Collection Development Policy

Gretna Public Library
Collection Development Policy
Updated March 28, 2016
by the Gretna Public Library Board

This policy is established to guide the library staff in the management of the collection and inform the public of the principles on which the library makes decisions regarding maintenance and use of the collection.  The philosophy of all collection development decisions is to be proactive in meeting anticipated requests by the citizenry and to offer opportunity and encouragement in their efforts to:

  • pursue life-long education
  • examine all sides of an issue
  • keep abreast of new ideas
  • become informed citizens of the community, the nation, and the world
  • improve occupational performance
  • practice of recreational reading discover and develop creative abilities

I. Selection of Materials
The Library Board delegates to the Library Director the authority and responsibility for selection and management of all materials within the framework of this policy. Actual selection and management activities are shared among trained library staff that shall discharge this obligation consistent with this policy and established procedures. Selection will be made according to the guidelines stated by the American Library Association in its Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read, and Freedom to View Statements (Appendix).  Any materials so selected shall be held to be selected by the Library Board.

Recommendations from patrons or staff for future purchases should be made to the Library Director/Assistant Library Director. All patron requests are considered, but not all may be purchased if the anticipated demand is low or the work has no permanent value.  Nebraska authors are given a high priority for purchase but are not automatically selected.

The following general criteria will be used for selection of materials although an item does not have to meet all of the criteria to be acceptable, nor will any single criterion be decisive:

  1. Accuracy, timeliness, and relevance to the community
  2. Suitability of subject, style and reading level for the intended audience
  3. Importance as a document of the times
  4. Appropriateness and effectiveness of medium to content
  5. Reputation and/or significance of the author, publisher or producer
  6. Positive review in one or more appropriate professional journals
  7. Positive critics’ and staff member reviews
  8. Relationship to existing materials in the collection
  9. Within limits of the budget available
  10. Subject matter of material is needed to round out the collection
  11. Local author or illustrator
  12. Format is appropriate for library use
  13. Enhances a specific collection within the library
  14. Popularity of author/genre/subject/series with library patrons
  15. Literary and artistic merit
  16. Accuracy of content
  17. A copyright date falling within the last three years

Adult Fiction Collection – The fiction collection is intended to fulfill the overall needs of the public for novels and short stories in many genres, new or old, even if they are not of permanent value.  Attention is paid to the literary side of fiction as well with purchases of books that may not be in high demand but that provide reflective reading.  High-demand titles are purchased at the time of publication to keep up with requests.  Additional copies of one (1) book per seven (7) hold requests may be purchased as the demand warrants at the Library Director’s discretion.  An item that is not purchased upon publication will be reconsidered at any time there is a request for it.  Previous works by popular authors will be kept on the shelf until interest in the author wanes as long as space is available.

Adult Non-Fiction Collection – Within budget and shelf-space limitations, the library will attempt to build a collection covering the spectrum of the Dewey Decimal System for the adult patron.  To achieve this end, materials on any particular subject will be of broad, general interest rather than of scholarly interest.  Textbooks will not be part of the collection except in the case where it is the only or best material available on a subject.  The staff will not seek out materials which support post-secondary education or scholarly research, as this is the mission upheld generally by academic libraries, not public.

Adult Reference Collection – The reference collection will be non-circulating and will consist of the following standard items (but not limited to) purchased according to the listed schedule, within budget limitations:

  1. General Encyclopedia – every four years
  2. Dictionaries and Thesaurus – as needed or every seven to 10 years.
    a. Children’s
    b. Adult
  3. Telephone Directories – annually as provided
  4. Nebraska Blue Book – biennially
  5. World Travel Guide – every five years
  6. World Atlas – every five years
  7. Rand McNally Road Atlas – as needed or every two years
  8. Merck Medical Manual – every three years
  9. Microfilm of local newspapers – as available
  10. Sarpy County Polk Directory – every two years

Children’s Collection – The goal of the children’s fiction/non-fiction section is to provide books that children want to read.  However, librarians will ensure that quality books are available by selecting children’s fiction/non-fiction based on individual review of books by the library staff, book reviews in professional journals, catalog descriptions, award winners, and subscriptions to book selection services provided by professional children’s book reviewers.  Books will be housed in the following categories:

