Library Response: We're Following Industry Standards, and We're Circulating More Items

Dear Mr. Greg Evans: I would like to respond to the concerns you expressed in your recent email and your guest-opinion piece in the Tucson Weekly ("The Pima County Public Library Must Stop Getting Rid of Our Books," Guest Commentary, July 5).

As part of our regular collection-management program, the Pima County Public Library reviews the collection annually in order to ensure that our collections respond to what our customers need.

Deselection of materials is taken seriously, and is a long-standing practice. The guidelines we follow are the industry standard. As a result of this process, we are making room on the shelves for high-demand and popular books and materials in other formats. In 2006, customers checked out or renewed more than 6.2 million items from our library. In 2010, circulation increased to more than 7.5 million items. We are currently in the process of reviewing the deselection guidelines and will consider your suggestion to increase the acquisition of mid-tier authors' works.

Demand for electronic resources is increasing, as is demand for physical space in our libraries, where access to job-help resources, online and in-library homework assistance, literacy tutoring, and public computers is increasing. In addition, seating for customers using wireless, in-house collections and meeting rooms is at an all-time high.

While the Pima County Public Library is not a research library that has the capacity to house materials for several years, we make every effort to obtain the titles that are requested by our customers. We do offer interlibrary loan services for items not available in our collections, following the "just in time" rather than the "just in case" approach to collection development and management. If you or anyone in the community would like to see specific titles in our collection, please contact the library or submit recommendations using the online suggestion process, "Can't Find It?," at

I appreciate you sharing your thoughts with me, and I hope that I have addressed your concerns.

Melinda S. Cervantes

Executive director, Pima County Public Library

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