Collection Development and Maintenance Policy

Alachua County Library District
Policy Statement

Approved by: Date:
Board of Trustees 06/17/87
Revised (9th revision) 04/19/17
Governing Board 07/07/87
Revised (9th revision) 05/25/17

Table Of Contents

Alachua County Library District
Collection Development and Maintenance Policy

The Alachua County Library District (ACLD) is an independent special taxing district and the sole provider of public library services to approximately 250,000 citizens in Alachua County.  ACLD's goal is to provide all community members with free, open and equal access to education, information, and entertainment.


District Mission [Table of contents]

Alachua County Library District: a key to building a better community by creating opportunities to participate, connect and discover.

It is the goal of ACLD to collect, organize, and make accessible recreational, educational, informational, and cultural resources to meet the changing needs of Alachua County residents of all ages, cultures and economic backgrounds.

In order to do so, ACLD:

A.        Provides the greatest possible number of Alachua County citizens with access to materials and services, supplementing those available in other area libraries, but avoiding unnecessary duplication. The District makes available the following (in priority order):

  1. Print, non-print and digital materials
  2. Information and Reference services
  3. Programs to increase literacy, provide information, and encourage library use.

B.        Develops community awareness of library services and encourages their use by all population groups.


Purpose of the Collection Development Policy

The purpose of this Collection Development and Maintenance Policy is to guide librarians and to inform the public of the principles upon which decisions are made regarding the selection of library materials. 


Responsibility for Selection

The ultimate responsibility for selecting materials for the Library rests with the Library Director, who in turn, delegates selection responsibilities to appropriate staff members. Suggestions from the general public are encouraged and are evaluated by the staff based on the District's criteria for selection.


Guiding Principles and Intellectual Freedom [Table of contents]

To provide a resource where free people can examine many points of view and make informed decisions is one of the essential purposes of the public library in America. The Alachua County Library District subscribes fully to the principles of the American Library Association's "LIBRARY BILL OF RIGHTS” and "FREEDOM TO READ" statements and accompanying interpretations (see Appendix 1 Library Bill of Rights Policy); and recognizes its responsibility to provide diverse materials within service level guidelines and limitations of space, budget, and availability. ACLD does not promulgate particular beliefs or views, nor is the selection of any given item equivalent to endorsement of the viewpoint of the author or producer.

The collection is designed to serve the needs and interests of the community as a whole. Selections are made on the merits of the work in building balanced collections. ACLD recognizes that many materials are controversial but the selections cannot be made on the basis of anticipated approval or disapproval. Nor can the selection process be inhibited by the fact that children and young adults have access to the entire collection. Parents or guardians who wish to limit or restrict the use of library materials by their own children should personally oversee their selections.

ACLD welcomes expression of opinion by patrons but does not attempt to please all patrons by purchasing items or eliminating items purchased after due deliberation under this policy. Whenever censorship is involved, no book and/or library material will be removed from ACLD except by the order of a court of competent jurisdiction, unless the reconsideration process has been completed and the recommendation is to remove the material. The library will reconsider any material upon written request. (See Patron Comment on Library Materials form in Appendix 2).

The Alachua County Library District has a long history of providing materials in various formats to citizens with disabilities. ACLD will build on this tradition in order to comply with all pertinent provisions of the Americans With Disabilities Act.


Materials Selection Process [Table of contents]

Selection is a judgmental and interpretive process, involving: general knowledge of the subject and its important literature; familiarity with the materials in the collection and needs of the community; reviews; publishers' advertising. Patrons and staff members are encouraged to submit recommendations.

These criteria are considered in materials selection whether the item is purchased or donated:

  • Popular interest
  • Contemporary significance or permanent value
  • Currency of information
  • Accuracy
  • Local emphasis
  • Readability or ability to sustain interest
  • Treatment of subject to age of intended audience
  • Reputation of author, performer/composer, publisher, producer or illustrator
  • Creative, literary or technical quality
  • Critical assessments in a variety of review sources
  • Format and ease of use
  • Circulation as monitored through the automated system
  • Cost and availability
  • Relation to existing materials in collection
  • Relationship to materials in other area libraries

As part of ACLD’s goal to be responsive to patron demand and community needs, methods of patron-driven acquisitions and demand-driven acquisitions of materials are continuously being investigated, and will be used in situations where the methods are efficient, effective, and provide material of use to the community in needed formats, whether digital or physical.


