Collection Development


The Board of Trustees of the Delafield Public Library has adopted the following Collection Development Policy to guide library staff and to inform the public of the principles upon which collection development and management decisions are based. Collection development is the ongoing process of assessing the materials available for purchase or licensing and making decisions on the inclusion and retention. Since it is not possible for any library to acquire all materials, it is necessary for every library to employ a policy of selectivity in acquisitions. 

The Vision and Mission Statements of the Delafield Public Library guide the selection of materials as it does the development of services and the allocation of resources. Collection decisions position the Library as the preferred partner for lifelong learning in the community.

Our Mission

Connecting and empowering the community to learn, create, grow and thrive.

Our Values

  • Universal and equitable access
  • Community engagement
  • Foster creativity
  • Exceptional services
  • Responsible stewardship

The following statements and policies have been adopted by the library and are used as guidelines for the development of the library collections.


The Delafield Public Library acquires and makes readily available materials which inform, educate, enrich and entertain. The library provides, within its financial limitations, a general collection of reliable materials embracing broad areas of knowledge.

Library staff develops and manages the library’s collection, while striving to meet the cultural, informational, educational and recreational needs of those in the library’s service area. Library staff members selecting materials and resources are expected to keep the overall objectives in mind when applying their professional knowledge and experience in making selection decisions. Impartiality and judicious selection shall be exercised in all materials acquisition practices. 

In general, scholarly, highly specialized or archival materials are beyond the scope of the library’s collections.

The library participates in local and national loan networks for the purpose of providing awareness of and access to materials not in the Delafield Public Library collection.

Authority and Responsibility for Selection

Responsibility for the selection of library materials rests ultimately with the Library Director, who operates within the framework of policies determined by the Library Board of Trustees. Staff members who are qualified by reason of education, training or experience share this responsibility and help oversee the selection process. Other staff members and the general public may suggest materials for consideration.

Guidelines for Selection

The Delafield Library affirms its support of the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read, the Freedom to View, and Access to Library Resources and Services for Minors statements in support of acquiring and managing collections.

  • The library strives to maintain a balanced collection in which diverse points of view regarding contemporary and historical issues are represented.
  • Selection decisions are guided by the merits of the work, collection needs, and interests of a diverse community.
  • The presence of any material or resource does not constitute an endorsement. A balanced collection attempts to represent all sides of potentially controversial issues as far as materials, space, and budget allow. Therefore, materials dealing with controversial views are judged as entire works, not on isolated passages or sections  
  • The library actively strives to ensure that materials representing many differing views and a broad diversity of human thought and creativity are represented in its collection.  A balanced collection reflects a diversity of materials, not necessarily an equality of numbers.
  • The following do not result in the automatic inclusion or exclusion of an item from the library’s collection:
    • Race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation or political views of an author or creator
    • Language
    • Depictions of violence or sexual activity
    • Controversial content
    • Endorsement or disapproval by an individual or group
  • The library may select materials that some patrons may find objectionable, and might omit materials some patrons feel are important. In either case, the library has procedures for requesting the purchase or reconsideration of materials.
  • Responsibility for the use of library materials by children and young adults rests solely with their parents and/or legal guardians. Selection decisions are not influenced by the possibility that material may be accessible to children. The library does not restrict access to any material by age, and leaves the responsibility for minors’ use of, viewing and consumption of library materials to each minor’s parent or legal guardian.

Criteria for Selection

Selection is based on the merits of a work in relation to the needs, interests, and demands of the community.

Library staff selectors follow these principles when selecting materials:

  • To build a collection of merit and significance, selectors acquire materials according to objective guidelines (see below). Tools used in selection include, but are not limited to, professional journals, trade journals, subject bibliographies, publishers’ materials, and other online resources.
  • The selectors must consider each type of material in terms of its own merits and the audience for whom it is intended. No single standard can apply to all acquisition decisions.
  • Some library materials are subject to widespread and/or heavy local demand. These high demand items may or may not meet the general and specific criteria contained in this policy. Selectors give serious consideration to the volume and nature of requests by members of the public. In addition, as the social and intellectual climate of the community changes, materials not originally recommended for purchase may become of interest. Such materials will be reevaluated as the need arises.
  • All acquisitions, whether purchased or donated, are considered in terms of the following standards. An item need not meet all of the criteria in order to be acceptable. 

