Collection Development and Materials Selection

Policy:  Collection Development and Materials Selection

The following are rules and regulations of The Board of Trustees of The Richards Library. These are effective January 6, 2014 and will be reviewed every five years.

The Board of Trustees delegates the responsibility for the selection of resources to the Library Director as employed by The Richards Library to develop and enhance the collection.  The goal of the collection is to secure for all residents of The Richards Library service area informational, educational, technological, cultural, and recreational materials in varied formats including digital and print.

The Richards Library observes and respects The Library Bill of Rights formulated by The American Library Association.

  1. Selection refers to the decision to add material to the collection,
    retain material already in the collection, or remove material from the
    collection.  It does not refer to guidance in assisting the library
  2. The Richards Library acknowledges a particular interest in
    Adirondack history; therefore, it will seek to acquire appropriate
    state, county and local public documents.  The Richards Library is not
    under any obligation to add to its collections everything about the
    Adirondacks or produced by authors, printers or publishers with
    Adirondack connections.
  3. In selecting materials for the collection, the Richards Library will
    regard the special, commercial, industrial, cultural and civic
    enterprises of the community.
  4. Responsibility for the reading, listening, viewing, or participating
    with library materials by children rests with the parent or legal
    guardian.  Selection will not be inhibited by the possibility that
    materials may inadvertently come into the possession of children.
  5. The use of rare and scarce items of great value may be controlled to
    the extent required to preserve them from harm, but no further.

Criteria of Selection:

Each resource is considered for its usefulness, its format and the audience for which it is intended. No single criterion is applicable to all purchase and access decisions. Some resources may be judged primarily for their artistic merit, scholarship or value to humanity; others are chosen to satisfy the informational, recreational or educational interests of the community.

The library director applies his/her judgment and experience in selecting materials according to the criteria listed below. All criteria do not apply to each item. Works of imagination are judged by different standards than are works of information and opinion. Works that present an aspect of life honestly are not necessarily excluded because of frankness of expression. Materials are judged as a whole rather than on isolated portions. In considering individual titles in the selection process, the library director consults reviews, bibliographies and other evaluative sources. However, the library generally purchases best sellers, giving higher priority to demand than to reviews or other relevant criteria.

  • Suitability of physical form for library use
  • Suitability of subject and style for intended audience
  • Present and potential relevance to local interests and needs
  • Appropriateness and effectiveness of medium to content
  • Number and nature of requests from the library district public
  • Historical significance
  • Usefulness to patrons with special needs
  • Importance as a document of the times
  • Relation to existing collection, alternative formats and other material on the subject
  • Reputation and/or significance of the author/artist and publisher/producer
  • Authority, competence, integrity and purpose of the author/artist/publisher
  • Attention of critics, reviewers, media, and/or  the public
  • Comprehensiveness and depth of treatment
  • Clarity, accuracy, logic of presentation and/or ease of use
  • Representation of a minority point of view
  • Relevance to the experiences and contributions of diverse populations
  • Artistic presentation and experimentation
  • Quality of illustrations
  • Originality, vitality, readability or ability to sustain interest
  • Effective characterization
  • Authenticity of historical or social setting
  • Value of resource in relation to its cost
  • Lack of availability elsewhere

Special Considerations for Collection Areas

1. Children’s Collection

The children’s collection provides materials which anticipate the diverse needs, interest, tastes, and backgrounds of girls and boys from birth through sixth grade. These materials should provide enjoyment for children, inspire and cultivate in them a love of books and reading, stimulate their creative powers and appreciation of beauty, encourage them to develop their mental capacities, meet their personal informational needs, educational needs and help them recognize a broad spectrum of moral and social values. Additional appropriate materials are provided to help adults understand and work with children.

The library does not limit children to use of the children’s collection. Therefore, a child’s parent or guardian, not the library, must be responsible for the materials chosen by the child.

2. Electronic Resources

Electronic resources, including websites and electronic databases, provide opportunities to expand the scope of information available to users. Providing connections to global information, services and networks is not the same as selecting and purchasing material for a library collection. Determining the accuracy or authenticity of electronic information may present unique challenges.

