Collection Development Policy

Statement of Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to inform the public and guide professional staff, outlining the principles and criteria for selecting, retaining and discarding resources (print, nonprint and electronic). The policy assists the staff in building collections that are responsive to the community's educational, informational and recreational needs, while meeting the mission, roles and goals of the library.

Statements of Mission, Vision and Goals

The Collection Development Policy of Monroe County Public Library (MCPL) falls under the umbrella of the following statements of Mission and Vision.


The mission of the Monroe County Public Library is to enrich lives and strengthen our community by providing equitable access to information and opportunities to read, learn, discover and create.


An educated, engaged, curious, and creative Monroe County, with the library at its center.

The goals that drive Collection Development are:

  • Strengthen 21st century literacy skills.
  • Provide shared access to the world's information for free.
  • Optimize stewardship of library resources

The Mission, Vision, and Goals will support the Collection Development for all locations of Monroe County Public Library including the Main Library, the Ellettsville Branch, the Bookmobile and other service outlets.


The library collection provides equitable access to information and materials for lifelong learning, enrichment and enjoyment. 

MCPL strives to make available materials representing different viewpoints. The library recognizes some materials may be considered controversial and may offend some users. Inclusion of questionable language or attitudes in materials is not in itself a reason to exclude them from the collection. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval. Materials which represent only one point of view may be selected to provide necessary alternatives to other material. The existence of a particular viewpoint in the collection is not an endorsement of that particular point of view, but an expression of the library's adherence to the principles of intellectual freedom.

The Board of Trustees of Monroe County Public Library adopts and declares that the American Library Association's Intellectual Freedom Statements will guide the development of the Library's collections. Specifically the library will adhere to and support in it's collection development the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights (Appendix A), Freedom to Read (Appendix B), Freedom to View (Appendix C), and Interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights (Appendix D).

The Board of Trustees delegates the development of the collection to the Director, while the overall collection development process for MCPL involves a wide variety of individuals from the selectors to unit managers to individual staff, including the Director.

Scope of Collection

The scope of the collection refers to the range and types of materials selected including the formats offered and the level of difficulty. The scope is as broad as possible to allow for the maximum possibility of free expression and free access to ideas. The MCPL collection will focus on the general patron rather than the researcher. It will also take into consideration special groups of patrons within our community--for example Spanish-speaking individuals and emergent readers.

Selection Guidelines
The "Selection Guidelines" relate to the Library's goals and objectives. Staff should keep the following in mind when recommending titles for selection. However, an item need not meet all considerations to be acceptable.

  • Consider the identified, expressed or anticipated needs and interests of individuals in the general community.
  • Consider the quality of content, such as timeliness, accuracy, literary merit, illustrations, indexes and bibliographies.
  • Include different viewpoints, values, philosophies, cultures and religions whenever possible. Selections will not be made on the basis of any assumed approval or disapproval.
  • Select a broad range of materials in all subject areas.
  • Attempt to balance the collection with in-demand, current interest titles. (MCPL may purchase multiple copies of specific authors and/or in high demand current interest titles.)
  • Assess the significance in relation to library resources already available.
  • Utilize standard selection sources recognized by librarians to identify materials to be purchased.
  • Utilize specialized knowledge of Library staff.
  • Consider the reputation and/or significance of author, publisher and/or producer.
  • Select a variety of reading and comprehension levels based on community needs.
  • Provide a wide variety of formats to meet differing needs of individual patrons.
  • Maximize the effectiveness of the available materials budget.
  • Consider other community resources, interlibrary loan, etc. to maximize the Library's resources. Out-of-print, used items, or items that require Library staff to go beyond the scope of its normal purchasing procedures are usually not purchased.
  • Develop a collection that complements the curriculum of area educational institutions and home schoolers. We do not duplicate curriculum materials.
  • Consider patron requests within the overarching principles of selection.
  • Assess the quality of binding and physical suitability for library use.
  • Consider purchasing self-published or print on demand materials, especially by local authors. The library uses the same criteria for purchasing these items as it does for other materials.

