Collection Development Policy


The goal of Collection Development at the Hamilton North Public Library is to reflect the library mission statement of Enriching Lives, Enhancing Community, and Expanding Opportunities.

Further goals of the Library as factors in selection are as follows:

  • To help people know more about themselves and their world
  • To encourage informal self-education
  • To meet the information needs of the community
  • To stimulate thoughtful participation in the affairs of the community, the country and the world
  • To enhance educational, civic, cultural and recreational activities within the community
  • To assist the individual to grow intellectually and spiritually and to enjoy life more fully.

Selection Objectives

The objective of the Hamilton North Public Library is to select, organize, preserve, and make freely and easily available to all individuals in the community printed and other materials which will aid them in the pursuit of information, education, research, recreation, culture, and in the creative use of leisure time. The primary goal of collection development is to provide the best possible collection with the financial resources available The decision to select any item for the collection is based on demand, anticipated need, and the effort to maintain a wide and balanced collection.

The library patron is an important part of the selection process. An individual request from a patron for a title is usually honored if the request conforms to the guidelines outlined in the policy statement.

The library strives to maintain materials representing all sides of an issue in a neutral, unbiased manner. Selection of materials by the library does not mean endorsement of the contents of views expressed in those materials. The existence of a particular viewpoint in the collection is an expression of the library’s policy of intellectual freedom, not an endorsement of that particular point of view. The library provides service to all within the framework of its rules and regulations and does not knowingly discriminate in its material selection regarding race, creed, sex, occupation or financial position.

Selection Criteria

The following are the criteria for materials selected for inclusion in the library’s collection, whether through purchase or gift:

  • excellence of reputation of the work
  • opinion of critics and reviewers
  • authority and reputation of author
  • accuracy and timeliness
  • creativity and vitality
  • literary merit
  • appeal and relevance to community interests
  • format suitable for library use
  • suggestions by library users
  • price and availability of funds
  • relationship to other items in the collection
  • accessibility through transit holds or interlibrary loan

Selection Resources

Among the selection tools used for acquiring materials are professional library journals and vendors, trade journals, subject bibliographies, publishers’ promotional materials, and reviews from reputable sources. Other sources are reviews in national newspapers and magazines, local publications, the broadcast media, and reputable sources available via the Internet.

Limited Acquisitions

  • Basic reference. Only very general or basic reference books will be purchased in certain areas. The books are not to be too specialized or considered beyond the province of public service. These areas include law and medicine.
  • Research Material. The Hamilton North Public Library does not attempt to provide specialized material for scholarly research or for extensive genealogical investigation due to limited funds and the easy availability of large research collections in the Indiana State Library and through Inter-library Loan. This library does have, however, a responsibility to obtain and preserve materials connected with Jackson Township, Hamilton County, Indiana.
  • Textbooks. Textbooks will not be considered for purchase due to lack of funding and availability.


The Library gladly accepts the donation of books and other items with the understanding that the Library may do with them as it sees fit.

Gift materials will be added to the collection if they are needed and if they meet the selection standards that are applied to all materials added to the collection. Gifts accepted for the collection become the property of the Hamilton North Public Library. Gifts not added to the collection will be disposed of in a way that will be most advantageous to the Library.

Children and Young Adult Collections

Children’s and young adults’ materials are selected to meet the recreational, educational and cultural needs of children from infancy through age 12. The library maintains a variety of children’s fiction from the most distinguished in children’s literature to popular titles and new, enticing titles that will attract readers of many tastes and abilities. Popular series titles are purchased in response to patron requests.

Special criteria (in addition to Criteria listed previously)

  • Appropriate reading level and interest level

Picture Books

These books, in which illustration is as important as text, serve to introduce children to the world of books. The library includes a wide variety for adults to read to toddlers and preschoolers and for children to look at and use as they begin to read. This collection includes beginning readers, concept books, wordless books and board books as well as picture books.

Special criteria (in addition to Criteria listed previously)

Relationship of illustration to text

Appeal of story and illustration to children

Age appropriateness of art, text, topic

Durability of format

Juvenile Nonfiction

The juvenile nonfiction collection contains general informational works, browsing items and subject-oriented materials on topics of interest to children preschool age through sixth grade. The library does not provide basic texts or materials needed in quantity for schoolwork. It does, however, purchase supplementary materials to enrich the resources available at area schools.

Special criteria (in addition to Criteria listed previously)

  • Suitability for intended audience
  • Ease of use, including index, bibliography and illustrations
  • Quality of illustrations, maps, graphics and photographs
  • Usefulness of material for research

Young Adult Materials

Materials selected for young adults are selected to meet the recreational, educational and cultural needs of children from age 12 through age 18. The library maintains a variety of young adult fiction from the most distinguished in YA literature to popular titles and new, enticing titles that will attract readers of many tastes and abilities. Popular series titles are purchased in response to patron requests.

Special criteria (in addition to Criteria listed previously)

Appropriate reading level and interest level

It is the view of the Trustees that responsibility for the reading of patrons under the age of 18 rests with their parents or legal guardians. The selection of materials is not restricted by the possibility that children may obtain materials their parents consider inappropriate.

Controversial Materials

Hamilton North Public Library does not promote particular beliefs or views. Rather, it provides a resource for the various opinions which apply to important, complex, and controversial questions, including unpopular and unorthodox positions. Language, situations, or subjects which may be offensive to some community members do not disqualify material which, in its entirety, is judged to be of value. Materials are not marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of contents, no materials are marked to restrict their use by ages, and no materials are sequestered except to protect valuable items from injury or theft.

