Collection Development Policy



A. Objectives

Based on the mission and vision statement of the organization, the purpose of the Black Earth Public Library is to provide all individuals in the community with carefully selected books and other materials to aid the individual in the pursuit of education, information, research, pleasure, and the creative use of leisure time.

Because of the volume of publishing, as well as the limitations of budget and space, the library must have a selection policy with which to meet community interests and needs.

The materials selection/collection development policy is used by the library staff in the selection of materials and also serves to acquaint the general public with the principles of selection.

The Library Bill of Rights and The Freedom to Read Statement have been endorsed by the Black Earth Public Library Board of Trustees and are integral parts of the policy.

The collection development policy, like all other policies, will be reviewed and/or revised as the need arises.

B. Responsibility for Selection

The ultimate responsibility for selection of library materials rests with the Library Director who operates within the framework of the policies determined by the Black Earth Public Library Board of Trustees. This responsibility may be shared with other members of the library staff; however, because the director must be available to answer to the library board and the general public for actual selections made, the director has the authority to reject or select any item contrary to the recommendations of the staff.

C. Criteria for Selection

  1. The main points considered in the selection of materials are: 
    • a. individual merit of each item
    • b. popular appeal/demand
    • c. suitability of material for the clientele
    • d. existing library holdings
    • e. budget
  2. Reviews are a major source of information about new materials. However, the lack of a review or an unfavorable review shall not be the sole reason for rejecting a title which is in demand. Consideration is, therefore, given to requests from library patrons and books discussed on public media. Materials are judged on the basis of the work as a whole, not on a part taken out of context.
  3. “Recommendation for Purchase” forms will be made available to patrons. Items for which patrons fill out a “Recommendation for Purchase” form are subject to the same selection criteria as outlined above.

D. Interlibrary Loan

Because of limited budget and space, the library cannot provide all materials that are requested. Therefore, interlibrary loan is used to obtain from other libraries those materials that are beyond the scope of this library's collection.

In return for utilizing interlibrary loan to satisfy the needs of our patrons, the Black Earth Public Library agrees to lend its materials to other libraries through the same interlibrary loan network, and to make an effort to have its current holdings listed in a tool that is accessible by other libraries throughout the state.

E. Gifts and Donations

The library accepts gifts of books and other materials with the understanding that they will be added to the collection only if appropriate and needed. If they are not needed because of duplication, condition, or dated information the director can dispose of them as they see fit. The same criteria of selection which are applied to purchased materials are applied to gifts. Memorial gifts of books or money are also accepted.Specific memorial books can be ordered for the library on request of a patron if the request meets the criteria established by the Board. It is desirable for gifts of or for specific titles to be offered after consultation with the library director. Book selection will be made by the director if no specific book is requested. The Black Earth Public Library encourages and appreciates gifts and donations.

By law, the library is not allowed to appraise the value of donated materials, though it can provide an acknowledgment of receipt of the items if requested by the donor.

F. Weeding

An up-to-date, attractive and useful collection is maintained through a continual withdrawal and/or replacement process. Items are withdrawn from the collection based upon: 


     circulation statistics


     accuracy of information

Replacement of worn/damaged volumes is dependent upon: 

     current demand


     more recent acquisitions

     availability of newer editions

This ongoing process of weeding is the responsibility of the Library Director and is authorized by the Board of Trustees. Withdrawn materials will be handled in a similar manner and under the same authority as donated materials.

G. Potential Problems or Challenges

The Black Earth Public Library recognizes that some materials are controversial and that any given item may offend some patrons. 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 children’s use of library materials rests with their parents or legal guardians. Selection of library materials will not be inhibited by the possibility that materials may come into the possession of children.

Library materials will not be marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of their contents, and no library material will be sequestered except to protect it from damage or theft.

H. Challenged Materials

Although materials are carefully selected, there can arise differences of opinion regarding suitable materials. Patrons requesting that material be withdrawn from or restricted within the collection may complete a "Recommendation for Consideration of Library Materials" form which is available in the library. Patrons filling out the “Recommendation for Consideration of Library Materials” form must live in the Black Earth Public Library service area, including the Village of Black Earth, Town of Black Earth, Town of Berry, Town of Vermont, and Town of Arena. Only one material at a time may be submitted for consideration per person, due to the time and effort required of the Library Director to respond to each challenge.

Within a week of receiving the form, the Library Director will contact the patron.

If the same title has been challenged within the last three years, the Library Director will refer the patron to the decision made at the time of the previous challenge. The Library Director has discretion to determine whether an additional review is necessary.

If the title has not been challenged within the last three years, or the Library Director determines that a review is necessary, the Library Director will contact the patron to schedule an in-person (when not prohibited by a national or local emergency) meeting to discuss the recommendation. 

If the patron is unsatisfied with the Library Director’s decision, the patron may request the recommendation be placed on the agenda of the next regular meeting of the Black Earth Public Library Board of Trustees with the patron’s attendance requested.


Adopted by the Black Earth Public Library Board of Trustees on 7/21/2021.

Updated by the Black Earth Public Library Board of Trustees on 6/21/2023.