Collection Development Policy

Collection Development Policy

Sno-Isle Libraries Board Policy


The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance for Sno-Isle Libraries (the Library) staff in decision-making regarding the selection, acquisition, accessibility, and maintenance of the Library's collection, establish a process for addressing customer questions and concerns, and define the roles and responsibilities for addressing those concerns.


The scope of this policy is to provide information on the following:

  • Roles and responsibilities for developing collections.
  • The Library's commitment to intellectual freedom and to providing information expressing a variety of viewpoints.
  • Collection scope and guidelines for selection.
  • Criteria for selection of library materials.
  • Access and Resource Sharing.
  • Collection Evaluation and Maintenance.
  • Process for reconsideration of library materials.


Roles and responsibilities
In accordance with Washington State RCW 27.12.210, the Board of Trustees of Sno-Isle Libraries (the Board) delegates the development of the library collection to the Executive Director. In turn, the Executive Director delegates to designated staff the authority to interpret and apply this policy in daily operation.

All staff work collaboratively with each other and customers to support collection development and management.

Staff in Collection Services provide continuity for the development and management of the Library's collection. They plan, budget, select, acquire, catalog, process, and manage library materials. The Library recognizes and respects intellectual property rights and conforms to legislative mandates regarding copyright protections.

Staff in Community Libraries handle all requests equitably, share customer trends and community needs, support the management of the collection in the local library, and respond to initial customer questions about the Library's collection.

Customers also play a key role in the development of the Library's collection. They make suggestions and provide feedback via the Library's website or directly to staff.

Intellectual Freedom
The Board of Trustees declares that it adheres to and supports:

The Library is committed to the principle that the constitutionally protected freedoms of speech and press are enjoyed by all. To this end, the Library strives to offer a collection that represents the needs of our diverse communities and allows for the expression of multiple viewpoints. Inclusion or exclusion of an item in the collection does not mean that the Library endorses or rejects any theory or statement contained in those materials and resources.

The Board recognizes that the library is a vital community resource for people regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender, veteran status, marital status, or religious or political affiliation.

The Board embraces the diverse ways in which people learn and acquire information and believes the Library has a responsibility to be inclusive and not exclude materials solely because of the origin, background, or views of those who created it.

Parents and legal guardians have the responsibility for their minor's or ward's use of library materials.

Collection Scope
The Library's collection is designed to support the diverse cultural, informational, educational, and recreational interests of the residents we serve in Island and Snohomish counties.

The collection has materials on many topics and viewpoints. It has materials in different formats, languages, and levels of difficulty which are distributed among community libraries, the library on wheels service, and online through the Library website.

Knowledge of our communities is essential in making decisions about the Library's collection. Our collection reflects the mix of urban, suburban, and rural communities we serve in Snohomish and Island counties through community libraries, the Library on Wheels service, and online through our website.

Criteria for selection of library materials
Library staff exercise professional judgment and expertise in making collection development decisions, including decisions about selecting titles, and identifying quantities for purchase. Customer interest, both expressed and anticipated, strengths and weaknesses of the existing collection, physical space limitations, acquisition procedures, and available budgets are all factors taken into consideration. Materials are acquired in multiple formats when appropriate, including print, audiovisual, and digital resources. Materials are also selected to ensure that the collection as a whole contains materials on many different topics and in many different genres so that there is a choice of materials or formats on the subject and that multiple views are expressed.

Library staff use their training, subject knowledge and selection criteria to identify collection goals and priorities. The following criteria are used to evaluate and select items for the collection. An item need not meet all of these criteria to be selected.

General criteria:

  • Competence, reputation, and qualifications of author or publisher.
  • Perceived value of the work as a whole.
  • Portrayal or representation of movements, subjects, genres or trends of lasting customer interest and demand.
  • Reviews from standard and emerging sources.
  • Present and potential relevance to community.
  • Physical design suitable for library use.
  • Suitability of subject and style for intended audiences.
  • Relation to the existing collection.
  • Relation to other resources in the community.
  • Price of material.
  • Support of library programs and initiatives.

Content criteria:

  • Accuracy, currency, usefulness, or comprehensiveness of information.
  • Presentation of a diverse point of view.
  • Enduring significance or interest.
  • Technical quality.
  • Unique contribution to a field of study.
  • Relevance to local history.
  • Digital format considerations:
  • Accessibility.
  • Ease of use.
  • Vendor data privacy practices that meet the Library's guidelines.
  • Technical and support requirements.
  • Availability to multiple, concurrent users.

Selection Sources
Sources for selection decisions encompass, but are not limited to, published reviews from standard review sources, publisher/vendor catalogs and advertisements, professional and trade bibliographies, and customer requests and recommendations. The Library strongly encourages customer input, and all customer requests and recommendations are subject to the selection criteria outlined above.

Access and Resource Sharing
Access to materials is facilitated by the way they are organized, managed, and displayed. The Library uses standards-based cataloging and classification systems.

Customers access the collection through the Library's catalog, the Library's website, other online services, and interactions with staff. Materials located at one community library may be requested for pick-up at a more convenient community library location.

Use limitations ensure fair and equitable access to materials. In-house and remote access to digital and electronic resources is provided within technical, budgetary, and licensing constraints.

Materials that are not in the Library's collection may be obtained on behalf of a customer from another library via established interlibrary loan networks. Conversely, Sno-Isle Libraries' materials may be loaned to other organizations that also participate in the networks.

Collection Evaluation and Maintenance
The collection is reviewed and evaluated on an ongoing basis in order to maintain its usefulness, currency, and relevance. Items may be retained, redistributed, repurchased, re-catalogued, or withdrawn.

Along with the same criteria used to select new materials, general criteria for retaining, replacing or withdrawing may include:

  • Timeliness, accuracy, or relevance of information.
  • Customer demand.
  • Format or physical condition.
  • Completeness of sets.
  • Number of copies in collection.
  • Availability of similar materials.
  • Long-term or historical significance.
  • Availability of space.

At the Library's discretion, withdrawn materials may be donated to community partners, sold, or disposed of through other means determined by the Library.

Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials
The Library welcomes expressions of opinion from customers concerning materials selected for the collection. If a customer questions a collection selection decision, they should first address the concern with a Community Library Person-in-Charge. Customers who wish to continue their request for reconsideration may submit a written Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials to any Sno-Isle Libraries location using established Library procedures and guidelines available at any library service desk. Library administration responds in writing to an individual's written request.

Upon request, the Board will hear appeals of the Library's response. Appeals must be presented in writing to the Board. Decisions on appeals are based on careful review of the objection, the material, and Board policies including: this policy, the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, the Washington Library Association Intellectual Freedom Statement, Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read, and Freedom to View. The final decision on appeals rests with the Board and will be communicated in writing to the appellant. During this process, the material in question will remain accessible to Library customers.

This policy is reviewed every four (4) years by the Executive Director (or designee) who makes recommendations to the appropriate Board Committee. The Committee reviews and revises as necessary, endorses and advances to the full Board for approval.

Policy History

Date approved: July 27, 2020
Next review date: 2024
Date adopted: April 1987

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