Collection Development

Ridley Township Public Library Collection Development Policy

Mission Statement of the Ridley Township Public Library

The mission of the Ridley Township Public Library:

  • Engaging Minds
  • Enriching Lives
  • Empowering People
    1. Purpose of Policy
      1. A written collection development policy aids the professional library staff in selecting and acquiring library materials to meet the needs of the community.
      2. To inform the public regarding the presence or absence of certain materials and help to explain the basis on which materials have been selected.
      3. To establish a framework for continuous collection evaluation and improvement.
    2. General Principles Guiding Collection Development
      1. Ridley Township Public Library believes that the right to read and secure information via a variety of methods is basic to our democracy and endorses the following American Library Association statements:
      2. Library Bill of Rights
      3. Freedom to Read
      4. Freedom to View
    3. Objectives in Materials Selection
      1. The purpose of the Ridley Township Public Library is to obtain, organize and make available to all the people of the community informational, educational and recreational materials in convenient form, including print and non-print materials. It is the policy of the library to maintain an up-to-date collection of standard works in all fields of knowledge, that are of permanent value, plus timely materials on current issues and items in current demand.
      2. In addition to the requirements of the general public served, materials will be selected to meet the needs of business, the professions, government, and community organizations. Both the adult and children’s collections will serve as supplementary sources for student use, but materials selected for students must also be useful to the general public. Textbooks will not be purchased.
    4. Responsibility for Materials Selection

As stated in its by-laws the library board delegates to the library director the responsibility for the selection and acquisition of all library materials. The director will establish procedures for involving the professional staff in the selection process.

    1. Selection of Library Materials
      1. Selection Criteria
        1. Critical reviews
        2. Public demand or interest
        3. Qualifications of author in subject field
        4. Reputation of the publisher
        5. Quality of writing (style, readability)
        6. Availability or holdings of material from other libraries
        7. Popularity
        8. Date of publication
        9. Quality of format
        10. Local, national or historical significance
        11. Cost
        12. Scope and authority of subject matter
        13. Materials supporting school district curriculums
      2. Selection Tools
        1. Reviews in professionally recognized periodicals are a primary source for materials selection. These may include, but are not limited to: Kirkus Review, Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, Library Journal, and School Library Journal.
        2. Librarians may also select materials that are being reviewed in other sources such as magazines, newspapers, broadcast media, and online sources.
        3. All requests from patrons for specific titles or subjects will be considered. Whenever there is enough demand or interest in a title or subject, an item with unfavorable reviews may be purchased.
        4. The library does not sanction any particular beliefs or views and materials are purchased in an effort to reflect all sides of an issue.
        5. Specialized materials of limited community interest will not ordinarily be purchased.
        6. The staff selectors may also purchase materials based on analysis of community needs and interests.
        7. Holdings and availability of other area library resources will be considered.
      3. Nonfiction Materials

The Head of Reference will select all adult and young adult nonfiction materials based on the tools and criteria listed above. Nonfiction materials will cover a broad range of subjects and interests. Materials will be selected with the goal of maintaining a solid collection in each area of the Dewey Decimal System.

Young adult nonfiction will be selected largely, but not entirely, to support curriculum needs. It is interfiled with adult nonfiction on library shelves.

        1. Formats: Hardcover and softcover books; books on CD; Playaways.
      1. Fiction Materials

The Public Services Librarian and Young Adult staff will select adult and young adult fiction. Fiction is an imaginative form of narrative appealing to individual tastes and preferences. Therefore, there is no single standard by which to judge and materials will be selected based on the aforementioned tools and criteria.

        1. Genres: General Fiction; Mystery Fiction; Western Fiction; Science Fiction; Romance Fiction; Classic Literature; Graphic Novels.
        2. Formats: Hardcover; paperback; books on CD; books on cassette tape; Playaways; softcover.
      1. Young Adult Fiction Collection

The Young Adult Collection is designed to serve the interests of young people aged 12 through 18. The Library recognizes that certain subjects and materials are of special interest or have a unique appeal to adolescents. The wide range of maturity and reading levels, interests and views of this group are reflected in the materials. The collection includes classic and contemporary authors, popular series, audiobooks, and a variety of magazines.

