Rachel Kohl Community Library

687 SMITHBRIDGE RD., GLEN MILLS, PA 19342 | 610.358.3445

Rachel Kohl Library Collection Development Policy

1.      Purpose of Policy

a.       A written collection development policy aids the professional library staff in selecting and acquiring library materials to meet the needs of the community.

b.      To inform the public regarding the presence or absence of certain materials and help to explain the basis on which materials have been selected.

c.       To establish a framework for continuous collection evaluation and improvement.


2.      Objectives in Materials Selection

a.      The purpose of the Rachel Kohl Library is to obtain, organize and make available to all the people of the community informational, educational and recreational materials in convenient form, including print and non-print materials. It is the policy of the library to maintain an up-to-date collection of standard works in all fields of knowledge, that are of permanent value, plus timely materials on current issues and items in current demand.

b.      In addition to the requirements of the general public served, materials will be selected to meet the needs of business, the professions, government, and community organizations. Both the adult and children’s collections will serve as supplementary sources for student use, but materials selected for students must also be useful to the general public. Textbooks will not be purchased.


3.      Responsibility for Materials Selection

As stated in its by-laws the library board delegates to the library director the responsibility for the selection and acquisition of all library materials. The director will establish procedures for involving the professional staff in the selection process.


4.      Selection of Library Materials

a.      Selection Criteria

                                                              i.      Critical reviews

                                                            ii.      Public demand or interest

                                                          iii.      Qualifications of author in subject field

                                                           iv.      Reputation of the publisher

                                                             v.      Quality of writing (style, readability)

                                                           vi.      Availability or holdings of material from other libraries

                                                         vii.      Popularity

                                                       viii.      Date of publication

                                                           ix.      Quality of format

                                                             x.      Local, national or historical significance

                                                           xi.      Cost

                                                         xii.      Scope and authority of subject matter

                                                       xiii.      Materials supporting school district curriculums


b.      Selection Tools  

                                                              i.      Reviews in professionally recognized periodicals are a primary source for materials selection. These may include, but are not limited to: Kirkus Review, Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, Library Journal, and School Library Journal.

                                                            ii.      Librarians may also select materials that are being reviewed in other sources such as magazines, newspapers, broadcast media, and online sources.

                                                          iii.      All requests from patrons for specific titles or subjects will be considered. Whenever there is enough demand or interest in a title or subject, an item with unfavorable reviews may be purchased.

                                                           iv.      The library does not sanction any particular beliefs or views and materials are purchased in an effort to reflect all sides of an issue.

                                                             v.      Specialized materials of limited community interest will not ordinarily be purchased.

                                                           vi.      The staff selectors may also purchase materials based on analysis of community needs and interests.

                                                         vii.      Holdings and availability of other area library resources will be considered.


c.       Nonfiction Materials

Librarians will select all materials based on the tools and criteria listed above. Nonfiction materials will cover a broad range of subjects and interests. Materials will be selected with the goal of maintaining a solid collection in each area of the Dewey Decimal System.

Formats: Hardcover and softcover books; books on CD.


d.      Fiction Materials

Fiction is an imaginative form of narrative appealing to individual tastes and preferences. Therefore, there is no single standard by which to judge and materials will be selected based on the aforementioned tools and criteria.

                                                              i.      Formats: Hardcover; paperback; books on CD


e.      Young Adult Fiction Collection

All purchases of Young Adult materials are selected by the Youth Services Librarian. The Young Adult Collection is designed to serve the interests of young people aged 13 through 18. The Library recognizes that certain subjects and materials are of special interest or have a unique appeal to adolescents. The wide range of maturity and reading levels, interests and views of this group are reflected in the materials. The collection includes classic and contemporary authors, popular series, and audiobooks.  We make every effort to have at least one copy of titles on the summer reading lists for the school districts we serve. 

