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Collection Development Policy

Collection Development Policy

The Liberal Memorial Library shall select, organize and maintain a quality collection of library materials which will provide a basis for community information, education, recreation and historical preservation in the community.

Purpose of the Collection Development/Selection Policy

The purpose of the Liberal Memorial Library collection development/materials selection policy is to guide librarians and to inform the public about the principles upon which selections are made. A policy cannot replace the judgment of librarians, but stating goals and indicating boundaries will assist them in choosing from the array of available materials.

Definition of Materials Selection

“Selection” refers to the decision that must be made either to add material to the collection or to retain material already in the collection. “Library materials'” and other synonyms as they may appear in this policy have the widest possible meaning; all forms of contemporary, recorded mass communication, from the traditional printed forms to the latest development in non-print media, are therefore included in this definition.

Responsibility for Selection

Responsibility for the initial selection of books and other materials shall lie with the Library Director. Other staff members and the general public may recommend materials for consideration. The ultimate responsibility for selection rests with the Library Director, operating within the framework of policies determined by the Board of Trustees of the Liberal Memorial Library.

General Process for Selection

Selection shall be based on the merits of a work in relation to the needs, interests and demands of the entire community. Basic to this policy are the “Library Bill of Rights,” the “The Freedom to Read Statement,” and the “Freedom to View” as adopted by the American Library Association, and to which this library subscribes. (See Appendices C, D and E). Materials which some portion of the community may find objectionable shall not be automatically rejected. Selection is made on the basis of whether the item presents life in its true proportions, whether characters and situations are realistically presented, whether the item has literary, artistic, or informational merit, and whether the item is representative of a current trend or genre.

Based on the services it is expected to perform, it is the responsibility of the library to provide circulating, reference, and resource material for the general public. Special collections shall be developed and maintained when indicated by community interest.

Specific Principles for Selection

The following principles will be taken into consideration when selecting items to be added to the collection:

  1. Contemporary significance or permanent value.
  2. Accuracy of content.
  3. Authority of the author or producer.
  4. Relation of the work to the existing collection.
  5. Price, format and ease of use.
  6. Availability of information in the subject area.
  7. Availability of material elsewhere in the community–holdings of other libraries in the area are considered in developing the Library’s collection.
  8. Adequate coverage of controversial issues.
  9. Response to popular demand, including a representative sampling of experimental or ephemeral material.


Providing textbooks and curriculum materials is the responsibility of the schools. Textbooks will be purchased for the collection when they supply information in areas in which they may be the best, or the only, source of information on the subject. The public library shall not assume the responsibility for purchasing textbooks for wide and general distribution.


A gift for the library collection may consist of materials or funds for the purchase of materials. Funds may be given for acquiring materials recommended by the library staff, or for the purchase of specific items suggested by the donor and recommended by the staff for inclusion. The library encourages gifts not earmarked for specific items to permit the most flexible use of the donation for the enrichment of the collection.

Gift Criteria

Gift additions shall meet the same selection criteria as purchased materials. In some cases, titles are received which could not have been acquired from library funds because of budget limitations.

If gifts of marginal value are offered, processing costs and use of shelf space are considered before the gift can be accepted. Any gift accepted by the Library shall be subject to the following conditions:

  1. The library retains unconditional ownership of the gift.
  2. The library makes the final decision on its own use or other disposition of the gift.
  3. The library reserves the right to decide the conditions of display, housing, and access to the materials.

Any offers of substantial worth (i.e., equipment, art objects, special collections, etc.) should be referred to the Library Director. Such offers will be accepted/rejected based on considerations of need, appropriateness, maintenance, precedence, etc. Any gift accepted shall be subject to the conditions of acceptance outlined above.

Determining Value for Gifts

The library shall not affix a value for income tax purposes to any gift accepted. This is the responsibility of the donor. It is the donor’s responsibility to maintain all personal records pertaining to a gift for which s/he is claiming a tax deduction (See Appendix F).

Collection Maintenance

The Library Director shall establish procedures for maintaining the collection and retaining it in attractive and usable condition.


It is the library’s policy not to automatically replace all books withdrawn because of loss, damage, or wear. Need for replacement in each case is judged by two factors: (1) the existence of adequate coverage in the field by similar material, especially if there is later and better material; and (2) demand for the specific title.

Binding and Mending

Keeping materials in good physical condition is essential. Decisions must be made continuously on how to handle worn books–whether to mend, bind or withdraw them. Each decision is based on the condition of the book, current validity of its contents, availability for reorder and cost of binding vs. replacement. Replacement is preferable to binding if costs are comparable. Binding is preferable to mending if a title is expected to have long-term usefulness. Mending is done only when need is detected early and the result is an attractive appearance.


Weeding is selection in reverse–it is the withdrawal of items no longer suitable for or useful in the collection. Weeding is a thorough and conscientious effort to achieve a well-balanced collection and it should be a continuous, consistent process. Factors to be considered in weeding are:

  1. Physical condition of the material.
  2. Slow-moving material not listed in standard sources; e.g. Fiction Catalog.
  3. Items containing subject matter no longer of current interest.
  4. Multiple copies of titles no longer in demand.
  5. Old editions replaced by later revisions of non-fiction titles.
  6. Retention of local materials and materials by Kansas authors.

Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials

The Library Director shall establish procedures for evaluating and responding to any citizen’s request to expunge or add specific materials to the library collection.

Citizen’s Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials

The suitability of particular books or other materials for the library collection may occasionally be questioned by individuals or groups. All such criticism should be presented in writing to the Library Director on the “Citizen’s Request for Reconsideration of Library Material.” (See Appendix G)

The completed form and a copy of the material in question will be considered for review and evaluation The review of questioned materials will be treated objectively and as an important matter. General acceptance of the material will be checked by consulting authoritative lists and critical reviews in light of the library selection policy. Passages will not be taken out of context and the material will be evaluated in its entirety.

A committee consisting of three Board members will report its evaluation and any recommended action to the Library Director. Within 30 days after receipt of the reconsideration request, the Library Director will inform the complainant of the results of the committee’s evaluation and any action which will be taken by the library.

Level of Expenditures for Materials

As a matter of policy, the Board of Trustees shall annually commit a minimum of 15% of the Library’s operating budget (exclusive of capital commitments or expenditures) for the purchase of library materials.

Gift, Grant of Endowment Earnings as Enhancement Funds for Materials

Any additional funds received during the year as gifts, grants, endowment earnings, etc. shall be considered as enhancement funds and such funds shall not be used to replace or reduce the minimum commitment for Library materials.

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