        1. Genres: Mystery; Science Fiction; Historical Fiction, General Fiction.
        2. Formats: Hardcover; paperback, books on CD; Playaways; Periodicals.
      1. Reference Materials

The Ridley Township Public Library is an Area Resource Center of the Delaware County Library System. The Head of Reference selects material for the Reference collection with the aim of providing an up to date, authoritative collection of information on many subjects. The collection includes mainly almanacs, handbooks, directories, yearbooks, price guides, statistical compilations, atlases, dictionaries, and encyclopedias. Reference materials are designed to be consulted for specific information, rather than to be read in their entirety.

Due to frequency of use by staff and patrons and high cost of materials, these items normally remain in the library at all times. However, at the discretion of the librarian on duty, certain titles are allowed to circulate for 1-2 days. Exceptions will not apply to items that are parts of encyclopedias or other expensive sets. When possible, an effort will be made to purchase a circulating copy of selected titles.

        1. Formats: Reference materials will be purchased in hardcover, if available. Softcover materials are also purchased, when they are the only format available. Many annual publications, such as price guides and college handbooks, are only available in softcover.
      1. Juvenile Materials

All purchases of juvenile materials are selected by the Head of Children’s Services. Juvenile materials consist of items for juveniles ages birth to 14. Materials of both an informational and recreational nature will be purchased. The goal of the library is to purchase items that will meet the needs of the majority of children within the community. The same criteria and selection tools previously mentioned will be used when adding items to the juvenile collection.

The responsibility and use of the library by children lies solely with their parents or legal guardians. The library staff will not act in place of a parent. We do not restrict children from any areas of the library and children, with a valid library card, may borrow all materials with the exception of DVDs and Video Games.

        1. Genres include, but are not limited to: Mystery Fiction; Fantasy Fiction; Historical Fiction; Science Fiction; Picture Books; Leveled Readers; Nonfiction; Reference; Award-Winning books.
        2. Formats: Hardcover; paperback; board books; picture books; graphic novels; books on CD, Playaways.
      1. Periodicals

The library maintains a collection of magazines and journals for browsing rather than research. All magazines/journals may circulate with the exception of the current week’s edition. The periodical collection is evaluated once per year. The criteria for the selection of periodicals is based on:

        1. Appeal and needs of the community
        2. Individual costs of the subscription
        3. Accessibility of contents via online databases or online indexes
        4. Patron and/or staff requests
      1. Audiovisual Materials
        1. Music Recordings: Music CDs are selected primarily from bestseller lists in newspapers, magazines, and online sources, such as Amazon.com. Lists of “must have” recordings in library periodicals are considered. Patron and staff requests, and recommendations by the Teen Council, are also considered, and usually met. An attempt is made to maintain a core collection of music in the categories of classical, jazz, country, pop/rock and soundtracks.
        2. Video Recordings (DVDs): These are purchased mainly to meet the recreational needs of library patrons. Recently released feature films and selected classic films make up the majority of the collection. A small collection of nonfiction DVDs is intended to serve the educational and informational needs of library users.
        3. CD-ROMs: These are purchased for the adult collection on the basis of reviews and best seller lists, with consideration of the particular needs of the Ridley Township community.
        4. Video Games: Video Games are purchased based on “New Release” information and best seller/most purchased lists from various video game retailers. Patron requests and suggestions will also be considered for purchases. The library does not purchase video games rated “M” for Mature.
        5. Books on CD: The library maintains an up-to-date collection of CDs used for learning many different foreign languages.
    1. Controversial Issues

The Library recognizes its responsibility in having available a representative collection of titles on subjects of interest to its readers, including materials on various sides of controversial questions. In an endeavor to provide material that will enable the citizen to make up his/her own mind on controversial subjects, the Library will provide frankly argumentative works representing a wide variety of viewpoints. Variety and balance of opinion are sought whenever available. The Library provides a resource where individuals can examine issues freely and make their own decisions.

