Collection Development Policy


  • Mission Statement and Goals
  • Introduction
  • Purpose
  • Selection Policy
  • Responsibility for Selection
  • Selection Criteria
  • Collection Maintenance
  • Criteria for Withdrawal
  • Electronic Resources (E-Resources)
  • Children and Teens (Ages 0-18)
  • Local History items
  • Patron Requests
  • Requests for Reconsideration
  • Previous Reconsideration of Materials
  • Procedure for Reconsideration of Materials
  • Gifts/Donations Policy
  • Process for Policy Revision
  • Library Bill of Rights
  • Freedom to Read Statement
  • Freedom to View Statement
  • Request for Reconsideration Form (Addendum 1)

Mission Statement and Goals

The mission of the Morrisville Public Library is to facilitate creation, collaboration, education, and exploration in our community by providing access to the world of information and ideas.


  1. Popular Materials Center, featuring current, high-demand, high interest materials in a variety of formats for persons of all ages.
  2. Independent Learning Center, particularly for non-school age members of our community not being served by our excellent public school and college resources. This includes young children and parents, opening preschoolers’ doors to learning through services for children and children and parents together.
  3. Community Information Center, acting as a current information resource concerning community organizations, issues and services.


The Morrisville Public Library has adopted the following Collection Development Policy to guide the Library Manager and to inform the public about the principles upon which selections are made.


The Morrisville Public Library Collection Development Policy guides the library so that a balanced, quality collection on a wide variety of subjects is available, accessible and relevant to the public.  This policy focuses and guides the selection, acquisition, evaluation, weeding, digitization and maintenance of the general collection.  Public use/demand is the primary determining factor in the development of the collection and the direction it will take.  The collection will reflect popular interest with high demand adult and youth materials as well as electronic and popular media as the focus.  The library will work to have a uniform collection strategy while respecting community needs.

Selection Policy

The public’s interests and the community’s informational, educational and entertainment needs are determining factors in the selection of materials for the library collection.  The library’s collection, purchases and maintenance decisions will reflect the concepts laid out in the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read and Freedom to View statements.  In keeping with the ideal of intellectual freedom, selection will reflect diverse and opposing points of view.  Materials are evaluated on the basis of the content of the entire work and the item’s value to maintaining a balanced collection.  Statistical data that reflect usage will impact budget allocations and selection decisions. 

Responsibility for Selection

Ultimate responsibility for the selection of library materials rests with the Library Manager who operates within the framework of policies determined by the Library Board of Trustees. The Library Manager uses appropriate selection tools available and tracks the materials budget to ensure a flow of new materials throughout the year, according to budget allocation. Suggestions from staff members who are not directly involved with selection are encouraged and given serious consideration in the selection process.

Selection Criteria

Selection is a discerning and interpretive process, involving a general knowledge of the subject and its important literature, a familiarity with the materials in the collection, an awareness of the bibliographies on the subject, and recognition of the needs of the community.

To build a well-balanced collection of merit and significance, materials in all forms must be measured by objective guidelines. Since the library does not promote particular beliefs or views, the collection will contain various positions on important questions, including unpopular or unorthodox positions. 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.

Selection of materials will not be made on the basis of anticipated approval or disapproval, but solely on the basis of the principles stated in this policy. Responsibility for choosing what an individual will read rests with the individual. Responsibility for the use of library materials by children and young adults rests with their parents or legal guardians.

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. Several standards and combinations of standards may be used, as some materials may be judged primarily on artistic merit, while others are considered because of scholarship, value as human documents, or ability to satisfy the recreational and entertainment needs of the community.

