Collection Development Policy

Maud Preston Palenske Memorial Library
  Collection Development Policy
  Approved on May 23, 2023

1.  General Statement of Purpose
In accordance with our mission statement “Creatively serving the community with diverse resources and learning opportunities,” the library aims to select and maintain a collection that will provide all community residents with a broad range of materials in all formats to aid them in the pursuit of education, information, research, pleasure, and the creative use of leisure time.  
The volume of publishing and the limitations of financial resources and available space mandate that the library will have a policy to guide the development and maintenance of a balanced collection that meets the needs and interests of the residents we serve.   The collection will include both works of current interest and those of lasting value.  This policy will guide the library staff in the selection and further handling of library materials and may also be used to acquaint the general public with the underlying principles guiding the formation of library collections.

2.  Free and Open Access
   1. The Library and the Library Board of Trustees consider reading, listening, and viewing to be individual, private matters and believe that full, confidential, and unrestricted access to information is essential for all patrons to exercise their constitutional rights.
   2. This Library embraces the American Library Association Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read Statement, and the Freedom to View Statement. The texts of these statements are included as appendices to this policy and are interpreted to include all library materials regardless of format.
   3. The Board of Trustees recognizes that while individuals are free to reject for themselves materials of which they do not approve, they cannot restrict the freedom of others to read, listen, and view within any guideline set forth by the library.

  4. The library recognizes that some materials are controversial and that any given item may offend some patrons.  The choice of library materials by users is an individual matter.  Selections will be made on the merits of each work as it relates to the totality of the library’s collection and not on the basis of any assumed approval or disapproval.   Library materials will not be marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of the contents, and no items will be sequestered except for the express purpose of protecting them from damage or theft.  The presence of an item in the library does not indicate any endorsement of its content by the library.
   5. Responsibility for the use of the library’s collection by children ages seventeen and under rests with their parents and legal guardians.  Selection of adult library materials shall not be inhibited by the possibility that such items may come into the possession of minors.   The library will not act as judge of what materials a child is mature enough to borrow.

3.  Responsibility
The Maud Preston Palenske Memorial Library Board of Trustees delegates the selection of library materials to the Library Director and to members of the professional staff, operating within the framework of this policy as adopted by the Board of Trustees.  

4. Selection Criteria
     1. Maud Preston Palenske Memorial Library is a popular materials library and maintains a varied and up-to-date collection. It attempts to acquire materials of both current and lasting value. Since one library cannot afford all available materials, it must employ a policy of selectivity.
     2. Materials are selected to meet patron needs and reflect a variety and diversity of viewpoints and opinions.  An attempt will be made to represent differing viewpoints, values, philosophies, cultures, and religions whenever possible.  Material which is biased or which represents only one point of view may be selected to provide alternatives to other materials.

     3. No single criterion is applicable to all selection decisions. Some resources may be judged primarily for their artistic merit, scholarship or value to humanity; others are chosen to satisfy the informational, recreational or educational interests of the community.
     4. All materials added to the collection, purchased or donated, will be selected in accordance with one or more of the following considerations:
          • Individual merit of each item
                o Artistic merit
                o Literary merit
                o Accuracy
                o Authoritativeness
                o Significance or reputation of author or subject
           • Topic of current interest to patrons (popular appeal/demand)
                o Local interest or need
                o Social significance
                o Timeliness
             • Long term intellectual and/or educational value of the item
             • Relationship of the work to other materials in the collection
                o Variety
                o Balance of viewpoints and subjects
             • Suitability of the material for the residents of our community
             • Cost and budget constraints
             • Quality and suitability of the given format
            • Availability elsewhere

       5. Reviews and professional selection aids will be used as sources of information about materials under consideration for purchase.  Examples include (but are not limited to) Professional journals, ALA’s Booklist, “New York Times Book Review,”  “Chicago Tribune Book Review.”  Interviews on public media, publisher catalogs, and press releases from publishers may also be considered.
      6. Use of materials, in all formats, is the most powerful influence on the library’s collection. Purchase of new titles and withdrawal of old materials are both influenced by current and historic circulation rates. In addition, number of holds placed and patron requests are closely monitored and directly influence the purchase of additional copies of high-demand titles.
     7. Purchase requests from patrons will be considered, but final purchase decisions will be determined by this policy.  If a requested item is not selected for purchase, every attempt will be made to borrow the material through interlibrary loan so that the patron will have the use of it.
     8. Textbooks are primarily the responsibility of schools and are only occasionally added to the collection to supply information not available in other formats.
     9. In addition to materials for the general public, materials will also be selected to meet the needs of the visually impaired, adult beginning readers, and those for whom reading may be difficult.
    10. Materials that assist businesses, professional and governmental organizations will be purchased as need for such items can be documented.   When provided, documents relating to city and township government will be housed and made available for those residents who wish to use them.
     11. New formats will be considered for the collection when evidence suggests that a significant portion of the community has the necessary technology to make use of the new format.  Availability of items in the new format, cost per item, and the library’s ability to acquire and handle the new materials will also be factors in determining when a new format will be added.  Similar considerations will influence the decision to delete a format from the library’s collection.

