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Collection Development

Download: Collection Development Policy


The Board of Trustees of the Lone Cone Library District [the District] has adopted the following Collection Development Policy to guide library staff and to inform the public about the principles upon which library collections are developed and maintained.

The District acquires and makes available materials that inform, educate, entertain and enrich individuals within the District. Since no library can possibly acquire all print and non-print materials, every library must employ a policy of selectivity in acquisitions. The District provides, within its financial limitations, a general collection of reliable materials embracing broad areas of knowledge. Included are works of enduring value and timely materials on current issues. Within the framework of these broad objectives, selection is based on community demographics and evidence of areas of interest. Other resources available in the community and region are taken into consideration when developing the collection. Additional information may be accessed through electronic access and the Internet. Information sources highlighted for the public through the Internet will be selected using the same principles that are applied to books and other formats. New formats will be considered for the collection when a significant portion of the community population has the necessary technology to make use of the format

Impartiality and judicious selection will be exercised in all material acquisition practices. Allocation of the materials budget and the number of items purchased for each area of the collection will be determined by indicators such as use, the average cost per item and objectives for development of the collection.

The District supports the individual’s right to access ideas and information representing all points of view. To this end, the District welcomes and solicits patron suggestions, comments and ideas about the collection and its development. The District’s Board of Trustees has adopted the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, The Freedom to Read Statement and Freedom to View Statement. 

Collection Development Objectives of the District

  • ∙ To provide materials that meet the district’s interests and needs in a timely manner.
  • To provide materials and programming to preschool and K – 12 children that encourages and promotes continued learning.
  • To provide a broadly based and diverse collection that can support the roles of the District in providing both general information and current topics and titles.
  • To strive to provide a balance of viewpoints on all subjects in its collection.
  • To purchase current materials proportionate to levels of demand and use, taking care to anticipate and respond to indications of significant new needs.
  • To practice ongoing collection management, using output measures, reports from the automated library system and other data for continuous collection evaluation. Worn, obsolete and dated materials will be weeded from the collection on an on-going basis.
  • To keep abreast of technological changes which affect the development of the collection and addition of material in new formats.
  • To continue and expand participation in resource sharing within the State of Colorado and promote the availability of shared materials to District users.
  • To improve the presentation of the collection, grouping materials of interest, and increasing the visibility of collections.
  • To improve the presentation of the automated catalog in order to promote the existing print and electronic collections and shared resources.
  • To provide reliable and timely information via the purchase of electronic subscription databases.
  • To increase the use of underused areas of the physical collection through merchandising, pruning and addition of new materials.
  • To increase the use of the electronic collection through promotion and patron training opportunities.

Material Selection Guidelines

Responsibility for Selection

Ultimate responsibility for material selection rests with the Director who operates within the framework of policies determined by the District’s Board of Trustees. The Director oversees the selection process and delegates responsibility for specific sections of the collection to the Collection Development Specialists. The Specialists ensure that their choices reflect the guidelines in the Collection Development Policy. They are responsible for choosing appropriate materials, pruning the collection to keep them current with need and demand, seeing that materials are in good physical condition and replacing them whenever necessary, and spending their budgets in a timely and organized manner. The Specialists make use of appropriate selection tools, and may consult with outside professionals in specific subject areas when needed.

Criteria for Selection

The evaluation of materials is characterized by flexibility, open-mindedness, and responsiveness to the changing needs of the citizens of the library district. Materials are evaluated as a whole and not on the basis of a particular passage or passages. A work will not be excluded from the District’s collection because it presents an aspect of life honestly or because of frankness of expression. All acquisitions, whether purchased or donated, are considered in terms of the following standards. However, an item need not meet all of the criteria to be acceptable. In some instances, materials may be judged primarily on artistic merit, or because of scholarship, or as valuable human documents, or as critical to the information needs of the community. In other instances, the criterion may be substantial patron demand.

The following general criteria are used:

  • Present and potential relevance to community needs and interests.
  • Suitability of subject, style, and reading level for the intended audience.
  • Insight into human and social conditions.
  • Importance as a document of the times.
  • Reputation and/or significance of author.
  • Demand for the material.
  • Critics’ reviews or recommendations from staff and patrons.
  • Reputation of publisher or producer.
  • Relationship to existing materials in the collection on the same subject.
  • Availability and accessibility of the same materials in other libraries.

