Library Policies

The standard borrowing period for Kirby Library is three weeks for all print and audiovisual materials. While students are encouraged to take out all the materials they require, some materials related to a specific class project may be restricted if several students will need to use them. These materials may be placed on reserve resulting in a limited borrowing period of anywhere from one hour to over a weekend. Students are always encouraged to photocopy reference or reserve materials according to the copyright laws of the United States. Borrowers are welcome to renew materials indefinitely as long as no other borrower has indicated a need for an item. All materials will need to returned at the end of the school year. Renewals can be in person, over the phone, or via email.


Interlibrary Loan

For materials not held by the Kirby Library, borrowers can take advantage of Access PA, the statewide catalog of Pennsylvania. The Kirby Library can request interlibrary loan materials. Interlibrary loans can take some time to receive and usually materials must be returned two or three days prior to the lending library's due date to accommodate return mail time. Please contact a librarian for assistance in requesting and handling interlibrary loan materials.  


Collection Development Policy


Part 1 - Selection of Learning Resources


Statement of Policy

The policy of the Kirby Library at Wyoming Seminary is to provide a wide range of learning material in order to support the academic and personal learning objectives of the students, faculty, and staff. 


In the Upper School Student/Parent Handbook, Wyoming Seminary lists its academic program as “emphasizing the importance of competence in critical thinking, oral and written expression, problem solving, reading, research, and technological applications…we expect our students to become lifelong learners capable of working individually and collaboratively to solve problems.” To this end, the main objective of the library’s selection procedure is to provide students with a wide range of educational materials at all levels of difficulty and in a variety of formats, allowing for the presentation of many different points of view. 

Because of the nature of the day/boarding school environment, the duties of the Kirby Library expand beyond support. The Library also has as its goal providing material to students, faculty, and staff that support the personal explorations of subjects and literary forms. 

To this end, Kirby Library affirms that it is the responsibility of the staff: 

  • To provide materials that will enrich and support the curriculum, taking into consideration the varied interests and learning styles of the students served; 
  • To provide materials that will stimulate growth in factual knowledge, literary appreciation, aesthetic values, and societal standards; 
  • To provide materials on various sides of controversial issues so students may have an opportunity to develop under guidance the practice of critical analysis and to make informed judgements in their daily lives; 
  • To provide materials representative of the many religious, ethnic, and cultural groups that contribute to our national heritage and the world community; 
  • To place principle above personal opinion and reason above prejudice in the selection of materials of the highest quality in order to assure a comprehensive collection. 


The library staff, made up of professional librarians, collectively work to select material for the library’s holdings. Each staff member has an academic area of expertise and works to remain fully informed on the scholarship of that subject in order to select appropriate materials in keeping with the above objectives. In collaboration with academic departments and user groups, Library staff encourages dialog with the school community by attending department meetings, student group meetings, and regularly contacts staff members to assess the needs of the community. 

Criteria for Selection

Learning resources, defined as print resources (books, magazines, and other paper-based published resources), electronic resources (databases, CD-ROM programs, software, cataloged internet sources), and audio-visual sources (CDs, VHS tapes, DVDs, audio cassette tapes, etc.), are selected according to the following criteria: 

  • They support and are consistent with the general educational goals of the school as well as the aims and objectives of different faculty and their courses; 
  • They are chosen to enrich and support the curriculum and the personal needs of users; 
  • They meet high standards of quality in: 
    • Artistic quality and/or literary style 
    • Autenticity
    • Educational significance 
    • Factual content
    • Physical format
    • Presentation
    • Readability
    • Technical quality
  • They provide a background of information that will motivate members of the Wyoming Seminary community to examine their own attitudes and behavior; to comprehend their duties, responsibilities, rights, and privileges as participating citizens in our society; and to make informed judgements in their daily lives; 
  • They provide information on opposing sides of controversial issues so that users may develop under guidance the practice of critical analysis; 
  • And, the selection of learning resources on controversial issues will be directed toward maintaining a balanced collection representing various views. Learning resources shall clarify historical and contemporary forces by presenting and analyzing intergroup tension and conflict objectively, placing emphasis on recognizing and understanding social and economic problems. 