By its very nature and role the collection will contain materials that are controversial. As expressed in the Freedom to Read Statement, the Library supports the belief “that ideas can be dangerous, but, that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society. Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.”

It should be understood and emphasized that the purchase or acceptance of a particular item does not necessarily put the Library’s stamp of approval on it. As a public institution the Library takes no sides on public questions. A book or other item is selected or rejected for inclusion without regard to whether it agrees or disagrees with the opinions of any or all members of its staff or Board. Selection will not be made on the basis of any anticipated approval or disapproval but solely on the merits of the work as outlined in this policy.

    1. Replacement and Maintenance
      1. Maintenance

The library keeps its collection vital and useful by retaining or replacing essential material, and removing on a systematic and continuous basis those works that are worn, outdated, of little historical significance or no longer in demand. “Weeding” the collection is a form of selection and is practiced on a continuous basis in order to maintain a live and useful collection of information and knowledge. Some factors to be considered in weeding are:

        1. The physical condition of the book or material.
        2. The past use of the material, which is a strong indicator of future use.
        3. Subject matter is no longer of current interest.
        4. Information contained within the material is outdated or inaccurate.
        5. Multiple copies of books that have waned in popularity.
      1. Replacement
        1. The library does not replace all materials that are weeded from the collection. Decisions regarding replacement of materials are based on the following criteria:
          1. Number of copies already in the collection
          2. Cost of replacing the item
          3. Popularity and/or demand
          4. Critical or historical significance
          5. Availability for re-ordering
    1. Gifts, Memorials and Donations

The library will encourage and accept gifts with the understanding that gifts of books and related materials will be added to the collection only if they meet the same standards required of purchased materials. Gift materials not meeting those standards, those that are out-of-date, unneeded duplicates of items already owned, or those in a format unsuitable for library use, may be given to other organizations, sold, exchanged, recycled or discarded.

Gift items will be integrated into the regular collection in normal sequence, available to all library patrons, and otherwise handled as any other material belonging to the library. Gift items may be marked by the library with an appropriate bookplate. An acknowledgement of receipt of a gift or donation will be made for tax purposes if the donor requests it at the time of donation. No estimate of dollar value will be made.

Whenever a gift book or other item is no longer needed, it will be disposed of in the same manner as purchased material.

The donor and the librarian, on consideration of the interests of the deceased, the needs of the library community, and the cost of the material, will make the selection of a title for memorial donation. A suitable bookplate will be provided.

    1. Reconsideration of Library Materials

Whenever any patron objects to the presence or absence of any material in the library, the complaint will be given hearing. All complaints to staff members will be referred to a librarian who will discuss the matter with the complainant. If after the discussion the patron still wishes, the librarian will supply him/her with the Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials form, appended. The form must be filled out in its entirety and returned to a staff member, librarian or library director. The librarian in charge of the selection will examine the item in question; check reviews, circulation history, the item’s place within the collection and whether it conforms to the standards of the collection development policy. If it is a request for the addition of an item that has been rejected by the library, the librarian will reconsider its addition. The Library Director, after consultation with the appropriate staff librarian(s), will decide whether or not to add, withdraw, or restrict the material in question. The complainant will be contacted by the director in writing regarding the decision. A record of the complaint will be kept on file. Materials subject to complaint shall not be removed from use pending final action.

If the library patron is not satisfied with the director’s decision, they may contact the Board of Trustees, in writing. The Board of Trustees will form a special committee to review and reevaluate the material in question. The special committee will report their findings and recommendations to the entire Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees will make a final decision after the report and recommendations. The director will notify the patron of the Board’s decision. The decision of the Board of Trustees is final.

The Board of Trustees approves this Library Collection Development Policy as the official policy of the Ridley Township Public Library. This policy will be revised and amended as needed.

Approved and adopted by the Board of Trustees May 18, 2009. Revised Dec. 1, 2014.