No book or other material will be excluded because of the race, national origin, color, gender, personal history, or the political, religious, or social views of the author or creator. Judgment for selection is made on the material as a whole and not on a particular passage, page, scene, or other part alone.

In the interest of protecting the individual’s right to have access to materials, the Library supports the following documents:

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Library Bills of Rights—Adopted June 18, 1948, amended February 2, 1967, and June 23, 1980 by the American Library Association Council. The Freedom to Read Statement—Adopted June 25, 1953; revised January 28, 1972, January 16, 1991, by the ALA Council and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee.


The Board of Trustees recognizes the right of individuals to question materials in the library collection. Whenever a patron objects to the presence or absence of any library material, the complaint will be given hearing and consideration. All complaints to staff members will be referred to the Library Director who will then meet with the complainant to evaluate the material in question and consider the merits of the completed request form. The director will consider whether the material meets the selection criteria outlined in this policy. A decision will be made regarding whether or not to add or withdraw the material within a reasonable amount of time, with written reasons for the decision conveyed to the patron. If the patron is dissatisfied with the director’s decision or the written reply, he or she may appeal the decision to the Board at a regularly scheduled Board meeting. The Board, after receiving public testimony from the patron, other interested parties, and from the Director, will decide whether or not library policies have been followed and whether to add or withdraw the material in question.

Materials subject to complaint shall not be removed from use and circulation pending final action. If a court having jurisdiction over the library decides that any material in the collection is unprotected by the Constitution of the United States, such material will be removed immediately. Material under court consideration will remain available to patrons until a final ruling is made.

Challenge to Library Material

Hamilton North Public Library Cicero, Indiana

The Hamilton North Public Library welcomes the opportunity to discuss the interpretation and application of the library’s material selection principles. So that the library will have an accurate understanding of your comments, will you please complete the following concerning the material in question and return it to us. Use additional pages as desired.

Author: ________________________________________

Title: ________________________________________

Publisher: ________________________________________

Patron’s name: ________________________________________


Address: _________________________________________________________

City: ____________________________ Zip Code: ______________________

Did you read the entire publication? _______ If not, which part? ______________________________________________________

What portion of the publication did you object to? Please cite the pages or sections?

Do you believe there is anything good about this publication?

Are you familiar with reviews of this publication?

Can you recommend a better publication of this kind?

Date: __________ Patron’s signature: ____________________________________

Recommendation for Purchase Form

Hamilton North Public Library Cicero, Indiana

Book___ Video___ DVD___ Book On Tape___

Magazine___ Music___ CD___ Book on CD___

Please enter the Title, even if it is just “Newest Book”____________________________________________________________________________________

Please enter the Author, if known.____________________________________

Publisher and Pub Date, if known.____________________________________

Where did you read about, hear about or see this material?_______________________________________________________________________________

If material IS purchased, shall we place a hold on this material for you?_______

If this material is borrowed from another library for you, would you be willing to pay a fee?_________

Patron Name____________________________________________________

Library Card Number______________________________________________

Phone Number___________________________________________________

Collection Maintenance – Weeding

Reasons for Weeding

  • To identify and withdraw incorrect or outdated materials—Users are dependent on us to provide up-to-date information. Outdated medical, legal, travel, tax and educational information especially can cause serious problems for our users.
  • To remove from the collection those materials that are no longer being used—if we kept every item we bought we would probably need to build a new library every ten years. If the collection is full of materials that are not being used, our users cannot find the materials that they do want. Optimally, shelves should not be more than 3/4 full.
  • To remove worn or damaged materials—Attractive, clean materials are preferred by all users and give the message that the library is a modern, up-to-date source of information. A well-maintained collection sends the message that we expect users to treat our materials with respect and return them in the good condition in which they were borrowed. Users appreciate a well-maintained collection and are more likely to support it with their tax dollars than they would support a library collection that looks like someone’s old attic. Popular worn titles should be withdrawn and replaced with attractive newer editions. Classics will circulate heavily if they are clean and inviting.
  • To increase circulation—Paradoxically, decreasing the size of the collection often results in increasing circulation. Users find it difficult to find useful materials when the collection is overcrowded with outdated, unattractive, irrelevant materials. Weeding makes the “good stuff” more accessible. Death from overcrowding is a common result of collections that are not properly and regularly weeded.

Hamilton North Public Library uses the Crew Method for evaluating and weeding its collection.

The formula given here is a rule of thumb based on professional opinions in the literature and professional experience. The formula consists of three parts:

  1. The first figure refers to the years since the book’s latest copyright date (age of material in the book);
  2. the second figure refers to the maximum permissible time without usage (in terms of years since its last recorded circulation);
  3. the third refers to the presence of various negative factors, called MUSTY factors.

For example, the formula 8/3/MUSTY could be read: “Consider a book in this class for discard when its latest copyright is more than 8 years ago, and/or when its last circulation was more than 3 years ago, and/or when it possesses one or more of the MUSTY factors.” Most formulas include a 3 in the usage category and a MUSTY in the negative factors category. The figure in the age category varies considerably from subject to subject. If any one of the three factors is not applicable to a specific subject, the category is filled with an X (for example, age of material does not apply to folklore items).

MUSTY is an easily remembered acronym for five negative factors which frequently ruin a book’s usefulness and mark it for weeding.

M = Misleading (and/or factually inaccurate)

U = Ugly (worn and beyond mending or rebinding)

S = Superseded (by a truly new edition or by a much better book on the subject)

T = Trivial (of no discernible literary or scientific merit)

Y = Your collection has no use for this book (irrelevant to the needs and interests of your community)