  • Board Books are designed to be used by infants as they learn to find joy in books. Selection will be based on book content and book size that is geared toward infants and toddlers.
  • Picture Books are meant to be read aloud and include interesting pictures that hold a child’s attention. The content of picture books will be selected to appeal primarily to children up to age 6, while recognizing that older children continue to be drawn to the picture book section. The picture book section will include a wide variety of subjects. Popular series will be shelved together for ease of location by our young patrons and coded with an orange spine label.
  • Early Reader Fiction Books – are books a beginning reader can read with little or no help from an adult. Emphasis for selection will be based on simple words, short sentences, larger type size, fewer paragraphs and fewer illustrations, rather than on subject-matter content. First chapter books will be included in the Early Reader section.
  • Early Reader Non-Fiction Books – These works, designed for children younger than third grade, will be selected based on their appeal and reading level. Emphasis for selection will be based on simple words, short sentences, larger type size, fewer paragraphs and more illustrations to encompass a wide range of the Dewey Decimal System.
  • Junior Fiction Books – are those books written for independent readers at reading levels of third through fifth grade or whose subject matter is of interest to children in this age range. The books may contain some illustrations, but generally the books are presented in chapter form without pictures.
  • Junior Non-Fiction Books – Junior non-fiction books will be those books of interest to, and written at a reading level of, third through eighth grades. In selecting children’s non-fiction books, the criteria used will be accuracy of facts, timeliness of information, and clarity and quality of the writing, presentation and illustrations. It is the intent to provide information in all fields of knowledge in which children are interested, and to provide it in an engaging and entertaining manner in order to stimulate imagination and satisfy curiosity.

Young Adult Fiction Collection – This genre is for students in middle and high school grades with subject matter that is of interest to youth of that age level.  Graphic novels will be shelved together for ease of location by our young adult patrons and coded with a lavender spine label.  

Young Adult Non-Fiction Collection – Books in this area will include a variety of subjects that may enhance school curriculum projects, college selection, and career planning for students in middle and high school grades.  These items are shelved adjacent to the Young Adult Fiction section near the Adult Non-Fiction and Reference areas.

Board Game Collection– A selection of board, card, and tabletop roleplaying games will be maintained as a circulating collection shelved in the Young Adult section.  The collection was initially developed through donations from board game publishers and from the Friends of the Library.  Continued development of this collection will follow these criteria:

  1. Patron requests for additions to the collection will be given heavy consideration with respect to the current collection of games.
  2. Expansions to base games will be purchased based on professional reviews and the popularity of the base game in local circulation.
  3. Living card games, collectible card games, and trading card games will be avoided.
  4. Donations will be handled in the same fashion as any library donation. Any game donated to the library that is not added to the collection will be discarded or passed on to the Friends of the Library to sell or discard.
  5. Library staff reserves the right to adjust and alter these criteria as needed on a case by case basis.

Professional Collection – A small collection of materials related to librarianship will be maintained as a non-circulating collection shelved in the administrative area of the library.  No attempt will be made to maintain a complete professional collection as most professional materials will be accessed for use by the staff through interlibrary loan.  The following criteria will be used for purchase of professional holdings:

  1. The item is referred to routinely as part of maintaining the library collection
  2. The item is used for ongoing programs
  3. The item is not available through interlibrary loan

II. Purchasing Materials
Materials will be purchased using the most economical method available. The bulk of materials will be purchased through book wholesalers or retail outlets offering library discounts. Purchases directly from publishers will be used if an item is unavailable through the primary wholesaler or if the book can be acquired more expeditiously through the publisher. In rare instances, purchases may be made at retail outlets offering no discount.

Each item acquired will be coded to identify the source, date and cost/value of the item and marked to show ownership by the city.

