Troy Public Library Collection Development Policy:
The purpose of this collection development policy is to ensure that the collection, materials, and electronic
access, support and express the library’s response to the information and learning needs of the community.
The policy, together with a specific collection development plan, will help measure progress by defining the
collection as it is now and envision future needs. It will assist in budgeting decisions and responsible use of
funds, define the purposes for the collection; and establish limits and priorities on collection parameters. The
policy will inform and educate both the library staff as well as the patrons about censorship challenges, and
provide guidelines for accepting, declining, evaluating and acknowledging gifts. 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, publishers, trends, and information resources in all
Basis for Policy:
Troy Public library’s collection development policy is based on the library’s mission statement, community
assessments and the service roles of the library.
The mission of the Troy Public Library is to make available a broad range of library materials, provide up-to-
date and accurate information, and to offer services and programs desired by the community of Troy. The
Library also acts as the most convenient point of access for the needed materials and information and
actively seeks to make community members and organizations aware of library resources and services.
Since it is impossible to examine and evaluate each item available for selection, librarians depend on reviews
to help in the selection process. The selectors are knowledgeable about review sources and their particular
strengths, weaknesses and biases. At least one favorable review is usually necessary for selection. If the first
review is not definitive, the selector usually waits for more reviews, or bases the selection decision on some of
the other selection criteria outlined here.
The author’s qualifications and previous publications are important in selecting both fiction and nonfiction.
For audiovisual materials, the expertise of the performer (reader, conductor, actor, director, musician, etc) is
The format should be appropriate for library use. This means books must have durable bindings, clear print
and good paper. Workbooks and books with perforated pages are generally avoided. Book club and some
reprint editions are frequently of inferior quality and are not added to the collection unless they are important
items and higher quality editions are not available. Audiovisual items should be tough enough to stand up to
the heavy demands of library circulation.
The date of publication in not a factor in recreational reading and in titles of literary merit and wide audience
appeal. However, informational publications must be timely, and titles even two years old may not be selected
because they will not remain accurate long enough to justify their cost. See sections on weeding for
guidelines as to timeliness.
Adult fiction titles in considerable demand because of extensive publicity, local interest, author popularity, or
other factors are usually purchased, even if the title did not receive good reviews, though this decision rests
solely with the director. Adult nonfiction titles in demand are also usually purchased, unless there are serious
questions about the accuracy of their information or the qualifications of the author.
Although series are selected on a title by title basis, if the library has purchased previous titles in a series,
and those titles have been popular, the selector will be inclined to buy others in the series.
Purchase decisions are based on the type and quality of the edition. The following are the basic types of
The number of audio titles selected in comparison to the number produced is much lower than is the case
with books. In popular music, the recreational interests of library users are a primary consideration. For
classical music, the quality of the recording as determined from reviews, and the need to adequately
represent certain classical genres are important selection issues. For audiobooks, the expertise of the reader
and the sturdiness of the compact discs and packaging are paramount. For feature films, recreation is the
primary consideration. For "non-fiction" videos, reviews are important to identify quality titles.
Publishers tend to establish expertise in certain fields, and this is taken into consideration in evaluating a title,
especially one for which reviews are not available. Selectors try to be familiar with publishers and their
specialties, but this is harder and harder to do in an age of mergers and takeovers. Some publishers in each
field produce titles of such quality that selection decisions can be made solely on the basis of the publisher.
Conversely, some publishers who produce marginal works are avoided, unless a certain item receives
excellent reviews. The library generally avoids vanity presses, where the authors pay publication costs and
do their own distribution. Self-published and desktop publishers produce works of varying quality and are
seldom reviewed. These items are generally not purchased, unless the subject is in high demand, and the
book is examined and found to be of merit.
Price plays a role in selection. Price decisions are generally not made in the abstract, but in relation to the
value of the item to the collection. However, to protect the patron, who is required to pay the cost of lost
items, circulating items that cost over $50, excluding popular audiovisual materials, are generally avoided.
This means that expensive video and audiocassettes on popular subjects such as sales and marketing are
generally not purchased. With books, price limits mainly the selection of very expensive art books and some
specialized professional texts. Often, the library will purchase a less-expensive trade paperback, rather than
a very expensive trade hardback. Purchasing decisions are also affected by the discount the library will
receive from our jobbers. Publications that are not heavily discounted (for example, traditionally, University
presses and textbooks) and are also expensive are bought more sparingly than publications that are heavily
discounted. As University presses produce more titles of general interest at more competitive prices, the
library is increasingly purchasing more of them.
Each title considered for purchase is evaluated in terms of the library’s present holdings. For example, if the
library has sufficient titles in a certain area, the selector may not choose to add a new title, even though it has
received good reviews. Also, the selector may choose to add additional titles of a better work, than buy
another title in a certain subject.
Every attempt is made to acquire titles by local authors that are published by mainstream publishers. Titles
that are self-published are not added to the regular collection unless there is a compelling reason to do so
(valuable local content, high local interest). Print on demand titles that are self-published, even though
available via mainstream distributors, will not be added unless they meet the library's collection criteria.
Library materials are selected by members of the staff after consulting professional review media/ selection
criteria. Staff members consult with each other to review the needs of the community as documented in
circulation statistics and requests. Final responsibility for the purchase of materials resides with the Director
of the Library.
The Library strives to maintain a collection that meets the needs of the community. The vitality and
usefulness of the collection will be maintained by systematically discarding materials that are damaged,
factually inaccurate, or no longer in demand.
Reconsideration of Library Materials:
As a tax-supported agency, the Troy Public Library is building a collection that includes opposing viewpoints,
rather than supporting any one view of a particular topic or issue. Some of the materials may be offensive to
individuals or groups because of individual perceptions of profanity; social, economic, and political ideas;
religious viewpoints; the background of an author; or the kind of information provided. The Library does not
approve or endorse any particular viewpoint, belief or person represented in its collection.
The Public Library's role is to provide materials that will allow individuals to freely examine issues and make
their own decisions. It is the responsibility of individuals to limit their reading to books and other items that are
congruent with their individual tastes. While a person may reject materials for him/herself and his/her
children, he/she may not restrict access to the materials by others. Further, Library materials will not be rated
like popular movies or be isolated except to protect them from damage or theft.
Comments from community members about the collection or individual items in the collection often provide
the librarians with insight into interests or needs that may not be adequately addressed. The Library
welcomes these comments and opinions put forth by customers, but will be guided in general by this Policy in
making decisions on additions to, or deletions from, the collection.