Collection Development Policy

Effective Date 11/06
Review and Revised Date 11/19

Guiding Principles

The Library’s collection is developed in order to meet the interests and needs of the Ela Area Public Library District’s community, gathering as broad a range of materials as the budget and space allow.

The general objectives of collection development are to carry out the Library's goal to provide the community with a variety of media to meet their personal, educational, and recreational needs.

All individuals have the right to choose which Library materials they will use. However, no one may restrict the rights of others. The Library subscribes to the provisions of the following documents as adopted by the American Library Association:

Library Bill of Rights
Freedom to View Statement
Freedom to Read Statement
Free Access to Libraries for Minors

Selection Responsibility

Overall responsibility for collection development rests with the Executive Director who operates within the framework of policies determined by the Board of Library Trustees. The Executive Director delegates or shares this responsibility with designated members of the staff.

Selection Criteria

The general criteria for selecting materials include the following: 1) significance and lasting value to the existing collection, 2) qualifications of author or producer, 3) suitability of subject and style for intended audience, 4) quality of format, 5) currency or timeliness, 6) patron interest and/or request, 7) support of school curricula 8) favorable critical reviews, 9) cost, 10) availability in a more appropriate format, 11) availability of materials to purchase through reasonable means 12) attention given to the item by general media, 13) availability of materials in other libraries, 14) representation of a unique or balancing point of view, and 15) ease of access and use.

In selection, consideration will be given to the work as a whole. No work shall be excluded because of specific passages or pieces taken out of context.

Because it is impossible for librarians to examine all items being considered for purchase, they depend on reliable selection aids. The librarians regularly use the reviews found in standard and popular sources. Other selection aids include notable award lists, carefully selected online tools, and published lists of bestsellers.

Special attention is paid to ensure qualification of the author and accuracy of content, including the use of trustworthy critical reviews and an emphasis on reputable publishers.

Collection Scope

Through careful selection, the Library strives to maintain a diverse collection of quality materials, including items of contemporary significance and permanent value, as well as ephemeral items. Because the Library serves a public embracing a wide range of ages, educational backgrounds, viewpoints, cultures, and reading skills, it will always seek to select materials of varying complexity. The depth of the collection in any specific subject area shall be limited by available resources and overall community need. Interlibrary loan will be used to supplement needs beyond the scope of a generalized public library collection. Some digital resources may contain materials not directly selected by staff.

Collection Maintenance

Duplicate Copies: The number of copies purchased varies with the expected use of any item. As extensive use for individual titles is demonstrated, the Library will purchase, when feasible, enough copies to meet demand.

Replacement Copies: If the community still has an interest in the content of a damaged, worn, or unattractive item, a replacement copy may be obtained if available.

Weeding: In order to maintain the best possible collection of materials, a continual weeding process takes place. Items are discarded if they are outdated, if they contain a publisher’s oversights or errors, if they are unappealing, if they no longer circulate, if there are more duplicate copies than needed, or if they are in poor physical condition.

Items discarded are plainly marked and may be made available to the public for minimal donations, donated to other service organizations and schools, or otherwise disposed of.

Request for Reconsideration

Strong objection to any Library materials must be made in writing. Examination and reconsideration of materials, if necessary, will be handled as outlined in these procedures. A copy of these procedures as well as forms for registering complaints may be obtained in the department where the material in question is housed.

  1. If a patron complains about Library materials, the form, “Complaint about Library Materials,” should be completed. This form stays on file with the department head. The department head will examine the material, as well as critical reviews of the material. Repeated complaints about specific works or materials in general will generate a reconsideration of a specific work.
  2. If a patron wishes to have materials reconsidered, they may fill out the form “Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials.”
  3. When the “Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials” is completely filled out and returned to the Library, the appropriate department head and staff will review the complaint and the material, and then recommend whether the item should remain, be relocated, or be removed from the collection. The Executive Director should be informed of the complaint and of the staff recommendation.
  4. The Executive Director or designated staff member will contact the patron who initiated the complaint, and communicate the Library’s decision regarding the material in question.
  5. A patron desiring further action can make a request in writing for a hearing before the Board of Library Trustees that has final authority.

