Collection Development Policy

Collection Development

This document provides the staff and public with an understanding of the purpose and nature of the Library's collection. It explains the criteria staff use for making decisions to add or withdraw items in the collection.

We are dedicated to the free and open distribution of ideas. The Library is primarily a government-funded agency. The First Amendment of the Constitution ensures that ideas, even ideas that some find offensive, cannot be restricted by the government. Furthermore, it is the responsibility of the Library to provide a wide-range of ideas, opinions and information necessary for the functioning of a democratic society. We are dedicated to free and open use for all. No restriction is placed on the use of the Library's collection based on age, race, sex, nationality, educational background, physical limitations, or any other criteria that may be the source of discrimination.

We are dedicated to protecting individuals’ rights to decide for themselves and for their own children what library materials to use. Materials will not be added or removed from the collection, based upon protecting users from the contents of the materials. We strongly encourage all parents who wish to restrict their own children’s use of the Library to establish guidelines for their own children's use of library materials.

The inclusion of any item in the Library's collection does not constitute an endorsement by the Library of the item's contents. The Palm Harbor Community Services Agency Board upholds the principles of intellectual freedom as stated in the American Library Association's "Library Bill of Rights" (see below).



Cooperative Collection Development
To supplement its collection, the East Lake Community Library makes use of materials borrowed from other county libraries through the Pinellas Public Library Cooperative. There is also reciprocal borrowing with neighboring counties throughout Tampa Bay as well as our Interlibrary Loan Service (ILS) for difficult-to-find items.

Interlibrary Loan, however, is not a substitute for the development of adequate collections based on the needs of a member library's service area and patrons. Requests for titles are evaluated for potential use and cost- effectiveness, and may be added to the collection despite the existence of copies in other libraries. In addition, when areas in the collection are inadequate to meet regular patron demand, purchases are made to correct the situation rather than relying on requesting items from other libraries.
The East Lake Community Library also provides online databases and a variety of e-resources, including downloadable books and movies, current periodicals and topics of general interest, providing efficiencies in costs while meeting patron demands. 

The Library cannot expect to fill every patron request from its own shelves. Libraries are being used more than ever before, and more is being printed and produced in other formats. The purpose of cooperative collection development is to assist the Library in meeting patron demands for materials that lie outside the scope of the Library's collection.

It is the Library's responsibility to weave many considerations when purchasing an item. These areas include the content, the potential use, the need, the purpose, the medium, and the format of the content to best meet the users need. Other considerations in selecting a format include cost and available space for storage and display. New formats purchased by the Library are based on these user needs. Therefore digital (including online databases and downloadable resources) or print materials may be determined as the best format to provide certain information to Library users.


Selection Process
Materials are selected after professional librarians and other experienced members of the Library staff consult a variety of print and online media reviews. Support staff may recommend titles as well as work on the weeding, ordering, and collection management of the library collections. First, the Library staff attempts to meet patrons' demands. Second, materials are purchased that are both pertinent and timely. Because of limited resources and space and because the Library has access to other libraries' collections, the relevance of materials to our collection is especially considered. 

The Library purchases audio-visual materials as part of its collection development. Selection of audio-visual materials will be based on the same criteria used throughout the selection process.

The Library welcomes requests for purchase of materials for the library, and requests will be subject to the same criteria for selection as other considered materials. Selection of materials for the Library collection is an ongoing process which includes the removal of materials no longer appropriate and the replacement of lost and worn materials that are still of value for informational or recreational needs.



The term weeding is used to describe the activity of seeking out items that are no longer useful or appropriate for the collection. These items are then discarded and may or may not be replaced. Weeding the library collection is as much a routine as the acquisition of new books. The purpose of discarding materials from the collection is to maintain an accurate and up to date collection for library patrons. Materials which are inaccurate, outdated, unused, or in poor condition detract from the usefulness and aesthetic appeal of the collection. These materials take up shelf space that could be occupied by needed and requested materials.

Weeding the collection is an ongoing process and is the responsibility of the librarians. The goal of the East Lake Community Library is that each section of the collection is to be weeded on an ongoing basis to keep the collection accurate. Special attention is paid to Medical, Computer Science and Technology, and travel materials, as they become dated rapidly.

Materials are discarded from the collection using the CREW guidelines for weeding. The acronym CREW stands for Continuous Review, Evaluation, and Weeding. Items that are weeded from the collection include ones that are: misleading or factually inaccurate; damaged, soiled or worn; outdated or superseded by a new edition or newer title on the same subject; trivial or have no discernible literary or scientific merit; irrelevant to the needs and interests of the community or contain information that may be obtained more easily elsewhere. Materials that have not circulated in a chosen time period, duplicate titles no longer needed, or damaged materials are also considered for discarding.

Items in damaged or outdated condition will be thrown away. Items in good condition that have been removed from the collection may be sold by the Friends of the Library, used in our local Little Free Libraries, or donated to charitable agencies.


Reconsideration of Library Materials
The East Lake Community Library makes every effort to meet the needs and interests of all its members; therefore, in accordance with the Library Bill of Rights, it is the policy of the library administration that the only acceptable censorship is self-censorship. Hence, it is the intent of the Library that no challenged library material will be removed from the collection except upon court order. Complaints may be made in writing to the Director who, at his or her discretion, can consider an alternative solution such as moving the item to a more suitable collection in the library.