Collection Development Policy

Created 2005; revised 2022

  • 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, found in Appendixes A and B respectively.



    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)
    • Non-Fiction (including some materials for curriculum support)
    • Non-traditional materials (games, tools, etc.)



    • Textbooks
    • Rare books
    • Computer software
    • E-materials (provided through Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh)
    • Online databases (provided through eiNetwork and Commonwealth Libraries)



    BBPL selects material for its collection in accordance with professionally accepted guidelines. The library aims to provide a variety of types of resources to satisfy readers of differing tastes, interests, and reading skills. 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. The library collects materials in a variety of formats (print, audiovisual, physical, and digital) which hold value, contemporary significance, and special interest to the community.


    There is no single standard by which to judge materials, however, the following criteria will be considered:

    • Popular demand
    • Reputation of the author and/or publisher
    • Literary and artistic merit
    • Appropriateness to the interests and skills of the intended users
    • Physical and technical qualities of the item (clarity of picture and sound quality)
    • Publication date
    • Authoritativeness of the writer and reputation of the publisher
    • Accuracy of information
    • Physical qualities of the item (binding, paper, etc.)
    • 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)



    Responsibility for selection. The Board of Trustees approves the Collection Development policy for 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 users 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.


    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.





    The library values the principles of diversity, equality, and inclusion and recognizes that our service area incorporates individuals of all ages who represent various racial and ethnic backgrounds, economic levels, educational levels, and physical and mental abilities. The library seeks to develop collections that contain content by and about a wide array of people and cultures to authentically reflect a variety of ideas, information, stories, and experiences.

    Librarians and staff responsible for the development and management of library collections will consider the following:

    • Regularly review current and emerging demographic trends
    • Promote awareness of diverse issues and not exclude material that could be considered offensive
    • Provide an equitable basis for the purchase of materials
    • Provide resources in formats that meet the needs of users with disabilities



    Self-published titles are held to the same criteria as any other work the library evaluates for the collection. Any title accepted becomes exclusive property of the library.  The library reserves the right to deselect the title at any time.



    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)
    • Games
    • DVDs & Blu-Rays
    • Large Type Books




    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. The donor may specify gifts toward the collection, but the library makes the final decision on the material(s) selected.



    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



    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




    1. Library Bill of Rights
    2. Freedom to Read Statement
    3. Statement of Concern Regarding Library Materials Form
    4. Memorial/Honor Book Information Form



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