Collection Development Policy


Collection Development includes the planning, selection, acquiring, cataloging, and weeding of the library's collections of all formats.

Library Materials include, but are not limited to, the following: books, periodicals, internet databases and downloadable collections, reference works, newspapers, microfilm, audiobooks, compact discs, large print materials, and DVDs.

Weeding is the regular, on-going, and systematic evaluation process whereby library materials are withdrawn from the collection based on specific criteria such as outdated, worn, damaged, and/or duplicated materials. These criteria are outlined in detail in the professional publication The Crew Manual (TSLAC, 2012) and The Weeding Handbook: A Shelf-by-Shelf Guide (ALA, 2022). 


The goal of the Bellaire Public Library is to select, organize, preserve, and make freely and easily available to all individuals in the community printed and other materials which will aid them in the pursuit of information, education, research, recreation, culture, and in the creative use of leisure time. The primary goal of collection development is to provide the best possible collection with the financial resources available. The decision to select any item for the collection is based on demand, anticipated need, and the effort to maintain a wide and balanced collection.

The library strives to maintain materials representing all sides of an issue in a neutral, unbiased manner. Selection of materials by the library does not mean endorsement of the contents or the views expressed in those materials. The Standards for Public Library Service in Ohio, 2002 Revision, states: “The library considers the diversity of community needs, interests and demands for titles and formats in the materials selection process.” Inclusion of materials in the library’s collection acknowledges the importance of a diversity of views and interests. 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 regarding race, creed, sex, occupation, or financial position.

The Bellaire Public Library endorses the Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read Statement, and the Freedom to View statements of the American Library Association, all of which are included at the end of this policy and are intended to be a part of this policy statement. All libraries are likely to contain some materials that some patrons may find objectionable. In addition, collections may not contain all materials that some patrons feel are important. In both cases, the library has established procedures to hear the voices of the community (see sections VIII and IX).

Library materials are selected on the basis of informational, educational, cultural, and recreational value. These materials are selected in compliance with the mission and goals of the library. Because its ability to purchase and store materials is limited by the size of both its budget and its building, the library has established criteria for the addition and retention of library materials. These criteria may be applied to all formats, and include, but are not limited to:

•    Importance and value to the collection and library users.
•    Significance of the subject matter.
•    Current appeal and popular demand.
•    Local interest.
•    Cost and budgetary constraints.
•    Authority, accuracy, and artistic quality.
•    Reputation of author/publisher/producer


The ultimate responsibility for materials selection and the development of the library collection rests with the Library Director, who operates within the framework of policies determined by the Board of Trustees. The actual selection of materials is accomplished by professional library staff who are qualified by education, training, interest, and job classification to select materials under the general supervision of the Director.


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


In order to maintain a collection that is current and relevant to the community’s needs, library staff periodically evaluate the collection as a whole and specific items within it. The withdrawal of materials, also called weeding, of the collection is an ongoing process directly related to collection development. When deciding what items to withdraw from the collection, staff may consider the material’s condition, use, timeliness, and accuracy, among other factors. Materials that are worn, damaged, outdated, duplicated, no longer accurate, and no longer used may be removed from the collection. The professional staff of the library, under the general direction and supervision of the Library Director, will be solely responsible for the weeding of the collection.

The Director may sell or dispose of materials that staff have determined are no longer useful. When withdrawn materials cannot be readily or practicably sold by the library, it may offer withdrawn materials to the library Friends Group or other groups or organizations whose purpose is consistent with, or furthers, the library’s mission. These groups may resell these materials, or use them for other purposes consistent with the library’s mission.


The Board of Trustees recognizes that full, confidential, and unrestricted access to information is essential for patrons to exercise their rights as citizens. The Board believes that reading, listening, and viewing are individual, private matters. While anyone is free to select or reject materials for themselves or their own minor children, the freedom of others to read or inquire cannot be restricted. The Library does not stand in loco parentis. Parents and guardians, not the Library, have the responsibility to guide and direct the reading, listening, and viewing choices of their own minor children. Selection of adult collection materials should not be inhibited by the possibility that the items may be utilized by minors.

The library collection will be organized and maintained to facilitate access. No materials will be labeled, restricted, sequestered, or altered because of any controversy about the author, subject matter, or intended potential audience.


It is the duty of the Library to keep on its shelves a selection of items in various formats in all subjects of interest to its readers and users and not prohibited by law, including items on all sides of controversial questions. The Library has no right to emphasize one subject at the expense of another. Rejection of an item by an individual or a group should not be the means of denying that item to all individuals or groups. Censorship should primarily be an individual and personal matter, and while anyone is free to reject a title for himself, he cannot exercise this right for another reader. The Library Board considers all materials selected under this policy to be constitutionally protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. If a patron claims that a particular item is not constitutionally protected, the burden of proof rests with the patron.

The Board of Trustees recognizes the right of individuals to question materials in the library collection. Whenever a patron objects to the presence of any library material, the complaint will be given hearing and consideration. All complaints to staff members will be referred to the professional staff who will discuss the matter with the complainant. If not satisfied, the patron will be given a "Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials" form to complete. Because items are evaluated as a whole, a title will not be reconsidered unless the patron making the request has read/viewed/heard the entire item. A reconsideration form submitted without the name of the person making the objection will not be considered. A completed form will be referred to the Director for review. A decision will be made regarding whether or not to withdraw the material within a reasonable amount of time, and the patron will be informed in writing of (1) the receipt of the request and (2) the decision. If the patron is not satisfied with the decision, he or she may appeal in writing to the Board of Trustees. The letter should be addressed to “President, Board of Trustees, Bellaire Public Library, 330 32nd Street, Bellaire, OH 43906.” At the next scheduled meeting, the Board, after receiving public testimony from the patron, other interested parties, and from the Library Director, will decide whether or not library policies have been followed and whether to withdraw the material in question.

Materials subject to complaint shall not be removed from use and circulation pending final action. If a court having jurisdiction over the Library decides that any material in the collection is unprotected by the Constitution of the United States, such material will be removed immediately. Material under court consideration will remain available to patrons until a final ruling is made.


The library serves a diverse public, and, on occasion, a patron may think that the library should add a particular title to the collection. Patrons may request the addition of a title by contacting library staff in person, and most requests are handled in this manner. However, if a patron wishes, the request may be handled more formally by using the Item Suggestion Form. Forms are available at the front desk or on the library’s website. The completed form will be referred to the staff member responsible for selecting in that area of the library’s collection, and the patron will be contacted about the library’s decision.


The library accepts gifts, donations, and will purchase memorials. The library reserves the right to evaluate all gifts, donations, and memorial requests in accordance with the criteria applied to purchased materials. Those which do not meet the library's objectives and policies may be refused. Bookplates may be provided for memorials and gifts, and a letter for tax purposes may be sent to the donor. No other conditions may be imposed relating to any gift, donation, or memorial either before or after its acceptance by the library.