GRRL Collection Development Policies

Chapter 1. Collection Principles
Chapter 2. Selection
Chapter 3. Gifts
Chapter 4. Collection Management
Chapter 5. Controversial Subjects/Items


GRRL develops, organizes, preserves and makes available to the public a useful collection of books and information resources. Collection Development strives to ensure that public monies are spent wisely so that the library can provide relevant materials in sufficient supply to meet public demand and make the library a dependable resource for most people most of the time.

Chapter 1. Collection Principles

The goals of the collection are to support the library’s mission, vision and strategic framework by providing free and equal access to materials and resources that meet the evolving learning, information, education and entertainment needs of GRRL’s communities.

The library recognizes that within its six county region there are communities, groups and individuals with widely diverse interests, backgrounds, ages, ethnic and cultural heritages, social values, educational levels and reading abilities. The diversity of community interests requires a wide range of subjects and the presentation of multiple points of view varying in treatment from the simple to the complex. The library strives to create and maintain a broad collection that reflects this diversity and encompasses both popular works and works of lasting value.

Chapter 2. Selection

2A. Responsibility for Selection

Ultimate responsibility for selection of materials and securing and allocating funds for materials rests with the Executive Director, who operates within the framework of budgets, policies, goals and objectives determined by the Board of Trustees. The Executive Director will delegate authority to interpret and apply the policies in daily operation to the Associate Director - Collection Development and/or to staff members responsible for selection of materials. Unusual problems will be referred to the Executive Director for resolution. The word materials as it occurs in this policy has the widest possible meaning; hence it is implicit that every format, language and treatment may be included, except as noted elsewhere.

Selection is a means of collection development to meet patron needs and does not necessarily reflect the opinions or values of the individual selector or of the individual members of the GRRL Board of Trustees.

2B. General Criteria for Selection

To develop and maintain an excellent collection, materials are evaluated according to one or more of the following criteria. An item may be included or excluded on any one or more of the following criteria:

  • Requests by GRRL users
  • Present and potential relevance to community needs and/or local interest
  • Suitability of physical, digital or electronic form for library use
  • Suitability of subject and style for intended audience
  • Cost, in relation to the wise use of available resources
  • Relation to existing collection and to other material on the subject
  • Favorable information in published critical reviews or bibliographies

GRRL recognizes resources of other libraries in the area and will consider state and national holdings of materials when making retention decisions. No library is able to purchase all materials needed by its patrons; therefore, GRRL participates in the MNLINK and OCLC interlibrary loan programs as a lender and borrower. See also Patron Services Policy Chapter 1D. Interlibrary Loan.

2C. Patron Requests

Patrons may request that specific library materials be purchased for the collection. Requests will be considered for purchase using the established selection procedures and the Collection Development Policy. Policy and budget may limit the ability of GRRL to provide all requested materials. Whenever possible, Interlibrary Loan will be offered for items GRRL does not purchase. Patrons may be notified if requested material is not selected or cannot be made available when possible.

2D. Cataloging and Placement of Library Materials

GRRL participates in a library community that agrees on standards for cataloging and classification that enable greater resource sharing and accessibility through electronic access. The Dewey Decimal Classification as currently in national use shall be the classification system for the library’s materials.

The majority of items in the collection will not be assigned to a specific library but will instead float between all GRRL libraries. A floating item’s location will automatically be changed to the library where the item is checked in, allowing even the smallest library to see a refreshed collection. A small number of items may be assigned as nonfloating at the discretion of Collection Development staff. Materials purchased with gift funds designated for a specific GRRL location may be assigned to that location, but will also be available for use by all GRRL patrons.

2E. Relationships with Library Materials Vendors, Publishers and Authors

Acquisitions and selection decisions are made in a manner most efficient and cost effective for GRRL. Vendors, publishers and authors may submit written or electronic information for consideration, but GRRL does not select through unsolicited materials preview; processes that require return of materials not selected; or meetings with sales representatives. Due to the volume of requests received, GRRL will not directly follow up with vendors or authors regarding purchasing inquiries. Materials sent to or given to GRRL for purchase consideration will be treated as donations and will not be acknowledged or returned.

Chapter 3. Gifts

All gift materials must meet the Collection Development Policy criteria guidelines in order to be added to the collection. GRRL welcomes gifts of library materials or money to buy materials, but reserves the right to use and dispose of gift materials and funds as seems appropriate for current needs.

GRRL may choose to decline donated materials particularly those which impose preconditions, such as special collection status, or special circulation rules. If materials are accepted, there is no commitment by GRRL to add the items to the GRRL collection. Items may be sold if not needed in the collection. GRRL is unable to return items to donors if they are not selected for addition to the collection.

Chapter 4. Collection Management

Collection Management is the systematic evaluation of the collection designed to facilitate the repair or withdrawal of damaged, unused or obsolete materials from the collection. GRRL staff members perform continuing analysis of the use of the collection, the needs and interests of the community, request lists, the availability of similar materials, cost and physical condition of specific volumes. These factors will be considered in determining the number of copies of each title GRRL should have and when an item should be replaced, repaired, or withdrawn. Selection staff will review all final copy removals to determine local, regional or national value. A title may be retained if it is deemed valuable on one of these levels.

Chapter 5. Controversial Subjects/Items

The overall purpose of a work is the chief criterion of selection. Materials which have the dominant purpose of appealing to prurient interest are not included in the GRRL collection. Materials which contain unorthodox language or frank treatment of certain situations and which may be objectionable to some people may be selected if they provide accurate information and/or portray realistic or well-drawn characters and situations in the context of the genre.

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.

GRRL recognizes its responsibility to make available a representative selection of materials on subjects of interest to its users, including materials on various sides of controversial questions such as religious, social, political or economic topics to enable patrons to make up their own minds about controversial subjects. Library materials will not be marked or identified by GRRL to show approval or disapproval of the contents. Materials will not be sequestered except for the purpose of protecting them from damage or theft. GRRL does not promulgate particular beliefs or views; nor is the selection of any given material equivalent to endorsement of the author’s views. GRRL tries to provide materials representing all approaches to public issues, including those of a controversial nature. GRRL is aware that one or more persons may take issue with the selection of any specific item, and will consider any expression of opinion by patrons. However, GRRL does not undertake the task of pleasing all patrons by the elimination of items selected after due deliberation under guidance of the policies expressed herein. To provide a resource where individuals may examine many points of view and make their own decisions is one of the most important purposes of any public library.

Since GRRL has a responsibility to protect the rights of all patrons, it does not limit the scope of its collection; neither are materials placed in restricted areas because some individual may object to their accessibility. Although library staff offer guidance in the selection of materials, monitoring the reading and viewing of children is entirely the responsibility of their parents or legal guardians.

The library is a forum for all points of view and adheres to the principles of intellectual freedom as expressed in the Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read and Freedom to View policy statements as adopted by the American Library Association.

GRRL will reconsider any material in its collection upon written request from a patron on a Request for Reconsideration form. The Request for Reconsideration Form may also be used if a requested item is not selected for the collection. Submission of a Request for Reconsideration will result in a written response.

See also Administration Policy Chapter 4A. Intellectual Freedom.

Approved Date: 03/20/07
Effective Date: 03/20/07
Revised Date: 05/11/10, 03/20/12, 03/19/19