Standard Selection Sources

Standard selection sources used to identify items for purchase may include:

  • Professional journal reviews: Preference is given to positive reviews published in nationally recognized journals such as Library Journal, New York Times Book Review, and Publishers Weekly.
  • Standard collection tools and recommended lists prepared by professional organizations and specialized vendors.
  • Evaluative bibliographies in specialized areas.
  • Lists such as "top 100", publishers' announcements, and similar sources.
  • Award lists and "notable" and "recommended" lists published by professional associations.


The library acquires materials in a variety of formats. Selection within a format follows all general selection principles. (A list of formats currently being purchased can be found in Formats Currently Purchased by MCPL (Appendix E).

The Library monitors the development of new formats and uses the principles of selection to decide the appropriate time to add them to the collection. The Library also monitors the declining use of a particular format. When that format is discontinued, the existing collection will continue to circulate until no longer useful. Formats are reviewed on an annual basis.

Access to the Collection

The library collection is accessible to all residents of Monroe County. Most material is available for loan and the rest is available for in-house use. [For specific loan rules, see the Circulation policy.] Some items may be purchased to support staff in their jobs and may not be readily available to the public.

Patrons may determine the Library's holdings through the Library's online catalog. The library also subscribes to a variety of proprietary databases covering a wide variety of subjects.

Responsibility for the use of the library's collection by children rests with their parents and legal guardians. It is only the parent or legal guardian who may restrict his/her children--and ONLY his/her children--from access to library materials or services. Selection of adult materials will not be limited by the possibility that items may come into the possession of minors.


The library's facility and budget do not accommodate extensive conservation and preservation activities for most materials. Reasonable attempts will be made to keep valuable material in the collection through cleaning, mending and repair. Other preservation efforts may include the transfer of information between formats in order to preserve the content when copyright allows.

The collection is not archival. No extraordinary efforts are made to retain or preserve last copies or out-of-print titles.

Annual Materials Allocation

The annual materials budget for the Library is divided into five main categories: Books, Newspapers and Magazines, Nonprint, E-books, and Databases--as required by the State Auditor. For the Library's own use, these categories are further divided by areas of collection and format. The materials budget is recommended by the Director and approved by the Board of Trustees as a portion of the total budget. Factors used to determine the specific allocation for each area may include:

  • Statistics based on usage by category
  • Average cost of items in each category
  • Number of items lost or withdrawn in an area
  • Average circulation for each item by category
  • Level of development for the category as determined by staff
  • User requests in the area
  • Start-up costs of new collections
  • Replacement projects in given areas of the collection as required.

Areas that have not been sufficiently funded in the past, or areas that are totally new may receive extra funds at the discretion of the Director. The percentages may fluctuate from year-to-year depending on funding, target areas of the collection, and the library's goals and objectives.

General Collection Statements

Print Collection

Adult Collection

The fiction collection consists of retrospective and current titles of general fiction including short stories, genre fiction, large print, young adult and paperbacks.

The emphasis of the collection is on American and British authors, but world authors in English translation, local authors, and some small press publications are collected as well.

Graphic Novels
Graphic Novels are characterized by images in a static panel form, text is within the panels, usually in small blocks or balloons, bound in longer and more durable formats than comic magazines, using the same materials and methods as printed text-based books.

The Graphic Novel collection includes both fiction and nonfiction and is designed for young adult and adult audiences.

Indiana Room
This collection is established to contribute to the community's knowledge of Bloomington, Monroe County, and Indiana--past and present. The Indiana Room supports the community--patrons, organizations and businesses--by providing up-to-date sources and access to quality information about the County and State. Finding aids are also created and maintained to facilitate easy access to topical information.

The Indiana Room genealogical collection emphasizes Indiana but also contains resources for other states with historical migration patterns to Indiana. Included are county histories, genealogical material, and local and state publications. Some duplication of state and local items of high interest may be added to the Ellettsville Branch as well.

The library maintains collections of non-English materials aimed at meeting the recreational and information needs of an increasingly diverse population within Monroe County. The non-English collections serve native speakers as well as students.

