Collection Development Policy
Adopted by the Library Board July 26, 2000


MISSON STATEMENT: The Board of Library Trustees adopted the following mission statement:

To provide modern library resources and services necessary to satisfy the evolving informational needs and recreational pursuits of the community, thus enhancing the quality of life in Pender County.


In support of this statement, the Board also adopted these goals for Pender County Public Library to fulfill:

  • Provide information and independent learning resources which are technologically advanced.
  • Promote community awareness of library services and resources.
  • Create and maintain excellent customer service with a well trained and motivated library staff.
  • Serve as a children's door to learning while promoting the enjoyment of reading.
  • Promote state-of-the-art library facilities through planning and funding.
  • Provide effective and efficient procedures to maintain and monitor internal library operations.

    Implementation of these goals involves a variety of services from the library including management, collection development, information services, programming, and funding. The purpose of this statement is to focus on collection development. This policy is to guide library staff and to inform the public about the principles of collection development.


Users of Pender County Public Library should have the highest quality library service available within the constraints imposed by financial limitations.

The quality of library service depends to a great extent on the availability of a well-selected, well-maintained collection which provides library materials in adequate numbers in a variety of appropriate formats. Providing such a collection is one of the most important things Pender County Public Library does.


""Materials"" is used for all forms of media and has the widest possible inclusion. Materials may be but are not limited to: books (hardbound and paperback), maps, magazines and journals, newspapers, video cassettes, filmstrips, compact discs, audio cassettes, data bases, and CD-ROM products.

""Selection"" refers to the decision that must be made to add a given item to the collection. It does not refer to guidance or assisting a library user.

""Collection development"" refers to the ongoing evaluative process of assessing the materials available for purchase and in making the decisions, first, on their inclusion, and, second, on their retention if they are added.


Final responsibility for selection lies with the Board of Library Trustees. However, the Board delegates to the Director authority to interpret and guide the application of the policy in making day-to-day selections. The Director will authorize other staff to apply this policy in building collections.


All staff members selecting library materials will be expected to keep the objectives in mind and apply their knowledge, training, and experience in making decisions.


No item in a library collection can be indisputably accepted or rejected by any established given guide or standard. However, certain basic principles can be applied as guidelines. Every item must meet one or more of the following criteria as are applicable to its inclusion in the collection.
Timeliness and permanence of the materials.
Quality of writing, design, illustrations or production.
Reputation of the publisher or producer; authority and significance of the author, composer, film maker, etc. Relevance to community needs.
Potential and/or known demand for the material. Price.
Relative importance in comparison with existing materials in the collection on the same subject.
Suitability of subject, style, and level for the intended audience.
Availability and suitability of format.


Selection of materials is done from book reviews in professional library and popular journals and magazines, subject bibliographies, annual lists of recommended titles, publishers' catalogs, customer requests, and salesmen for specific materials. The standard selection tools used by librarians include the following: Library Journal, Booklist, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, Billboard, Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, Horn Book, Science Books and Films, VOYA, and Video Review.


The library recognizes that many materials are controversial and that any given item may offend some library user. Selections will not be made on the basis of any anticipated approval or disapproval, but solely on the merits of the work in relation to collection building and to serving the interests of Pender County citizens. The use of rare and scarce items of great value may be controlled to the extent required to preserve them from harm, but no further.

Responsibility for the reading, listening, and viewing of library materials by children rests with their parents or legal guardians. Selection will not be inhibited by the possibility that materials may inadvertently come into the possession of children.


  • The library takes cognizance of the purposes and resources of other libraries in the Pender County area and shall not needlessly duplicate functions and materials.
  • The library acknowledges the purposes of educational programs for students of all ages provided by the educational institutions in the area. Text books and curriculum related materials for these programs are provided where the materials also serve the general public or where they provide information not otherwise available. The library is particularly cognizant of the needs of pre-school children who are unserved in a formal way for their collection interests except by the public library. Meeting their needs constitutes an educational preparation before their years in school.
  • The library acknowledges a particular interest in local and state history; therefore, it will take a broad view of works by and about North Carolina. However, the library is not under any obligation to add to its collections everything about North Carolina or produced by author, printers, or publishers with North Carolina connections.