Objective selection guidelines for staff:

  • Contemporary significance or permanent value
  • Accuracy of content
  • Authority of the author or producer
  • Relation of the work to the existing collection
  • Price, format, and ease of use
  • Scarcity of information in the subject area
  • Availability of material elsewhere in the community and Library System
  • Patron requests and the authority of the requestor
  • Popular demand: the library should provide materials for enlightenment and recreation, even if not of enduring value or interest
  • Present and potential relevance to community needs
  • Comprehensiveness and depth of treatment
  • Clarity, accuracy, and logic of presentation

Donations and Gifts

Donations of materials are gratefully accepted with the understanding that the library may add them to the collection if they meet established standards for purchased materials, with emphasis on currency, physical condition, and need. Materials donated to the library, whether added to the collection or not, become the property of the library, and will not be returned to the donor. Materials not added to the collection will be given to the Friends of the Library Book Sale or disposed of by other means. The library cannot place a monetary value on gifts for tax purposes, but receipts are provided upon request.

Monetary gifts are always most welcome and appreciated and may be designated as memorials. The library encourages monetary gifts that are not earmarked for specific items in order to permit the most flexible use of the donation for the enrichment of the collection.

Gifts of non-library items such as paintings, portraits, historical items, or art objects ordinarily will not be accepted. If accepted, the item(s) become the property of the library and will not be returned to the donor. There is no obligation for the library to retain ownership of the item.

Evaluation and Withdrawal of Materials

An attractive, up-to-date, currently useful collection is maintained through a continual discarding and replacing process. Materials may be withdrawn from the library collection after careful consideration of these factors:

  • Physical condition
  • Currency of  information
  • Lack of use
  • Superseded by a new edition/better work on the subject
  • Space needs

As new formats emerge, the library carefully monitors public response. Library collections evolve as technology and usage trends require. A new format may, therefore, be an addition to existing library collections or a replacement for an obsolete one.

Although every effort will be made to replace needed materials which are withdrawn, the library takes the position that it is better to have no information on a subject than to have materials which are inaccurate or in poor physical condition.

Materials withdrawn from the collection may be given to the Friends of the Library Book Sale or disposed of by other means. Individual items that are being withdrawn will not be saved for specific individuals.

Requests for Reconsideration

The choice of library materials by library users is an individual matter. While an individual may reject materials for himself/herself, they cannot practice censorship to restrict access to others. Recognizing that a diversity of materials may result in some requests for reconsideration, the Request for Reconsideration Procedure has been developed to assure that objections or complaints are handled in an attentive and consistent manner. 

Approved by Library Board: March 8, 2022


Request for Reconsideration Procedure

  1. The patron must complete the Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials Form. Verbal complaints are not a substitute for completing the Request for Reconsideration form. The library will not accept reconsideration requests for materials that have been reconsidered within the past three years.
  2. The Library Director will appoint an ad hoc Reconsideration Committee consisting of the Library Director, the selector for the subject area or format the material under reconsideration and a full-time staff member chosen at random. The Director will designate one committee member to chair the committee.
  3. The committee will take the following steps:
    • Each member will individually review the “Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials” form
    • Each member will individually read/view the material in question in its entirety
    • Each member will consult professional journals, magazines, databases or other resources for reviews of the material
    • The committee members will put their comments in writing to the committee chair prior to the meeting to discuss the title
    • The committee chair will convene a meeting of the reconsideration committee, compile the comments, and forward the comments and reviews to the director along with a recommendation
  4. The Library Director will then make a decision regarding the disposition of the material. The Director will communicate this decision, along with the reasoning, in writing to the individual who initiated the request.

The above steps will be carried out in a timely manner. During the review process, the material in question will remain available for circulation.

If the individual desires further action, they may appeal in writing to the Library Board of Trustees within ten business days. If the Library Board plans to address the appeal at a meeting, the individual will be notified. The Board of Trustees reserves the right to limit the length of presentation and number of speakers at the hearing. The Board will determine whether library staff followed the Library’s Collection Development Policy and the Procedure for Request for Reconsideration. On the basis of this determination, the Board may vote to uphold or override the decision of the Director. The decision of the Library Board is final.

Collection Development Policy PDF