                                                              i.      Formats: Hardcover; paperback, books on CD.


f.        Reference Materials

The Rachel Kohl Library’s Reference collection with the aim of providing an up to date, authoritative collection of information on many subjects. The collection includes mainly almanacs, handbooks, price guides, statistical compilations, atlases, dictionaries, and encyclopedias. Reference materials are designed to be consulted for specific information, rather than to be read in their entirety. Due to frequency of use by staff and patrons and high cost of materials, these items normally remain in the library at all times. However, at the discretion of the librarian, certain titles can be allowed to circulate for 1-2 days. Exceptions will not apply to items that are parts of encyclopedias or other expensive sets. When possible, an effort will be made to purchase a circulating copy of selected titles.

                                                              i.      Formats: Reference materials will be purchased in hardcover, if available. Softcover materials are also purchased, when they are the only format available. Many annual publications, such as price guides and college handbooks, are only available in softcover.


g.      Juvenile Materials

All purchases of juvenile materials are selected by the Youth Services Librarian. Juvenile materials consist of items for juveniles ages birth to 12. Materials of both an informational and recreational nature will be purchased. The goal of the library is to purchase items that will meet the needs of the majority of children within the community. The same criteria and selection tools previously mentioned will be used when adding items to the juvenile collection. The responsibility and use of the library by children lies solely with their parents or legal guardians. The library staff will not act in place of a parent. We do not restrict children from any areas of the library and children, with a valid library card, may borrow all materials with the exception of DVDs.  We make every effort to have at least one copy of titles on the summer reading lists for the school districts we serve. 

                                                              i.      Formats: Hardcover; paperback; board books; books on CD.


h.      Periodicals

The library maintains a collection of magazines and journals for browsing rather than research. All magazines/journals may circulate with the exception of the current edition. The periodical collection is evaluated once per year. The criteria for the selection of periodicals is based on:

                                                              i.      Appeal and needs of the community

                                                            ii.      Individual costs of the subscription

                                                          iii.       Accessibility of contents via online databases or online indexes

                                                           iv.      Patron and/or staff requests


i.        Audiovisual Materials

                                                              i.      Music Recordings: Music CDs are selected primarily from bestseller lists and awards, such as Tony’s and Emmy’s.

                                                            ii.      Video Recordings (DVDs): These are purchased mainly to meet the recreational needs of library patrons. Recently released feature films and selected classic films make up the majority of the collection. A small collection of nonfiction DVDs is intended to serve the educational and informational needs of library users.

                                                          iii.      Books on CD: The library maintains an up-to-date collection of Books on CD, using the criteria in the collection (Fiction, Nonfiction, Young Adult, Juvenile)


5.      Controversial Issues

The Library recognizes its responsibility in having available a representative collection of titles on subjects of interest to its readers, including materials on various sides of controversial questions. In an endeavor to provide material that will enable the citizen to make up his/her own mind on controversial subjects, the Library will provide frankly argumentative works representing a wide variety of viewpoints. Variety and balance of opinion are sought whenever available. The Library provides a resource where individuals can examine issues freely and make their own decisions. It should be understood and emphasized that the purchase or acceptance of a particular item does not necessarily put the Library’s stamp of approval on it. As a public institution the Library takes no sides on public questions. A book or other item is selected or rejected for inclusion without regard to whether it agrees or disagrees with the opinions of any or all members of its staff or Board. Selection will not be made on the basis of any anticipated approval or disapproval but solely on the merits of the work as outlined in this policy.


6.       Replacement and Maintenance

a.      Maintenance

The library keeps its collection vital and useful by retaining or replacing essential material, and removing on a systematic and continuous basis those works that are worn, outdated, of little historical significance or no longer in demand. “Weeding” the collection is a form of selection and is practiced on a continuous basis in order to maintain a live and useful collection of information and knowledge. Some factors to be considered in weeding are:

                                                              i.      The physical condition of the book or material.

                                                            ii.      The past use of the material, which is a strong indicator of future use.

