Collection Development & Reconsideration Policy



Mission statement:

The Chatfield Public Library serves as a vibrant community center which meets the various and ever changing needs of all Chatfield area community members. Services are specialized, individualized and relationship-focused to provide a high quality and positive experience. Patrons can expect friendly and knowledgeable staff, non-biased service and a comfortable physical environment.

Vision statement:

The Chatfield Public Library will continue to be a welcoming and friendly center for the Chatfield area community.  The library’s future includes preserving the Carnegie Library heritage, individualized services to patrons, technological advancements and quality programs.  This vision will be realized through responsible fiscal stewardship and maintaining a flexible position of change and innovation.


Support for Intellectual Freedom

The library provides an impartial environment in which individuals and their interests are brought together with the universe of ideas and information spanning the spectrum of knowledge and opinions. The library board affirms the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to View, and Freedom to Read policy statements in support of acquiring and managing collections.


The library’s materials collection is developed and managed to meet the majority of the cultural, informational, educational, and recreational needs of the library’s service area. Collection development staff maintains a patron-oriented collection by anticipating and responding to needs and expectations.

Collection decisions are made in conjunction with the strategic initiatives, especially the following:

  • Positioning the library as the preferred partner for lifelong learning
  • Embracing diversity
  • Developing library services that incorporate both physical and virtual collections
  • Committing to excellence in service to improve effectiveness and remove barriers

Responsibility for Selection

Staff contributes to the development of patron-oriented collections by:

  • Engaging in open, continuous two-way communication with library patrons and recognizing that individuals have different ways of expressing their needs based on age, language, economic status, culture, or other characteristics
  • Interacting with patrons with understanding, respect, and responsiveness
  • Handling all requests equitably
  • Working in partnership with one another to understand and respond to community needs
  • Understanding and responding to rapidly changing demographics, as well as societal and technological changes
  • Recognizing that materials of varying complexities and formats are necessary to satisfy diverse needs of library users
  • Balancing individual needs and broader community needs in determining the best allocation of collection budget for acquiring or providing access to materials and information
  • Seeking continuous improvement through ongoing measurement
  • Reviewing the collection on a regular basis to identify areas of community interest that may need to be strengthened

Selection Criteria

Public libraries are diverse and represent a broad demographic. With a patron base that can include infants to the elderly, selection criteria should take into account the various interests and needs of the patrons the library serves. Criteria for selection of materials should also depend on the goals and mission of that particular library/system. In general, public libraries provide collections containing a wide variety of material formats, including print, audio-visual, and electronic. In selecting materials and developing collections for adults, as well as for children and teens, library staff includes materials that represent the broad range of human experience, reflecting the ethnic, religious, racial, and socio-economic diversity not only of the region it serves but also the larger global perspective. Library collections will provide a broad range of opinion on current issues.

Collections contain popular works, classic works that have withstood the test of time, and other materials of general interest. Works are not excluded or included in the collection based solely on subject matter or on political, religious, or ideological grounds. In building collections, library staff is guided by the principle of selection, rather than censorship. Furthermore, the selection of a given item for a library’s collections should not be interpreted as an endorsement of a particular viewpoint.

To build a collection of merit, materials are evaluated according to one or more of the following standards. An item need not meet all of these criteria in order to be acceptable.

General Criteria:

  • Present and potential relevance to community needs
  • Suitability of physical form for library use
  • Suitability of subject and style for intended audience
  • Cost
  • Importance as a document of the times
  • Relation to the existing collection and to other materials on the subject
  • Attention by critics and reviewers
  • Potential user appeal
  • Requests by library patrons

Content Criteria:

  • Authority
  • Comprehensiveness and depth of treatment
  • Skill, competence, and purpose of the author
  • Reputation and significance of the author
  • Objectivity
  • Consideration of the work as a whole
  • Clarity
  • Currency
  • Technical quality
  • Representation of diverse points of view
  • Representation of important movements, genres, or trends
  • Vitality and originality
  • Artistic presentation and/or experimentation
  • Sustained interest
  • Relevance and use of the information
  • Effective characterization
  • Authenticity of history or social setting

Special Considerations for Electronic Information Sources:

  • Ease of use of the product
  • Availability of the information to multiple simultaneous users
  • Equipment needed to provide access to the information
  • Technical support and training
  • Availability of the physical space needed to house and store the information or equipment
  • Available in full text

Reviewing Sources

A variety of reviewing sources are used.  Some of these are: Booklist, Goodreads, New York Times Book Review, Publishers Weekly, Shelf Awareness, Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, NPR, Book Riot, Independent Book Review, Literary Hub, and more.

Acquisitions Procedures

The ultimate responsibility for materials selection rests with the Library Director, who operates within the framework of policies determined by the Library Board of Trustees. The Library Director may delegate to other staff members the authority to select materials in accordance with the library’s mission and policy.

Special Collections

A special collection of books or other materials important to local history and which are rare or are in delicate condition are kept as non-circulating archival copies to be used in the library.

