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Collection Development Policy
Trenton Public Library
Last reviewed and revised: August 3, 2016


  1. Selection of Materials

    Library materials will be selected to fulfill the purpose of the library as stated in the bylaws. Books and other material shall be selected for the advancement of knowledge, education and entertainment of the people of the community.

    Contemporary significance and permanent value shall be considered in selection. Items for enlightenment and recreation will be made available, even though such materials may not have enduring interest or value. Items will be added for the enrichment of the permanent collection.

    Basic to this policy is the Library Bill of Rights as adopted by the American Library Association which states, among other things:

    As a responsibility of the library service, books and other reading matter should be chosen for values of interest, information and enlightenment of all people in the community. In no case should any book be excluded because of race or nationality or the political or religious views of the writer. There should be the fullest practicable provision of material presenting all points of view concerning the issues of our times – international, national, and local; and books or other matter of sound factual authority should not be proscribed or removed from the library because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

    The library recognizes that many items are controversial and that any given item may offend some patrons. Selection will not be made on the basis of any anticipated approval or disapproval, but solely on the merits of the work in relation to building a well-rounded collection to serve the interests of the library patron.

  2. Guidelines for Selection

    To build a collection of merit and significance, material must be measured by objective guidelines. All acquisitions whether purchased or donated, are considered in terms of the following standards. Clearly, however, an item may not meet all criteria in order to be accepted. When judging the quality of the materials, several standards and combinations of standards may be used. Some material may be judged on artistic merit, while others may be considered because of scholarship, value as human documents, or ability to satisfy the recreational and entertainment needs of the community.

    1. General Criteria

      • Suitability of physical form for library use
      • Insight into human and social condition
      • Suitability of the subject and style for the intended audience
      • Present and potential relevance to community needs
      • Appropriateness and effectiveness of the medium on the subject
      • Importance as a document of the time
      • Relation of existing collection and other materials on the subject
      • Reputation and/or significance of the author
      • Attention of critics, reviewers, and the public


    2. Specific Criteria for the Evaluation of Works of Information and Opinion

      • Authority
      • Comprehensiveness and depth of treatment
      • Clarity, accuracy and logic of presentation
      • Statement of challenging or original point of view


    3. Specific Criteria for the Evaluation of Works of Imagination

      • Representation of important movement, genre, trend, or culture
      • Vitality and originality
      • Artistic presentation and experimentation
      • Sustained interest
      • Effective characterization
      • Authenticity of historical, regional, or social setting


    Items having a widespread demand may or may not meet the general or specific criteria contained in this policy. However demand is a vital factor in selection, and it shall be considered an important factor in cases as books on best seller lists for which there is persistent local demand. The collection must contain the various positions expressed on important, complicated, or controversial questions, including unpopular or unorthodox positions. The public library does not promote particular beliefs or views. It provides a resource where the individual can examine freely and make a personal decision.


  3. Guidelines for Material Retirement

  4. To maintain a library with the capabilities to acquire new materials it is necessary to periodically retire materials that no longer attract the attentions and focus of our patrons. The guidelines by which material retirement is determined is to be established by the director of the library and the governing board of directors.


    1. General Criteria

      • Materials must be dormant in circulation for at least five years
      • Materials that are less than five years must be irreparably damaged.
      • Materials that are lost or not returned are considered retired and replacement is subject to patron interest or discretion if the director.

    2. Specific Criteria

      • By the advice of the board it is incumbent on the library director to maintain a collection of books considered “classic” or of such renown that a library must consider such materials necessary in their collection. This is a difficult criteria and is an ongoing issue at the discretion of the director. Such materials are to be maintained and not retired but replaced as need dictates.

Copyright© 2010 - 2017

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