Selection Tools

Tools used in selection include standard review sources, trade journals, publishers’ catalogs, recommendations and suggestions from patrons and staff. Outside professionals may also be consulted on an as-needed basis. Their expertise may be used to help the library staff select material in the professional’s defined subject area.

Material Format

Material is purchased in the most appropriate format for District use. Books are generally purchased in hardcover editions for durability. However, paperback editions may be purchased in cases where the hardcover edition is expensive and a trade paperback is available. Mass-market paperbacks are purchased only when there are no other formats available. Library editions and hardcovers are purchased for heavily used titles in the Youth Services Department for durability. Textbooks will normally not be selected for the collection; however, a textbook may be included in the collection when it is appropriate for the subject area.

Visual formats purchased for the District include classical films, instructional films, documentaries, popular films, foreign films, and children’s stories, etc. Public performance rights are procured at the time of purchase whenever required by the distributor or for use in public programming. New formats will be considered for the collection when, by national and community trends and by evidence from local requests, a significant portion of the community population has the necessary technology to make use of the format. Availability of items in the format, the cost per item and the District’s ability to acquire and handle the items will also be factors in determining when a new format will be collected. Similar considerations will influence the decision to delete a format from the District’s collection. Subscription electronic resources, along with links to authoritative Websites, form a vital part of the collection as materials become available in digital formats.

Standing Orders

Select material that is updated annually or every few years is put on standing order. The majority of these materials are reference books, popular fiction authors, travel books, college guides, test review books, and resume books. The Specialists for these areas review the list on a periodic basis.

Multiple Copies

While the District does not buy multiple copies of every title it owns, it does buy multiple copies of titles having high patron demand. The Specialists determine how many copies of a title should be ordered, and in what format. In subject areas such as resumes and travel books where the interest is in subject more than a particular title, the District prefers to buy one or two copies of several different titles instead of buying numerous copies of one title.


Material that has been lost or damaged may be replaced using the same criteria as for selection. Other factors which librarians must consider when deciding on replacements include the number of copies of a title the District owns, the availability of newer material on the subject, the importance of the work in its field, its listing in standard bibliographies and its cost.

Materials not collected

Due to finite resources there are certain materials the Lone Cone Library does not collect. These include but are not limited to:

  • Rare books: Since it is the public library’s function to make materials available to all users, the District does not collect rare or unusual materials that require special handling.
  • Textbooks: The District does not buy textbooks used by the local schools, or colleges, as it is the responsibility of the libraries of those institutions to provide copies of course materials to their students.
  • Government documents: The District does not actively collect government documents. Some local communities may provide local governmental documents that are provided by donation from the government agency. Federal publications and other information products are made available for free public use in Federal depository libraries throughout the United States.
  • Other materials: Hard to catalog materials such as book club editions, obscure DVD titles, pamphlets, chapbooks and books that do not pertain to local history or have local authors are not added to the collection. Condition of items is also evaluated. Items with dirt, grease, highlighting, underlining, excessive age, and any other adverse condition are not cataloged.


Gifts of books and other library material are accepted by the District with the understanding that they will be considered for addition to the collection in accordance with the Collection Development Policy. The District reserves the right to sell or otherwise dispose of gift material not added to the collection. Generally, collections of books cannot be accepted with restrictions necessitating special housing or which prevent integration of the gift into the collection. Donors may request to have the material carry the name of the donor on a gift bookplate.

The District will not assign a value to any gift material. However, the District can provide a receipt for the number of items donated if requested. Gifts of funds are always welcome and appreciated.

Recommendations from the donor are honored so far as the suggestions are in accord with the Collection Development Policy.