                                                          iii.      Subject matter is no longer of current interest.

                                                           iv.      Information contained within the material is outdated or inaccurate.

                                                             v.      Multiple copies of books that have waned in popularity.

b.      Replacement

The library does not replace all materials that are weeded from the collection. Decisions regarding replacement of materials are based on the following criteria:

                                                              i.      Number of copies already in the collection

                                                            ii.      Cost of replacing the item

                                                          iii.      Popularity and/or demand

                                                           iv.      Critical or historical significance

                                                             v.      Availability for re-ordering  


7.      Lost and Damaged Materials

a.      Materials that are lost by a patron will be charged to the patron’s account along with a $5 processing fee.  Replacement may not be purchased by the patron in lieu of payment as the decision to replace the title will be based on the above criteria for replacement.

b.       Damage to materials by patrons will be accessed by the librarian responsible for the collection in a timely manner.  The patron will be notified of any charges placed on their account for damage. The decision to charge for replacement will be made based on the usability of the material with the damage, as well as the popularity and/or age of the title.  If a patron is charged to replace the materials, Rachel Kohl Library will hold the damaged item for them to keep for up to one month of placing the charge on their record.  Replacement materials may not be purchased by the patron in lieu of payment as the decision to replace the title will be based on the above criteria for replacement.


8.      Gifts, Memorials and Donations

a.      Gift:  The library will accept gifts of materials in new condition with the understanding that gifts of books and related materials will be added to the collection only if they meet the same standards required of purchased materials. Gift materials not meeting those standards, those that are out-of-date, unneeded duplicates of items already owned, or those in a format unsuitable for library use, may be given to other organizations, sold, exchanged, recycled or discarded. Gift items will be integrated into the regular collection in normal sequence, available to all library patrons, and otherwise handled as any other material belonging to the library. Gifted items may be marked by the library with an appropriate bookplate. An acknowledgement of receipt of a gift or donation will be made for tax purposes if the donor requests it at the time of donation. No estimate of dollar value will be made. Whenever a gift book or other item is no longer needed, it will be disposed of in the same manner as purchased material.

b.      Memorial Donations: The donor and the librarian, on consideration of the interests of the deceased, the needs of the library community, and the cost of the material, will make the selection of a title for memorial donation. A suitable bookplate will be provided. Memorial items will be integrated into the regular collection in normal sequence, available to all library patrons, and otherwise handled as any other material belonging to the library.  Whenever a memorial item is no longer needed, it will be disposed of in the same manner as purchased material.

c.       Local Authors: The Rachel Kohl Library will accept donations of materials written by authors residing within our service area.  These items will be cataloged and added to the collection only if they meet the above criteria of reviews and community interest.  All items not cataloged will be shelved in a local author section and available to the public on an honor system.  The date they are received will be marked on the material and they will be weeded in the same manner as purchased materials. 


9.      Reconsideration of Library Materials

Whenever any patron objects to the presence or absence of any material in the library, the complaint will be given hearing. All complaints to staff members will be referred to a librarian who will discuss the matter with the complainant. If after the discussion the patron still wishes, the librarian will supply him/her with the Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials form. The form must be filled out in its entirety and returned to a staff member, librarian or library director. The librarian in charge of the selection will examine the item in question; check reviews, circulation history, the item’s place within the collection and whether it conforms to the standards of the collection development policy. If it is a request for the addition of an item that has been rejected by the library, the librarian will reconsider its addition. The Library Director, in consultation with the Board of Trustees, will decide whether or not to add, withdraw, or restrict the material in question. The complainant will be contacted by the director in writing regarding the final decision. A record of the complaint will be kept on file. Materials subject to complaint shall not be removed from use pending final action.


The Board of Trustees approves this Library Collection Development Policy as the official policy of the Rachel Kohl Library.


This policy will be revised and amended as needed.


 _________________ President, Board of Trustees                     ________________ Date

_____________________________ Library Director                  ________________ Date