Collection Development


The purpose of the collection development policy is to:

  1. Provide a basis for acquiring material and information
  2. Define the library’s mission and goals for the collection
  3. Set coherent boundaries for the collection
  4. Provide a systematic method for utilizing the budget
  5. Serve as a training tool for library staff


The Pelham Public Library aims to meet the informational, recreational, educational and cultural needs of its community by offering a variety of library materials in a variety of formats and reading levels.  The library attempts to provide the widest range of viewpoints based on quality, cost, and availability of the materials to purchase.


 The main objectives of the Pelham Public Library are:

  1. To meet basic informational needs of the community
  2. To serve as a popular materials library, providing recreational reading material to the community
  3. To provide material on a wide range of viewpoints
  4. To serve as a preschooler’s door to learning
  5. To support educational efforts in the community

Materials Selection

Under the guidance of the library director and professional librarians, materials are selected by trained staff in an effort to maintain a well-balanced, up-to-date, attractive, and useful collection of materials that will meet the needs of the community as a whole.

Criteria for Selection

Criteria for selections serve as a general guideline for purchasing materials.  Books that meet only 1 or 2 of the criteria may still be purchased for the library. Likewise some books that meet only 1 or 2 of the criteria may not be purchased for the library.  Ultimate selection is at the discretion of professional librarians.

General Criteria for Selection of Materials

  1. High Patron Demand
  2. Timeliness of Material – is material up-to-date?
  3. Format of material - is material suitable for circulation?
  4. Present and potential relevance to community needs
  5. Relation to existing collection
  6. Reputation of author, publisher, etc.
  7. Reviews
  8. Availability and accessibility of materials in this area - can the material be borrowed thru inter-library loan?

Criteria for Non-fiction Selection (Adult, Juvenile and YA materials)

  1. Timeliness
  2. Accuracy
  3. Authority (Reputation of author, publisher, etc.)
  4. Current Interest of  Material
  5. Objectivity
  6. Cost

Criteria for Adult Fiction Selection

  1. High Patron Demand
  2. Reviews
  3. Publishing Trends
  4. Media Attention
  5. Circulation Statistics
  6. Best-selling Authors

Criteria for selection of Videos

  1. High Patron Demand
  2. Circulation Statistics
  3. Artistic Quality
  4. No Videos Rated NC-17 or X will be purchased
  5. Cost

Criteria for selection of Periodicals

  1. High Patron Demand
  2. Standards
  3. Availability of articles on-line
  4. Cost

Criteria for selection of Juvenile materials

  1. Reviews
  2. High patron demand
  3. Reading List/School Assignment Material
    1. While we try our best to support the local school curriculum, we are not able to purchase enough books for an entire class, nor are we able to acquire every book on a reading list.
    2. Children may use adult collections.  Responsibility for the reading of minors rests with their parents and legal guardians.

Cooperation with other Libraries

The Pelham Public Library strives to meet the needs of its patrons through interlibrary loan.  Books that can not be located at the Pelham Public Library may be requested from other Shelby County libraries.  Books not located in Shelby County may be found from another out of county library.  Books located at the Pelham library, but currently checked out, may be reserved.

 The Pelham Public Library card may be used at any library in Shelby County.

Selection Aids

Due to the volume of material published yearly, librarians often use professional journals to assist in selection of materials.  The Pelham Public Library uses the following journals to aid in selection

  • Booklist
  • Library Journal
  • New York Times Book Review
  • Publisher’s Weekly
  • School Library Journal 

 In addition to these journals, librarians also use other journals, on-line sources, publisher brochures, and bibliographies for selection.  


The library materials covered by this policy may be in any format or language which meets the needs of the public. New material formats will be considered as they become available.

Because the library functions in a rapidly changing society, it must keep flexible attitudes toward changes in formats in relation to both new forms and new styles of expression. Materials in these formats are selected when they are suitable in content and effective in treatment. They are judged in terms of their own kind of excellence and in consideration for the audience for whom they are intended.

Duplication of Materials

Duplication of materials occurs in response to community demand, taking into consideration budget limitations and resources available through interlibrary loan.

Collection Maintenance 

In an effort to keep the Pelham library collection attractive, up-to-date and as useful as possible, books are periodically weeded by professional library staff.  The following criteria is considered when weeding

  • Physical condition of book
  • Circulation Statistics
  • Date of Material
  • Accuracy of Material
  • Superseded Material
  • Current Interest

Specific guidelines for weeding of material will be adhered to as outlined in CREW: A Weeding Manual for Modern Libraries, Revised and Updated by Larson, Jeanette. Austin, TX: Texas State Library and Archives Commission, 2008.


Libraries do not necessarily replace materials that are lost, damaged or worn out.  Current demand for the subject or title is considered as well as several other factors, duplicate copies, existence of adequate coverage in the field with remaining materials, copies elsewhere in the system, availability of more current and authoritative materials, and cost of materials.  Every attempt is made to replace materials regarded as essential.


Gifts of print and non-print materials from individuals and organizations are evaluated according to the same selection policy that governs the acquisition of purchased materials.  The acceptance of a gift by the library does not automatically mean it will be added to the collection.  Book sales and interlibrary exchanges are examples of other ways your donation benefits the library.

 Anyone desiring that gift materials be returned if they cannot be added to the library collection should make this stipulation at the time of donation.

The library will acknowledge all gifts, but cannot determine values.

Memorial and Honorary Donations

Suggestions of specific subjects or titles are welcomed when memorial or honorary donations are given.  Final decision, based on the library collection, rests with the library.

Request for Purchase Consideration

A patron may request that the library purchase a particular item not presently included in its collection.  These requests will be subject to the same criteria as all other purchased materials.

Complaints about Selection

The library recognizes that many books are controversial and that any given item may offend some patrons.  Selection will not be made on the basis of any anticipated approval or disapproval, but solely on the merits of the work in relation to the building of collections and to serving the interests of readers.

All complaints should be brought to the immediate attention of the director.   If the director is not immediately available, the staff member on duty should:

  1. Listen respectfully to the patron’s complaint.
  2. Do not agree or disagree with the patron.
  3. Note the specifics of the patron’s concern in writing.
  4. Take contact information from the patron.
  5. Personally transmit the complaint to the director at the earliest opportunity

The Library Director will respond to the complaint.


If a citizen wishes to request reconsideration of an item in the collection, the Citizen’s Request for Reconsiderations of Library Material form should be completed and submitted to the owning library’s director.  The Library Director and Library Board will discuss and act upon a request for reconsideration, notifying the patron in writing of their decision. The decision of the Library Director and Library Board is final.


This collection Development Policy should be reviewed as conditions warrant. It will be revised and updated as conditions warrant.


This policy represents the official views of the Board of Trustees of the Pelham Public Library.

The library supports the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read and Freedom to View statements from the American Library Association.

Library Bill of Rights

Freedom to Read Statement 

Freedom to View Statement