Hardin County Public Library Collection Development Policy


The collection development policy is intended to guide staff, within budgetary and space limitations, in the selection and evaluation of materials which anticipate and meet the needs and interests of the local community. It also informs the public about the principles upon which selections are made

Philopophy of Selection

In support of its mission, Hardin County Public Library fully endorses the principles documented in the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read and Freedom to View Statements of the American Library Association. The Library upholds the right of the individual to secure information, even though the content may be controversial, unorthodox, or objectionable to some. Materials available in the Library present diverse viewpoints, enabling citizens to make the informed choices necessary in a democratic society.

Scope of the Collection

The primary responsibility of Hardin County Public Library is to serve the community by providing a broad choice of materials to meet their informational, educational, cultural and recreational needs. Materials are selected to aid individuals, groups and organizations in the effort to attain practical solutions to daily problems, and to enrich the quality of life for all community members..

Responsibility for Selction

The authority and responsibility for the selection of Library materials rests ultimately with the Library Director. Under their direction, selection may be delegated to Library staff. Selection presumes liberty of thought and intellectual freedom within the bounds of reason and law. Materials will be selected based upon their value as a whole.

All materials, whether purchased or donated, are considered in terms of the criteria listed below. An item need not meet all of these standards in order to be added to the collection.

  • Popular appeal
  • Receipt or nomination for awards
  • Contribution to the diversity and scope of the collection
  • Contemporary significance
  • Published evaluations or reviews
  • Relevance to the needs and interests of the public
  • Relevance and effectiveness in communicating content to intended audience
  • Physical format
  • Quality of production
  • Reputation or significance of one of the creators of the work
  • Available space
  • Impact on materials budget
  • Accessibility of material
  • Accuracy and timeliness


All materials will be kept on open shelves, freely and easily accessible to the public. Children are not limited to the children’s room. Responsibility for a child’s reading or viewing rests with the parent or guardian.

Special Services for the Homebound

This collection will provide special materials in formats, both print and non-print, specifically designed to meet special user populations. Selections for this collection will be based on reviews, cost, format, existing holdings, and budget restrictions.

Suggestions for Purchase

The library welcomes recommendations from all staff members and the general public for materials to be added to the collection. All suggestions for purchase are subject to the same selection criteria as other materials and are not automatically added to the collection. It is the Library's intent that suggestions for purchase be used to help in developing collections which serve the interests and needs of the community. Customers are recommended to use interlibrary loan for obtaining materials not available in the general collection

Local Authors

The Library may purchase local authors who are published by major presses. Privately printed works will be accepted as gifts and included in the collection should they be found to meet the principles outlined in this policy.


The library will not make an effort to purchase out-of-print titles. Instead, the customer will be directed to use interlibrary loan to satisfy his/her request.

New or Emerging Formats

The Library develops collections that include a comprehensive range of formats utilizing the unique capabilities and advantages of alternative, new and evolving technologies in delivering information and expressing creativity and ideas. Before adding new formats, the following criteria should be considered:

  • Impact on equipment, staff, storage, and space
  • Demand for format in community
  • Durability of format for Library use
  • Technical quality of production or reproduction
  • Compliance with industry standards and specifications
  • Availability of adequate startup and continuing funding
  • Capability for networked distribution, download and printing
  • Suitability to be circulated or housed in a sturdy, safe and convenient manner
  • Availability of technical support and staff training
  • Accessibility of material
  • Ease of use by customers and staff
  • Ownership of product

As new formats emerge, steps will be taken to phase-out obsolete mediums. These include discontinuation of ordering new or replacement copies, redistribution, and removal of existing collection from within the system. The time frame and need for implementation of each of these steps will vary based on customer demand for product as demonstrated by circulation, affordability, and availability of product from vendors.

Gifts and Donations

Gifts of books and other materials are welcomed. Donations are final and become the property of the Hardin County Public Library. The Library will not accept as donations or memorials any items that have restrictions that will necessitate special housing, prevent integration of the gift into the collection, or have conditions violating equal access. Staff members review donated materials for potential addition to the Library’s collections. The Library reserves the right to keep, discard, sell, or make other appropriate disposal of any books or materials that are donated as determined by its mission and needs. Materials may be given to the Friends of the Library for resale.

The Library cannot appraise the value of donations. Donors seeking information on tax deductible donations should consult with a tax professional. Upon request, a receipt can be given for the donation.

What will be considered for addition to the collection:

  • Material in like-new condition
  • Books
  • DVDs
  • Historical documents or works of local interest in any format

What is not accepted for the collection:

  • Material in poor condition (has stains, water damage, smell, writing, etc.)
  • Formats not currently being collected by the Library, such as VHS, audio cassettes, LPs, etc.
  • Textbooks & Encyclopedias
  • Magazines & Newspapers

Collection Maintenance

In addition to acquiring new materials, it is important to remove from the existing collection those items no longer deemed useful or relevant. This policy provides authority for the systematic and regular evaluation of the existing collection and subsequent withdrawal of worn, obsolete or infrequently used materials and supports the public’s right of access to an appealing and relevant collection.

Library staff systematically review the collection with the goal of maintaining the quality and vitality of Library resources. This process of collection analysis incorporates the use of output measures, circulation reports, and other statistical information for continuous collection evaluation.

Weeding Evaluation Criteria

Weeding in this context is defined as the process of evaluating a book to determine if it will be retained, relocated, or replaced. Selection of materials for discarding is based on the CREW (Continuous, Review, Evaluation Weeding) method. This system describes criteria to help evaluate an item for withdrawal:

  • Misleading and/or factually inaccurate
  • Ugly (worn out beyond mending or rebinding)
  • Superseded by a new edition or a better source
  • Trivial (of no discernible literary or scientific merit)
  • Irrelevant to the needs and interest of your community
  • Elsewhere (the material may be easily borrowed from another source)

Replacement Criteria

While the Library attempts to have copies of standard and important works, it does not automatically replace all materials withdrawn. The same criteria that apply to original selection also apply to replacements. The need for replacement is based on:

  • The number of duplicate copies
  • Existence of adequate coverage of the subject in the collection
  • Demand for the specific title or subject area
  • Availability of material

Removal of Withdrawn Material

Materials that no longer meet the stated objectives of the Library will be withdrawn from the system. The Library reserves the right to determine how materials are removed.

Requests for Reconsideration

In the selection of materials, an attitude of flexibility, open-mindedness, and responsiveness to the changing needs of the community is kept constantly in mind. Materials are evaluated as complete works and not on the basis of a particular passage or passages. A work will not be excluded from the Library’s collection solely because it represents a particular aspect of life, because of frankness of expression, or because it is controversial.

The Library ensures free access to its holdings for all who use the library; people are free to select or reject for themselves any item in the collection. The responsibility for a minor’s reading, listening, or viewing material rests with the parent and/or legal guardian; previewing materials is recommended if parents are concerned about content. While one can reject material for oneself or one’s child, one cannot restrict access to materials for others. The Library has established procedures to ensure objective and fair reconsideration of materials.

The Library has established procedures to ensure objective and fair reconsideration of materials. Persons from the community wishing to recommend the removal or reclassification of a particular item in the collection may submit a Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials form. The request will be reviewed by the Library Director and staff, bearing in mind the Library's mission statement and the selection criteria of this collection development policy. After evaluating journal reviews and other materials submitted by the patron and the staff, the Library Director or their designee, will respond in writing within 30 days of receiving the formal request. The material will be retained in the collection during the reconsideration process.

In the event that the person who initiated the request is not satisfied with the reconsideration decision, they may appeal for a hearing before the Library Board of Trustees by making a written request to the Chairman of the Board. If a hearing is granted, the individual will be notified when they may address the Board. 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 the request for reconsideration has been handled in accordance with stated policies and procedures of the Hardin County Public Library. On the basis of this determination, the Board may vote to uphold or override the decision of the Library Director.

Request for Reconsideration of Materials

The library is a unique institution charged with being an unbiased repository of recorded expression. While the board has delegated the responsibility for selection and evaluation of library materials to the director and such staff as he/she may designate, they have the legal responsibility for the collection and its protection under the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution.

Customers with complaints about materials should initiate the following Procedures:

  1. Complete a Statement of Concert about Library Resources form.
  2. Completed form will be reviewed by the director and appropriate background material gathered.
  3. The director will bring the matter to the attention of the board, along with her/his recommendation.
  4. The board will review the matter and vote with as little delay as possible.
  5. The board will issue a formal response to the complainant at a regularly scheduled meeting.

Download the Reconsideration Form