  • Donated materials may not be left outside the library.
  • Call Norwood Library (970-327-4833) or inquire at the Circulation Desk about drop-off times for donations of more than five books.
  • Typical Characteristics of Acceptable Donations:
  1. Paperback and hardcover books in good condition (must be clean with binding
    and covers intact);
  2. DVDs and books on CD; and
  3. Any other material deemed acceptable by the Library Director.
  • Typical Characteristics of Unacceptable Donations:
  1. Books in poor condition including those with yellowed pages, highlighted text, or odors from smoke or mildew;
  2. Most magazines (including National Geographic) and newspapers;
  3. Reader’s Digest condensed books;
  4. Dated publications such as almanacs, tax guides, travel guides, technical books, and textbooks;
  5. Old reference sets (encyclopedias, etc);
  6. VHS videos and books on cassette;
  7. Any other material deemed unacceptable by the Library Director.

Collection Maintenance

Systematic pruning of the collection is required of every Collection Development Specialist in order to keep the collection responsive to patrons’ needs, to insure its vitality and usefulness to the community and to make room for newer material. Pruning identifies damaged items, out-of-date material and extra copies that are not being used. Withdrawn material that is in good condition may be put in the Friends of the Library book sale, offered to other libraries, or sent to the Colorado Library Consortium “No Store” program. Back issues of periodicals will be removed from the collection according to an established retention schedule. Weeded magazines will be available in a public area of the library for free. Unwanted issues and other discarded material not destined for the book sale may be recycled.

Reconsideration of Library Material

A singular obligation of the public library is to reflect within its collection differing points of view. The District does not endorse particular beliefs or views, nor does the selection of an item express or imply endorsements of the viewpoint of the author. District material will not be marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of the contents, nor will items be sequestered, except for the purpose of protecting them from theft or damage.

Responsibility for the reading of children and adolescents rests with their parents and legal guardians. While a person may reject materials for him/herself and for his/her children, s/he cannot exercise censorship to restrict access to the materials by others.

Comments from individuals about the collection or individual items in the collection frequently provide librarians with useful information about interest or needs that may not be adequately met by the collection. The District welcomes expression of opinion by individuals, but will be governed by the Collection Development Policy in making additions to or deleting items from the collection. Individuals wishing reconsideration of library material should complete the “Request for Reconsideration of Library materials” form, which may be obtained through the Director’s office. Only individuals who are residents of the Lone Cone Library District may file a Request. Anonymous Requests will not be given consideration. Once a material, program, display, eresource, etc. has gone through the reconsideration process, it cannot be reconsidered again for 3 years.

Steps in a Reconsideration Request:

  1. Individual(s) completes form and attaches any published reviews available of the material in question.
  2. Submits form to the Director.
  3. Director will ask for background information from the Collection Specialists as to criteria used in ordering the material in question, its place in the collection and reasons for having the material in the collection. Outside consultants may be asked for additional information as is pertinent to the subject in question.
  4. Two community members selected by the Director and one District Board member will evaluate the material using the published reviews and Selection Criteria outlined in this Collection Development Policy.
  5. Evaluators submit their recommendation to the Director.
  6. Director makes a decision concerning the material and notifies the individual(s) submitting the Reconsideration Request in writing. The process will result in maintaining the current status, a change in location or reading level, or removal from the collection.
  7. The material will remain on the shelf and be available to the public during the reconsideration

Steps in a Reconsideration Appeal:

  1. If the individual is not satisfied with the decision of the Director, s/he may request a meeting before the District’s Board of Trustees by making a written request to the President of the Board.
  2. Upon receipt of the request, the Board may make the request an agenda item and the individual(s) will be notified of the time and place of the Board meeting. The Board reserves the right to limit the length of presentation and number of speakers at the meeting.
  3. After hearing from the person(s) making the reconsideration request, the Board will determine whether  he request for reconsideration has been handled in accordance with stated policies and procedures of the District, will review the background information provided by the library staff, will review the position of the patron and will also review the decision of the Director.
  4. Based on the information presented, the Board evaluates if the process has been followed correctly, if not the item may go back to reconsideration. The Board will not overturn the decision of the Director if the process has been followed according to library policy. 5. If an individual would like to remain anonymous in a public setting, they may submit a written statement to the board for their review rather than appearing in person.

Date approved: 1/13/14
Approved by: Lone Cone Library Board of Trustees
Date amended/modified: 09/19/2022

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