Donations & Gifts

Donations of materials are rarely accepted and will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Donated items will be used at the discretion of Library selectors. Patrons also may give a gift of money for the purchase of materials. If the donor requests a specific title, it will be purchased if it meets the selection criteria and if it is paid for in advance.

If the donor prefers, staff will select appropriate titles. When possible, the donor or designated person will be recognized on a bookplate.


Suggestions are welcome, and the Library will consider all requests from Ela Area Public Library residents using the same selection criteria listed earlier in this document.

If an item is unavailable for purchase, we will attempt to obtain the item through interlibrary loan.

Local Author Collection

Authors, whose work is housed in this collection, must be Ela Area Public Library District residents, or the book must take place in the District, or otherwise demonstrate a strong local interest. The collection is subject to the Collection Development Policy including the weeding procedures. Additional guidelines can be found on the Local Author Collection Donation form.

Complaint about Library Materials

Material: ________________________________________________________________

Date: ___________________________________________________________________

Name: __________________________________________________________________

Address: ________________________________________________________________


Telephone: ______________________________________________________________

E-mail: __________________________________________________________

Complaint Represents: ________Individual ___________Organization

Reason for Complaint: ______________________________________________________________




Signature: ________________________________________________________________


Date Returned: ________________________________________________________________



Author: _________________________________________________________________

Title: ___________________________________________________________________



Distributor: ______________________________________________________________

Request Initiated by:


Address: _________________________________________________________________

City: _________________________________Zip code: ___________________________

Telephone: ________________________________

E-mail: ___________________________________

Request represents: _______ Individual _______________________________________

_______ Organization, list name_____________________________

_______ Other, list name___________________________________

1. Have you read or viewed the entire work? ________________________________________

If not what parts have you read or viewed? ________________________________________


2. To what in the material do you object? (Please be specific; cite pages or sections)



3. What good or valuable features do you find in the material? ___________________



Collection Development Page 7 of 10

Effective Date: 11/06 Policy No: 1.1

Reviewed and Revised: 11/19

4. What do you believe is the theme of this work? _____________________________


5. What do you feel might be the result of reading or viewing this material?

6. Are you aware of or have you read any reviews of this material by literary critics?

7. If yes, specify:

8. Do you think this material would be more appropriate for a different age group? Please explain:

9. What would you like the library to do about this material?

10. Can you recommend other material that would convey as valuable a picture and/or perspective

of the subject treated? If yes, please specify:

Date: Signature

Date: __________


Gift Form

Donor: Name _____________________________________________________________



E-mail ___________________________________________________________

If given as a memorial, person to be memorialized_______________________________

Family members or friends who need to be notified: (name and address)

1. ___________________________________________________________________


2. ___________________________________________________________________


3. ___________________________________________________________________


Wording on bookplate as donor perceives it:





Book selected:




Amount donated: $____________________

Subject: _______________________________________________________

Current bookplate used by the library:

Size 2” x 4”


Donating Your Book to the Ela Area Public Library’s Local Author Collection

Ela Area Public Library District offers a small display area for local authors. This collection is designed to give new and emerging writers an opportunity to be read by their friends and neighbors.

Please note the following guidelines:

  • Authors must be Ela Area Public Library District residents, or the book must take place in the District, or otherwise demonstrate a strong local interest.
  • Each book must be approved by the appropriate selector before being accepted for placement.
  • Items will rotate out of the collection and may be withdrawn, unless they have circulated regularly.
  • Materials that are donated become the property of the Ela Area Public Library District and cannot be returned to the donor.
  • All donations for the collection are subject to the Collection Development Policy guidelines.

To donate your book for consideration, please complete the following:

Book Title: ______________________________________________

Author’s Name: ___________________________________________

Address: _________________________________________________

Phone Number: ___________________________________________

E-mail: __________________________________________________

Where has your book been reviewed?

Attach reviews, publicity materials, or other information if available.

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