Collection Development Policy

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The purpose of the Collection Development Policy is to provide guidelines for the selection and acquisition of all library materials. Additionally, the policy provides a vehicle for the continuous evaluation of the library collection as a whole.


The Collection Development Policy has been unanimously adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Hillsdale Free Public Library to guide librarians and to inform the public about the principles upon which selections are made.

1. Books and other library materials are selected on the basis of literary, educational, information, and recreational value. The Library Director is ultimately responsible for developing the collections of the library. Authority may be delegated to appropriate staff members responsible for various areas of the library (i.e. Children’s Librarian).

2. No title is excluded on the basis of moral, racial, religious, or political prejudice. Titles are selected, within the limitations of the budget, on the basis of favorable critical review in widely recognized media outlets. Suggestions from patrons are encouraged and will be given due consideration.

3. The Director will review written requests for the removal of specific titles. The Director will be responsible for determining the retention or withdrawal of challenged titles. Requests for appeal may be requested of the Library Board.

4. The Library endorses the American Library Association’s Freedom to Read statement, The Library Bill of Rights, and the statements on Labeling Library Materials, Access to Electronic Information, Services, and Networks, and Free Access to Libraries for Minors. (appendices)


In general, the Hillsdale Free Public Library will select materials that meet one or more of the following criteria:

1. The item is authoritative and current

2. The item is of high quality

3. The item is in demand

4. The item is potentially useful, valuable or of interest

5. The item is needed to fill a gap in the collection

Criteria for selection shall apply to weeding as well. Weeding is discussed in a section below.


The library seeks to collect popular materials on a reading level suitable to the general public and in a variety of formats. Emphasis is placed on acquiring materials of wide-ranging interest that reflect a variety of perspectives. The library does not collect scholarly or highly specialized materials typically found in large college or university libraries.

With the exception of local history materials, collections are not retained for archival purposes. Fiction and subject collections are routinely evaluated for retention.

Collecting emphasis may change according to popular demand. For example, additional funding and shelf space may be allocated toward computer manuals to meet an increasing need for those materials.

The range of materials available to patrons is not limited to the holdings of the Hillsdale Free Public Library. Please refer to Reciprocal Borrowing and Interlibrary Loan.


Collection development emphasis may change annually. The allocation of funding for collection development is determined by the adoption of the annual library budget by the Library Board. The Director, with the assistance of staff, prepares a suggested budget.


The primary method of selection shall be printed reviews in established selection media including Booklist, Kliatt, Library Journal, New York Times Book Review, Publisher’s Weekly, School Library Journal, and VOYA. Reviews may also be used from other general interest media outlets such as radio or Internet-based publications. Publisher’s catalogs are also considered.

Except in unusual circumstances, walk-in jobbers and salesmen should not be used as a vehicle for material selection. Selections should be based upon critical review as indicated above.


To meet high demand for popular titles in a timely manner it is necessary to purchase multiple copies of a work. Typically, the number of copies purchased is based upon a ratio of copies available to the number of people waiting on reserve. One additional copy may be purchased for every three to five requests on reserve at the discretion of the Director.


Spoken word audio books will be purchased to meet the demand for popular and classic titles in audio format. Audio books are offered in a variety of formats including compact disc and downloadable audio. The library will not be bound to either format or emergent format, but will attempt to provide a variety from which to choose. Due to budgetary limitations it may not be possible to purchase the same title in multiple formats.

Visual materials, such as DVDs, are also purchased to meet the recreational and informational needs of the community. A variety of popular, classic, and foreign motion pictures are collected. A limited number of television programs may be purchased to meet anticipated demand. Instructional videos and videos on special subjects will also be purchased. These collections are not meant to be comprehensive, but will be developed according to popularity.

The musical performance collection will consist of a variety of categories.

All audio/visual materials will be purchased using standard review sources including but not limited to Billboard, Entertainment Weekly, Library Journal, New York Times, and Rolling Stone.


The library subscribes to a wide variety of popular magazines for their informational content. The collection is not comprehensive in its subject coverage. Titles are selected to meet local demand and interest. The paper collection is substantially supplemented through periodical databases. The collection is not archival and back issues may be limited to the current year. Back issue content is widely available through electronic databases. A limited number of newspapers are purchased to cover local, regional and national news.


Over the past decade libraries have offered searchable databases to the public. Many offer remote login capability from home. Through participation in cooperative purchasing agreements, the library makes available several databases to the public. Contents will vary, but in general these contain full-text archives of popular and academic periodicals. Within the limits of budgetary constraints, the library seeks to expand the amount of information available to the public by subscribing to databases.