Resources include both print and non-print circulating materials. The collection also includes materials which aid English Language Learners (ELL). These are written in the native language of the learner.

The development of the non-English collection will be determined by demographics, patron requests, circulation statistics, and language needs assessments. The library will also work with educational and governmental officials, social service agencies and cultural centers to assess current needs and future trends.

The adult nonfiction collection serves patrons from adolescence (defined as twelve years of age) through adulthood. It combines adult and young adult resources into one collection, offering access to the widest possible range of information.

The library seeks to maintain a well-rounded and balanced collection of nonfiction materials for the lay reader and to support patrons in their everyday life. Highly specialized or materials for college courses will not be purchased. The collection is designed to cover broad areas of knowledge and interest, including both basic works of permanent value and timely materials on current issues.

VITAL (Volunteers in Tutoring Adult Learners)
VITAL helps adults achieve their personal literacy goals through one-on-one tutoring, basic classroom instruction and English Language Learners (ELL) classes. Topics covered by the VITAL collection include coping skills/life skills, basic English/reading skills, Pre-TASC materials, leisure reading, and books for teacher/tutors. Materials are selected at various reading levels for adult learners.

Young Adult Collection
Young Adult materials are purchased to support a wide variety of interests from adolescence (age twelve) through adulthood. Selection is influenced by the special interests and developmental and informational needs of young adults and the bridging from the children's to adult resources.

While local curricula are generally supported, school textbooks and workbooks are specifically excluded from purchase in this collection.

Ground Floor Collection

The Ground Floor (Teen Center) Collection supports the interests of young adults age 12-19. The collection emphasizes recent fiction titles of very high popularity and/or critical acclaim, as well a sampling of age-appropriate graphic novels. In addition, non-fiction and periodicals of particular interest to the teen audience are purchased. Additional copies of titles selected for the Ground Floor are usually available in other MCPL collections.

Children's Collection

This collection serves the needs and interests of children from birth through early adolescence (age 12); provides distinctive resources for adults working with children, and supports the delivery of library programs and services to these audiences.

The collection includes a variety of print and nonprint materials. Core formats include: Board books, picturebooks, early readers, transitional readers and graphic novels. School textbooks and workbooks are not purchased for the circulating collection.

Periodicals and Newspapers

The periodical and newspaper collections supplement the adult and children's book and nonprint collections by providing up-to-date information, covering current topics not yet available in other print media, and presenting a more concise treatment of a subject than is usually found in books. Emphasis for magazines is placed on popular titles, business needs and a representative sampling of other topics. The collection is also used by the staff for selection and professional development.

Funding constraints limit the number of subscriptions and copies purchased by the Library. Gift subscriptions may be accepted for magazines, if they meet general selection guidelines. The Library subscribes to a number of local, Indiana, regional and national newspapers. Older issues of selected materials may be available on microform. The subscription lists are reviewed annually by staff.


The Library maintains collections of adult and children's print reference sources, covering a wide variety of topics and intended to meet the informational needs of the general public. Standard resources make up the core of this collection, consisting of books updated on a continuing basis and of individual works selected to meet demonstrated patron and community demands. 

A core collection of print sources for children and adults who work with children is maintained. In addition, bibliographies of noted works for children are available for professional reference and readers' advisory.

The Library also subscribes to a variety of electronic products, databases, encyclopedias and other technology sources. Electronic products are purchased as funding allows to complement print offerings and to provide convenient access to information.

In addition, the Library provides and promotes patron use of reference and research products made available free of charge to Indiana libraries through INSPIRE, a statewide collection of databases.

Finally, a collection of professional materials is provided for staff use and are housed in various offices throughout MCPL. These titles generally serve a specific purpose related to such topics as programming, customer service, or administrative tasks. While not generally accessible to the public, titles available for checkout may be requested by patrons and will be handled via the Library's procedures for holds.


Audiobooks (Books on CD and Playaways)
The audiobook collections include literature and popular fiction and nonfiction. Unabridged editions are preferred.

