Collection Development and Selection Policy


This Collection Development and Selection Policy is used as a guide to direct the Library Director and all branch librarians and other employees in the various aspects of collection development, including selection, acquisitions, and discarding of materials.

Authority and Responsibility for Collection Development

The ultimate responsibility for the selection of all library materials rests with the Library Director who operates within the framework of policies determined by the Board of Trustees. Under his/her direction, the library staff-qualified for selection of materials by reason of education, training, experience, and knowledge of the community served-make selection choices. Citizens are invited to offer suggestions for purchases.

Statement of Objectives

The primary objective for collection development of Doniphan-Ripley County Library is to provide the resources and services necessary to meet the educational, recreational, cultural, and informational needs of the population served, in accordance with the broad service goals of the library. To support the primary objective, library materials are selected, organized, and made accessible in order to meet the diverse needs of the citizens, industry and government of Ripley County. Branch collections are not as comprehensive as that of the main library. Material is selected according to the needs of a particular community, and in relation to the collection as a whole.

Criteria for Selection

Availability, suitability, and quality of each particular format of materials is considered along with the suitability of subject, style and use by the intended audience. Differences in criteria for adult and youth collections are recognized. Critics’ reviews of materials and information in professional selection aids and standardized lists and bibliographies are recognized sources for consideration for addition to the collection along with:

  1. Need for balance of subjects within the collection
  2. Need for diverse opinions on a subject
  3. Reputation of an author, publisher, editor, or performer
  4. Public demand
  5. Community needs
  6. Individual merit of the item
  7. Cost and budgetary limitations

General Guidelines

The library offers a broad selection of materials to communicate the full complexity of the culture shared by the community. The library collects materials which enable children, adolescents, and adults to educate themselves continuously as a vital supplement to formal education. An item has educational value if it contributes to the positive growth of a person, either as an individual or as a member of society. In addressing the cultural and educational needs of the community, the library recognizes the importance of a free society of aware and effective citizens, who are familiar with their past heritage and with the essential issues underlying decisions for the future. The library does not need to be, and cannot afford to be, a storehouse of last resort for the world’s knowledge. The library recognizes that other libraries function to satisfy specialized research needs¬† but the library recognizes fundamental informational needs of the public in an increasingly complex and technological society and the unique community role that it plays in providing practical and immediately useful public, personal, business and governmental information. The library provides reference staff and materials consistent with budgetary constraints and makes use of specialized reference materials and internet resources through appropriate services such as interlibrary loan and telecommunications. The library recognizes the recreational reading needs of the community. Materials are selected not only for their permanent value, but also because of community demand. Citizens want to read novels, be familiar with issues, view the video recordings, and hear the audio recordings currently popular in the nation’s culture. It is the obligation of their tax-supported library to provide such materials, in sufficient quantity to truly meet the demand.

Selection is a judgmental and interpretive process, involving general knowledge of the subject and its importance; familiarity with the materials in the collection; awareness of the materials available on the subject; and recognition of the needs of the community. Items are selected for various reasons, including permanence of value, currency of interest, diversity of viewpoint, and creative merit, but all items selected should have a reasonable probability of being needed and used by the local community. Citizens’ needs are central to the selection process. With finite staff, funds and space, every purchase is measured in terms of use by the public. Procedures for selecting materials and evaluating the collection focus quickly, accurately, and effectively on anticipating public needs, as indicated by subject and title circulation patterns, reserve and inter-library loan requests, explicit patron suggestions, observed failures in meeting requests for specific titles, and other user-centered measures.

Patron Challenges to the Collection

Within the framework of the Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read, and Intellectual Freedom statements, the library will provide materials representing all approaches to public issues of a controversial nature.

The librarians and trustees are aware that one or more persons may take issue with the selection of any specific item, and welcome any expression of opinion by patrons, but do not undertake the task of pleasing all patrons by the elimination of all items purchased under guidance of the policies herein. To provide a resource where the free individual can examine many points of view and form their own decisions is one of the essential purposes of the library.