Juvenile materials are purchased in a similar manner as the adult collection. Additional types of materials include board books, pop-ups, puzzles, read-a-longs, and CD-rom programs. These are purchased or collected through donation for their contribution to early childhood development. These supplementary materials may be purchased without review.


The library attempts to collect materials that document the history of the Borough of Hillsdale. Materials to be collected include: books, maps, pamphlets, periodicals, locally published newsletters, photographs, postcards, diaries, ephemera, and works of art created by or published by Hillsdale residents.

The library makes no attempt to duplicate an archival collection of public institutional records. For example, old Board of Education minutes already maintained by the Board of Education will not be duplicated. When acquired, current copies of local public documents will be made available as part of the reference collection.

The library will also maintain a vertical file of newspaper clippings and ephemeral items that document the history of Hillsdale.

Local history items may be acquired through purchase or through gifts.


The Hillsdale Free Public Library is a member of the Bergen County Cooperative Library System (BCCLS). BCCLS member libraries cooperatively share their resources through a reciprocal borrowing agreement. The consortium shares a computer network and a common library catalog. Hillsdale residents may borrow directly from any BCCLS library. Local restrictions on some materials may apply. Items may also be requested for delivery through the library catalog.

Apart from participation in the BCCLS organization, the library may request items from college and university libraries through a national interlibrary loan system. Interlibrary loans are facilitated by the library staff on behalf of patrons.


Weeding is the selection of items for withdrawal from the collection. Weeding shall be done on a regular basis in conjunction with systematic collection evaluation.

Items shall be weeded according to the evaluation of the Director and staff responsible for the collection. Criteria for weeding include:

1. Usefulness of material

2. Condition of material

3. Last circulation of material

4. Age of material

Circulation of material shall by no means be the single determining factor in the weeding process, especially in the area of non-fiction. The high circulation of an out-dated item does not necessarily indicate that the item should be retained, but possibly that the item should be replaced with a more current title.

Classic fiction titles in disrepair will be considered for replacement. Non-fiction books in poor physical condition will be considered for repair or replacement if contents remain accurate and useful.

Weeding procedures shall combine the criteria of established weeding methods as well as the judgment of the Director and staff.


The library prefers gifts to be made in the form of cash donations. This enables staff the greatest flexibility in selecting appropriate materials. The library reserves the right to decline any donation of materials. If a donation of materials is accepted it is understood that those materials may be added to the collection, sold at periodic book sales, or discarded at the discretion of the Director.

The library will not provide an appraisal of the dollar value of any material donation. The library will provide a receipt stating the quantity and type of items donated.


It is the responsibility of a free public library to provide materials that reflect a wide range of viewpoints on controversial or debatable subjects. The existence of an item within the collection does not imply an endorsement of the author’s or artist’s viewpoint. Library materials will not be marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of the contents, nor will items be sequestered , except for the purpose of protecting them from damage or theft. Audio/Visual materials will retain any markings or ratings as indicated by the original producer.

Opinions on the collection are welcomed by the public; however, final decisions will be governed by this policy.

Persons or organizations seeking the removal of materials from the library must submit requests in writing. A reconsideration form appended to this policy must be completed and returned to the Library Director. The Director will meet with the staff member responsible for selecting the item in question and the merit of the request will be considered. The Director will make a decision regarding the disposition of the item and will provide a written response to the person initiating the request. The Director will inform the Board of Trustees of all requests for reconsideration.

Should the person initiating the request remain unsatisfied with the decision of the Director, an appeal may be made for a hearing before the Board of Trustees. A written request for appeal shall be addressed to the President of the Board. The Board reserves the right to limit the length of presentation and number of speakers at the hearing. The Board will determine whether the request for reconsideration has been handled in accordance with the established policies and procedures of the Hillsdale Free Public Library. On the basis of this determination, the Board may vote to uphold or override the decision of the Director.

Reconsideration Form (.pdf format)


This policy was reviewed and approved at a regular meeting of the Board of Trustees on March 9, 2015.

This policy was reviewed and adopted at a regular meeting of the Board of Trustees on March 10, 2003. This policy may be reviewed at any time, but must be reviewed every five years.


Portions of this policy are excerpted from the policy of the Morton Grove Public Library. Additional credit is due the Collection Development Plan for the Skokie Public Library, compiled by Merle Jacob, June 1990, and the Circulating Collection Development Manual of the Hennepin County Library, 1991.