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Collection Development


This policy functions as a general guide for the development of a robust collection that allows the Cedar Rapids Public Library to fulfill its mission to connect people to information, experiences, and services that enhance their quality of life so our community can learn, enjoy, and thrive.   Our collection is a tool in the library’s work to be a beacon of literacy to all who seek knowledge and understanding and  to be compassionate navigators to the information, resources and entertainment our community seeks.




Materials for the library collection are chosen to serve the informational, educational, and recreational needs of the community. The primary goal of selection is to provide the best possible collection with the financial resources available and according to community standards. Collections are broad, current, and popular, not archival or comprehensive.  The decision to purchase any item for the collection is usually based on demand or anticipated need.


  • Selection based on demand:  We believe that the library patron is an important part of the selection process. An individual request from a patron for a title is usually honored if the request conforms to the guidelines outlined in this policy statement. The library has opportunities for patrons to suggest collection items through our website, via email, and in person at library locations. Suggestions regarding services and other aspects of library operations are also encouraged.


  • Selection based on need:  Some materials are chosen for the purpose of updating and developing specific subject areas. Materials added in this manner are selected from reviews, availability lists, vendors' catalogs, bibliographies, and local experts. The library staff is constantly gathering information concerning the needs of library users by means of surveys, circulation statistics, interlibrary loan requests, and patron input. Follow-up studies are conducted on those items or subject areas for which demand is constant.


The library strives to present materials representing multiple sides of an issue in a neutral, unbiased manner. The existence of a particular viewpoint in the collection is an expression of the library's policy of intellectual freedom, not an endorsement of that particular point of view. The library provides service to all within the framework of its rules and regulations and does not knowingly discriminate in its materials selection on the basis of race, creed, gender identity, sexual orientation, occupation, or financial position.


The Cedar Rapids Public Library endorses the LIBRARY BILL OF RIGHTS, the STATEMENT ON LABELING, the LABELS AND RATING SYSTEMS, the FREEDOM TO READ STATEMENT and the FREEDOM TO VIEW STATEMENT of the American Library Association, which have been included in this manual and are intended to be part of this policy statement.




The responsibility for materials selection and the development of the library collection rests with the director, who works under the authority of and in accordance with the policies of the Board of Trustees. The library Materials department carries out the actual selection of materials.


Materials may be available in a variety of formats and/or languages based on community need. Factors governing the choice of material include anticipated use, storage requirements, ease of access, cost, and the format of earlier editions. When all other factors are equal, ease of access by the public should be the primary consideration.



Collection Development staff use their training, knowledge and expertise along with the following general criteria to select materials for the collection:

  • Relevance to interests and needs of the community
  • Extent of publicity, critical review and current or anticipated demand
  • Current or historical significance of the author or subject
  • Local significance of the author or subject
  • Relevance to the existing collection’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Reputation and qualifications of the author, publisher or producer, with preference generally given to titles vetted in the editing and publishing industry
  • Suitability of format to library circulation and use
  • Date of publication
  • Price, availability and library materials budget


Weeding of the collection is an ongoing process directly related to collection development. Materials that are worn, damaged, outdated, duplicated, or no longer used may be removed from the collection. Other factors taken into consideration are frequency of use, community interest, and availability of other material on the subject. Materials removed from the collection are given to the Friends of the Library for book sales, discarded based on condition, or used in other ways for library programs and services


Gifts of books, periodicals, and other materials are encouraged with the understanding that they will be included in the collection only if they are in formats currently in use for the public and if they meet the criteria for selection outlined in this policy. The Materials Manager will decide where and how long gift materials will be kept. Gift items not used in the collection will be  given to the Friends of the Library for book sales, discarded based on condition, or used in other ways for library programs and services.

Each gift donor will sign a gift waiver to receive recognition and a receipt. For more information, see the separate policy statement "Gifts and Memorials."


Memorials are welcomed. If cash donations are made for materials in a person's name, it is helpful if a subject is also named so the funds will be expended appropriately. Direct donations of books or other materials are accepted under the provisions of the separate policy statement "Gifts and Memorials."


Minors are not restricted in the use of the library. Responsibility for the reading, viewing, and listening habits of minors rests with parents and caregivers. Selection of materials is not restricted by the possibility that minors might obtain materials their parents consider inappropriate. The library does not discriminate on the basis of age in the use of its resources.





Adopted: 06/30/88

Revised: 10/29/92, 12/02/99, 12/04/03, 08/04/05, 02/01/07, 2/2013, 09/2015, 4/2019, 12/02/2021

Reviewed: 2013, 2/1/2024

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