The Collections [Table of contents]

Alachua County Library District collections are popular and browsing in nature and should be considered representative, rather than comprehensive in any area. Materials are acquired in multiple formats when appropriate, including print, audiovisual, and digital resources. Highest selection priority is given to those materials in all formats having the broadest appeal.

The District recognizes that the technologies of sound, image and information databases continue to evolve. It will monitor and evaluate new formats for potential inclusion in the collection as they become available.

The collection as a whole serves all ages. Material located in the Youth Services area is selected for a target audience of children from infancy to age 12. The Young Adult (YA) fiction collection is geared to the youth audience aged 13 to 17. Emphasis is on selecting materials that widen the boundaries of the adolescent's thinking and enrich their lives. Plot, characterization, theme, writing style, and appropriateness for the reader are taken into account. Efforts are made to supplement and extend the school curriculum for both children and young adults.


The library’s non-fiction collection includes material on almost any topic which might be of interest to the community.  Popular items and subjects are purchased; as budget allows the library also provides materials for those whose interests or needs are not widely shared.  General non-fiction topics include but are not limited to:  Philosophy, psychology, religion, social sciences, language, science, mathematics, medicine, gardening, cooking, art, sports, poetry, and biographies.


Textbooks will be purchased only when they provide the best available coverage of a subject and are useful to the general public; they will not be purchased to satisfy the demands of a specific school course.  ACLD’s responsibility is to provide books which will broaden an individual's interest in a particular subject (that may stem from the use of a textbook) rather than to provide the textbook itself.


Fiction collections are a major component of public library collections. In selecting fiction, the existence of a variety of types of works and the need to satisfy readers of differing age, tastes, interests, purposes, and reading abilities are recognized.  ACLD’s collection includes representative fiction of past and present.  Many genres are covered including, but not limited to contemporary, historical and regional fiction, mystery and suspense, science fiction, fantasy, humor, romance, westerns and other adventure stories, and short stories.

Since each work is judged on its individual merits, there is generally no attempt to purchase all of a particular author's works. Nor is it is always possible to maintain all titles in an author or title series.

The District acquires a wide spectrum of fiction whether serious or amusing, realistic or imaginative, even though the writing may be sentimental, sensational, or erotic.  In our diverse and demanding community, frankness of expression is not cause for excluding a title from the collection.


Audio-Visual Materials and Digital Content [Table of contents]

ACLD subscribes to the American Library Association Library Bill of Rights Statements on Labeling and Rating Systems and Access for Children and Young Adults to Nonprint Materials. No attempt will be made to label materials as to perceived appropriateness.


ACLD maintains adult, young adult and juvenile collections of musical and spoken recordings in both physical and digital formats.  Musical recordings include, but are not limited to, classical, jazz, country, rock, rap and R&B. Spoken word recordings are purchased in a wide range of subject classifications, including fiction, based on collection needs and patron interest.  Popular demand dictates that the majority of the collection will be devoted to entertainment materials.


ACLD maintains a collection of video materials in both physical and digital formats of interest to adults, young adults, and children.  An attempt will be made to cover a wide range of subject matter and will include instructional ("how-to"), documentary, entertainment, and educational items.  The entertainment collection includes, but is not limited to, classic, popular, and foreign films.


Additional format criteria are considered when selecting digital content, including accessibility, ease of use, equipment, training, technology requirements, license agreement requirements, vendor support, and unique content.  Digital content may be made available as a total collection or aggregated resource, rather than on a title by title basis.  In these instances, the selection of the package or resource will be evaluated based on the general suitability of the content as a whole.


Foreign Language Materials

ACLD does not attempt to develop an exhaustive collection of foreign language materials because of the proximity of the University of Florida libraries. However, the library is committed to developing and maintaining foreign language collections which meet the needs of a changing population. Foreign language needs are assessed through such tools as language needs assessments, patron requests, circulation statistics, census data, and community awareness. The information gathered is used to determine the size and scope of the collection.  Availability of materials may impact the development of the collections.

