Collection Development


The policy for material selection for the Washington County Public Library is to serve the librarian as a basis for consistent excellence in the choice of materials and as a document that can be presented to parents, groups, and individual citizens for further understanding the purpose and standards behind any material found in the library.

Objectives of selection

The primary objective of the Washington County Public Library is to provide for the recreational and informational needs of the total community.  It is the duty of the library to provide a wide range of materials on all levels of difficulty with diversity of appeal, and presentation of different points of view.

Responsibility of selection

While the legal responsibility for the purchase of all materials is vested in the Board of Trustees, the selection of materials involves many people, including the library director, staff, trustees, and patrons.  However, the responsibility for coordinating and purchase of materials that best meets the needs, concerns, and interests of the community rests with the library director.

Criteria for selection

Selection of materials for the Washington County Public Library is a continuous ongoing process.  Each type of material must be considered in terms of its own excellence and the audience for whom it is intended.  Whereas no single standard can be applied in all cases, it is our policy to select materials for the library on the basis of:

• Popular appeal
• Permanent value to the collection
• Representation of various viewpoints
• Overall purpose of the material
• Importance of subject matter
• Timeliness and importance for contemporary society
• Readability
• Price
• Authority of author
• Reputation of the publisher/printer
• Format, size, paper, print, binding, and durability

Requests from educators, business and industrial representatives, and individuals are also given consideration.

Items of outstanding quality may be purchased even when there is no known immediate demand.

Whenever there is enough demand or interest in a title or subject, even though it may have received unfavorable reviews, it may be purchased. 

Selection of materials is not restricted by the possibility that children may obtain materials their parents consider inappropriate, as it is impossible for library staff to know parents’ idea of appropriateness.

The presence of any material in the library does not indicate an endorsement of its contents by the library.

Procedures for selection

In developing the collection for the Washington County Public Library, the Library director will evaluate the existing collection, assess needs, examine materials, and consult reputable, professionally prepare selection aids, such as Booklist.

Replacement and weeding

The library keeps the collection vital and useful by retaining and replacing essential materials and removing, on a systematic and continuous basis, those books which are worn, outdated, of little historical significance, or no longer in demand.


Gifts are accepted subject to the following:

• the library retains unconditional ownership of the gift;
• the library makes final decision on the acceptance, use, or disposition of the gift;
• the library reserves the right to decide the condition of display,housing, and access to the material.

The appraisal of gifts to the library for tax purposes is to be the responsibility of the donor.

Approved March 7, 1989
   Reviewed January 15, 2007
Reviewed September 21, 2009