Some information accessed electronically through Richards Library Internet connection may not meet the library’s selection policy. The provision of access does not imply sponsorship or endorsement by the library. Furthermore, the library’s Internet Use Policy establishes guidelines for access. Parents and legal guardians who are concerned about their children’s use of the Internet should provide guidance to their children.

The General Criteria for Selection of Materials in traditional formats apply to the selection of electronic databases as well.  However, because electronic formats require non-traditional means of acquisition, storage and access, some additional criteria must be considered:

  • Ease of navigation and training requirements
  • Ease of access and number of access points
  • Hardware and software requirements, including maintenance
  • Vendor support and contractual requirements
  • Comparison of cost and content with other formats available
  • Vendor delivery of timely updates and retention of historical data
  • Networking capabilities
  • Availability of remote access
  • Ownership of product: purchase or lease

3. Local History/Community Information

The library makes a commitment to provide information for its patrons about the community and the state. It selectively acquires and provides access to relevant resources about the Adirondacks and the region, and the state in general. The library also provides basic historical and genealogical material about the areas from which The Richards Library was predominantly settled.

Especially in regard to works by local authors, materials in the local history collection may or may not meet selection criteria in other respects, the local interest taking precedence over other factors.

4. Periodicals and Newspapers

In order to serve a diverse population, the library provides a wide range of reference and recreational interest periodicals and newspapers. Emphasis is given to titles included in periodical indexes or published locally. Specialized titles are considered in relation to subject need, cost and availability in area libraries.

5. Gifts

Please note that, due to space constraints and limited processing resources, the Library is unable to accept all materials offered to us. Donors who have books that are in good condition that they think would be appropriate for the Library’s circulating collections should contact the library director. The Library reserves the right to dispose of unsolicited materials in any manner it deems appropriate.

Gifts of materials that are accepted by the Library become the absolute and unconditional property of the Library and cannot be returned to the donor for any reason. Once the Library takes possession of an item, the Library is free to make all decisions with respect to the retention, storage, processing, use, and disposition of that item. Materials, including portions of collective gifts, which the Library determines are not suitable for accessioning into the collections may offered for sale, or otherwise disposed of in accordance with the Library’s established policies and procedures.   In accordance with the Library’s standard policies,   Donors are granted the same right to access and use materials they have donated as other members of the public. Gift materials shall be judged by the selection criteria and shall be accepted or rejected by those criteria.


Weeding is an essential and ongoing element in The Richards Library collection development process.  The purpose of weeding is to discard dilapidated, dated, irrelevant, or nonfactual materials from the collection.  The library director shall be responsible for weeding the collection according to the criteria listed below, and all weeded materials will be either donated to Friends of Richards Library for its book sale or recycled.

Criteria for Weeding:

M= Misleading–factually inaccurate
U= Ugly–worn beyond mending or rebinding
S= Superceded–by a new edition of by a much better book on the subject
T= Trivial–of no discernible literary or scientific merit
I= Irrelevant to the needs and interests of the library’s community
E= Elsewhere–the material is easily obtainable from another library

Reconsideration of Library Materials:

The trustees of Richards Library support The Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read and Freedom to View for all of its patrons.  However should a patron object to a specific library document or presentation, he/she may have the material reconsidered by adhering to the following procedures.

The patron (not a company or organization) will be asked to fill out The Richards Library Material Reconsideration Form.

The director will reply in writing to the patron that the form has been received and a review team has been called to read/view the content.

If the review team considers the item appropriate, it will remain in the collection, if not it will be removed.

If the patron is dissatisfied with the findings of the review team, he/she may appeal to the Richards Library Board of Trustees.  The Board will then review the item and has ultimate say as to the suitability of the item for the collection of The Richards Library or whether it has been properly classified.

Review Team

The review team shall consist of five persons from the community acknowledged to be impartial and knowledgeable of literature and presentation.


The Richards Library will not condone or participate in any change in the access status of material, based on the content of the work and made by a governing authority or its representatives. Such changes include exclusion, restriction, removal, or age/grade levelchanges.


American Library Association

Belinda Boon, The CREW Method; Expanded Guidelines for Collection Evaluation and Weeding for Small and Medium-Sized Public Libraries (Austin, Texas: The Texas State Library, 1995).

Kalamazoo Public Library

New York Libraries Trustees Online

New York Public Library