ACLD provides materials for those learning English as a second language.  The District's collection also includes materials which aid English speakers in learning a second language. Emphasis is placed on the languages most frequently studied in the community.


Reference [Table of contents]

General Reference

The District maintains a reference collection which is used to answer questions and to serve the informational needs of library users. Reference sources are characterized by their ability to provide information and to summarize, condense, or give a comprehensive overview of a topic. Reference resources are increasingly available online; although there are some sources in particular topics (i.e. local history and genealogy) that remain accessible only in the library to be readily available to all citizens. Selection criteria of particular importance for all reference sources are: accuracy, user-friendliness, uniqueness of information, authority, documentation, and searching flexibility.

The Reference collection may contain any materials necessary to answer the informational needs of library users.  Those materials exist in multiple formats, not merely books, but also electronic databases, online collections, and other emerging technologies that will be evaluated under the selection criteria as they arise.

Periodicals and Newspapers

The selection criteria for periodicals and newspapers are the same as that for other library materials.  Current issues of popular periodicals and local, regional, or national newspapers are available. Retention decisions are based on whether materials are indexed, the availability of the materials, local interest, their cost, and their use.

Electronic Databases

Online databases are an integral part of the reference collection. They provide constantly updated access to information as well as full-text access to many periodicals and newspapers. Databases are used by the library staff to provide reference service and most are accessible by patrons at home. Many of the databases contain specialized information beyond the scope of the library's print collections; others have information that does not exist in print format. There are also a decreasing number of databases which duplicate print sources. When this occurs, the two resources are evaluated side-by side to see which format should be purchased and whether the print should be retained with consideration to cost, frequency of use, and ease of access to library users.

Databases, particularly periodical and newspaper databases, are purchased as aggregated packages.  For the selection and purchase of these resources, the package as a whole is the service being evaluated and selected; individual parts and pieces are generally not available.


Local Government and County Documents

The Alachua County Library District does not serve as an official depository for local government.  Selected documents are cataloged and added to the collection when appropriate as to content, demand, and availability of space.  Withdrawals from this "special" collection are made with public use in mind.

Genealogy Collection

The Alachua County Library District develops and maintains basic materials to serve the needs of those patrons who are interested in doing genealogical research.  The focus of the collection is genealogical information relating to the State of Florida, especially information pertaining to local families and history.  Material dealing with the Southeastern area of the United States (Alabama, Georgia, Virginia, South Carolina, and North Carolina) is also considered a priority for collection development.  Though not comprehensive in all areas, the collection is being developed as resources permit.

The genealogy collection is housed primarily at the Headquarters Library.

Local History

Materials, including photographs, which pertain to local history, are found throughout the District-wide collection but reside primarily in the Headquarters collections. The purpose of the Branch collections is to provide information for their service area of the county. 


Manuscripts and Rare Books

No attempt will be made by ACLD to purchase or collect rare books, manuscripts, or archival materials.  All donations will be subject to the principles stated in the Gift Policy.


Materials for People with Disabilities

ACLD provides materials for citizens with disabilities in accordance with patron needs and the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act.   Materials are judged by the same standards of content and format that apply to other materials purchased by ACLD.

Selections of Large Print Books are available in all facilities and at selected Deposit Collections. Talking books, machines, tapes, and Braille materials can be obtained from the Florida Regional Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.  There is also a small collection of Braille materials at ACLD.


Interlibrary Loans

The Interlibrary Loan system extends the limits of local collections by allowing registered Alachua County Library District cardholders to access materials in libraries throughout the country. 


Collection Maintenance [Table of contents]

Multiple Copies

ACLD attempts to weigh specific demand in relationship to the total library program, policies, and collection development goals. Multiple copies of materials in heavy demand are purchased.

Assessment and Withdrawal

ACLD staff assesses all collections on a regularly scheduled basis. Assessment consists of identifying needed materials and removing items which are no longer useful. Library materials may be considered for withdrawal from the collection based on the following considerations: physical condition, accuracy of information, duplication, timeliness of information, and circulation.  Materials withdrawn from the collection due to physical condition, dated contents, poor circulation, etc., are donated to the Friends of the Library unless condition suggests disposal.

