Collection Development Policy

    Collection Development Policy 

    This Collection Development Policy offers guidance to library staff in the selection, retention and withdrawal of library materials and serves to inform the public of the library’s principles for section and collection maintenance.  

    This policy is based on the library’s mission and observes the American Library Association policies regarding freedom of access, including the Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read, Freedom to View (appended), and related interpretations of Intellectual Freedom Committee.  

    Responsibility for Materials Selection 

    The ultimate responsibility for book and non-print materials rests with the Library Board of Trustees. The Trustees, in turn, delegate the authority for selection to the Director and the Materials Selection Team. 

    The Materials Selection Team consists of the Director and other professional librarians who have training and experience in the art of selection, and are charged with selecting materials in designated subject areas. Suggestions from other staff members and library users are encouraged and seriously considered in the selection process. 

    Criteria for Selection 

    Coventry Public Library provides a robust, relevant collection of resources in a wide range of formats to meet the informational, educational and recreational needs of the community. The library strives to meet these needs within the limitations of space, staffing and the budget.  

    The library’s goal is to build a collection that reflects the community and to represent a variety of ideas, information, stories and experiences. The library recognizes varying viewpoints, ideas, beliefs and philosophies and will provide access to diverse points of view. Inclusion in the library’s collection is not an endorsement of any particular point of view or belief. 

    Materials are selected to fill the needs of both actual and potential readers. Items for the collections are chosen based on: 

    • Community needs and interest 

    • Current usefulness or permanent value to the collection 

    • Favorable reviews in professional journals 

    • Authority and competence of the author, composer, filmmaker, etc. 

    • Relevance to existing collection strengths and weaknesses  

    • Public demand and interest  

    • Literary merit, significance 

    • Availability of the material in other OSL libraries 

    • Quality of content, design, format or production 

    • Relevance to existing collection strengths and weaknesses 

    • Cost 

    Tools used in selection include professional and trade journals, newspapers, subject bibliographies, publishers’ promotional materials and reviews from other reliable sources.  

    Patron suggestions are always welcomed and will be evaluated in relation to the existing collection. Suggested works will be added if they meet the selection criteria stated in this policy and funds are available. 

    The Use of the Library’s Materials 

    Library materials shall be selected to provide a broad range of viewpoints and shall not be marked or identified to show library approval or disapproval of the contents. No book or other item shall be sequestered. Responsibility for the reading, viewing or listening habits of children rests with their parents or legal guardians. Selection of materials for the library’s collections shall not be restricted by the possibility that children may obtain materials their parents consider inappropriate.  

    The use of items in collections which are fragile or valuable, or unusually susceptible to theft, shall be controlled only to the extent required to protect them from damage or theft.  

    Greene Public Library 

    Greene Library, located in the western portion of Coventry, became part of the Coventry library system on July 1, 2010. Many Coventry residents visit both locations so policies and procedures are identical. The Greene collection is similar to Coventry’s but differs in some key areas. For instance, Greene only has a basic reference collection. While staff and patrons at Greene have access to Coventry’s electronic resources, in-depth reference questions may require the assistance of Coventry’s reference staff and additional resources either in person or remotely. 

    Gifts, Memorials, and Donations 

    The library gratefully accepts gifts, memorials, and donations and reserves the right to evaluate all gifts/donations with the same criteria used in selecting purchases. Those that do not meet the library’s needs or do not meet selection criteria will be disposed of in any manner that seems appropriate. Items that are in good condition but not needed by the library may be sold in the Library Book Nook or given to other libraries or agencies. Bookplates may be provided for gifts and memorials and a statement for tax purposes will be provided if requested by the patron. It is the responsibility of the patron to determine the value of their gift. 

    Portraits, sculpture, furniture and other such items shall not, except under special circumstances, be accepted as gifts. 

    Local authors, self-published authors, unsolicited materials 

    Materials submitted by local authors, self-published authors and unsolicited materials from publishers will be evaluated by the same criteria set forth in this policy.  

    Maintaining the Collection 

    To maintain an up-to-date, useful collection, worn and obsolete materials shall be continuously weeded. Materials may also be withdrawn if they are little used or superseded by a new edition or better work on the same subject. Materials no longer useful to the library may be given to other libraries or schools, sold for the benefit of the library, or disposed of.  


    Adult Fiction 

    A range of genres and literary styles, anticipated popular titles s are purchased in proportion to demand and user statistics. Efforts are made to complete series and to acquire award winning titles. Additional copies of popular authors may be purchased as funding allows. 

    Adult Non-fiction 

    The non-fiction collection emphasizes timely, accurate and useful information to support community needs and interests. Attempts are made to select resources that represent all viewpoints of issues. In an attempt to keep pace with progress in new fields of knowledge, the library responds with new additions as they become available.  If subject areas in the collection are found to be lacking, based on patron requests, purchases may be made dependent on availability of material and holdings of other libraries. The library provides both scholarly and non-scholarly materials in a variety of formats and at different reading levels.  

    Young Adult 

    Materials in the Young Adult collection are published for and marketed towards middle-schoolers and/or high schoolers (grades 6-12, or ages 11-18). Materials are selected based on anticipated popularity, patron requests, reviews and award lists.  

