Collection Development Policy


DeKalb County Public Library is a place to grow. The library enlightens and enriches the people of DeKalb County by providing responsive, dynamic services that meet the changing informational needs of a diverse population. Through a trained, service-oriented staff, partnerships, and ready access to both print and electronic resources, the library is committed to superior service that promotes a strong, literate DeKalb community and enhances the quality of life.


We envision a DeKalb County where every person has the opportunity to reach his or her own full potential in an economically strong community which values family, diversity, and cooperation.

Purpose and Scope

The DeKalb County Public Library selects, acquires, organizes, makes accessible and promotes through user-oriented public service, print and electronic resources to satisfy the expressed and anticipated formal, educational, cultural, civic, and leisure needs of the citizens of DeKalb County.

All Library materials are considered part of a single collection that is defined by content rather than by the format or location in which it is found. The Library recognizes that people communicate and learn in different ways. To serve the diverse needs of library patrons, the Library is committed to collecting and offering access to a variety of print, media and electronic resources. The criteria for selection, acquisition, and withdrawal of materials are the same for all formats and areas of the collection.

The primary purpose of this document is to establish policies and principles to assist the library staff in selecting materials of contemporary significance or permanent value. This document provides the rationale that supports the operational guidelines contained in the DeKalb County Public Library Collection Management Procedures Manual. The secondary purpose of the Collection Development Policy is to provide a source of information to answer public inquiries concerning the process of materials selection and the composition and maintenance of the collection. The final authority to determine policy guiding the selection and acquisition of library materials is vested in the DeKalb County Public Library Board of Trustees. The Library Director is responsible for implementing such policy.

Freedom of Access

The Board of Trustees of the DeKalb County Public Library recognizes that American democracy functions only when a full range of human ideas is accessible to the people, and when proponents of various points of view are able to fully and openly make their cases, however popular or unpopular, before the individual and collective judgment of their fellow citizens. The Library will uphold the freedom to read as expressed in the Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read Statement and the Freedom to View Statement adopted by the American Library Association.

The Board of Trustees affirms reading, listening, and viewing to be an individual's private matter. Full, confidential, and unrestricted access to the library collection is essential for residents to participate in our democracy. While library patrons are free to select or reject materials for their own use or for the use of their minor children, the freedom of others to use the library collection will not be restricted. Library staff is available to assist patrons in identifying materials that meet their needs, but parents and guardians have the responsibility to guide and direct the use of the library collection for their own minor children. Library staff does not serve in place of parents (in loco parentis).

Materials Selection

The library collection  will include as wide a selection as possible within the confines of budgetary and space limitations. Criteria to be considered in adding materials to the library collection are:

  • Relevance to the needs and interests of the community
  • Materials of long-lasting popularity or importance
  • Reviews by approved media or experts in the field
  • Price and budget considerations
  • Suitability of subject, style, and reading level for community
  • Works of regional interest or works by local authors, artists, publishers or producers
  • Convenience of access and ease of use
  • Contribution to diversity and scope of the collection
  • Accuracy and timeliness
  • Suitability of format for library use and quality of technical production
  • Reputation, significance and qualifications of the author, creator, producer or publisher
  • Receipt of nominations for recognized awards, prizes and notable lists

These criteria are not listed in order of importance. The number and weight of them may vary in professional selection decisions.


Gifts of books and other materials are accepted by the Library with the understanding that the Library reserves the right to handle or dispose of them in the best interest of the institution. Such gifts may be added to the collection, sold, exchanged or discarded, but cannot be returned to the donor.

Materials to be added to the collection must meet the Library’s selection criteria. Gift items are acknowledged, but not appraised for tax purposes. The Library encourages memorial or commemorative gifts of money to the DeKalb Library Foundation which will be used for the purchase of books and other materials.

Rare books and valuable collector’s editions are not ordinarily included in the Library’s collections because of the special care and facilities necessary for their preservation. Retention of such collections is discretionary, and items may be sold or exchanged to benefit the Library.

New and Emerging Formats

Because technologies of sound, image, and electronic delivery of information continue to evolve, the Library will monitor and evaluate new formats, implementing them when appropriate.

Before adding new formats, specific criteria are considered. They include:

  • Impact on equipment, staff, storage, and space
  • Demand for format in community
  • Durability of format for library use
  • Technical quality of production or reproduction
  • Compliance with industry standards and specifications
  • Availability of adequate startup and continued funding
  • Capability for networked distribution, download and printing
  • Suitability to be circulated or housed in a sturdy, safe and convenient manner
  • Availability of technical support and staff training
  • Accessibility of material
  • Ease of use by patrons and staff
  • Ownership of or access to product

Materials Deselection

In order to maintain a collection that is current, in good condition, well used and relevant to the needs and interests of the community, materials are withdrawn on a systematic and continuing basis. Damaged, unattractive, outdated and unused materials are subject to discard. In most cases, items withdrawn from the collection are given to the Friends of the Library for fundraising activities that benefit the Library.

General criteria used in evaluating whether an item should be removed from the collection include:

  • Accuracy
  • Current or potential use
  • Obsolescence
  • Physical condition
  • Completeness of sets 
  • Reference value
  • Availability of similar materials 
  • Local community needs

DeKalb County Public Library maintains a collection of relevant, but infrequently used titles in the Ask-at-Desk Collection at the Decatur Library.

Reconsideration of Library Materials

While the Board of Trustees recognizes the right of individuals to question materials in the collection, the Library will be governed by this policy in making changes and deletions. Members of the professional staff will respond to inquiries by explaining selection and maintenance policies.  Individuals may state their opinion in writing on a form supplied by the Library. Upon conferring with members of the materials selection committees, Library administrators will send a response within one month of receiving the form. If further consideration is requested, the matter will be referred to the Director and to the Library Board of Trustees who make the final determination. Material under question will remain active in the collection during the review process.



DeKalb County Public Library Board of Trustees

March 5, 1984


July 13, 1998

May 19, 2015