Collection Development and Maintenance Policy

Materials selected for the library collection are intended to meet the cultural, informational, educational and recreational needs of the citizens of the City of Burlington and of the surrounding area. The scope of the collection is intended to offer a choice of format, treatment, and level of difficulty so that most individual library needs can be met and service given to individuals of all ages without needlessly duplicating the resources available in other libraries in this area. The collection scope is intended to provide supplemental materials for individuals pursuing educational programs and a start or referral point for those seeking more advanced information or materials. The collection is not archival and is reviewed and revised on an on-going basis to meet contemporary needs.

The purpose of this policy is to guide the library staff and to inform the public about the principles upon which selection decisions are made. A policy cannot replace the judgement of librarians, but stating goals and indicating boundaries will assist the library staff in choosing from the array of available materials.

One of the Library’s goals is the provision of materials which best meet the community’s informational, recreational, and educational needs. Basic to this policy is the Library Bill of Rights adopted by the Burlington Public Library Board of Trustees on November 23, 1981.


“Materials”: as it occurs in this policy has the widest possible meaning and will include all formats, print and non-print.

“Selection”: the decision that must be made either to add material to the collection or to retain or withdraw materials already in the collection. It does not refer to the guidance of an individual patron.


The primary objectives of the Library are to collect, organize, and make easily available materials of contemporary significance and of long term value. The Library will always be guided by a sense of responsibility to both the present and the future in adding materials which will enrich the collection. The library also recognizes an immediate duty to make available materials for enlightenment and recreation, even though such materials may not have enduring interest or value.

The final responsibility for selection lies with the Director. The Director delegates to staff members the authority to interpret and apply the policy in making day-to-day decisions. Unusual problems are referred to the Director and in exceptional cases will be presented to the Board.

Criteria for Selection

No item in the library collection can be indisputably accepted or rejected by any given guide or standard. However, certain basic principles can be applied as guidelines. Materials selected must meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Current usefulness or permanent value,
  • Authority and competence of author,
  • Scope and comprehensiveness of subject treatment,
  • Clarity and accuracy of presentation,
  • Appropriateness to interests and skills of intended audience,
  • Relation to existing collection,
  • Relative importance in comparison with other materials on the subject.

Guidelines for Selection

The selection of any materials for the Library’s collection does not constitute an endorsement of its content. The Library recognizes that many materials are controversial and that any given item may offend some patrons. Selection decisions are not made on the basis of any anticipated approval or disapproval, but solely on the merits of the work in relation to building of the collection and to serving the interests of the patrons.
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 be accessible to use by children.
Library materials are not labeled or identified to show approval or disapproval of the contents and materials are not sequestered except for the purpose of protecting them from damage or theft. The Library will reconsider any material in its collection upon written request of a patron. A form will be provided for this purpose.
The Library recognizes the purposes and resources of area libraries and will not needlessly duplicate materials. Interlibrary loan and consortial borrowing are used to secure from other libraries those specialized materials which are beyond the scope of the Library’s collection.
The Library does not attempt to acquire textbooks or other curriculum-related materials except where such materials also serve the general public or where they provide information not otherwise available. Legal and medical works will be acquired only to the extent that they are useful to the general public.
The Library always seeks to select materials of varying complexity and format because it serves a community with a wide range of ages, educational backgrounds, interests, sensory preferences, and reading skills.
The Library welcomes gifts with the understanding that the same guidelines of selection are applied to donated materials as to those materials acquired by purchase. All gifts become the sole property of the Burlington Public Library and the Library reserves the right to evaluate and to dispose of gifts in accordance with the criteria applied to purchased materials. Gift material not added to the collection cannot be returned to the donor.

Gifts of money for the purchase of materials are also welcome. Selection of the materials will be made by the Director in consultation with the donor.

Maintaining the Collection

The collection shall be periodically examined for the purpose of removal, repair, or replacement of materials. The same criteria for selection of materials will be used for the removal of materials from the collection. The most recent edition of CREW: A Weeding Manual for Modern Libraries may be consulted to guide deselection decisions, but final responsibility rests with the Library Director (or her/his designee). Materials no longer useful to the Library’s collection will be sold or otherwise disposed of.

Adopted: October 27, 1980
Revised: March 27, 1984
March 27, 1990
November 28, 2017

Translate »