  1. General criteria:

Existing collection needs
Relevance to community needs
Customer demand
Significant or reputable author or publisher
Attention of critics and reviewers
Important human or social insight
Representation of current ideas, events, or mores

     2. Criteria for non-fiction works:

Accurate, clear and logical presentation
Comprehensive and complete treatment
Author’s qualifications
Of lasting value or current need
Original point of view

     3. Criteria for fiction works:

Vitality and originality
Artistic presentation or experimentation
Well-developed plot and characterization
 Authentic setting
Representation of important genre or trend

     4. Criteria for non-print works (in addition to the criteria for fiction or non-fiction)

Good technical production
Good sound/image quality
Good performance quality
Provides a presentation that is effectively delivered by the specific format
Licensing/copyright compatibility with library use

     5. Selection may also be limited by the following factors:

Physical limitations of the building
Price and format
Availability of low-demand materials in other library collections

      6. Selection of library materials will not be influenced by:

The possibility that they may come into the possession of children or young adults
The liability of materials to theft or mutilation

Tools used in selection include professional journals, trade journals, subject bibliographies, publishers’ promotional materials and reviews from reputable sources. Purchase suggestions from library customers are welcome and are given serious consideration.

Collection Maintenance

Ongoing and regular withdrawal of materials is required to keep collections current, attractive, and responsive to community needs. Space is limited and the importance of an item to a collection can change over time. An item’s physical condition can deteriorate, its content can become obsolete, and crowded shelves make it necessary to discard items of limited use.

Materials that no longer meet the stated objectives of the library (including items that have become damaged or obsolete) will be systematically withdrawn according to the professional practices listed below.  Disposal of withdrawn library materials will be at the discretion of the Library Manager.

The Morrisville Public Library does not remove materials from the collection for the purpose of resale. Upon withdrawal, some materials may be sold at our various book sales or online at our Amazon Marketplace bookselling page.  Items left after these measures are then given away as free through our “free to a good home” program.

Criteria of Withdrawal

The Library Manager considers the following criteria in choosing materials for withdrawal:

  • Worn or badly damaged materials.
  • Frequency of use.
  • Superseded editions or obsolete items and formats.
  • Availability of other titles on the subject.
  • Local interest / Historical Significance.
  • Importance to Morrisville Public Library’s core collections.
  • Availability online or elsewhere.
  • Classic or basic work in the field.

Electronic Resources (E-Resources)

Due to public demand for access to digital content, the Mid York Library System (that we are a member of) will research, assess, and be responsive to emerging technologies applicable to Public Libraries. Electronic resources consist of content that is stored and displayed digitally and accessed via computers and other electronic devices.

Electronic formats may enable increased access to library resources. Library- purchased digital content, which includes but is not limited to online databases, e- books, and downloadable resources, is available for registered library users outside the library. These formats also increase the depth and breadth of the collection system-wide, alleviating the need to purchase copies in print format.

The Mid York Library System evaluates online resources using general selection criteria. In addition, consideration will be given to ease of use of the product, availability of the information to multiple, concurrent users, technical requirements to provide access to the information, and technical support and training.

Because electronic resources are an ever changing medium, they are evaluated annually and the primary formats collected by the library system will evolve accordingly. Traditional print reference materials will increasingly be purchased in electronic formats to provide cost-effective access to a greater number of users.

Children and Teens (Ages 0-18)

Morrisville Public Library places a high priority on supporting the community’s youth by providing a strong collection of high interest materials, high quality literature, and resources that provide homework support. Resources for youth will include a broad spectrum of subjects and viewpoints that reflect Morrisville’s unique and diverse communities thereby recognizing the importance for youth to see their experiences reflected within literature. Further, youth collections will include a variety of formats to support literacy and youth development.

Priority in selecting and maintaining collections will be given first and foremost to youth, while secondary consideration is given to teachers, parents, and other adults. These collections will be cataloged and arranged to best meet the needs of children and teens.

The scope and depth of children and teen collections reflects the Morrisville Public Library’s interest in promoting and supporting literacy for youth, including literacy in terms of both ability and enjoyment of reading. The library places particular emphasis on early childhood literacy through children’s collections, outreach, the 1000 Books before Kindergarten program and the Imagination Library program, while also maintaining a commitment to extending literacy efforts beyond the early childhood years. Morrisville Public Library will be a resource for youth through high school, recognizing the importance of supporting these age groups in building strong readers, lifelong learners, and dedicated library users.

