Collection Management Policy


Collection Management Policy

Approved by the East Lansing Public Library Board of Trustees, September 19, 2007.

Purpose Statement:

The East Lansing Public Library's collection provides a wide range of materials for users, regardless of age, education, ethnicity, or socio-economic status. This document explains the purpose and nature of the Library’s collection and also guides the library staff as they develop and maintain that collection.


As a public library, this institution strives both to prepare the community for the future and to transmit the heritage of the past. Selectors of library materials attempt to cover a broad range of formats, subjects and viewpoints with their selections. Selectors will also attempt to reflect the library’s mission when choosing materials for the collection. The East Lansing Public Library also works in cooperation with other libraries to share, support, and selectively concentrate collections so that financial resources are prudently used. The Library actively engages in resource sharing with other libraries through interlibrary loan in order to provide patrons with desired materials in a timely manner.
The Library will collect neither the most ephemeral of popular materials nor will it attempt to include the most esoteric of research or academic materials. Retrospective or in-depth collections will be developed only in recognized areas of need or interest where these are not being met by another organization or business. Sound information management also requires the removal of materials, which have become outdated or, for other reasons, are no longer considered suitable. Removal of materials is based on professional practices, and their disposition will be managed by the Library Director and designated staff.

Responsibility for Collection Development:


The East Lansing Public Library is established under the City Charter that grants the management and control of the Library to the Library Board of Trustees. The Board is responsible for establishing the Library’s policies. The final responsibility for material selection rests with the Library Director who operates within the framework of policies determined by the Board of Trustees. The Director or designated staff member assigns specific subject areas to professional staff based on experience, training/education and the requirements of the library.
Professional staff make all selection decisions after careful review. In selecting materials for the library, the staff consults a wide range of reviewing media. Considerations depend also on the availability of material and funds. The staff exercises professional judgment and bases its decision for purchase or rejection on several criteria characteristics (listed below in Selection Criteria). The professional staff of the library recognizes that the selection of materials requires sensitivity to the community and unbiased critical evaluation.
The public may also recommend specific titles for purchase by completing a preprinted form available at both the Adult and Children’s Reference Desks (Appendix A). Patrons may also request titles on our website by completing a Suggest a Purchase request Requests will be given careful consideration; the library will apply the standards and selection criteria established in this policy to these requests. Donations may also be used to enhance the collection (See Gifts section below).

Budget Statement:

The budget for materials allocation is determined by the Library Director and approved by the Library Board of Trustees, with final approval pending the adoption of the city budget by the East Lansing City Council. The annual budget allocation for specific formats and subjects is made by the Director and professional staff based on an assessment of the collection needs and usage patterns.

Selection Criteria:

The East Lansing Public Library selects materials for its collection in accordance with professionally accepted guidelines. The library will attempt to represent all approaches to public issues and will consider any material that meets the selection criteria. The library does not sanction particular beliefs or views, nor is the selection of any given item equivalent to an endorsement of the author's viewpoint. The controversial nature of any specific material will not be a sole criterion for its inclusion or exclusion from the collection.
Selection of materials will not be limited by the possibility that they may inadvertently come into the possession of minors. The Library staff will not monitor materials minors use in the Library, or check out.

Selection Criteria:

(not listed in order of importance)

  • Usefulness in meeting community needs
  • Reviews by critics that ensure serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value
  • Relationship to other materials on the same subject for the purpose of balancing the collection
  • Accessibility of material in other area libraries
  • Interest and popularity
  • Accurate information or authoritativeness
  • Reputation, skill and purpose of the author
  • Cost of materials and processing
  • Availability
  • Suitability of format for library use
  • Suitability of subject and style for intended audience
  • Comprehensiveness of treatment, including breadth and depth
  • Representation of diverse points of view
  • Local significance of author or subject
  • Local, state or regional historical significance
  • Timeliness

Special Format and Collection Criteria:

Materials are purchased in the most appropriate format for library use. New formats are considered for the collection when industry reports and evidence from local requests indicate a significant portion of the community has the necessary technology to make use of the format. Availability of the item in the format, cost per item and the Library’s ability to acquire and handle the components will also be factors in determining when a new format will be collected.
The Library has developed the following criteria for special formats and collections:

Online Resources:

(includes online databases, web-based information sources, computer software, and other information accessed via a computer)
(not listed in order of importance)
  • Ease of use of the product
  • Accessibility to multiple users
  • Access to needed equipment
  • Enhancement of the print equivalent (if any) in terms of speed, flexibility, combinations of search terms, or general utility
  • Continued access to retrospective information when necessary or desirable
  • Reduction of space requirements over print products
  • Customer support and staff training
  • Licensing requirements
Links to any website from do not imply endorsement of the content of that site or of a particular point of view. The Library reserves the right to add or remove links at any time that do not meet the selection criteria. While every effort will be made to screen for inappropriate content in the linked web resources, users will need to evaluate for themselves the validity and the appropriateness of information found. The Library is unable to monitor or control the content of internet information, which changes rapidly and unpredictably.

