Policies – D004

D-004 : Collection Development Policy

In the tradition of public libraries, the Richmond Heights Memorial Library provides a variety of materials and services to all citizens in our diverse community, which represents a wide range of economic, educational, and ethnic backgrounds. The Library's principal responsibility is to select, acquire, organize, and preserve a broad range of materials, including print, non-print, and electronic media sources for the education, intellectual stimulation, and pleasure of the entire community. The library upholds the principles of intellectual freedom and the public's right to know by providing people of all ages with access and guidance to information and collections that reflect all points of view. Library services and programs are targeted to adults, young adults, and children. The Library encourages the use of its services and facilities by informing the public of their availability.

Reviewed and Adopted by the Richmond Heights Memorial Library Board of Trustees

March, 2015

Overall Collection

Selection of materials across all RHML Collections is based upon recognition of the needs of the community and on the knowledge and ability of the professional Library Staff to recognize those needs and, using their command of current publishing trends and formats, seek out those materials which will fill those needs. The Library Collection performs as one unit. Materials are purchased to serve children, young adults and adults of varying educational and skill levels. Though these categories are recognized as somewhat distinct, all areas of the Collection are drawn upon to serve any given patron. Therefore, cooperation and communication among selectors is essential in order to have the best possible collection without duplication of effort or materials and to prevent gaps in the collection.

Circulating Collection

The following criteria are used in the selection of materials for the Library's Collection: popularity, literary merit, enduring value, accuracy, authoritativeness, social significance, importance of the subject matter to the Collection, cost, scarcity of material on the subject and availability elsewhere. Quality and suitability of the format are also considered. Selections are made with a constant awareness of the need to build a well-balanced collection that includes varying viewpoints and opinions.

Interlibrary Loan service is also used for materials not available within the Consortium. All interlibrary loans will be considered for purchase by ordering staff, with particular attention paid to recently published items and items that are interlibrary-loaned frequently.

Audio-Visual Collections

The same selection criteria governing circulating print materials are also applied to the purchase of materials in this category.

New Formats

As new media and ways of accessing and/or viewing information and entertainment become available, each will be evaluated for inclusion in the Collection keeping in mind all previously mentioned criteria as well as fulfilling the roll of the Library as an institution which facilitates the introduction of new technologies to the public.

Newspapers and Magazines

The same basic selection criteria governing circulating print materials are also applied to the purchase of materials in this category. Additional criteria also apply to these materials: value as a reflection of the current scene and, availability on the Internet.

The Reference Collection

The Library will provide a thorough, basic, and general-purpose reference collection in order to meet the needs of our patrons. A collection of research depth is beyond the mission and monetary scope of the Library. Patrons requiring more in-depth research sources will be referred to other appropriate academic, special or major public libraries or agencies in the area.

Electronic Resources Collection

The same selection criteria governing print reference sources apply to these Electronic Information Resources. In addition to these considerations, the following criteria apply: timeliness in updating information, ease of use for public and staff, cost, and acceptable licensing agreements.

Internet Sites. The Library actively seeks out World Wide Web sites that offer reliable, useful information on subjects that are of use to the public. For children, the Library also seeks out World Wide Web sites of educational and entertainment value as well. These sites are communicated to the public through a variety of means, including printed lists, one-on-one interactions with patrons and links from the Library Web Page.

Receipt of Gifts Policy

The Richmond Heights Memorial Library welcomes gifts of new and gently used books, audiorecordings on CD, DVDs, and similar materials. Items will be added to the collection in accordance with the Collection Development Policy of the Library. Once donated, items become the property of the Library, and may be given to other libraries and non-profit agencies, sold, traded, or discarded if they are not added to the collection. Donated items will not be returned to the donor and the Library will not accept any item that is not an outright gift. The Library will acknowledge receipt of donated items but is unable to set fair market or appraisal values. The Library reserves the right to decide when a gift added to the collection must be withdrawn.

Monetary gifts, bequests, and memorial or honorary contributions are particularly welcome. Funds donated will be used to purchase items in accordance with the Collection Development Policy of the Library. Items purchased with bequests and memorial or honorary contributions will be identified with special donor plates whenever possible. If requested, notification of memorial or honorary contributions will be sent to the family of the person being recognized. Suggestions for subject areas or other areas of interest are welcome and will be followed to the extent possible.

Acceptance of major donations of equipment, real estate, stock, artifacts, works of art, collections, etc., will be determined by the Board of Trustees based on their suitability to the purposes and needs of the Library, laws and regulations that govern the ownership of the gift, and the Library's ability to cover insurance and maintenance costs associated with the donation.

Reviewed and Adopted by the Richmond Heights Memorial Library
Board of Trustees
March, 2015

Request for Reconsideration of Materials Policy

Richmond Heights Memorial Library welcomes comments and suggestions regarding the continued appropriateness of materials. Suggestions will be considered and utilized by the library in the ongoing process of collection development.

Individuals may take issue with library materials that do not support their tastes and views. Staff is available to discuss concerns and identify alternate materials that may be available. If a patron's concern is not satisfied through discussion with staff, a formal, written request for consideration of materials may be submitted to the Library Director. Copies of this form are available at the Reference Desk or from the Director's office.

The Library is not a judicial body. Laws governing obscenity, subversive materials, and other questionable matters are subject to interpretation by the courts. Therefore, no challenged material will be removed solely for the complaint of obscenity or any other category covered by the material. No materials will be knowingly added to the Library's Collections that have been previously determined to be in non-compliance with local laws.

For a request for reconsideration to be considered, the form must be completed in full. The patron submitting the request must be a resident of Richmond Heights and hold a valid borrower's card. The Director will respond, in writing within thirty days of receipt, to the patron's request for reconsideration. The response will indicate the action to be taken and reasons for or against the request. An item will only be evaluated for reconsideration once in a twelve-month period.

Reviewed and Adopted by the Richmond Heights Memorial Library
Board of Trustees
March, 2015


In order to maintain a current, relevant and useful collection, regular and ongoing evaluation and identification of materials for removal from the Collection is as important as selection. Criteria used to evaluate materials for de-selection include: outdated information, significant wear, lack of interest in a subject area demonstrated by lack of use, availability of newer and/or more reliable sources on a subject, and consideration of space available in the Library.

Items may be identified for repair, replacement, or retention based on the following criteria: enduring importance or literary value, continuing popularity with local population, lack of sources for replacement of an item or coverage of a subject.

Library Bill of Rights

The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.

  1. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background or views of those contributing to their creation.
  2. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
  3. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
  4. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
  5. A person's right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
  6. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on a equitable basis, regardless of the belief or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.
Adopted June 18, 1948; amended February 2, 1961, and January 23, 1980;  inclusion of "age" reaffirmed January 23,1996 by the ALA Council.

Formally Endorsed by Richmond Heights Memorial Library
Board of Trustees

May 21, 2001
Reviewed and adopted by Board of Trustees, March, 2015