    Youth Services  

    This collection serves the needs of children from birth to middle school and their families. These materials are specifically designed to help children develop a love of reading, reading proficiency and complete school assignments. Selections are based on professional resources and the requests of parents, children and teachers.  

    The collections consist of picture books, non-fiction, fiction, children’s reference materials (non-circulating), periodicals, audio books, DVDs, CD’s, story packs, story sets, and juvenile kits.  

    The Youth Services department includes a “play” area which provides children and their caregivers the opportunity for quiet play and a chance to interact with other library patrons in a safe and friendly environment. The library regularly replenishes the toys in this area providing children new and stimulating experiences. 


    Periodicals are chosen to supplement the book collection as an additional source of current information, to provide for recreational and entertainment reading, and to serve the staff as book selection aids and professional reading. (Professional journals are for staff use only. All titles are allowed to circulate. 

    Non-print Materials 

    The library circulates DVD’s, music CDs, a gaming collection, regalia and audio books. As with print materials, non-book materials are selective rather than comprehensive in scope. The goals of the various collections are intended to provide basic information or entertainment on subjects of interest to patrons. These items are protected by copyright and intended for home use only and should not be duplicated.  


    Some print reference materials are intended for in-library use. Resources are selected that provide accurate and up-to-date information as well as supplying overviews for topics of interest. In addition, consideration in materials selection is given to the specific needs and interests of our community, so that resources may be included in the reference collection as appropriate. As with other library materials, resources are suitable for a range of reading, informational, and educational levels. 

    Examples of print materials in the reference collection are indexes, encyclopedias, biographical resources, dictionaries, almanacs, atlases, and directories. Electronic databases are also available some of which can be accessed remotely.  

    Special Collection 

    Coventry Public Library’s Special Collection acquires and preserves materials of interest to the people of Coventry and Kent County including the history of these areas, local genealogical materials, and materials related to the Civil War. This collection is intended for in-library use only. 

    Digital Collections 

    The library also purchases and collects materials in electronic format. These include  

    EZone, Hoopla, Kanopy,, Providence Journal Archives and several others. Criteria for selection remain the same as for any title. The choice of electronic materials is influenced by the following needs: to supplement the print collection with the most current information on all subjects possible; to supply information that may not currently be in print form; to provide recreational pleasure or entertainment; and to offer a dimension or timeliness on subject areas that the print collection alone is unable to provide. 

    Miscellaneous Collections 

    The Coventry Public Library maintains various additional collections. These collections include: 

    • Adult Literacy Collection – Basic Literacy & English Language Learners 

    • Professional Collections (non-circulating) 

    • Fishing poles and tackle boxes 

    • Educational toys 

    • Gaming Collection 

    • Cake pans 

    • Library of Things  

    All special collections are selected and developed by trained library staff. In the case of Literacy Volunteers of Kent County’s adult literacy collection, selections are made by the Program Director, an individual who has direct contact with students and tutors therefore having first hand knowledge of their needs.  These selections are then reviewed by a member of the library’s Selection Committee before purchases are made. The Adult Professional Collection primarily assists the library staff in growth and development. The collection consists of library manuals and texts that cover different areas of library studies. The Youth Service’s Professional Collection is maintained primarily for use by the staff in developing programs and providing services for children. This collection includes oversized books, pop-up books, and classic editions of picture books. Non-print items include picture books with props, puppets, and other learning toys that support children’s programming. The Gaming collection includes representative games for a variety of gaming systems and for patrons of all ages. 

    Networks, consortium, cooperation 

    The Coventry Public Library is a member of the Ocean State Libraries (OSL). Membership in OSL affords the library’s patrons access to collections beyond their community. Many titles that are requested by patrons that are not in-house may be interlibrary loaned (ILL). Materials not available from a library in the OSL system may be searched for in other networks. There may be a small search, copying, or postage fee for some materials received from out of state. 

    Request for reconsideration of library materials 

    The choice of library materials by patrons is an individual matter. Parents and legal guardians are responsible for the materials that their children borrow. While a person may reject materials for themselves or for their children, they cannot exercise censorship to restrict access to library materials by others. 

    The Coventry Public Library supports freedom and endorses the American Library Association (ALA) Freedom to Read Statement, Freedom to View Statement, the Library Bill of Rights and all relevant Library Bill of Rights Interpretations. Patrons wishing reconsideration of library materials must complete the Coventry Public Library Request for Reconsideration of Library Resources Form in its entirety. Only signed forms will be considered. The Library Director will acknowledge receipt of the form within two weeks. 

    The relevant Library Staff will review the library material to ascertain whether it meets the standards set forth in the library’s Collection Development Policy, and will make a written recommendation to the Library Director as to the validity of the request. 

    The Library Director, after reviewing the recommendation, will decide whether the library material remains on the shelf or is removed and will notify the patron of said decision. A final appeal may be made to the Library Board of Trustees. 
    A copy of the request form without identifying patron information will be mailed to the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee. 

    Review of collection development policy 

    This policy shall be reviewed by the Board of Trustees. If there are no sections requiring revisions, it will then be accepted by the Board as policy. It shall be reviewed and revised every year by a committee of staff and the Library Director. It will then be presented to the Board for approval. 

    Approved the Library Board of Trustees, May 2022