Local History Items

The Morrisville Public Library contains a comprehensive, non-circulating historical section covering all aspects of Morrisville and the surrounding areas (Eaton, West Eaton, Peterboro and Smithfield for example.)  This section contains both primary and secondary materials in all formats, including books, manuscript and archival collections, newspapers, photographs, slides and VHS, maps, scrapbooks, diaries and journals, and selected artifacts.  Materials are for library use only.

The local history section serves a wide range of patrons, from students to scholars, from historians to the general public.  This is a comprehensive collection where weeding rarely occurs, except for condition and the addition of superior replacement copies.

Patron Requests

Requests will be considered and evaluated in accordance with the library’s Collection Development Policy.

Requests for Reconsideration

The choice of library materials by library users is an individual matter. While an individual may reject materials for himself/herself, he/she cannot exercise censorship to restrict access to the materials by others. Recognizing that a diversity of materials may result in some requests for reconsideration, the following procedures have been developed to ensure that objections or complaints are handled in an attentive and consistent manner. Once an item has been approved for purchase, based on the selection policy of the Board of Trustees and the criteria for selection, it will not be automatically removed upon request.

Previous Reconsideration of Materials

Requests to reconsider materials, which have previously undergone the reconsideration process, will be referred to the Library Manager. Repeated or redundant requests by an individual or a group to reconsider materials with differing title but similar content will be restricted as follows: If the Library Manager concludes a request may be redundant, he/she will notify the complainant/complainants that the item(s) in question, having already undergone a thorough review and reconsideration process, will not be reevaluated.

Procedure for Reconsideration of Materials

  1. Any individual expressing an objection to or concern about library material should receive respectful attention from the staff member first approached. This staff member should use his or her own best judgment in attempting to answer the concerns or clarify the situation. If the individual is not satisfied with the explanation received, the staff member should offer the options of speaking with the Library Manager or filling out a “Request for Reconsideration” form. He/she may ask for a reconsideration in the following manner:

1) A “Request for Reconsideration” form (see Addendum 1) must be completed and returned to a staff member at the circulation desk for the Library Manager or given to the Library Manager directly.

2) The Library Manager will then research and make a decision regarding the disposition of the material. The Manager will communicate this decision, along with the reasons for it, in writing to the individual who initiated the request as well as enclosing a copy of the “Selection Policy of the Morrisville Public Library”.

  1. If the individual desires further action; he/she may appeal in writing to the Library Board of Trustees, requesting a hearing before the Board. If a hearing is granted, the individual will be notified of when he/she 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 Morrisville Public Library. On the basis of this determination, the Board may vote to uphold or override the decision of the Library Manager.

Gifts/Donations Policy

Morrisville Public Library accepts gifts of new or gently-used books, DVDs, and books on CD. Gifts shall meet the same selection criteria as purchased materials. All gifts added to the collection must be donated with no restrictions and must be available for public use. Materials not added to the collection will be added to our book sales or disposed of by other means. The library cannot place a monetary value on gifts for tax purposes, but receipts are provided upon request.

When the Library receives a cash gift for the purchase of materials, whether as a memorial or for any other purpose, the general nature or subject area of the materials to be purchased will be based upon the wishes of the donor. The Library Manager in accordance with the needs and selection policies of the Library will make selection of specific titles.  Gifts of non- library items ordinarily will not be accepted.

Special collections and memorial collections will not be shelved as separate physical entities. Such collections will be accepted only with the understanding that they will be integrated into the general collections.

Process for Policy Revision

The Morrisville Public Library Collection Development Policy will be reviewed and evaluated for any of the following reasons:

  • A scheduled periodical review (every three to five years)
  • A suggestion from a competent source
  • An identified problem or issue
  • A change in legislation

Library Bill of Rights

The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.

  1. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
  2. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.

  1. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
  2. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
  3. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.

VII. All people, regardless of origin, age, background, or views, possess a right to privacy and confidentiality in their library use. Libraries should advocate for, educate about, and protect people’s privacy, safeguarding all library use data, including personally identifiable information.