The adult collection also contains language instruction resources, study courses, and spoken performances.

The juvenile audiobook collection emphasizes popular fiction, but includes recommended nonfiction titles, especially folktales. The collection includes "read-along" CDs that come packaged with a book.

The Ellettsville Branch and the children's area at the Main Library has a small collection of software available on CD-ROM.

The juvenile CD-ROM collection emphasis is on products with educational content, supporting the curricular needs of school-age children. A limited number of games are also purchased.

Compact Discs (CDs)
The adult music CD collection consists of original, unedited works. It is intended for adolescence through adulthood. The collection emphasizes current popular material from all genres.

The juvenile music collection on CD emphasizes materials for early childhood and primary grades (birth through Grade 3). Popular music is included and an effort is made to collect a representation of musical styles, genres and different cultures.

Downloadable Audiobooks, Videos, Music, Magazines, and Ebooks
The library provides patrons access to audio and electronic books (e-books) through multiple sources. The items are accessible through the Library's online catalog

Materials are available for both children and adults.

The adult collection of DVDs contains a broad selection of entertainment, informational, and instructional videos. It is intended for adolescence (age twelve) through adult. The emphasis of the collection is on popular materials. In addition, the collection is balanced with classic movies, independent films, foreign films, and nonfiction educational and documentary titles.

There are a limited number of "public performance" (for group viewing) videos within the collection. (This means that they may be shown in a free public viewing setting--for example, a large group in a church or school--when checked out.) All current selections for this video collection are in DVD format.

The juvenile DVD/videocassette collection emphasizes early childhood and primary grades (birth through Grade 3), especially for home use. There are some "public performance" (for group viewing) videos within the collection.

This collection is housed in children's area and provides recommended learning materials appropriate for children from birth through age 4.

Other Departmental Collections

CATS (Community Access Television Services)
CATS records and maintains a collection of Monroe County, City of Bloomington and other public municipal meetings. CATS also records and maintains a collection of local programs and events including arts and cultural activities, public panel discussions, and candidate forums. Decisions on what to add to the collection are based on what programs CATS feels that the community will most appreciate. More detailed information on how these events are selected for recording is available on the CATS website.

While CATS cannot cover all events, it does loan equipment to individuals and groups who want their event added to the CATS collection. Individuals and groups may also donate programming to the CATS collection. There are a number of ways that the public can access the CATS collection. See the CATS website listed above.

Related Services

Interlibrary Loan
Interlibrary loan is a transaction in which MPCL tries to obtain materials directly from another library on behalf of a patron, or another library borrows materials from MCPL on behalf of its patron. Interlibrary loan is a service that supports the mission of the library by providing enhanced access to library materials and information. The purpose of interlibrary loan is to obtain materials which would not ordinarily be purchased by the library and to provide material from the collection to other libraries.

Patrons in good standing may request items not found in MCPL or other local library collections (such as Indiana University) through interlibrary loan.

Interlibrary loan is both a public service and an integral element in the collection development process. Staff may consider purchasing an item, in lieu of requesting it through ILL, if the material is requested frequently and deemed appropriate for selection within the guidelines described in this collection development policy.

Jail Library
The Monroe County Jail Library consists of a collection of paperback and hardback books developed to meet the interests and needs of inmates at the Monroe County Correctional Center. Annual funding for this collection is made possible through Monroe County and official guidelines have been established for this purpose.

Selection of items is based on providing informational, educational and recreational reading materials to inmates. Criteria include titles that assist inmate reentry to society, promote rehabilitation and reduce recidivism. Special attention is given to areas of substance abuse, parenting and legal information. Emphasis is on popular reading material based on demand. In addition to the dedicated jail library collection, inmates have access to books from the library upon request, but are subject to review by the Correctional Facility's administration.

Gifts and Donations

The Monroe County Public Library Foundation gratefully accepts donations of gently used materials. No conditions may be imposed relating to any gift, donation, or memorial either before or after its acceptance. The Foundation allows Library staff to select materials for the Library's collection according to the Library's selection guidelines. Items that are not added to the collection are forwarded to the Bookstore for sale or disposal and are not returned to the donor.

