Collection Policy

Effective Date 11/06
Review and Revised Date 02/2023

Guiding Principles

The Library’s collection consists of physical materials, databases, and digital materials.

Our resources aim to meet the needs and interests of the Ela Area Public Library District's community, embrace broad areas of knowledge, represent diverse voices and viewpoints, and support the current Strategic Plan. 

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

Diverse Collections: An Interpretation

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.

It is the responsibility of the selectors to maintain collections that meet the needs of the community even when materials may present views contrary to the personal beliefs of staff members, library trustees, community organizations, or individuals.

General Selection Criteria

The following criteria inform material selection decisions:

  • patron interest and/or request
  • currency or timeliness
  • favorable professional reviews
  • media attention
  • diversity of viewpoints and under-represented voices
  • qualifications of author or producer
  • suitability of subject and style for intended audience
  • quality of format
  • languages read and spoken in the community
  • cost and space constraints
  • availability of materials to purchase through reasonable means
  • availability of materials in other libraries
  • ease of access and use

Materials may not necessarily meet all these criteria to be included in the collection.

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.

It is impossible for librarians to read or view all items added to the collections, therefore they depend on reliable selection aids which include but are not limited to professional reviews, notable award lists, online tools, bestseller lists, national and international news, and other media.

Textbooks and scholarly materials may be acquired if they serve the general public by providing information on subjects where little or no material is available in other forms. However, materials of a highly specialized, academic, or technical nature typically are excluded from the collection.

Digital resources play an important role in the library's collection. In addition to standard criteria used in selecting other formats, special criteria for electronic formats include ease of use, technology requirements, and availability of remote access. Certain digital collections feature content that is leased or purchased as a whole, therefore not all content is directly selected by staff.

Collection Scope

The Library selects materials of varying complexity to serve a public with a wide range of ages, educational backgrounds, viewpoints, cultures, languages, and reading skills. the depth of the collection in any subject area is limited by available resources and community need. Interlibrary loan materials will supplement needs beyond the scope of a generalized public library collection.

The Library strives to maintain a collection of quality materials, including items of contemporary significance, diversity of viewpoints, and representation of traditionally marginalized groups.

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 financially 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 withdrawn 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.

Parental Responsibility

Given the diverse nature of the collection, not all materials are suitable for all patrons, and responsibility for children's or teens' choice and use of resources rests with their parents or legal guardians. Selection is not restricted by the possibility that children or teens may access resources their parents or legal guardians may consider inappropriate. The library believes in the freedom of the individual, and the right and obligation of parents or legal guardians to guide, develop, interpret, and maintain their own values in their family.

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.

Request for Reconsideration

A singular obligation of the public library is to reflect within its collection differing points of view on controversial or debatable subjects. Public libraries own materials that some patrons may find objectionable and also may not carry materials that others find important. The selection or display of an item does not express or imply endorsement of the viewpoints expressed.

Objections to any Library materials must follow the Request for Reconsideration procedure.

Request for Reconsideration Procedures

Feedback from members of the community about the collection or individual items in the collection frequently provides librarians with useful information about the community interests or collection needs. The library welcomes expression of opinion by patrons, but will be governed by this Collection Strategy Policy in making additions to or deleting items from the collection.

Examination and reconsideration of materials, if necessary, will be handled as outlined in these procedures.

A patron who wishes to discuss an item in the library's collection may share their concerns with appropriate staff, or be referred to the Department head in which the material is located, or to the Person In Charge. the item should be discussed with the patron in relation to the Library's Collection Development Policy and the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights.

If the complaint is unresolved, the patron should be given a "Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials" Form and submit it to the Library Director. The Director will then form a committee comprised of the Director, Assistant Director, the Department head, and additional staff as recommended by the Department Head. The committee will review the item and provide a response to the patron once a decision has been reached. The material will remain in the collection while the committee is conducting their review. The request will be reported to the American Library Association's Office of Intellectual Freedom.

If the complaint is still unresolved, the patron may appeal the decision to the Board of Trustees, who will consider the matter at their next regularly scheduled Board meeting and provide a written response to the patron once a decision has been reached. The material will remain in the collection while the Board is considering the matter. The Board's decision is final, and no further appeals may be made.

Request for Reconsideration

The trustees of the Ela Area Public Library have established a collection policy and procedures of materials challenges. Completion of this form is the first step in that procedure.

If you wish to request reconsideration of a resource, please return the completed form to the Executive Director.

Date: ___________________________________________________________________

Name: __________________________________________________________________

Address: ________________________________________________________________


Telephone: __________________________________Email________________________

Do you represent self?___ Or an organization?____ Name of Organization_____________

Complaint Represents: ________Individual ___________Organization

1. Resource which you are commenting:

_____Book (e-book)        ____Magazine                ____Digital Resource          ___Newspaper   

_____Movie                    ____Audio Recording      ____Game                           ___Other


Title __________________________________________________________________________



2. What brought this resource to your attention?




3. Have you examined the entire resource? If not, what sections did you review? 




4. What concerns you about the resource? ___________________________________________


5. Are there resource(s) you suggest to provide additional information and/or other

viewpoints on this topic?



6. What action are you requesting the committee consider?







Staff Use Only


Staff Initials:__________________________


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.
  • Books must meet copyright regulations and be professionally printed and bound. Homemade or spiral-bound books will not be accepted.

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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