Library Collection Development Policy

6.1 Why have a collection policy?

A Library Collection Development Policy shows interested people the purpose of the collection (why it exists) and demonstrates how the library goals and objectives are to be achieved.

This document helps users to understand what to expect from the library, the conditions of operation and how it can serve their needs. Furthermore, as a planning tool, it helps to delineate policies and procedures for library staff to follow to ensure equity and consistency.

6.2 What does a collection policy contain?

There is a range of perspectives on what this document should contain but the following elements seem to be generally accepted sections of this document:

  • An introduction stating goals, purpose, objectives…
  • Policy/procedures on resource selection
  • Policy/procedures on material reconsideration requests
  • Policy/procedures on Acquisitions
  • Policy/procedures on gifts
  • Policy/procedures on collection maintenance (including de-selection)
  • Policy/procedures on collection evaluation
  • Policy/procedures on budgeting/funding
  • Policy/procedures on intellectual freedom
  • Policy/procedures on copyright

Select one of the points from the ALIA Statement of Professional Conduct or the IFLA Code of Ethics and provide an example of how a school library collection policy can address this issue.

The IFLA Code of Ethics stresses the Neutrality, personal integrity and professional skills of Librarians and Information Workers (section 5). One aspect of this section is ‘Librarians and other information workers define and publish their policies for selection, organisation, preservation, provision, and dissemination of information’. Publishing the Collection Development Policy on the school website means people have ready access to the selection criteria and can see that selection is an objective process rather than a personal inclination. This may well pre-empt future objections.

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