Audio and Video Resources:

(includes music CDs, audio books, DVDs, and other video or audio formats)
(not listed in order of importance)
  • Ease of use of the product
  • Accessibility to multiple users
  • Access to needed equipment
  • Availability in unabridged format
  • Space requirements
  • Customer support and/or staff training
  • Licensing requirements


Community Language Collection:

The Community Language Collection includes books, primarily fiction, in the foreign languages that are identified as most commonly spoken by East Lansing community members. These materials provide a dual purpose: they provide recreational reading, as well as support for second language learners. A criteria for selection is the availability of suitable cataloging records.


Local History Collection:

The Local History Collection contains published and unpublished materials concerning the history and development of East Lansing. It is the only collection that contains archival materials. The Library purchases materials for this collection when available, but relies on donations for much of the material collected (see Gifts section below for criteria for donated items). The Library does not purchase genealogical materials for the Local History Room.


Rental Art Collection:

The rental art collection was organized by the Friends of the East Lansing Public Library in 1970. As funds are available, a jury (Friends’ Art Committee and the Library Director) solicits regional artists to submit works for consideration. Art works that seem likely to rent (circulate) are recommended for purchase by the Friends. At the discretion of the Friends’ Art Committee, art works may be withdrawn and auctioned.



Donations of materials and funds to purchase materials will be accepted with the understanding that the Library reserves the right to determine if, and in what manner, the donated items will be used. The Library will make a good faith effort to use monies in accordance with the wishes of the donor(s). The Library may refuse proposed gifts if restrictions are counter to Library policies.
Gifts of materials and items donated become the property of the Library, and are accepted with the understanding that they are subject to the same selection criteria as purchased materials. Items not selected for the collection may be passed on to another institution or library, or to the Friends of the Library for sale. All proceeds from the sale of donated materials will go to the Friends of the Library to benefit the East Lansing Public Library. Acknowledgement of gifts for tax records may be provided, but appraisal of the value of donated items is not made.
For Gift/Memorial Donation Form, see Appendix C.


Collection Maintenance:

Systematic removal of materials is necessary in order to maintain a current, accurate and inviting collection. Discarding materials from the Library’s collection is selection in reverse; thus, many of the same criteria in the Collection Management Policy are used for evaluation. Additional criteria include:
  • Insufficient use
  • Worn or irreparable condition
  • Duplicate copies
  • Misleading or obsolete information
  • Contingency of availability of space
  • Altered collection emphasis
  • Superseded editions
Most items of usable condition that are withdrawn from the collection will be given to the Friends of the Library for sale to the public. In some cases, withdrawn items may be offered to other libraries.


Reconsideration of Library Materials:

The East Lansing Public Library’s collection includes materials expressing a multitude of viewpoints. Some of the materials may be offensive to individuals or groups because of individual perceptions of profanity, social, economic, and political ideas, religious viewpoints, the background of the author, or the kind of information provided. The Library neither approves nor endorses any particular viewpoint or belief represented in its collection. The Library's role is to provide materials that will allow individuals to freely examine issues and make their own decisions. While a person may reject materials for him/herself and his/her children, he/she may not restrict access to the materials by others.
In the interest of protecting the individual’s right to access materials, the Library supports the following documents:
  • The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (Appendix D)
  • The American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights (Appendix E)
  • The American Library Association’s Freedom to Read Statement (Appendix F)
You are encouraged to make comments on library materials using the following procedures:
1.      Informal comments may be made to staff members in the appropriate department at any time. Such comments will be conveyed to the Department Head. If you wish to speak to the Department Head, this will be arranged.
2.      If you wish to make your comment in a formal manner, the following procedures should be used:

A.              Fill out the Statement of Concern about Library Material form (Appendix B). This will be given to the Department Head in charge of the collection containing the item in question. Copies of the form will be given to the Library Director and appropriate staff members. The Department Head will respond in writing. While an item is being reviewed, copies will remain on active status in the collection.

B.              If further review is requested, you will be invited to meet with a committee, which may consist of the Library Director, the Department Head, and appropriate staff members. After the meeting, the committee will respond with a letter explaining what actions are being taken and giving reasons for these actions.
C.              You may request further review by the library's Board of Trustees. Upon receiving your request for review, the Board may handle the matter as a body or may refer the question to an advisory committee for a recommendation. This committee may consist of two members of the Board appointed by the President, two members of the staff appointed by the Director, and one member of the community appointed by the Board President.

Revision of Policy:

This policy may be revised and updated at any time as conditions warrant and will be reviewed at regular intervals as deemed necessary by the East Lansing Public Library Board of Trustees.
Approved by the East Lansing Public Library Board of Trustees, September 19, 2007.
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