Selection of Materials on Controversial Topics

A balanced collection attempts to represent all sides of controversial issues as far as availability of materials, space, and budget allow. Selection is based upon criteria stated in this policy. The race, religion, nationality, or political views of an author or creator; offensive language; depictions or descriptions of violence or sexually explicit activity; controversial content of an item; or endorsement or disapproval by an individual or group in the community does not cause an item automatically to be included or excluded from the library’s collection.

All public libraries contain materials that some patrons may find objectionable. Libraries may omit from the collection materials that some patrons feel are important. In either case, the library has procedures that patrons may use in requesting the reconsideration of materials.

Gifts and Donations

Accepting gifts and donations is an important way for the library to benefit from the generosity of the community. Gifts and donations of materials are reviewed using the same criteria as purchases.

Any gift accepted by the Chatfield Public Library is subject to the following conditions:

  • The Library retains unconditional ownership of the gift.
  • The Library makes the final decision on the use or disposition of the gift. It may be given to other libraries and non-profit agencies, sold, traded, or discarded if it is not added to the collection.
  • The Library reserves the right to decide the conditions of display, housing, and access to the gift.
  • The Library cannot assume responsibility for notifying the donor if the gift is permanently withdrawn, damaged, or lost.
  • The Library will not affix a value for income tax purposes to any gift accepted. It is the donor’s responsibility to establish fair market value or obtain expert assistance in establishing any value.

Funds may be given for the purpose of acquiring materials recommended by library staff as prescribed in this policy, or for purchase of specific items suggested by the donor. When the library receives a cash gift for the purchase of materials, the library staff must make the selection with the general selection principles set forth in this policy.

Collection Maintenance and Weeding Policy

The library continually withdraws items from the collection, basing its decisions on a number of factors, including publishing date, frequency of circulation, community interest, and availability of newer or more valid materials. Items dealing with local history are an exception, as are certain classics and award-winning children’s books. Fiction that was once popular but no longer in demand and non-fiction books that are no longer useful are withdrawn from the collection.

Withdrawn materials are donated to other entities, offered for sale, offered to library visitors for free, recycled or disposed of.

Reconsideration Policy

The library fully endorses the principles documented in the Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to View, and the Freedom to Read Statement of the American Library Association.

The library has the responsibility to serve all the residents of its community. It hereby adopts the philosophy that a public library will not curtail what an individual may or may not read, see, or hear. The library strives to make available a representative selection of materials on subjects of interest to its patrons, including materials on controversial topics to enable patrons to make informed decisions. The library’s varied collection is available to all; however, it is not expected that all of the collection will appeal to everyone.

The library is aware that one or more persons may take issue with the selection of any specific item in the collection and/or display of library materials, and will consider any expression of opinion by patrons. However, the library does not undertake the task of pleasing all patrons by the elimination of items or displays selected after due deliberation under guidance of the policies expressed herein. Anticipated approval or disapproval by persons or groups will not be considered in the selection process or in the decision to place material on display.

The library does not endorse particular beliefs or views; nor is the selection of any given material equivalent to sanction of the author’s views.

Materials are selected on the basis of the content as a whole and without regard to the personal history of the author, composer, or producer. Each work is considered on its own merit. Library materials will not be marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of the contents. Materials will not be sequestered except for the purpose of protecting them from damage or theft. Selection of materials will not be inhibited by the possibility that materials may come into the possession of minors; monitoring the reading and viewing of children is entirely the responsibility of their parents or legal guardians.

Patrons who wish to request the withdrawal or reclassification of materials currently owned by the library are encouraged to discuss their concerns with the library director. If the patron is not satisfied with the response to their request, the director will provide the patron with information and a form to request formal reconsideration of the library resource.

Procedures for Handling Informal Complaints

The process begins with a librarian discussing the complaint with the patron who brings it to the service desk. During that interaction, the librarian will explain that the library has materials for everyone and everything goes through a selection process or is purchased because of patron requests. The librarian should offer to assist the patron to find alternate materials that would better meet the needs and interests of the patron and/or their family members. If the patron chooses to go forward with the challenge, the complainant should be provided with a request for formal reconsideration form.

A patron who wishes to request the reconsideration of library material for any reason may meet with the library director. If the patron is not satisfied after speaking with the library director, they may begin the process of filing a formal complaint.

Procedures for Handling Formal Complaints

The following steps will be used when an individual feels that further action is necessary to address concerns about a library resource. For the duration of this process, the material in question will remain in circulation in the library collection.

  1. A concerned patron who is dissatisfied with earlier informal discussions will be offered a packet of materials that includes the library’s mission statement, selection policy, reconsideration form, and the Library Bill of Rights.
  2. Patrons are required to complete and submit a reconsideration form to the library director.
  3. The director, with appropriate professional staff, will review the reconsideration form and the material in question, to consider whether its selection follows the criteria stated in the collection policy.
  4. Within 15 business days, the director will make a decision and send a letter to the concerned person who requested the reconsideration, stating the reasons for the decision.
  5. If the individual is not satisfied with the decision, a written appeal may be submitted within 10 business days to the Board of Trustees.
  6. If the board plans to address the appeal at their board meeting, the individual will be notified of when and where the meeting will be held.
  7. The Board of Trustees reserves the right to limit the length of public comments.
  8. The decision of the board is final.

Adopted by the Chatfield Public Library Board December 1, 2022