5. Special Considerations for Collection Areas
     1. Local History
        a. The local history collection at the library contains material on the history, description, and development of St. Joseph, Benton Harbor, Stevensville and the area surrounding these communities, focusing next on Berrien County as a whole and then the Southwest Michigan region and the state of Michigan. 
        b. Works by or about Michigan residents with limited relevance to Berrien County and general Michigan history will be evaluated individually.  Only those works that add appreciably to the knowledge of Michigan
and the relationship of our region to the state will be added to the general collection.
        c. Acceptable materials include but are not limited to yearbooks, postcards, identifiable photographs, and other items of historical significance in hard copy or digital format.
       d. Materials not accepted are restricted collections, undated and unidentified photographs of people, hard copy of newspapers already available in microform, or books by local authors that are outside the scope of the collection development policy.
       e. The general collection houses works of some Michigan and local authors.  Works of local imprint are added to either the general collection or the local history collection when they contribute directly to the social and cultural history of the region.

     2. Genealogy and Family History
       a. The library will acquire genealogical material relating to Berrien County.  The library will attempt to include indexes to births, deaths, marriages, wills and land records, and when possible, indexes and compilations of records for surrounding counties.  Donations of family histories are accepted if the ancestors or descendants had ties with Berrien County.
       b. The library will include basic and current genealogical research guides, materials for states that had significant migrations to our area, and information about the predominant countries of origin of the immigrants who settled our area.
       c. The library purchases census microfilm for Berrien County as it becomes available.
      d. The library accepts census indexes for surrounding counties and states and when possible, may purchase censuses for years and localities for which significant local demand can be documented.

     3. Gifts and Donations of Materials
        a. The library encourages and appreciates gifts and donations, and retains unconditional ownership of all gifts.  The library makes the final decision on the use or other disposition of gifted materials.  Items added to the collection will be added based on the selection criteria listed in section 4.  The library reserves the right to decide the conditions of display, housing, and access to donated materials.  Donations not added to the library collection may be given to the Friends of the Library for fund-raising.
        b. By law, the library is not allowed to appraise the value of donated materials, though it can and will provide an acknowledgment of receipt of the items.

     4. Memorials/Honorariums
        a. Materials that fit the selection criteria may be purchased with donated funds and designated as memorials or honorariums.  It is best to consult with the Library Director before purchasing a specific book as a memorial so that criteria for placing the title into the collection can be determined beforehand. 
       b. An appropriate bookplate will be included in such gifts identifying both the donor and the purpose of the donation.

6. Reconsideration Procedures
MPPML recognizes that a collection of diverse materials may result in some complaints or requests for reconsideration.
Procedures have been developed to ensure that complaints are handled in an attentive and consistent manner.

    1. A patron (the “Requester”) who objects to library material or a program in the collection will be asked to speak to the Director if discussions with staff member taking complaint does not resolve the issue.
    2. The Director will discuss the library materials in question with the Requester, attempting to resolve the concern to both the Requester's and Library's satisfaction. The Requester will also be offered a packet of information that includes the library's collection development policy including appendices, and the listing of reconsideration procedures.
   3. Upon receipt of a completed Reconsideration form, the Director will ask library staff for background information as to the criteria used in ordering the item in question, its relevance to the collection, and reasons for having the material in the collection.
   4. The Director will study the information provided by the staff and respond, in writing, to the person who initiated the request for reconsideration.
   5. If the person initiating the request is not satisfied with the Director’s decision, he or she may appeal the decision to the Board of Trustees.  Any person wishing to make such an appeal should notify the Director of his or her intent, so that the subject can be placed on the agenda of the next library board meeting.   At this time, the Board of Trustees will refer to the reconsideration procedures in order to proceed.

7. Collection Maintenance
    1. The library strives to maintain a collection that is current, attractive, and useful in meeting the needs of the community. 
    2. Weeding is the responsibility of the Library Director and assigned staff and is expressly authorized by the Board of Trustees. 
    3. Systematic weeding and replacement of the library’s materials will be done using the CREW method.  Weeding helps the staff evaluate the collection by identifying areas or titles where additional materials are needed, older editions that need to be updated, and subjects, titles, or authors that are no longer of interest to the community.

    4. If library staff is uncertain about a title to be withdrawn, standard bibliographic tools and/or subject experts will be consulted to determine if the title has historical or literary value.
    5. Items that are weeded from the collection will either be donated to the Friends of the Library to be sold, sent to Better World Books, or recycled. 
    6. Lost materials will be withdrawn from the collection so that the database accurately reflects the materials that are currently available.  
    7. Materials that are worn out from heavy use will be withdrawn, and if the information contained in them is still useful and relevant according to the criteria of this policy, a replacement copy or a newer edition of the item will be purchased.

8.  Policy Revisions
This policy may be revised and updated at any time as conditions warrant and will be reviewed as deemed necessary by the Maud Preston Palenske Library Board of Trustees.




1)  "Library Bill of Rights", American Library Association, June 30, 2006. (Accessed March 24, 2023)

Document ID: 669fd6a3-8939-3e54-7577-996a0a3f8952


2)  "The Freedom to Read Statement", American Library Association, July 26, 2006. (Accessed March 24, 2023)

Document ID: aaac95d4-2988-0024-6573-10a5ce6b21b2


3)  "Freedom to View Statement", American Library Association, May 29, 2007. (Accessed March 24, 2023)

Document ID: 95444382-9c6c-e904-0962-be3aa96cdb5a