Adopted June 19, 1939, by the ALA Council; amended October 14, 1944; June 18, 1948; February 2, 1961; June 27, 1967; January 23, 1980; January 29, 2019.

Inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996.

Freedom to Read Statement

The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack. Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label “controversial” views, to distribute lists of “objectionable” books or authors, and to purge libraries. These actions apparently rise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to counter threats to safety or national security, as well as to avoid the subversion of politics and the corruption of morals. We, as individuals devoted to reading and as librarians and publishers responsible for disseminating ideas, wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of the freedom to read.

Most attempts at suppression rest on a denial of the fundamental premise of democracy: that the ordinary individual, by exercising critical judgment, will select the good and reject the bad. We trust Americans to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe. We do not believe they are prepared to sacrifice their heritage of a free press in order to be “protected” against what others think may be bad for them. We believe they still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression.

These efforts at suppression are related to a larger pattern of pressures being brought against education, the press, art and images, films, broadcast media, and the Internet. The problem is not only one of actual censorship. The shadow of fear cast by these pressures leads, we suspect, to an even larger voluntary curtailment of expression by those who seek to avoid controversy or unwelcome scrutiny by government officials.

Such pressure toward conformity is perhaps natural to a time of accelerated change. And yet suppression is never more dangerous than in such a time of social tension. Freedom has given the United States the elasticity to endure strain. Freedom keeps open the path of novel and creative solutions, and enables change to come by choice. Every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of our society and leaves it the less able to deal with controversy and difference.

Now as always in our history, reading is among our greatest freedoms. The freedom to read and write is almost the only means for making generally available ideas or manners of expression that can initially command only a small audience. The written word is the natural medium for the new idea and the untried voice from which come the original contributions to social growth. It is essential to the extended discussion that serious thought requires, and to the accumulation of knowledge and ideas into organized collections.

We believe that free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture. We believe that these pressures toward conformity present the danger of limiting the range and variety of inquiry and expression on which our democracy and our culture depend. We believe that every American community must jealously guard the freedom to publish and to circulate, in order to preserve its own freedom to read. We believe that publishers and librarians have a profound responsibility to give validity to that freedom to read by making it possible for the readers to choose freely from a variety of offerings.

The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution. Those with faith in free people will stand firm on these constitutional guarantees of essential rights and will exercise the responsibilities that accompany these rights.

We therefore affirm these propositions:

It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those that are unorthodox, unpopular, or considered dangerous by the majority.

Creative thought is by definition new, and what is new is different. The bearer of every new thought is a rebel until that idea is refined and tested. Totalitarian systems attempt to maintain themselves in power by the ruthless suppression of any concept that challenges the established orthodoxy. The power of a democratic system to adapt to change is vastly strengthened by the freedom of its citizens to choose widely from among conflicting opinions offered freely to them. To stifle every nonconformist idea at birth would mark the end of the democratic process. Furthermore, only through the constant activity of weighing and selecting can the democratic mind attain the strength demanded by times like these. We need to know not only what we believe but why we believe it.

Publishers, librarians, and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea or presentation they make available. It would conflict with the public interest for them to establish their own political, moral, or aesthetic views as a standard for determining what should be published or circulated.

Publishers and librarians serve the educational process by helping to make available knowledge and ideas required for the growth of the mind and the increase of learning. They do not foster education by imposing as mentors the patterns of their own thought. The people should have the freedom to read and consider a broader range of ideas than those that may be held by any single librarian or publisher or government or church. It is wrong that what one can read should be confined to what another thinks proper.

It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to bar access to writings on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.

No art or literature can flourish if it is to be measured by the political views or private lives of its creators. No society of free people can flourish that draws up lists of writers to whom it will not listen, whatever they may have to say.

There is no place in our society for efforts to coerce the taste of others, to confine adults to the reading matter deemed suitable for adolescents, or to inhibit the efforts of writers to achieve artistic expression.

