the author.
There may be occasions when a member of the community objects to a particular item in the Library's collection. If a library user wishes the Library to reconsider material that is in the collection, a Materials Reconsideration Request form is available. A committee of professional librarians will meet to review such requests, and a written response is sent to the customer.
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh takes seriously its responsibility to preserve, to the degree that funds permit, collection materials that are rare or in fragile condition. Grant funds are sought to enhance this process with priority given to materials that are of local importance. Most items identified for preservation are placed in the climate-controlled Special Collections Department. Some materials are reformatted into microfilm or photocopy facsimiles, some are placed in archival phase boxes, and some are encapsulated. Photographic collections may be reformatted, producing duplicate negatives and prints. In the future some print and photographic materials may be digitized if doing so still preserves the original material.
In some cases due to onsite space constraints, older reference materials that retain historical importance but are in reasonably good condition are housed remotely. They are readily accessible to customers through use of the catalog and other departmental finding aids.
The Collection Services Department oversees all aspects of collection development, including selection, maintenance and deselection. Selections are made using resources that include, but are not limited to: ABPR, Black Issues, Booklist, Brodart TIPS, Choice, Ingram Advance, Kirkus, Library Journal, New York Times Book Review, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, Video Librarian and VOYA. Publishers' catalogs, subject bibliographies, suggestions from professional staff and customer requests are also utilized.
The Collection Services Coordinator selects materials in all formats and manages materials budgets for the Branch Libraries. Under the leadership of the Collection Services Coordinator, Main Library staff examines reviewing tools and popular culture resources weekly and identifies items to be added to the department collections following prescribed procedures. Department Heads are responsible for the overall management of the department materials budget and for assuring that the materials selected by the subject specialists meet standards set forth in the collection development policy. The method by which departments delegate the subject collection responsibilities varies according to specific needs and staffing of each department.
Electronic databases are purchased system-wide for Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh or for individual Main Library departments or agencies. The Database Committee selects these.
The Coordinator of Children's Collections chooses materials in all formats and manages material budgets for the Branch Libraries and the Children's Department of the Main Library.
The continuous review of library materials is necessary as a means of maintaining an active library collection of current interest to users. Statistical tools such as circulation reports, collection turnover rates, withdrawal reports and other collection development reports provide useful data. The professional expertise of both agency and Collection Services staff is also an important component in the ongoing evaluation of our collections.
This policy will be evaluated every three years and updated as necessary.