Collection Development Policy

Application: Library Staff


The purpose of a collection development policy is to provide the public with an understanding of the scope and nature of the library’s collection and explain the criteria used in building a collection that supports and expresses the library’s commitment to meeting the needs of the community it serves. It is based on the library’s (mission) community input and the service role of the library.

The library provides current, high-interest materials in a variety of formats for people of all ages and actively encourages the use of collections, which are both recreational and support life-long learning. Instilling a love of reading in children is a high priority, as is supplementing the educational needs of patrons and furnishing timely, accurate information on a variety of topics. Library materials, including increasingly important electronic resources, reflect a variety of opinions, stimulate self-understanding and growth, enhance job-related knowledge and skills and increase knowledge of and participation in the affairs of the community, the nation and the world.

The Board is charged with being ultimately responsible for the selection of all materials in the collection. The Board has chosen to delegate full responsibility for the selection of all materials to the Director of the Library.

Under the authority of the Board, the Director selects and deselects library materials.

  1. Materials are selected and retained on a basis of their content and overall value. Cape Vincent Community Library represents all points of view and the library, as much as is possible, is a reflection of the community and its diversity. It also seeks to advance awareness of those cultures, traditions, and ideas not represented in the local community. The selection principles promote the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights and interpretations, Freedom to Read Act, Freedom to View Act, and Intellectual Freedom Statement, and ALA guidelines for Access to Electronic Information.
General Criteria
  • A policy cannot replace the judgment of individual librarians but only provides guidelines to assist them in choosing from the vast array of available materials. In selection, the librarian uses professional judgment and expertise, based on understanding of user needs and knowledge of authors and publishers. Flexibility, open-mindedness, and responsiveness to the changing needs of the community are a necessity. Considerations include: Appropriateness to library’s mission. Contemporary significance. Popular demand (including requests by patrons and staff). Suitability of subject and style for intended audience. Insight into human and social conditions. Accuracy and authoritativeness. Appropriateness and effectiveness of medium to content. Relation to existing collection. Availability of material elsewhere in the community and through interlibrary loan. Clarity and logic; comprehensiveness and depth of presentation. Price, format, suitability of physical form for library use. Inclusion of work in bibliographies, best lists, indexes.

An item need not meet all these criteria in order to be acceptable. When judging the desirability of materials, any combination of standards may be used. More specific guidelines can be found in the special collections section of this policy.

C.  Adult Collections

The Library Director has primary responsibility for the selection and maintenance of collections for adult patrons.

1.  Fiction

      A basic collection of classics and standard titles is maintained. There is no single standard for inclusion in the fiction collection. Because of the large volume of fiction published, it is possible to purchase only a representative selection with emphasis on major authors and the most popular examples of a genre.

Patron requests for fiction are purchased whenever possible and influence the addition of more copies. Genre fiction such as mysteries, romances, espionage, horror, thrillers, science fiction, fantasy, and westerns are purchased in proportion to demand and circulation statistics. Efforts are made to complete series, purchase award winning titles and to represent local authors, publishers, and subject matter. Each work will be judged on its own merits. Preferred fiction will be competently written, have plausible characterizations and give an honest portrayal of the human experience with which it deals.

2.  Non-Fiction

The non-fiction collection provides timely, accurate, and useful informational materials to support individual and community interests. It emphasizes materials that are current and in high demand. Materials are available for all ages and reading levels in a variety of formats. Materials are selected to represent a continuum of opinions and viewpoints when available. Titles with continued value and those of current, accepted authority are part of the library collection. As a new field emerges, the library responds with timely additions. General treatment is preferred unless there is an identified need for in-depth treatment of a subject area. Cape Vincent Community Library emphasizes non-scholarly materials and relies heavily on interlibrary loan for academic and in-depth coverage of subject matters.

Reference and Electronic Information Resources

Reference materials are for in-house use. They provide quick, concise and up-to-date information. Included are indexes, encyclopedias, bibliographies, biographical resources, dictionaries, almanacs, and directories.

Selection criteria for printed Reference resources include:

  1. authoritativeness
  2. demands on subject area which circulating collection cannot meet
  3. ease of use
  4. format
  5. frequency of use
  6. scope and depth of coverage

Additional selection criteria for electronic and emerging formats include:

  1. acceptable response time
  2. availability of adequate startup and continued funding
  3. capability for information to be downloaded
  4. capability for networked distribution
  5. demand for format in community
  6. durability of format for library use
  7. logical operation and ease of use for public and staff
  8. impact on equipment, staff, storage and space
  9. reduction/replacement of in print or other format materials
  10. suitability for direct public access
  11. technical quality of production or reproduction
  12. timeliness in updating information


Periodicals are an important source of new ideas, topics, and consumer information as well as being in demand as recreational reading material. The periodicals collection is reviewed yearly for additions and deletions. Electronic access to periodicals is an increasingly important resource. The same selection criteria apply to these materials as to similar materials in print format.

Special Collections

  • Cape Vincent Library maintains special collections, the development and management of which differ somewhat from the general statements in this Collection Development Plan. Many of these collections originated as gifts. Acquisition of new materials is supported both by gift funds and material funds which are allocated when appropriate.

    A. New York State History

The library collects information and documents pertaining to New York State, Jefferson County, and the Town of Cape Vincent. The goal is to be as comprehensive as possible, especially in regard to Cape Vincent and Jefferson County. The library does not have the resources to become preservers or to be comprehensive with this collection.