To some, much of modern expression is shocking. But is not much of life itself shocking? We cut off literature at the source if we prevent writers from dealing with the stuff of life. Parents and teachers have a responsibility to prepare the young to meet the diversity of experiences in life to which they will be exposed, as they have a responsibility to help them learn to think critically for themselves. These are affirmative responsibilities, not to be discharged simply by preventing them from reading works for which they are not yet prepared. In these matters values differ, and values cannot be legislated; nor can machinery be devised that will suit the demands of one group without limiting the freedom of others.

It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept the prejudgment of a label characterizing any expression or its author as subversive or dangerous.

The ideal of labeling presupposes the existence of individuals or groups with wisdom to determine by authority what is good or bad for others. It presupposes that individuals must be directed in making up their minds about the ideas they examine. But Americans do not need others to do their thinking for them.

It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians, as guardians of the people’s freedom to read, to contest encroachments upon that freedom by individuals or groups seeking to impose their own standards or tastes upon the community at large; and by the government whenever it seeks to reduce or deny public access to public information.

It is inevitable in the give and take of the democratic process that the political, the moral, or the aesthetic concepts of an individual or group will occasionally collide with those of another individual or group. In a free society individuals are free to determine for themselves what they wish to read, and each group is free to determine what it will recommend to its freely associated members. But no group has the right to take the law into its own hands, and to impose its own concept of politics or morality upon other members of a democratic society. Freedom is no freedom if it is accorded only to the accepted and the inoffensive. Further, democratic societies are more safe, free, and creative when the free flow of public information is not restricted by governmental prerogative or self-censorship.

It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians to give full meaning to the freedom to read by providing books that enrich the quality and diversity of thought and expression. By the exercise of this affirmative responsibility, they can demonstrate that the answer to a “bad” book is a good one, the answer to a “bad” idea is a good one.

The freedom to read is of little consequence when the reader cannot obtain matter fit for that reader’s purpose. What is needed is not only the absence of restraint, but the positive provision of opportunity for the people to read the best that has been thought and said. Books are the major channel by which the intellectual inheritance is handed down, and the principal means of its testing and growth. The defense of the freedom to read requires of all publishers and librarians the utmost of their faculties, and deserves of all Americans the fullest of their support.

We state these propositions neither lightly nor as easy generalizations. We here stake out a lofty claim for the value of the written word. We do so because we believe that it is possessed of enormous variety and usefulness, worthy of cherishing and keeping free. We realize that the application of these propositions may mean the dissemination of ideas and manners of expression that are repugnant to many persons. We do not state these propositions in the comfortable belief that what people read is unimportant. We believe rather that what people read is deeply important; that ideas can be dangerous; but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society. Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.

This statement was originally issued in May of 1953 by the Westchester Conference of the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers Council, which in 1970 consolidated with the American Educational Publishers Institute to become the Association of American Publishers.

Adopted June 25, 1953, by the ALA Council and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee; amended January 28, 1972; January 16, 1991; July 12, 2000; June 30, 2004.

Freedom to View Statement

The FREEDOM TO VIEW, along with the freedom to speak, to hear, and to read, is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. In a free society, there is no place for censorship of any medium of expression. Therefore these principles are affirmed:

  1. To provide the broadest access to film, video, and other audiovisual materials because they are a means for the communication of ideas. Liberty of circulation is essential to insure the constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression.
  2. To protect the confidentiality of all individuals and institutions using film, video, and other audiovisual materials.
  3. To provide film, video, and other audiovisual materials which represent a diversity of views and expression. Selection of a work does not constitute or imply agreement with or approval of the content.
  4. To provide a diversity of viewpoints without the constraint of labeling or prejudging film, video, or other audiovisual materials on the basis of the moral, religious, or political beliefs of the producer or filmmaker or on the basis of controversial content.
  5. To contest vigorously, by all lawful means, every encroachment upon the public’s freedom to view.

This statement was originally drafted by the Freedom to View Committee of the American Film and Video Association (formerly the Educational Film Library Association) and was adopted by the AFVA Board of Directors in February 1979. This statement was updated and approved by the AFVA Board of Directors in 1989.

For a reconsideration of materials form, please see appendix I.

Adopted: May 23, 2019

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