Provisions have been made and procedures established which will insure consideration of any request for restriction or removal of any item in the library’s collection. However, until such an examination has been made, and a decision reached by the library director, no such restriction or removal shall take place. Since all political, religious, and social opinions may be represented in a public library, no group or individual will be permitted to impose partisan emphasis upon the library’s collection. Frankness of language will never, in itself, be considered sufficient justification to restrict or remove library materials. Each book, or other item, just as each human being, must be judged on it’s own individual merit.

If a complaint cannot be resolved by the staff or the director, a written complaint should be submitted to the director. The director shall then present the complaint to the Library Board of Trustees for their consideration. The Board of Trustees have the responsibility to determine, by majority vote, the final decision. Any action upon the request will be deferred until the request has received full consideration by the Library Director and the Board of Trustees.

Specific Considerations

Collection Maintenance


  1. The library recognizes the purposes and resources of other libraries and institutions in the community and does not needlessly duplicate functions and materials.
  2. The library does not attempt to acquire textbooks, journals or other curriculum and professional related materials, except as such materials also serve the general public.
  3. Because the library serves a public embracing a wide range of ages, educational background, reading and viewing skills, it provides materials of varying complexity.
  4. The library attempts to respond to the special characteristics of the community in determining the public need for specific subjects and types of materials.
  5. The library provides materials in any format that helps meet it’s objectives. Formats may include, books, periodicals, pamphlets, newspapers, audio recordings, video recordings, and computerized databases.
  6. Materials that are no longer useful are systematically removed from the collection and disposed of according to the policy for disposition of library materials approved by the Board of Trustees.
  7. The library depends upon a variety of resources in evaluating materials to be added to the collection, including reviews, patron recommendations, award lists, media trade information, and bibliographies. Bestseller lists, and other indicators of potential interest are used to anticipate popular demand.
  8. The library emphasizes expedient purchasing and processing so that materials are available when public interest is high.
  9. The selection criteria described in this policy are used in the evaluation of gifts of potential library materials, within the framework established by the gifts policy approved by the Board of Trustees.
  10. Items locally published or produced are evaluated by the same criteria as other acquisitions, such as probable citizen interest and permanent value. Locally created items may be given special consideration because of their community interest, at the discretion of the librarian.
  11. The library does not accept individual items or collections, whether temporarily or permanently, for the convenience of members of particular organizations rather than for the use of the general public. The only exception which may be made is for local genealogy.
  12. The library maintains separate collections on the basis of format, function, and age of audience.
  13. The library will not attempt to replace school libraries, but merely supplement that function on a limited basis.

Doniphan-Ripley County Library is not a library of historical record, except in the area of local history and genealogy. To ensure a vital collection of continued value, materials that have outlived their usefulness are withdrawn. The MUSTIE* criteria are used for evaluation. Items that are out-of-date, worn out, soiled, damaged beyond simple repair, or no longer used should be withdrawn.

*Misleading and/or factually inaccurate

  Ugly (worn out beyond mending or rebinding)

Superseded by a new edition or a better source

Trivial (of no discernable literary or scientific merit)

Irrelevant to the needs and interests of your community

Elsewhere (the material may be easily borrowed from another source)


Materials that are no longer in active use at a location may be transferred to the main library or branch at the discretion of the library director.


Gift materials (including memorials), regardless of format, are accepted with the understanding that they will be used or disposed of as the library sees fit. The same criteria used for the purchase of new materials will be applied to the inclusion of gift materials into the collection. When a book paid for by memorial funds is weeded, the memorial bookplate will be removed, reprinted and placed in another book. The library does not provide a monetary evaluation of any gifts for tax deductions or other purposes.


The library does not automatically replace all materials withdrawn from the collection. The need for replacement is judged by the age of the material and the existence in the system of more current coverage of the same subject; availability of more recent and/or comprehensive materials, or similar material in different format; number of additional copies available in the system; public demand for the title; cost.

Disposal of withdrawn materials

Materials that have been withdrawn from the collection may be sold, discarded, or given away to local organizations.