B. Audio and Visual materials:

The same selection criteria apply to AV materials as to similar materials in print format. Additional selection criteria include:

a. technical quality of audio and visual reproduction

b. presentation or experience that is unique to format and provides an alternative to print

c. significance of performance or diversity in interpretation

d. critical acclaim as demonstrated in awards, nomination for awards, and/or reviews by the performing arts community

e. suitability to be circulated or housed in a sturdy, safe, and convenient manner

Audios and videos are protected by copyright and are intended for home use only.

C. Genealogy:

The collection focuses on Jefferson County, with selected records from the surrounding counties of Lewis, Oswego, and St. Lawrence.

Youth Collections

  • The Director has primary responsibility for the selection and maintenance of collections  for patrons from infancy through sixth grade as well as fiction for young adults, and the types of professional reference material described below. The diverse constituency served includes preschool children cared for at home as well as in day cares and preschools, public, private, and home schooled students, college students of children’s literature, and adults who share literature with children.
  • The collections include:
  1. Picture books – Board books, wordless books, concept books, classic and contemporary picture book stories for preschool and early primary grade children, and very simple versions of folktales.
  2. Easy readers – Books specifically designed for the emerging reader (Grades 1-2) to read independently.
  3. Juvenile Fiction – Quality contemporary and historical fiction for readers from 7/8 years to 12/13 years (2nd/3rd grade through 6th/7th) as well as genres (fantasy, science fiction, mystery), a selection of the most popular paperback series, and a small number of sophisticated picture books.
  4. Juvenile Nonfiction – Informational books for youth up to 12 (Grade 6) with an emphasis on folklore, the culture, customs and history of regions of the U.S. and other countries, natural and physical science, the arts and handicrafts, poetry, biography, and sports.
  5. Professional Reference Collection – Non-circulating titles on managerial aspects of youth services in public libraries, storytelling and programming for children and teens, teaching library skills, bulletin boards and displays, copyright-free art, and a small selection of picture books and public performance videos frequently used for library programs.
  6. Juvenile Audio Books – Unabridged versions of juvenile chapter books.
  7. Young Adult Fiction – Standard titles in hardback or paperback for the recreational reading of youth Grades 6-12.  Unabridged audio books of young adult fiction are purchased as funds permit and demand dictates.

Additional Selection Criteria of Materials for Youth:

  1. Materials which meet the particular developmental needs of youth at different stages.
  2. Age and interest appropriate content and presentation.
  3. Emphasis on quality, critically acclaimed materials as demonstrated in awards specialized bibliographies, and/or reviews.
  4. Quality and aesthetics of illustrations to stimulate the imagination.
  5. Information and stories, which represent a spectrum of family styles and values.
  6. Materials which represent the richness and diversity of the youths local and world community.
  7. Awareness of curriculum-based needs of public, private, and home schooled students as well as college children’s literature students and Child Development Associate candidates.
  8. Awareness of high-demand materials for use with children in preschool classrooms.

Collection Maintenance:

Cape Vincent Community Library recognizes the need for on-going evaluation of its collections to assure provision of inviting, accessible and visually browsable items. This ongoing maintenance includes weeding, replacement, repair, and review of standing order agreements.

Weeding Guidelines


  1. Materials with obsolete content
  2. Materials that are infrequently used
  3. Materials in poor or irreparable physical condition
  4. Older editions of encyclopedias, almanacs, directories, yearbooks, and standard texts.
  5. Materials which are incomplete sets in which items missing seriously impairs their usefulness
  6. Materials that have no anticipated use
  7. Works containing information that has been superseded or presented in newer, more comprehensive, or more accessible formats.
  8. Retention Guidelines:

Retention Guidelines


  1. Works containing useful local information
  2. Primary works in particular disciplines or topics
  3. Works representative of an era, trend, or movement which provide unique coverage
  4. Works listed in standard or authoritative up-to-date bibliographies regularly used by staff and public
  5. Replacement of desired item is not possible
  6. The most cost-effective option is selected when making replacement versus repair decisions

Censorship and Reconsideration of Library Materials

The Board believes that the only acceptable censorship is self-censorship; therefore, it is the intent of the Cape Vincent Community Library Board of Trustees that no challenged library material shall be removed from the collection except upon court order, and after adversary proceedings in which the Cape Vincent Community Library Board defends inclusion of the material, unless said material was placed in the collection in violation of this policy.
There is a citizen’s request form available to fill out and give to the Library Director (Appendix A)

  • Public Library Gifts and Donations

Accepting gifts and donations is an important way for the public library to benefit from the generosity of the community it serves.  Gifts and donations of materials are reviewed using the same criteria as purchases.  The library reserves the right to dispose of any gifts that are given to the library.  The library will determine how to best incorporate such materials into the existing collections.  Materials not added to library collections may be used for programs or given to other local organizations.

Funds may be given for the purpose of acquiring materials recommended by library staff as prescribed in this policy, or for purchase of specific items suggested by the donor.  When the library receives a cash gift for the purchase of materials, the library staff must make the selection with the general selection principles set forth in this policy.

Responsibility: Library staff will oversee and enforce all collection policies.
Revised and Adopted: May 10, 2012
Revised:  April 3, 2014
Revised:  May 10, 2018
Revised:  May 9, 2019