Lost Materials

Once a year, a list of items declared lost with their original and not depreciated value will be presented to the Library District Governing Board.  These items will then be removed from the catalog.


ACLD does not automatically replace materials withdrawn or lost from the collection.  Need for replacement is considered in relation to several factors: number of remaining copies of titles, existence of newer or better material on a subject, budget constraints, circulation data, and availability (out of print materials are rarely replaced).

Gifts to the Library

ACLD is grateful for gifts of materials donated by patrons. These unsolicited gifts are accepted with the understanding that they become the property of ACLD and will be evaluated against the same selection criteria as purchased materials.

ACLD will make the final decision on the use or other disposition of all donations, the conditions of display, housing and access to the materials.  It is explicitly understood that such factors as duplication, lack of community interest, processing cost, or space considerations may prevent the addition of gifts to the collection or their permanent retention. 

Once a gift is accepted by the library, it cannot be returned to the donor even if it is not added to the library collection.  Bookplates and letters of acknowledgment cannot be provided for individual gift books except under special circumstances.  Items not added to the library collections are usually donated to the Friends of the Library for inclusion in their used book sales.  Proceeds from the sales are used for library support. 

Receipts for income tax records indicating the number of books and date of donation will be given by library staff when requested.  ACLD will not assign a value to these materials for tax or other purposes.

Funds for the purchase of library materials are also accepted. Items purchased with these funds must meet the standard selection criteria. Gifts of money or material valued at more than $1,000.00 must have Governing Board approval before acceptance. Patrons may also contact Library Administration to discuss options to make a monetary donation to the library collection.

Reconsideration of Materials

In its selection of materials ACLD subscribes fully to the American Library Association's FREEDOM TO READ STATEMENT, the LIBRARY BILL OF RIGHTS, and all interpretations adopted by the American Library Association. (see Appendix 1 Library Bill of Rights Policy Statement).

All requests for reconsideration of materials will be handled as follows:

  1.  Patron requesting such action will be given a "Patron Comment on Library Materials" form to fill out (see Appendix 2).  This form must be completed by the patron before ACLD staff will take any action.
  2.  The completed "Comment" form will be forwarded to the Public Services Division Director within one working day of its receipt by ACLD staff.  The Public Services Division Director will forward a copy of the “Comment” form to the Library Director and will appoint a staff committee composed of one materials selector and two other staff members to review the challenged material in light of the criteria set out in the COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT AND MAINTENANCE POLICY.  This committee will then formulate a written recommendation, responding to the patron comment and will forward this recommendation to the Library Director within four (4) weeks of the committee appointment.
  3.  Within one week of receiving the committee's recommendation, the Library Director will prepare a final written response to the patron.  This response will be forwarded to the patron and to the Board of Trustees.  A copy of the staff committee's recommendation and the Director's response will be routed to all committee members for their information.  (See also “Patron Comment on Library Materials" form in Appendix 2)


Appendix 1: Library Bill of Rights Policy [Table of contents]

Alachua County Library District
Policy Statement

Approved By: Date:
Board of Trustees 08/21/02
Revised 12/15/10
Revised 07/21/21
Governing Board 08/22/02
Revised 02/10/11
Revised 8/26/21


The Alachua County Library District supports the American Library Association's (ALA) Library Bill of Rights and its interpretations, and the ALA's Freedom to Read statement. These are the foundation for open and equitable access to the Library District's services, programs and other resources. Library District policies are based on the principles set forth in the following statements. The current copies if these policies can be found on the American Library Association (ALA) website.

  1. Library Bill of Rights including the interpretations.
  2. Freedom to Read statement.


Appendix 2: Patron Comment on Library Materials [Table of contents]







Form of the material (e.g., book, film, DVD, music, Book on CD, eBook, pamphlet, etc.)



Please state your comment, suggestion or criticism of the material as specifically as possible






Did you read, see, listen or otherwise use the material in its entirety?






Are you aware of any published reviews of this material?






If yes, please identify source.






Additional comments:
























Telephone Number






The library appreciates your interest. Your comments will be forwarded to the appropriate selector.






For Staff Use Only






Staff member receiving comment






Service area