The materials-centered approach to public library collection development: A defense
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This is the author-created manuscript of an article published in Library Philosophy and Practice (e-journal), available at http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/libphilprac/1232
How selection of materials, understood as subject knowledge, should occur for non-fiction collections in public libraries has been polarized along an axis of user demand and intellectual rigor for many decades. Attempts to synthesize these various approaches have, largely, failed to do justice to either tendency. This paper is formulated as an encomium to the materials-centered approach and looks to uncover what is lost when librarians choose to focus in extremis, on the role of the user in the building of subject knowledge for a comprehensive civil society-oriented collection.