Selection is only one aspect of collection development. Rigorous attention must be given to assessing needs for adding, replacing, and discarding materials in every collection. Copies of titles must be added based on heavy use determined by demand and data on use of the copies available. Withdrawals are required for out-of-date materials, those for which there has been no use in a given period of time, damaged items, and those lost by users. Replacement or substitution of these materials reintroduces the selection process.


The library accepts gifts of materials, but reserves the right to evaluate and dispose of them in accordance with the criteria applied to purchased materials. Gifts which do not accord with the library's objectives and policies will be given to the Friends of the Library group designated for each branch.


Recognizing that a diversity of materials may result in some requests for reconsideration, the following procedures have been developed to assure that objections or complaints are handled in an attentive and consistent manner.

The staff member to whom the complaint was made should first handle the complaint about library materials. Each staff member will be grounded in the philosophy of public library service as embodied stated in the ""Freedom to Read"" and ""Library Bill or Rights"" statements. Each staff member will be expected to initially field public concerns with diplomacy and tact. If the user maintains a position that an item be handled differently or removed from the library, the user should be referred to the branch manager or library director. If the complaint is made when neither are on duty, the staff member is to take the name and phone number of the user for later contact responsible supervisory library authorities.

If the person is still not satisfied after discussion with the director or branch manager, they will have them fill out a citizen's comment on the Library Materials form. On receipt of the written form, the director must write a response within fourteen days. If the person is not satisfied with the written response from the director, he/she may appeal to the Library Board of Trustees.

Upon receiving a written appeal to the library director's response, the Library Board of Trustees must be informed of the complaint at its next regularly scheduled meeting, if the written complaint is submitted to the library administrative office at least 7 days prior to the meeting in order to be placed on the agenda. The item will be placed on the Trustees' agenda under new business. A public hearing will be held only if the majority of the Trustees, present and voting, vote in favor of the hearing. If approved, the public hearing will be held at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Library Board of Trustees.

The Library Board of Trustees must make a formal response to the complaint and/or hearing at their next regular scheduled meeting. The Library Board of Trustees is the final board of appeal in reference to public library materials.


Classic literature, popular best sellers, and genre fiction make up the fiction collection. Its purpose is both to entertain and enrich human understanding by presenting stories in an imaginative way rather than in a factual manner. The emphasis in the collection is on American and English authors. Current best sellers are leased in multiple copies.

The nonfiction collection emphasizes timely, accurate and useful informational materials to support individual, business, government, and community interests. It also emphasizes materials that are current and high-demand. Materials are available for all ages and reading levels. 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 attempts to respond with timely additions. While most non-fiction materials are selected for their utility, others are acquired for their capacity to enrich and entertain. Requests from library users are given high priority.

Periodicals are selected to supplement the book collection and to provide materials on current issues, for research and for general reading. The library also selects newspapers of local, state and national interest, depending on the place of publication, the breadth of coverage and the degree of fulfillment of reference or recreational needs.

Materials are purchased for children from infancy to age 12. The emphasis of selection is on children's recreational and general information needs.

Easy Books - Easy books may be either educational or recreational in intent, they are distinguished by their illustrations which serve to either supplement, extend, or, in the case of wordless books supplant the text. In most instances, easy books are read aloud to the child or the child studies the pictures and creates his/her own text. Concept books, i.e. books that develop a child's understanding of colors, numbers, etc., fall into the easy book category. Board books for toddlers, stressing colorful simple objects, are also included in this collection.

Juvenile Fiction - Juvenile fiction collection is designed to meet the needs of the child now ready to make the transition to shorter chapter books or books with a longer text. An effort is made to include all books that have won children's literary awards. Genres such as sport, animal, science fiction, and mystery are all represented.

Juvenile Nonfiction - The nonfiction collection consists of materials to meet informational, educational, and recreational reading needs of children in preschool through grade eight. Because reading levels vary from child to child, a few materials at a higher or lower reading level are included.

Microfilm - The library microfilms newspapers published in Pender County. Such materials are too fragile or bulky to retain in the original form.

Video cassettes - The library acquires and makes available, video cassettes to serve the general informational, educational and recreational needs of the community. The video collection consists of a mix of feature films including current high interest and old classics; nonfiction films including self-help, educational, how-to, travel, etc. and children's films.

Sound Recordings - The collection contains sacred, gospel, country western, classical and popular music; books on tape and instructional recordings. Demand dictates a strong collection of current popular music and books on tape.