III. Gifts and Donations
All gifts are subject to the evaluation criteria stated for the selection of materials. Donors are informed that any gifts or donations of materials may or may not be added to the collection. Any item which is not added will be placed for sale at the next library book sale scheduled by the Gretna Friends of the Library with cooperation from the Library Director. Donations are subject to the same weeding criteria as other materials in the collection. In the case of a memorial gift, reasonable attempts will be made to contact the donor or a family member before discarding the item.

IV. Formats
The collection will include materials in all formats which meet the needs of the community including hardcover books, trade paperbacks, mass market paperbacks, large print books, videos, audiobooks, downloadable audiobooks, databases, newspapers, magazines and microfilm with priority given to print materials. The following materials require special considerations in selection:

Videos will be selected according to criteria similar to those for books (see above).  They will include adult and children’s classics, self-help materials best learned via video materials, and educational videos presented in an entertaining and engaging manner so as to stimulate imagination and satisfy curiosity on a variety of subjects for adults and children.  They will also include genres popular with the general public.  Priority will be given to videos based on books.

Audiobooks are purchased according to the same general guidelines as materials available in print format for adults, young adults and children in both fiction and non-fiction.

Sound Recordings on CD are available to provide patrons a balanced and representative collection of a variety of types/genres of music.  The collection is not to be a comprehensive one.  Emphasis will be on the CD format.

Electronic materials include all databases and eBook collections provided at no- or low-cost through the Nebraska Library Commission and other databases as determined to be cost-effective for the Gretna community.

Periodicals (Magazines) are available in a wide variety of subjects per community demand and will remain as part of the collection for no more than two years.  Subscriptions will be purchased or renewed by the most economical vendor available.

V. Reconsideration of Materials
As a tax-supported institution, the library welcomes suggestions and comments about its collection.  Some of the materials may be offensive to individuals or groups because of individual perceptions of profanity, social, economic, and political ideas, religious viewpoints, and the background of the author, or the kind of information provided.  The library does not approve nor endorse any particular viewpoint or belief represented in its collection.  The library’s role is to provide materials which allow individuals to freely examine issues and make their own decisions.  It is the responsibility of individuals to limit their reading to books and materials which are congruent with their individual tastes.  While a person may reject materials for him/herself and his/her children, he/she may not restrict access to the materials by others.

Patrons who wish to make a formal complaint about an item in the library, should complete a “Reconsideration of Materials” form (Appendix) and submit it to the Library Director.

VI. Analysis and Weeding
The collection needs continuous evaluation in order to be sure that the Library is providing materials in a timely manner and to meet patrons’ interests and needs.  The following factors will be considered when analyzing works in all formats.

  1. A non-fiction item more than 10 years old, unless it is a work of classic thought or contains timeless information, will be removed from the shelves regardless of condition or use.
  2. Works that have become unappealing due to aging, damage or wear will be removed; if repair cannot improve the condition, they may be replaced with a newer edition or a similar work on the subject.
  3. Any work, regardless of age or condition, that contains information or illustrations that are dated or misleading because of lack of congruity with newer research will be removed. Works that have been superseded by a newer edition containing updated information will be removed and, if deemed necessary, replaced by the newer edition.
  4. Fictional works which have no lasting value, as well as non-fictional works containing trivial or irrelevant information, such as popular diet books, political commentary or pop culture biographies, will be discarded if they have not circulated in the last three years.
  5. Duplicate copies of titles, purchased due to high demand, will be discarded once popularity has waned.
  6. If a board game is missing a crucial piece to game play and those components are not available through the game publisher or via a replacement copy (due to being out of print, etc.), the game will be removed from the collection unless a stand-in piece can be created by staff.

VII. Repair/Replacement of Materials
New materials will be protected with appropriate coverings and reinforced according to standard library practice. All circulation desk staff will be watchful of materials in need of repair and forward those materials to the appropriate staff person.

At least one staff member will be trained in basic book-repair procedures and able to make simple book repairs such as torn or loose pages, loose signatures and covers, damaged cover corners, loose or broken hinges, worn spines and frayed spine edges. Before discarding any still-current but worn materials, an evaluation will be made as to the feasibility of on-premises repair.

I. Library Bill of Rights.
II. Freedom to Read.
III. Freedom to View.
IV. Reconsideration of Library Resources Form.