Collection Development Policy

Created 2005; revised 2012

Baldwin Borough Public Library (BBPL) acquires, organizes, and provides open access to information, resources and services that inspire and help community residents meet their lifelong personal, educational, cultural, vocational, and recreational information needs.

The library recognizes the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement adopted by the American Library Association.

This collection development policy defines the standards and outlines the responsibility for materials selection for BBPL. Within these guidelines, the Director or staff that he/she designates will use their professional judgment to determine the materials which best meet the objectives of the library as a place to inspire, enrich, learn and grow and meet the need of its patrons.

The following collection development priorities have been determined for all material formats:

  • Fiction
  • Audio-visual (video, recorded books, recorded music)
  • Non-Fiction (including some materials for curriculum support)
  • Periodicals


  • Textbooks
  • Rare books
  • Computers software
  • Online databases (provided through eiNetwork and Commonwealth Libraries)

BBPL selects material for its collection in accordance with professionally accepted guidelines. The library will attempt to represent all approaches to public issues of a controversial nature. The library does not sanction particular beliefs or views, nor is the selection of any given item equivalent to an endorsement of the author’s viewpoint.

The selection of materials is governed by the library’s mission statement, its assessment of the present and future needs of the community, its recognition of and cooperation with neighboring libraries accessible to residents, and the limitations of space and budget.

Fiction Criteria. The library aims to provide a variety of types of fiction to satisfy readers of differing tastes, interests, and reading skills. There is no single standard by which to judge fiction, however, the following criteria will be considered:

  • Popular demand
  • Reputation of the author and/or publisher
  • Literary merit
  • Physical qualities of the item (clarity of picture and sound quality)
  • Cost

Video. The goal of the library is to provide a collection of feature, instructional, educational, and literature-based videos that will enhance the library’s collection. The following selection criteria will be considered:

  • Popular demand
  • Appropriateness to the interests and skills of the intended users
  • Artistic merit and reputation of the performers
  • Technical quality (clarity of picture and sound quality)
  • Cost

Audio Books. The library seeks to provide a collection of recorded books that parallels most areas of the general collection. Efforts are made to select a variety of topics and to appeal to a range of interests. The following criteria will be considered.

  • Popular demand
  • Availability of unabridged version
  • Authority and competency of producer
  • Artistic merit and reputation of the reader
  • Technical quality (sound)
  • Cost

Recorded Music. The library seeks to provide a collection of music of enduring popularity. The following criteria will be taken into account when selecting recordings:

  • Popular demand
  • Artistic merit
  • Authority and competency of producer
  • Technical quality (sound)
  • Cost

Non-fiction Criteria. The library acquires materials of permanent and current interests in all subjects based upon the individual’s right and duty to make decisions for him/her. Each item is evaluated in its entirety and not on the basis of a particular section. The following general criteria will be considered when selecting materials:

  • Popular demand
  • Authoritativeness of the writer and reputation of the publisher
  • Accuracy of information
  • Appropriateness and relevancy of subject by library users
  • Physical qualities of the item (binding, paper, etc.)
  • Publication date
  • Cost

Reference. Reference materials are those designed by the arrangement and treatment of their subject matter to be consulted for definite items of information rather than to be read consecutively. Because of the availability of such information on-line collection of reference books is limited. These books are now part of the Non-Fiction collection.

Periodicals. Periodicals are publications issued and received on a regular basis. They are intended to complement the book collection. The library does not subscribe to highly specialized or technical periodicals or to professional journals other than those in the field of library science. Many are available in Online databases (provided through eiNetwork and Commonwealth Libraries)

Periodicals are selected according to the following criteria:

  • Popular demand
  • Whether the periodical has local or regional interest
  • Cost


Responsibility for selection. The Board of Trustees approves the Collection Development policy for the BBPL. The responsibility for administering this policy rests with the Director.

Community Participation. Involvement by the community in the selection process is encouraged and can be achieved through the following mechanisms:

  • Reserve requests – the general public may reserve currently checked out circulating materials. The library may consider adding duplicate copies to satisfy the expressed demand.
  • Purchase suggestions – Library user are encouraged to suggest titles and/or subjects that they would like to see in the collection. Suggestions can be made to any staff member. In such cased, the stated selection criteria will be taken into account.
  • Statement of Concern Regarding Library Materials – There may be occasions when a member of the community may be concerned about a particular item in the library’s collection. If a patron wishes the library to reconsider material that is in the collection, a form (Appendix C) is available from the circulation desk this form must be completed in its entirety and returned to a library staff member. Once the form is received, the Director will review the request, the item’s place in the collection, and reasons for including the item in the collection. The Director will then contact the patron. A copy of the letter will be filed and the Board of Trustees will be informed.

If the patron is not satisfied at this level, he/she will be invited to attend the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Trustees. The Board, after hearing the complaint and considering the material, will notify the patron in writing of the Board’s decision. Final authority rests with the Library Board of Trustees. 

Selection Tools. Professional staff members are expected to read current library and review journals or on-line selection tools in order to suggest materials for purchase. In addition, librarians should be aware of materials that are being reviewed in other sources, such as major national and local print media, broadcast media and on-line sites.

Although the majority of the library’s collection is offered in the traditional print format, valuable information is also available in audio-visual and electronic formats. Materials will be selected and purchased in the most appropriate format for library use, including but not limited to:

  • Hardcover books
  • Paperback books (trade and mass market)
  • Serials/periodicals
  • DVD
  • Compact Discs
  • Large Type Books
  • Electronic (on-line databases, e-books)
  • E-books

Materials donated to the library must meet the same standards as other materials for inclusion in the library’s collection. If a donated item is not added to the collection of BBPL, it may be given to another library, placed in the library’s book sale or discarded. The revenue from any item sold will be used to benefit the library. All gifts are accepted with the understanding that someday it may be necessary to deselect the item (s). The library cannot commit to perpetually housing a donation.

Criteria. The library accepts donations for the collection that meet the following criteria:

  • Fiction and non-fiction titles that are less than three (3) years old
  • Children’s titles
  • Audio-visual materials in good condition

The library cannot accept items that are:

  • Marked
  • Yellowed
  • Brittle
  • Infected
  • Musty
  • Damaged
  • Duplicates of an item which the library already has a sufficient number
  • Outdated items
  • Condensed/abridged titles
  • Textbooks

Books of lesser quality that cannot be used for the collection may be placed in the Book sale.

Gifts and memorials. The library welcomes monetary contributions specifically for book purchases in memorial or honor of named individuals. Books given as memorials must meet the same standards as other materials selected for inclusion in the library’s collection. In order to properly honor the generosity, a special form (appendix D) to record the information is used and should be completed by the donor. The library cannot commit to perpetually housing a donation.

De-selection. De-selection of library materials, or weeding, is an integral part of collection development. Materials are withdrawn from the library’s collection through systematic weeding or because of loss or physical damage. The following categories of materials will be considered for de-selection:

  • Worn or mutilated items
  • Duplicate copies of seldom used titles
  • Materials which contain outdated or inaccurate information
  • Superseded editions or specific titles
  • Materials no longer of interest or demand

Replacement. While the library attempts to maintain copies of standard and important works, it does not automatically replace all materials withdrawn due to loss or physical damage. Decisions concerning the replacement of individual items are based on the following considerations:

  • Demand for the item
  • Number of copies held
  • Existing coverage of the subject within the collection
  • Accuracy of its contents
  • Availability of title for reorder
  • Cost of mending versus cost of replacement
  • Availability of title from other libraries in Allegheny County


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