Skip navigation

Collection Development - Special Collections

10. Special Collections:

Reference Collection

The Reference collection contains materials that cover the entire range of the Dewey Decimal Classification System. The library maintains a Reference collection that is primarily used to answer reference questions and to serve the informational needs of our clientele. Reference materials remain in the library to be readily available to all library customers. The reference collection includes standard works in areas of general reference, medical information, automotive, business, and local and regional history. business. These reference titles provide quick, concise and up-to-date information. Included are indexes, encyclopedias, literary criticism, state legal codes, biographical resources, dictionaries, almanacs and directories. The reference collection as a whole consists of the following smaller collections:

The Ready Reference collection includes a selection of high-use reference items including directories, almanacs, encyclopedias, city commission minutes and minutes and agendas of the library board meetings.

The Consumer Information collection includes reference items which aid consumers in making purchasing decisions.

The Readers Advisory collection includes a selection of bibliographic books to assist readers in selecting recreational materials in various genres. Literary criticism sources are included in this collection to aid the local high schools and library customers interested in learning more about their favorite authors works.

The Legal Research collection includes resources such as the North Dakota Century Code and the North Dakota Administrative Code, along with legal materials designed for the layperson.

The Reference collection also includes automotive repair manuals used to provide in-house reference to aid our library customers in their automotive repair projects.

The Business and Financial Reference collection includes telephone directories, investment literature, regional and national business directories, trademark and copyright information, small business and manufacturing directories.

Customer recommendations are also used in the selection process of the Reference collection. The Information Services Department also makes use of many publisher catalogs that have reference materials as their focus. In addition, the library subscribes to a few online databases, which are covered in the Electronic Resources section of this policy.

North Dakota Collection

The North Dakota collection is a valuable source of local history for residents and non-residents of the state. The Fargo Public Library collects books pertaining to the history, economic, social and cultural life of the state of North Dakota. The main content of material contained in this collection must be focused on North Dakota. Materials that are county and city histories are a focus, particularly those which cover the eastern part of the state. Materials which deal with the region are also obtained. This includes eastern Minnesota, South Dakota and Manitoba. Works of North Dakota authors who reside in the state are also purchased. Fargo high school yearbooks are included in the collection as well. Of particular note is an archive of Fargo City Directories, which date back to the 1800s and are generally used for genealogical research.

Because of the special nature of this collection, preservation of many of the materials housed in the collection is necessary, and deselection should be conducted on a very limited and carefully planned basis.

World Language Collection

The Library currently maintains a growing collection of world language titles in such languages as Arabic, Chinese, French, Hindi, Mandarin, Nepali, Somali, and Spanish. The primary intent of this collection is to meet the informational, recreational and lifelong learning needs of the greater Fargo community. The staff member(s) assigned responsiblity for world language materials works closely with local ethnic organizations, community associations and other area libraries in order to keep the collection up to date and to provide quality service. Languages may be added to or dropped from the collection as community needs dictate.

English as a Second Language (ESL):

ESL materials are also an integral part of the Foreign Language collection. Materials consisting of books, audiocassettes and videos are provided for library users who have limited or no English proficiency and who wish to improve their English speaking and comprehension skills. These ESL and basic adult-applicable resources are geared toward independent self-study on grammar, reading, writing, listening and pronunciation, survival English, prevocational skills, and Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) preparation.

Professional Collection

The purpose of the Professional collection is to assist in providing for the continuing education and training needs of library staff. The collection consists of a variety of how-to manuals, workbooks and AV materials that are useful to the practice of librarianship.

Topics covered in the Professional collection include cataloging and technical services, reference, bibliographic instruction, storytelling and programming, services to special populations, library management and administration, collection development, budgeting and finance, grant writing for libraries, planning, library design and architecture, young adult services, library technology, disaster planning, etc.. Print, audiovisual, and electronic resources may all be considered for inclusion in this collection. Because of the highly specialized nature of the Professional collection, these items do not circulate, nor are they subject to interlibrary loan. However, items may be borrowed for a limited time by staff with the permission of the Library Director.

As a general rule no items will be acquired for the professional collection that have a publication date more than five years in the past. In some areas (such as technology) where timeliness is particularly crucial, items will not be acquired, which have a publication date more than two years old. Most materials will be obtained from well-established vendors such as Neal-Schuman or the American Library Association; however, items from independent publishers will be considered, provided they are reviewed in a reputable professional resource. The collection is intended to aid and supplement, but not to replace, the continuing education responsibilities of individual professional staff members.

In addition to the general criteria for selection, the following criteria must be taken into account when selecting materials for the Professional collection:

  • Relevance to the practice of librarianship
  • Addresses an actual staff need

In addition to the general deselection criteria, the following criteria must be taken into account when deselecting Professional collection materials:

  • Publication date more than five years in the past (with the exception of some few materials of historical interest or that might be considered classics). Materials may be deselected after two years in certain time critical areas such as technology.