McDowell County Public Library

Collection Development Policy


Approved by the Library’s Board of Trustees on April 7th, 2022

Mission and Pledge of the Library

Our Mission: Our libraries will provide free access to ideas, information, and enrichment, and will serve the informational, cultural, educational and recreational needs of our community.  

Our Pledge: To accomplish our mission in a courteous, efficient and fiscally responsible manner; to promote literacy, learning, and enrichment without bias; to provide a broad range of resources responsive to the changing needs of our community; to provide a safe and pleasant environment; and to provide a knowledgeable, committed, and caring staff. 

Purpose of the Policy 

The primary function of McDowell County Public Library’s collection development policy is to establish guidelines for the acquisition of quality materials that meet the informational, cultural, educational and recreational needs of the citizens of McDowell County as set forth by the organization’s mission statement. 

Open Access to Information and Ideas 

Inherent in the collection development philosophy is an appreciation for each patron of the McDowell County Public Library. The Library provides materials to support each individual’s journey, and does not place a value on one patron’s needs or preferences over another’s. The Library upholds the right of the individual to access information, even though the content may be controversial, unorthodox or unacceptable to others. A work will not be excluded from the collection solely because it represents a particular aspect of life, because of frankness of expression, because it is controversial, or because of the ideas it contains. The inclusion of an item in the collections in no way represents an endorsement of its contents. 

Materials for children and teenagers are intended to broaden their vision, support recreational reading, encourage and facilitate reading skills, supplement their educational needs, stimulate and widen their interests, lead to recognition and appreciation of literature and reflect the diversity of the community.  The reading and viewing activity of children is ultimately the responsibility of parents and caregivers, who guide and oversee their own children’s development. The McDowell County Public Library does not intrude on that relationship.  Selection of library materials will not be limited by the possibility that it may come into the possession of minors.

The Library supports the American Library Association’s Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read Statement and Freedom to View Statement.


Responsibility for Selection of Materials 

The Library Director has sole responsibility for the Library’s collection. To facilitate this process, the Director may delegate responsibility for collection development to other staff members within the McDowell County Public Library system. 


Selection Criteria 

There is no single standard that can be used to evaluate and select the different types of materials included in the Library’s collections. Each type of material will be evaluated in terms of its own qualities and merit. There are, however, some general criteria that selectors use to evaluate and select resources, regardless of the format. They are: 

  • Public demand 
  • Positive evaluation by critics and other review sources 
  • Value of the content to the local community 
  • Budgetary considerations/limitations 
  • Authority or significance of the author/producer/publisher of the work 
  • Content of the work (objectivity, accuracy and timeliness of information and data); 
  • Suitability of format for Library use (size, paper, print, binding) 
  • Ability/capacity to enhance the overall collection 


In addition, the following criteria are also utilized when selecting digital and electronic resources: 

  • Compatibility with existing or available Library technology 
  • Ability to allow access to multiple simultaneous users 
  • Technical support and training requirements 
  • Quality of the resource and ease of use for patrons 
  • Degree to which the product meets the informational needs of the general Library patronage 

The Library recognizes the need to continually evaluate new technologies and electronic resources as they become available in the marketplace and is committed to providing a superior balance of electronic and print resources that satisfy public demand in the local community. 

The Library also recognizes that the wealth of local artistic talent is one of the qualities that makes McDowell County unique. Whenever possible and appropriate, materials by local authors or artists will be added to the collection, providing that they meet the selection standards outlined above.

Children’s Collection 

The children’s collection serves children from birth through elementary school and parents, caregivers, teachers, and others who work with children.  The collection focuses on materials that develop reading ability, inform children about the world around them, stimulate the imagination, and entertain.  The collection is balanced between popular titles and core materials suitable for the varied interests and reading levels of their audience.  Materials selected include a wide spectrum of life experiences to ensure the community is fully represented in the collection.

Young Adult Collection

The young adult collection serves youth in both middle school and high school. The bulk of the collection consists of hardcover and paperback fiction as well as graphic novels, and manga. The main purpose of this collection is to serve the educational, developmental and recreational needs of this population while serving as a stepping stone from the children’s collection to the adult collection. Materials selected include a wide spectrum of life experiences and individuals to ensure the community is fully represented in the collection.

Adult Collection

The adult print and media collection is a browsing collection geared toward the recreational and educational needs of the general adult population in McDowell County. Materials selected include a wide spectrum of life experiences and individuals to ensure the community is fully represented in the collection.

Gifts & Donated Material Policy 

When we receive a monetary donation for the purchase of materials, we are extremely thankful. These gifts may be made to the Library for purchase of books or other materials in memory or honor of individuals.  We follow all of the guidelines of our selection criteria as we choose how to best invest those funds.

The Library accepts donations of recently published books, magazines, audio books, music CD’s and DVD’s. All donations should be clean and in good condition. We do not accept: 

  • Textbooks 
  • Medical Books 
  • Encyclopedia Sets 
  • National Geographic Magazines 
  • Reader’s Digest Condensed Books 
  • VHS or Cassette Tapes 
  • Software 

All donations are accepted without condition and become the property of the Library. Donated materials that are chosen for inclusion in the Library collection must meet the same selection criteria established for purchased materials. Donations not used for collection development will be included in book sales that generate additional funds for Library programs and services. All other types of gifts or donations made to the Library will be evaluated by Library Administration on a case by case basis. 

The Library can provide a receipt for any donation but cannot assign a specific value to donated materials.

Collection Maintenance 

Library staff review the collections on an ongoing basis with the goal of maintaining the quality and vitality of library resources. The process of collection management incorporates the use of output measures, circulation reports, database use statistics, and other information of continuous collection evaluation.

In order to provide the best service to our community, the collection is regularly evaluated. The following are the criteria for withdrawal from the collection:

  • Availability of shelf space
  • Duplication
  • Format
  • Items are out of date, contain inaccurate data, or are not historically significant
  • Items are worn, stained, or damaged beyond repair
  • Low circulation
  • New, current, or more comprehensive resources are available.

Whenever possible, items removed from the collection will be sold by the Friends of the Library or selected vendors with proceeds to benefit the library. If items are withdrawn by reason of condition, loss, or damage, they will be considered for replacement.

Materials that are no longer practical to keep in the collection will be discarded. These materials will be disposed of according to North Carolina General Statutes (N.C.G.S. 153A-176), as well as any methods prescribed by local County government policies and procedures. 

Request for Reconsideration of Library Resources

The library system recognizes many materials may be controversial and any given item may offend some. Only individuals can determine what is most appropriate for their needs and can define what material or information is consistent with their personal or family values. Individuals can apply those values to the use of library materials for themselves. While anyone is free to personally reject materials of which one does not approve, one may not exercise censorship to restrict the freedom of others.  

Should a member of the community question the place of an item in the collections, the Library Director or staff may meet with the individual to discuss the concern. If a complaint cannot be resolved informally, the individual will be asked to fill out and return a written and signed Request for Reconsideration of Library Resources form.  A copy of the form can be made available at either McDowell County Public Library location.

Upon receiving a fully completed Request for Reconsideration of Library Resources form, the Library Director will establish a staff review committee to investigate the complaint. The questioned material will be reviewed, and assessed as a complete work, and the patron will receive a written response to their concern. If the individual is dissatisfied with the resolution, the individual may appeal to the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees will reconsider the decision based on whether or not the particular title conforms to the Collection Development Policy and offer a final decision.

Review and Revision of the Policy 

The Collection Development Policy will be reviewed on an annual basis by the Collection Development Team. Any revisions necessary will be presented to the McDowell County Public Library Board of Trustees for approval.

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