Collection Development Policy


This policy governs the selection and maintenance of the Halifax County – South Boston Public Library System collection of materials. In keeping with the library’s mission statement, collection development should enrich life, inspire lifelong learning, foster literacy and stimulate the imagination. Also to be considered is that the ideal public library strives to offers free access to information reflecting differing viewpoints, needs and interests in order to support an open and democratic society.


The Collection Development Policy is in accordance with the American Library Association guidelines including the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read statement.



The intention of this policy is to help guide selectors in the process of evaluating and selecting materials which anticipate and satisfy the needs of the residents of Halifax County and the Town of South Boston as well as to explain the collection development process to other staff and patrons of the library. The main points of this policy include: objectives, responsibility of selectors, criteria for selection, collection maintenance, gifts, and requests for reconsideration.



The HCSB Public Library will make available a wide variety of print and non-print materials that improve, change, enrich and provide enjoyment even if the materials do not have interminable relevancy or value.


1. The collection is not archival and is continuously reviewed to make the best use of space and to remain contemporary.

2. The collection will reflect a variety of opinions (minority and majority) on a subject.

3. The collection will meet the needs of a broad range of people while paying special attention to local concerns and interests.


Responsibility of Selectors

Final selection of materials is the responsibility of the Library Director who oversees the entire process of collection development and to delegate the authority and responsibility to certain staff to be selectors, to make day-to-day decisions and interpret the policy.


Appointments to the collection development team are based on education, training and expertise, and are as follows:


1. The Library Director coordinates the entire selection process and also selects all print and non-print materials for the Halifax library, except for items for the Local History Room.

2. The Branch Manager selects all print and non-print materials for the South Boston library.

3. The staff member responsible for the Local History Room selects all materials for the Local History Room.


Criteria for Selection

Selection of materials, whether they are purchased or donated, is based on the informational, educational, or recreational need of the community and is dependent on space, budget and availability.


A selection standard cannot be applied to all acquisitions to the library. Each item should be considered individually and take in account its intended audience. When available, annotations or descriptions should be taken into account. Some items, however, may be chosen simply on artistic value or scholarship.


In order to build well-rounded collections the following criteria will be applied to selecting items whether they be purchased or donated:


General Criteria:


1. Appropriateness and effectiveness of format.

2. Suitability of subject, style, and reading level for intended audience.

3. Attention given to critics, reviews, public opinion, and professional selection aids.

4. Present and potential relevance to community needs.

5. Importance as a document of the times (publication date).

6. Reputation and/or significance of author, producer or publisher.

7. Prize or honor received.

8. Relation to existing collection and other materials on the subject.

9. Availability and accessibility of the same material in the SOVALUe electronic collection.

10. Demand or request for materials.


Patron requests:


Patrons of the library may request specific item titles to be considered for the collection. These item requests may be turned in to a staff member who will forward the request on to the appropriate member of the collection development team. In most cases the request will be granted. However if the item does not meet the general criteria, the selector reserves the right to reject the request.


Collection Maintenance

All collections of the library should be maintained and weeded in a timely manner. The members of the selection team are responsible for evaluating, maintaining, and weeding the collections they are responsible for.


Weeding Guidelines:


Weeding of the collection insures that materials found in the library are useful and accessible. Collections change over time due to the changing needs of the community.


Criteria used in the weeding process:


* Publication date

* Accuracy of information

* Circulation statistics

* Last use vs. date added

* Subject material

* Duplicates

* Physical condition or overall appearance of the item


Materials that should not be weeded:

* Local history items

* Items by local authors or artists


Withdrawal Process:


The following are the steps to be followed when withdrawing an item:


* Change the status of the item record to “Withdrawn” in the automated library system (Polaris).

* Stamp books “Withdrawn.” Try to concentrate stamping in places where the book has identifying markings such as the title page and the item barcode.

* Place items with other donations to be considered for sale at the bookstore or annual book sale.




A replacement is an item purchased to take the place of an identical title previously in the collection. A selector should consider replacing an item that has been damaged, stolen or lost using the same criteria used in considering an item for purchase. Not all items that are damaged, stolen or lost should automatically be replaced. Donations may be considered as replacements.


Gift Books:


Gift books are books purchased with proceeds from either the Book Endowment Program or money donated for that specific purpose. It is the responsibility of the selection team to select the books. Donors may suggest ideas for subjects or designate a reading level.




Donations of books and other materials are accepted with the understanding that the items might be added to the collection, given to the Friends of the Library for consideration to be sold at their bookstore or sale, or disposed of. New titles acquired in this manner are subject to the basic standards of selection, and replacement and duplicate copies are added to the collection only if needed. Donated books or other material that appear to fulfill a need in the collection should be forwarded to the respective selector for final consideration.


The library will provide receipts indicating the number of donated items upon request for gift books for tax deductions or other purposes.


Reconsideration (Challenges) Procedures

Items that have been accepted into the collection as qualifying under the criteria for selection will not be automatically removed at the request of those who disagree with its content. The following procedures are a guide for handling a request for reconsideration.


1. A member of the Collection Development Team should informally explain to the person who is making a challenge the selection process of the library.

2. If that does not resolve the protest, the complainant will need to fill out a “Request for Reconsideration of Library Material” form.

3. Inform the Library Director of the issue.

4. The challenged material remains on the shelf until a decision is made.

5. Director appoints a Review Committee made up of a member of the staff, the library director, a board member, and a non-partial community representative.

6. The following steps are carried out by the Review Committee


o Read, view, or listen to material

o Reference general acceptance of the item by reading reviews and consulting recommended lists.

o Determine the extent to which the item meets the selection policy, and consider the written complaint.

o Discuss the material confidentially.

o Write a report.

o The library director then presents the committee’s decision.


Approved by the Library Board of Trustees 02/11/2014

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