Selection Tools Used


  • Reference Books for School Libraries 
  • H.W. Wilson’s Senior High Catalog 
  • A Core Collection for Young Adults by Patrick Jones 
  • The Genreflecting series by Diana Herald Tixier 

Current Reviewing Media 

  • Booklist
  • Kirkus Review
  • Library Journal
  • Library Media Connection
  • The New York Review of Books
  • The New York Times Sunday Book Review
  • School Library Journal
  • Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)

Steps in the Acquisition of Materials

Faculty / Student / Staff Recommendations

The Library encourages faculty, students, and staff to make recommendations of specific learning resources or recreational reading they would like to see at the library. We ask that they email us the request. The Library acknowledges the submission of each request and keeps a file for follow-up, which is checked as resources ordered arrive at the Library. Explanations are given as to why a resource might not be selected, but for the most part, requests are honored. 

Normal Selection Procedure

Initial screening

  • Library staff member compiles citations from review sources listed above. 
  • Library staff member checks comprehensiveness of collections against reputable bibliographies and lists gaps. 
  • Library staff member circles entries in publishers’ catalogs that appear to pertain to the school’s curriculum and needs. 

Closer Assessment 

  • After compiling list of resources, the Library staff member checks suggested titles against the existing collection and resources awaiting processing in order to avoid duplication. 
  • If a staff member is uncertain about the value of a source, they go online to another trusted Library’s catalog and check to see if the item is included in that collection as a confirmation of its validity. 
  • Other reviews are examined, either in print or online, if the author or publishing house is unknown to the staff member in terms of quality, and a decision made for inclusion or exclusion. 

Special Collections

The Library maintains certain specially endowed collections and funds that pertain to given academic areas. Each fund balance is kept available on a spreadsheet for library staff to view for planning purposes. Efforts are made to insure that the collection fully utilizes these funds. During monthly staff meetings, the budget is reviewed and special time taken to review the status of these funds. 

The Handling of Gifts and Bequests

The Library is the recipient of many gifts and collection bequests. Effort is made to communicate with the donor or their estate that the Library will carefully evaluate each resource for its inclusion into the collection. If not selected, it will be donated to another library or school, or will be used in the School’s community service book program that sends English-language books to underserved populations in Kenya. 



Part 2 – Procedures for Handling Challenges and the Reconsideration of Materials

Any member of the school community can formally challenge a learning resource in the collection. This procedure is for the purpose of considering the opinions of those community members not involved in the selection process. 

Informal Reconsideration Procedure

The Library will first attempt to resolve the complaint informally by inviting the person submitting the complaint to a meeting in which the Library’s selection policy is discussed. Other members of the school community, such as the Dean of the Upper School, may choose to be present during this meeting to further enhance the discussion. During the meeting, the school administration will attempt to explain the place the resource has in the context of the school’s curriculum, its intended educational usefulness, and/or additional information regarding its use according to the Library’s selection policy and criteria. If the person still wishes to file a formal challenge, a copy of the Library’s Selection Policy and a Request for Material Reconsideration form (see Appendix) shall be provided to that person. 

Formal Reconsideration Procedure

Upon receiving a formal request for reconsideration, the Librarian will forward copies to the school administration, and request that a Reconsideration Committee be assembled to deal with the request. The committee shall consist of a member of the teaching staff, a member of the school’s senior management staff, a member of the library staff, and two students chosen by the student body. This committee is assembled within 10 days of receipt of the request form and the person registering the complaint is notified that the committee has been convened. The Reconsideration Committee may choose to consult with persons with professional knowledge regarding selection challenges. The Reconsideration Committee shall: 

  • Review the learning resource and determine whether it conforms to the principles of selection outlined in the Selection Policy; 
  • Determine professional acceptance by reading critical reviews of the resource; 
  • Weigh values and form opinions based on the material as a whole rather than on passages or sections taken out of context; 
  • Discuss the challenged resource in the context of the educational program and mission of the school and the library; 
  • Discuss the challenged item with the person filing the challenge; 
  • And, file a written report. 

The written report shall be discussed with the individual questioner if requested and be retained by the school’s administration and the Library. The decision of the Reconsideration Committee is binding for the entire school. Notwithstanding the procedure outlined in this policy, the person questioning the learning resource has the right to appeal any decision of the Reconsideration Committee to the Board of Trustees as the Final Review Panel.