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Collection Development Policy


This policy governs the selection and maintenance of the Ephrata Public Library’s collection of materials. In keeping with the library’s mission statement, collection development should incorporate resources that promote opportunities for everyone seeking to improve, change, enrich, and enjoy their lives. Another objective outlined in the mission statement to be considered is that the library offers free access to information reflecting differing viewpoints, needs and interests in order to support an open and democratic society.

The Collection Development Policy is in accordance with the American Library Association guidelines including the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read statement.


The intention of this policy is to help guide selectors in the process of evaluating and selecting materials which anticipate and satisfy the needs of the residents of Ephrata Borough, Akron Borough, Clay Township and Ephrata Township, as well as to explain the collection development process to other staff and patrons of the library. The main points of this policy include: objectives, responsibility of selectors, criteria for selection, collection maintenance, gifts, and requests for reconsideration.


The EPL will make available a wide variety of print and non-print materials that improve, change, enrich and provide enjoyment even if the materials do not have interminable relevancy or value.

  1. The collection is not archival and is continuously reviewed to make the best use of space and to remain contemporary.
  2. The collection will reflect a variety of opinions (minority and majority) on a subject.
  3. The collection will meet the needs of a broad range of people while paying special attention to local concerns and interests.

Responsibility of Selectors

Final selection of materials is the responsibility of the Library Director who oversees the entire process of collection development and to delegate the authority and responsibility to the staff to be selectors, to make day-to-day decisions and interpret the policy

Appointments to the collection development team are based on education, training and expertise. Challenges or suggestions for changes are to be referred to the director. At the time of the writing of this policy the team is a follows:

  1. The Collection Development Manager who coordinates the entire selection process also selects adult fiction/non fiction, YA fiction/non fiction, videos (adult and children’s) and parenting materials.
  2. Circulation Services Supervisor selects the periodicals, reference materials, adult audio, and sight savers.>
  3. Children’s Librarian selects the Juvenile materials - fiction/non fiction.
  4. Acquisitions Specialist considers and suggests donations to the selector responsible for the collection. The Acquisitions Specialist is also responsible for selecting gift books.

Other staff members may suggest items to be ordered but the collection development team make the final decisions.

Criteria for Selection

Selection of materials, whether they are purchased or donated, is based on the informational, educational, or recreational need of the community and is dependant on space, budget and availability.

A selection standard cannot be applied to all acquisitions to the library. Each item should be considered individually and take in account its intended audience. When available, annotations or descriptions should be taken into account. Some items, however, may be chosen simply on artistic value or scholarship.

In order to build well-rounded collections the following criteria will be applied to selecting items whether they be purchased or donated:

General Criteria:

  1. Appropriateness and effectiveness of format.
  2. Suitability of subject, style, and reading level for intended audience.
  3. Attention given to critics, reviews, public opinion, and professional selection aids.
  4. Present and potential relevance to community needs.
  5. Importance as a document of the times (publication date).
  6. Reputation and/or significance of author, producer or publisher.
  7. Prize or honor received.
  8. Relation to existing collection and other materials on the subject.
  9. Availability and accessibility of the same material in the Lancaster Library System.
  10. Demand or request for materials.

Patron requests:

Patrons of the library may request specific item titles to be considered for the collection. These item requests should be given to the appropriate person on the collection development team. In most cases the request will be granted. However if the item does not meet the general criteria, the selector reserves the right to reject the request.

Collection Maintenance

All collections of the library should be weeded over the course of the year. The selection team is strongly encouraged to systematically evaluate the collections they are responsible for.

Weeding Guidelines:

Weeding of the collection insures that materials found in the library are useful and accessible. Collections should change over time to meet the changing needs of the community, the advancement of science, changes in the world and goals of the library.

Weeding decisions ultimately depend on the professional judgments of the library staff responsible for the selection of materials in a given collection. Removal of damaged or no longer useful items should be a continual process.

Criteria to consider for removal of an item:

  • Publication date
  • Accuracy of information
  • Circulation statistics
  • Last use vs. date added
  • Subject material
  • Duplicates
  • Physical condition of the item

Criteria of what not to weed:

  • Local history items.
  • Items by local authors or artists

Withdrawal Process:

Items are regularly withdrawn from the collection to make room for items newer, more useful or popular. Many people in our community rightly believe books are costly and important so do not discard many books all at one time.

The following are the steps to be followed when discarding an item:

  • Delete item record from the automated library system (Millennium).
  • Remove library identifying marks.
  • Place items in with the Friends of EPL donations to be considered for sale at the bookstore or annual book sale.


A replacement is an item purchased to take the place of an identical title previously in the collection. A selector should consider replacing an item that has been damaged, stolen or lost using the same criteria used in considering an item for purchase. Not all items that are damaged, stolen or lost should automatically be replaced.

Gift Books:

Gift books are books purchased with proceeds from either the Book Endowment Program or money donated for that specific purpose. It is the responsibility of the selection team to select the books. Donors may suggest ideas for subjects or designate a reading level.


Donations of books and other materials are accepted with the understanding that the items may be added to the collection, given to the Friends of the Library for consideration to be sold at their bookstore or sale, or disposed of. New titles acquired in this manner are subject to the basic standards of selection, and replacement and duplicate copies are added to the collection only if needed. Donated books should be given to the respective selectors for consideration.

The library will provide receipts indicating the number of donated items upon request for gift books for tax deductions or other purposes.

Reconsideration (Challenges) Procedures

Items that have been accepted as qualifying under the criteria for selection will not be automatically removed at the request of those who disagree with the content. The following procedures are a guide for handling a request for reconsideration.

  1. A staff member who is responsible for selection of materials should informally explain to them the selection process of the library.
  2. If that does not resolve the complaint, ask that the complainant fill out a “Request for Reconsideration of Library Material” form.
  3. Inform the Library Director.
  4. Keep the challenged material on the shelf.
  5. Director appoints a Review Committee made up of a librarian, library director, board member, school teacher, community representative.
  6. The following steps are carried out by the Review Committee
    • Read, view, or listen to material
    • Reference general acceptance of the item by reading reviews and consulting recommended lists.
    • Determine the extent to which the item meets the selection policy, and consider the written complaint.
    • Discuss the material confidentially.
    • Write a report.
    • The library director then presents the committee’s decision.

This page was last modified on March 18 2011