Collection Development Policy

I. The Policy

The Monroe County Public Library Collection Development Policy provides a framework for the growth and development of collections in support of the Library’s mission to “enrich lives and strengthen our community by providing equitable access to information and opportunities to read, learn, discover and create.”

The Library’s goal is to provide a diverse Monroe County community with materials that reflect a wide range of views, expressions, opinions and interests. Specific acquisitions may include items that are considered controversial and may offend some users. Inclusion of questionable language or attitudes in materials is not in itself a reason to exclude them from the collection. The Library’s acquisition of these items does not constitute endorsement of their content but rather makes available its expression and supports the principle of intellectual freedom.

The Library provides free access to materials in a number of formats (print, non-print and electronic) to all customers. Library users make their own choices as to what they will use based on individual interests and concerns. MCPL supports the right of each family to decide which items are appropriate for use by their children. Responsibility for a child’s use of library materials lies with his or her parent or guardian. The Library adheres to the principles of intellectual freedom, adopted by the American Library Association.

II. About the Library and Its Community

MCPL serves the residents of Monroe County, Indiana, home of Indiana University.  The library provides service through a Main Library in downtown Bloomington, a branch in Ellettsville, and outreach services including a bookmobile, homebound and van delivery, and jail service.  The library also hosts homework help, an active adult literacy program, and a community access television station with five channels. 

The Library’s collection provides a wide range of literary, cultural, educational, informational and recreational materials for people of all ages. Collections may include popular and in-demand materials as well as special formats, such as large print books; foreign language materials; test and study guides; financial, tax and business information; school and career information; consumer, health and medical information, and others. The Indiana Room Collection documents the history of Bloomington and Monroe County and provides a broad scope of information about local news, people, events, and businesses.

III. Scope of Collection

The scope of the collection refers to the range and type of materials selected including the formats offered and the level of difficulty. The scope is as broad as possible to allow for free expression and free access to ideas. MCPL collections will focus on the general patron rather than the researcher. Materials of local significance or value may be digitized to expand access.The collection is not archival. No extraordinary efforts are made to retain or preserve last copies or out of print titles.

IV. Criteria for Selection

General criteria for selecting library materials are listed below. An item need not meet all of the criteria in order to be acceptable.

  • public demand, interest or need,
  • contemporary significance, popular interest or permanent value
  • attention of critics and reviewers
  • prominence, authority and/or competence of author, creator or publisher                  
  • timeliness of material
  • relation to existing collections
  • statement of challenging, original, or alternative point of view
  • accessibility for multiple users of electronic formats

V. Responsibility for Selection

The Board of Trustees delegates the development of the collection to the Director. The overall collection development process for MCPL involves a wide variety of individuals including librarian selectors, strategists, unit managers and the Director.

VI. Budget

The materials budget is recommended by the Director and approved by the Board of Trustees annually.

VII. Suggestions for Additions to the Collection

To assure the acquisition of resources desired by Library users, customer suggestions are always considered for addition to the collection. A request can be made by filling out a Suggestion for Purchase Form online or at any library location.              

VIII. Interlibrary Loan

Interlibrary loan is a transaction in which MPCL tries to obtain materials directly from another library on behalf of a patron, or another library borrows materials from MCPL on behalf of its patron. Interlibrary loan is a service that supports the mission of the library by providing enhanced access to library materials and information. The purpose of interlibrary loan is to obtain materials which would not ordinarily be purchased by the library and to provide material from the collection to other libraries.

Patrons in good standing may request items not found in MCPL or other local library collections (such as Indiana University) through interlibrary loan.

Interlibrary loan is both a public service and an integral element in the collection development process. Staff may consider purchasing an item, in lieu of requesting it through ILL, if the material is requested frequently and deemed appropriate for selection within the guidelines described in this collection development policy.

IX. Collection Maintenance, Replacement and Weeding

Professional library staff regularly review items in the collection to ensure that they continue to meet customers’ needs. Materials that are worn, obsolete, unused, old editions or unnecessarily duplicated are removed. It is the responsibility of professional staff to assess the need for replacing materials that are damaged, destroyed or lost. Items are not automatically replaced. Decisions are based on need, demand and budget.

X. Gifts 

The Monroe County Public Library Foundation gratefully accepts donations of gently used materials. No conditions may be imposed relating to any gift, donation, or memorial either before or after its acceptance. Items are not returned to donors. The Foundation allows library staff to select materials for the collection according to the library’s selection guidelines.

For additional information about donations please see the library’s gift policy.

XI. Request for Reconsideration of Materials

The selection and de-selection of materials is an on-going process, involving many different staff and many interactions with the community.  Anyone who wishes to request that a specific item be reconsidered for inclusion in the collection of materials is asked to complete and sign the Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials Form, available online or at any library location. The form will be forwarded to the Director and once a decision has been made regarding the retention or removal of the material, a letter will be sent to the person, explaining the decision. If the person indicates dissatisfaction with the resolution, he/she may appeal to the Library Board.

XII. Annual Review

This policy will be reviewed by staff annually. Recommended changes will be sent to the Director for review. Changes recommended by the Director will be sent to the Board of Trustees for further action.

Adopted by the Monroe County Public Library Board of Trustees, October 18, 2006
Revised April 16, 2009
Revised January 19, 2011
Revised March 21, 2012
Revised February 20, 2013
Revised November 18, 2015
Revised July 20, 2016