Collection Development Policy


Racine Public Library Collection Development Policy

I. Purpose

Because of the volume of publishing, as well as the limitations of budget and space, the library must have a selection policy with which to meet community interests and needs. The purpose of this policy is to guide in the selection and withdrawal of materials as well as to inform the public about the principles upon which selection judgments are made.


II. Definition

“Selection” refers to the decisions that must be made either to add materials to the collection or to retain materials already in the collection.  “Withdrawal” refers to permanently removing an item from the collection.


III. Goal

The goal of the policy is to provide a well-balanced and broad collection of materials for all age groups, diverse types of material based on demand of the citizens, and materials for the education and recreation of the community.


IV. Responsibility

The Library Board considers and adopts a Collection Development Policy, which they authorize the Library Director to administer.  The director designates staff who are qualified by reason of education, training and experience to develop selection and acquisition procedures and to make selection and withdrawal decisions.  Because the director must be able to answer to the Board and the general public for selections made by staff, he/she has the authority to reject or select any items contrary to the recommendations of the staff.  The director allocates the materials budget annually.


No employee will be disciplined or dismissed for the selection of library materials when the selection is made in good faith and in accordance with the written policy and accepted procedures.


V.General Principles

A. Basic to this policy are the guidelines established by the American Library Association in its Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read Statement, and Freedom to View Statement (appended.)

B. The Racine Public Library considers all types and formats of media to be in the realm of human expression and part of the human record.  Because the library functions in a rapidly changing society, it is flexible about changes in materials, both in format and style of expression.  Materials in alternative formats are judged in terms of the Criteria for Materials Selection.


 VI Criteria for Materials Selection

A. General Criteria.  The selection of library materials involves the following factors and considerations:

  1. The experience and knowledge of staff selectors
  2. Familiarity with the community, its needs and interests
  3. Holding and availability of other area library resources
  4. Library’s existing collection
  5. Library’s materials budget

B. Criteria for judging materials

  1. Materials are judged on the basis of the work as a whole
  2. The material has received attention of critics, reviewers and/or the public
  3. Lack of reviews or an unfavorable review is not sufficient reason to reject a title

Specific Principles. Preference will be given to materials that meet some, but not necessary all of the following criteria:

  1. Accuracy and authoritativeness of content
  2. Scope and authority of subject matter
  3. Quality of writing
  4. Date of publication/copyright
  5. Cost and availability of material
  6. Availability of space
  7. Currency of information
  8. Promotion of reading
  9. Local importance, and/or historical value
  10. Interests, demands and needs of individuals in the community
  11. Physical durability and quality of the format
  12. Reputation of the author or publisher
  13. Quality of organization, readability and style
  14. Uniqueness or special features
  15. Relevance to the existing collection’s strengths and weaknesses
  16. Permanent value as source material
  17. Importance as a record of the times
  18. Vitality and originality

D. Gifts:  The library accepts gifts that will be added to the collection if they meet the same standards as those required of purchased materials.  If gifts do not meet these criteria, they will be sold or otherwise discarded.  The library will not assign a  value to donated materials.  The library will, upon request of the donor, provide a receipt for gifts.   The library will not return donated material to the donor.

E. Textbooks:  Providing textbooks and curriculum material is generally held to be the responsibility of the schools.  Materials will not be purchased for the sole purpose of supporting a curriculum. Textbooks will be considered for the collection when they supply the best or only information on a specific topic.

F. Requests:  All requests and suggestions will be considered using the selection principles described in this policy.

G. Reference Collection:  Librarians may choose to catalog some items to remain in the building at all times.  The decision to do that is based on heavy use, cost, or frequency of referral by staff.

H. Periodical Collection:  A collection of magazines and newspapers is maintained for browsing purposes and as a supplement to the book collection.  Selection of periodicals is reviewed yearly and based on the following criteria:

  1. Appeal to the general interest
  2. Preservation of a balanced viewpoint within the collection
  3. Availability of content via online databases

I. Racine History Collection: The library maintains a collection of local history materials.  Selection guidelines for the Racine History Collection can be found in the Racine History Room Rules and Regulations (appended)

VII. Materials for Specific Audiences
A. Materials for Children

  1. The Youth Services Department serves children from birth through grade eight, parents, guardians and teachers.
  2. In selecting materials for children, the library’s goal is to make available a collection which satisfies patron’s informational and recreational needs.
  3. Materials are selected which meet the general needs of the majority of children.  Materials whose qualities make them valuable to children with special needs, talents, problems or interests are also considered.
  4. Criteria for materials selection are the same as for adult materials, with the addition of vocabulary suitable to the age of the intended audience and quality of the illustrations.

B. Materials and equipment for people with visual impairments, such as large-print books, magnifiers and audio books are acquired according to patron demand.  The library also encourages patrons with special needs to use the resources of the Wisconsin Talking Books and Braille Library.


VIII. Library Consortium and Interlibrary Loan

The Racine Public Library is a member of the SHARE consortium, which consists of all libraries in the Lakeshores and Mid-Wisconsin Library systems.  Libraries in this consortium share a common integrated library catalog.  Patrons may place holds on items owned by other libraries in the consortium and those items will be delivered to the library as they become available.

Because of limited budget and space, the library is not able to purchase all materials that are requested.  Therefore, interlibrary loan is used to obtain from other libraries those materials that are beyond the scope of the library’s collection and the collections of the other libraries in the SHARE consortium.  In return for this service, the Racine Public Library agrees to lend its materials to other libraries through the same interlibrary loan network.


IX. Weeding and Withdrawal of Library Materials

 A. Weeding is necessary to maintain a vital, useful and up-to-date collection.

B. Selection of materials for weeding is based on the following criteria:

  1. Materials worn out through use
  2. Ephemeral materials which are no longer timely
  3. Materials no longer considered accurate or factual
  4. Materials which have had little recent use
  5. Excess copies of a title no longer in demand

C. Material that is withdrawn may be replaced based on the selection criteria.

D. Disposal of materials weeded from the collection is accomplished according to the following priorities:

  1. Withdrawn materials may be made available to other tax-supported libraries or institutions, as deemed appropriate by the director.
  2. Materials not made available to other tax-supported institutions and deemed to have potential resale value are kept for the Friends of the Library book sale, where they are offered on a first-come, first-served basis.
  3. Materials unsuitable for other institutions or resale are discarded.
  4. The library will not accept requests to hold weeded materials for individuals.


X. Reconsideration of Library Materials

 A. The library recognizes that some materials are controversial and that any given item may offend some patrons.  Selection of materials will not be made on the basis of anticipated approval or disapproval but solely on the basis of the principles set forth in this policy.

B. Library materials will not be marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of their contents, and no library materials will be sequestered, except to protect them from damage or theft.

C. Responsibility of the reading habits of children rests with the child’s parent(s) or legal guardian(s).  Selection of materials for the collection is not be inhibited by the possibility that items may inadvertently come into the possession of children.

D. Patrons requesting that an item be withdrawn from the collection may complete a “Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials” form (appended.)  Upon receipt of this written request, the director will appoint an ad hoc committee from the professional staff including, but not limited to, the selector for the subject area of the item in question.  The committee will make a written recommendation to the director, who will then decide the disposition of the item.  The director will, at the earliest possible date, communicate his/her decision, and the reasons for it, in writing to the person who initiated the request.  The director will inform the Board of all requests for reconsideration and their disposition.


Adopted by the Library Board July 21, 2011