Upon request the library will provide a receipt as to the number and format of items donated. The library can not determine the value of donations.

For additional information about donations see the library's gift policy.

De-selection of Materials

The staff reviews the collection continually to ensure its usefulness to the community, assess it for deficiencies (gaps), and make room for newer materials. Titles may be weeded (withdrawn), retained, updated, reclassified or duplicated as justified by need. In general, weeding follows guidelines set out in the CREW* (Continuous Review, Evaluation, and Weeding) Manual which includes:

  • Physical condition
  • Frequency of circulation
  • Currency of information and the availability of updated material
  • Permanent value to the collection, such as a classic book or an item of historical value
  • Unnecessary copies or the presence of similar materials in the collection.
  • Space to house the item
  • Discontinuation of format

Inclusion of questionable language or attitudes, or a perception of factual inaccuracy, are not necessarily criteria for de-selection.

Withdrawn materials may be given to the Library Foundation for its Bookstore. Reference materials retaining informational value may be transferred to the circulating collection.

Reconsideration of Materials

The selection and de-selection of materials is an on-going process, involving many different staff and many interactions with the community. Members of the community may have questions about the process or about selection of specific items. These questions are addressed as follows:

  1. Questions concerning the process or a specific item in the collection can be answered by a librarian. The professional staff can clarify scope and depth of the collection, the role of individual and parental responsibility, and the use of selection guides. Many inquires can be answered without pursuing the reconsideration process. The principles governing selection can be found in the Collection Development Statement.
  2. Patrons may wish to suggest alternative materials and can make a Suggestions for Purchase.
  3. Patrons may choose to ask for a formal review of specific materials. To do so, the patron must fill out a Request for Reconsideration of Library Material form (Appendix G).
  4. Procedures for Requests for Reconsideration:
    1. When the form is returned to the library, it should be forwarded to the Library Director.
    2. The Library Director will notify the patron that the Request has been received and that a Reconsideration Committee will review the material and make a recommendation for action.
    3. The Access and Content Services Manager may form a Reconsideration Committee in consultation with the Director. This committee will consist of:
      1. the selector for that budget area, who will chair the committee;
      2. the Audience Strategist (or designated representative) of the area in which the item is held; and
      3. a staff member who does not work in the area in which the item under review is held, and, in some cases,
      4. a representative from the community.
    4. All members of the Reconsideration Committee will read, view, or listen to the material within 45 days of receiving the request form. Original reviews and other pertinent information will be researched.
    5. The committee will meet to discuss and evaluate the material, and a response will be determined. The committee's response and a recommendation for action will be sent to the Library Director within 60 days after receiving the request.
    6. The Library Director, or designee, will respond to the individual who submitted the "Request for Reconsideration", the members of the Reconsideration Committee and the Board of Trustees.
    7. The individual who submitted the Request for Reconsideration may appeal in writing the Director's response to the Library Board within 10 days after receiving the Director's response.

Policy Review and Revision Statement

Library staff will review the Collection Development Policy annually. Any recommended change(s) will be sent to the Director for review. Changes recommended by the Leadership Team will be sent to the Library Board of Trustees for consideration and/or further action.

List of Appendices:

Appendix A: Library Bill of Rights
Appendix B: Freedom to Read
Appendix C: Freedom to View
Appendix D: Interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights
Appendix E: Formats Currently Purchased by MCPL
Appendix F: Purchase Suggestion Form
Appendix G: Request for Reconsideration of Library Material

*Larson, Jeanette. CREW : a weeding manual for modern libraries/ revised and updated by Jeanette Larson. --Austin, Tex. : Texas State Library and Archives Commission, 2012. p. : ill. ; 28 cm.

Adopted by the Monroe County Public Library Board of Trustees, October 18, 2006
Revised April 16, 2009
Revised January 19, 2011
Revised March 21, 2012
Revised February 20, 2013
Revised November 18, 2015