GRRL Collection Development Policies

Collection Development Policy

The purpose of this policy is to guide librarians in the selection of materials of contemporary significance and of permanent value and to inform the public about the principles upon which selections are made. Its primary objective is 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.

GRRL Mission Statement

GRRL develops, organizes and makes available to the public a useful collection of books and information resources.


  • To assemble, preserve and administer, in organized collections, print, electronic and audio visual materials to promote an enlightened citizenship and to enrich personal lives.
  • To serve the region as a center of information.
  • Stimulate thoughtful participation in the affairs of the community, the country and the world by giving access to a variety of opinions on matters of current interest.
  • To provide materials wherein anyone may encounter the original, sometimes unorthodox and critical ideas so necessary in a society that depends for its survival on free competition in ideas.
  • To support educational, civic, and cultural activities of groups and organizations.
  • To provide lifelong learning opportunities and encouragement for children, teenagers, and adults to educate themselves
  • To identify community information needs and to provide materials to meet those needs as well as to cooperate with other organizations, agencies, and institutions, which can provide materials, programs or services to meet those community needs.
  • To provide opportunity for recreation through the use of literature, music, film and other art forms.
  • To collect items contributing to knowledge of local history.
  • Materials acquired will include source materials and thoughtful interpretations of the past and present. Contemporary materials of current interest and possible future significance and materials, which entertain and enhance the individual's enjoyment of life, will be sought. Experimental and ephemeral materials formats and those representing various sides of controversial subjects will be selected to keep abreast of and to anticipate fluctuations in community concern. In a world in which change is so rapid and pervasive, the library's obligation extends beyond meeting present conditions. GRRL must also strive to anticipate future needs of the community.
  • GRRL will select materials in other formats as changes in technology, public demand, or availability dictate. These formats may include, but are not limited to, those associated with electronic or digital storage of information or adaptive technologies permitting access to information for individuals with physical impairments. (This section moved from Policies by format of material)

Policy Appendices

Free and convenient access to the world of ideas, to information and to the creative experience is of vital importance to every citizen today. Therefore, the Great River Regional Library incorporates as part of this policy the Library Bill of Rights, originally adopted by the Council of the American Library Association, and the Freedom to Read Statement, prepared by the American Library Association and the American Book Publisher's Council, in 1953. The aforementioned documents are appendixes attached to the policy.

Description of the Library

GRRL is a consolidated regional public library system serving six governmental jurisdictions of more than 400,000 people living in 5,000 square miles of Central Minnesota. GRRL operates libraries in Benton, Morrison, Sherburne, Stearns, Todd, and Wright Counties and is governed by one board of trustees and one administrative staff.


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 refers to the decision that must be made either to add a specific item or types of material to the collection or to retain material already in the collection. It is a means of collection development to meet user 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.

The words book, library materials and other synonyms as they may appear in this policy have the widest possible meaning; all forms of recorded communication, from the traditional printed forms to the latest development in audio¬visual, digital and electronic formats are therefore included in this definition.

The word collection refers to a group of books or other library materials having a common characteristic or located in one place.

Prurient interest is defined within statute as follows: Obscene means that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest in sex or describes in a patently offensive manner sexual conduct and which, taken as a whole does not have serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value. For the purposes of this document a work which appeals to the "prurient interest" would be one in which the purpose of the entire work is sexual arousal. Minnesota Statute 617.241, Subd. 1, Sec. a

GRRL refers specifically to the Great River Regional Library.

Responsibility for Selection

Ultimate responsibility for selection of materials and securing and allocating funds for materials rests with the Library 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.

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:

  • 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
  • Requests by GRRL users
  • Present and potential relevance to community needs and/or local interest

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 majority of items in the collection will not be assigned to a specific library. The Integrated Library System (ILS) in use at GRRL allows staff to float the majority of the collection. A floating item’s location will automatically be changed to the library where the item is checked in. A small number of items may be assigned and not float at the discretion of Collection Development staff. Materials purchased with gift funds designated for a specific GRRL location will be permanently assigned to that location, but must be available for use by all GRRL patrons.

Relationships with Library Materials Vendors, Publishers and Authors

GRRL purchases materials from a wide variety of sources. 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; unsolicited telephone orders or other processes that require return of materials not selected or meetings with sales representatives. Materials sent to or given to GRRL for purchase consideration will be treated as donations and will not be acknowledged or returned.

Relationships to Other Libraries, Library Systems, and Library Services Affecting Collection Development

The Library recognizes resources of other libraries in the area and shall not needlessly duplicate materials. GRRL selection staff will also 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.

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 will be notified if requested material is not selected or cannot be made available.


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 such materials, but reserves the right to use and dispose of gift materials and funds as seems appropriate for current needs.

No gifts may be accepted which impose preconditions, such as special collection status, or special circulation rules. All materials added to the GRRL collection are the property of GRRL and, therefore, subject to the same conditions as all other library materials.

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.

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. GRRL does not label materials by such terms as "pro", "anti", "racist", "sexist”, "rightist" or "leftist". (see Appendix D) 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.

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.

Approved Date: 3/20/2007
Effective Date: 3/20/2007
Revised Date: 5/11/2010, 3/20/2012

Appendix A

The following procedures will be followed to process a "Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials."

  1. The patron will initiate a "Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials" with the public service staff.
  2. The formal complaint, along with a copy of the material in question, if available, is forwarded to the Associate Director - Collection Development.
  3. A letter acknowledging the complaint will be sent by the Associate Director - Collection Development with the approval of the Executive Director. It is understood that a formal complaint will receive a written response.
  4. If the complainant contacts the Associate Director - Collection Development and wishes further action he/she will be informed that a discussion in person with the Executive Director is the next appeal.
  5. Complaints not resolved during the preceding steps may be presented in person to the Great River Regional Library Board of Trustees for final decision.

Request for Reconsideration Forms are available at all libraries.

  1. Library Bill of Rights
  2. Freedom to Read
  3. Freedom to View
  4. Interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights