Collection Development

The purpose of the Howell Carnegie District Library's Collection Development Policy is to guide and assist the library staff in the maintenance of the collection as reflected in the library's missions and goals. It is a description of what the library collects. A written policy helps to answer questions posed by the public regarding the presence or absence of certain materials in the collection and helps to explain the criteria used for materials selection.

A written materials selection procedure aids library staff in selecting and acquiring a useful, well-rounded collection of books and other materials to meet the needs of the community. Selection of a work does not necessarily imply the library's approval of the actions or ideas contained in that work. This document is subject to periodic review, update and possible change.

Statement on Intellectual Freedom, Censorship & Access

In addition to the selection procedure and criteria mentioned in this document, the Howell Carnegie District Library believes in, supports, and follows the principles of intellectual freedom. Basic to the policy is the Library Bill of Rights and The Freedom to Read as adopted by the American Library Association.

Processing and shelving of materials shall in no way reflect a value judgement of the materials. There will be no labeling of any item or of its catalog records to indicate its point of view or bias. Most materials will be shelved in their proper order on open shelves; freely and easily accessible to the public. Specific items that are not in Dewey sequence are those with physical limitations, frequently used reference books, expensive periodicals such as Value Line and reference books difficult to replace if missing. Also, some items are shelved separately for easier patron access, e.g. mysteries.

The library assures free access to its holdings. All patrons are free to select or reject for themselves any item in the collection. Individual or group prejudice about a particular item or type of material in the collection may not preclude its use by others.

Parental right to censor children's materials will be enforced only by the parents. The library will not be responsible for a child's selection of library materials. That responsibility rests wholly on the child's parents or legal guardians. Selection of material is not restricted by the fact that the child may be able to possess materials her/his parents may find objectionable.

Selection Responsibility, Criteria & Procedure

The materials collected at the Howell Carnegie District Library encompass a wide range of subjects, as outlined in the mission and goals statement, to meet the diverse needs of the community. The library collection is focused in the following areas: popular fiction and nonfiction, preschoolers, reference and continuing education.

The ultimate responsibility for the selection of materials lies with the Board of Trustees. In carrying out that responsibility, the board has adopted the following guidelines and criteria for selection of materials. The Board of Trustees delegates this responsibility to the Library Director. The Director is in turn responsible for delegating the workload among the department heads. The Head of Reference and Adult Services is responsible for selection of adult materials for fiction and non-fiction. The responsibility for selection of Young Adult and Children's materials falls to the Head of Youth Services. The department heads then divide the workload among their current staff. Selection of materials for use at the Howell Carnegie District Library is a process that utilizes the skills, education and experience of members of the library staff. Materials selected by those assigned in accordance with these guidelines are considered to have been selected by the board.

When making selection decisions, the librarians will rely upon a number of tools as well as general criteria. Selectors use reviews and information found in a variety of sources and catalogs, as well as suggestions and requests from library patrons. Because the large volume of materials purchased annually is too great for the selectors to order every item individually, the library employs some vendor controlled order plans as one part of selection, e.g. paperback parade. Reviews of materials published in various professional periodicals, as well as general interest periodicals, will be consulted. Examples of periodicals include Publisher's Weekly, Library Journal, School Library Journal, Booklist, VOYA, and the New York Times Book Review. Format specific review periodicals may also be consulted, e.g.Video Rating Guide for Libraries. In addition to review periodicals, the librarians may consult bibliographic record sources. In addition to the reviews and bibliographic listings and in cases where evaluative reviews are not available, the librarians will rely on professional knowledge and judgement and the selection criteria listed below.

Access to Information on the Internet

The Internet is a vast network linking millions of computers around the world. Internet resources provide unprecedented opportunities to expand the scope of information available to users. However, there is no regulation of the content on the Internet.

The Howell Carnegie District Library has no control of the Internet and its resources and assumes no responsibility for the quality, accuracy, or currency of any Internet resource. The availability of information links often changes rapidly and unpredictably. Not all sources on the Internet provide accurate, complete, or current information. The Library assumes no responsibility for any damages, direct, or indirect, arising from use of its World Wide Web server or from its connection to other Internet services.

Users should evaluate Internet sources more carefully than they do printed publications, questioning the validity of the information provided. The Internet may contain material of a controversial nature.

The library does not censor access to material nor protect users from controversial information. Parents of minor children must assume responsibility for their children's use of the Internet through the Library's connection.

As with print materials, librarians can assist with selections, using reviews and experience to guide a patron to a web site.

Internet Acceptable Use Rules and General Guidelines

Website linking policy

The Howell Carnegie Library provides links from our Library Homepage to other Web Sites.  Links selected will meet the criteria from the Collection Development Policy used in evaluating any reference source (e.g. authoratative, current, accurate, relevant and meets the informational needs of the Howell Community)  The Howell Carnegie District Library provides these links as a convenience.  The inclusion of a link does not imply any association with the link operators.  A site will be removed if it is determoned that it is no longer active or updated, the content has changed and no longer falls within the guildlines of the Collection Policy, or the site has been superseded by a more appropriate site.

Since linked sites are not under the control of the Howell Carnegie District Library, the library is not responsible for their contents, for any link contained in a linked site or any changes or updates to such sites.
BRD APR 10/8/02

Criteria for Print Material Selection

  • current patron demand - three or more patron requests
  • anticipated patron demand based on past experience and reviews
  • popularity of previous works by author
  • cost as related to estimated patron use
  • physical characteristics and quality of


  • integrity of published based on past experience and professional knowledge
  • revelancy to other materials in collection, e.g. to complete a popular series, complement or fill information gaps in the collection


Specific criteria:

          Fiction        (in addition to general criteria)
          •previous works by popular author

          Nonfiction and reference  (in addition to general criteria)
          •depth of coverage in existing collection

          Periodicals and Newspapers      (in addition to general criteria)
          •The library collects and saves the local newspaper.
          •general readership periodicals rather than professional journals
          •inclusion in periodical index

          Pamphlets    (in addition to general criteria)

          Maps      (in addition to general criteria)
         •local interest
         •ease of use

General Criteria for Nonprint Materials Selection:

        •compatibility to library's hardware
         •ease of use   (user friendly)
         •copyright restrictions that do not infringe on use
         •availability of replacement and repair
         •cost and availability in other formats     

Specific Criteria:

          Microfilms(in addition to general criteria)
         •local history
         •space saving capabilities

          Audio Books(in addition to general criteria)  
         •spoken recordings of original abridged & unabridged print material
         •sound quality
         •performance quality
         •physical quality of item

      Video(in addition to general criteria)

  • Informational and instructional value
  • Dramatizations of works of classic and popular literature
  • Dramatizations of historical events
  • Selected works of popular and classic musical performances
  • Selected works of popular and classic television performances
  • Children's recreation
  • Sound and picture quality
  • Award winning documentaries and features
  • Selected Feature Films

Music(in addition to general criteria)

  • Selected works of popular and classical music
  • Sound quality
  • Performance quality
  • Physical quality of item

Software(in addition to general criteria)

  • Educational and instructional value
  • Quality of documentation that accompanies product
  • Available product support
  • Selected popular titles                                                        rev 8/15/06

Patron Suggestions

Patrons may make written suggestions on forms available at public service desks. These are submitted to the appropriate department head for consideration.  There is also a form on the library's website - click here


Resource Sharing & Interlibrary Loan

As members of The Library Network (TLN) Cooperative, Interlibrary Loan (ILL) requests are submitted through the reference department and filled, if possible, through the interloan system when the Howell Carnegie District Library is unable to fill the patron request from its own collection.


Materials donated to the Howell Carnegie District Library may be used in the collection if they meet the criteria of the Collection Development Policy and Procedure or may be sold in the Friends of the Library book sales if they meet the Friend's guidelines. The materials shall be accepted only if there are no restrictions placed on them.

Gift items chosen for use will be integrated into the library collection in normal sequence, available to all library patrons and otherwise handled as any other material belonging to the library. Withdrawal of gift items will be consistent with the Collection Development Policy and Procedure.


Need for replacement in each case is weighed with regard to materials that meet the same criteria as used by the Collection Development Policy and Procedure. It is not the library's policy to automatically replace all materials withdrawn because of loss, damage or wear. Each case is weighed individually.

Challenged Materials

If a patron finds any portion of the library's collection objectionable, he or she may file a formal request for reexamination of the materials by completing a Request for Reconsideration of Library Material form, which is available at all public service desks. A completed reconsideration form will be reviewed by the appropriate department head. The department head will respond to the patron in written form describing the action the library will take in regard to the challenge. The Collection Development Policy will act as the basis for the response. Copies of the original reconsideration form and the response will be given to the director. If a patron is not satisfied with the staff response, the request for reconsideration may be taken to the Board of Trustees. The Board will decide what course of action to take.

Weeding/Book Withdrawl

Weeding is done to save space, improve access, and make room for new materials. The basis for weeding is when the materials no longer meet the criteria applied to the Collection Development Policy and Procedure.


American Library Association, Guide for Written Collection Policy Statements. Brant, Bonita, Editor. Chicago: American Library Association, 1989.

Gardner, Richard K. Library Collections: Their Origin, Selection, and Development. New York: McGraw Hill, 1981.

Carter, Mary Duncan and Bon, Wallace John and Magrill, Mary Rose. Building Library Collections. Fourth Edition. Metuchen, New Jersey: The Scarecrow Press, Inc. 1974


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