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 Sound information management also requires the removal of materials, which have become outdated or, for other reasons, are no longer considered suitable.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.
Appendix A: Purchase Request Form
Appendix B: Statement of Concern about Library Material
Appendix C: Gift/Memorial Donation Form
Appendix D: The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
Appendix E: The American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights
Appendix F: The American Library Association’s Freedom to Read Statement
Approved by the East Lansing Public Library Board of Trustees, September 19, 2007.
APPENDIX A: Purchase Request Form
East Lansing Public Library
Your request will be considered under the selection criteria of ELPL’s Collection Management Policy.
Date _______________________________
Author ______________________________________________________________
Title ________________________________________________________________
This is: Fiction ______                       Non-Fiction ______                 Subject _____________________
Age Level: Preschool______   Grade School______    High School______    Adult ______
Format: Book______             Magazine______                     DVD______                Book on CD______
Music CD______
How was this brought to your attention?
Filling out the following is optional:
Your Name ___________________________________________________________
Your Library Card #: 2-5935- _____________________________________________
Your Address _________________________________________________________
City __________________________________                     Zip __________________
Your Phone # __________________________________________
Additional Notes:
The following services are available for holders of a valid ELPL library card:
_____ If this requested material is purchased, I wish to be notified when it is available for check out.
_____ If this requested material is NOT purchased, I wish to be notified of other ways I may obtain this material.
East Lansing Public Library
950 Abbott Road, East Lansing, MI 48823
(517) 351-2420         Fax: (517) 351-9536 
Statement of Concern about Library Material
We appreciate your concerns and welcome your comments. If you would like a written response, please include your name and address.
  1. What type of material are you commenting on? (book, magazine, DVD, etc.)
  1. Please provide the following information on this material:
Title: ______________________________________________________________
Author: ____________________________________________________________
Publication date: ____________________________________________________
Publisher/Producer: __________________________________________________
  1. How was this material brought to your attention?
  1. What concerns you about this material?
  1. Have you read, viewed, or listened to the entire work? If not, what parts?
  1. What positive or noteworthy characteristics or aspects do you find in this material?
7.      Are there any other comments you would like to make?
Name: ___________________________________________________________________
Address: _________________________________________________________________
Phone: ________________________________                    Date: _____________________
Do you represent yourself or an organization? If you represent an organization, please include organization name and contact information:
Thank you for sharing your concerns with us. You will receive a written reply within 10 business days. Please return completed form to:
East Lansing Public Library
950 Abbott Road, East Lansing, MI 48823

East Lansing Public Library
Gift/Memorial Donations Form

Date:________________________________  Amount of Donation:________________

Donor Information



Telephone:_____________________ Email: ____________________________

In Honor/Memory Of (circle):


Who Else Should We Notify of Your Gift?




Donation Allocation

  • Capital Campaign
  • Building fund
  • Furniture/equipment Fund
  • Technology resources fund
  • Digital materials fund
  • Library materials - Suggested collection area: ____________________________
    *If you would like a donor plate affixed to the purchased items, please write the language on the back of this form, limit of 80 characters.
  • Programming fund
  • East Lansing Public Library Endowment Fund managed by the Capital Region Community Foundation (CRCF).  Please call the CRCF at 517.272.2870 for complete donation information.
  • Area of greatest need

Monetary Gifts:

Would you like your name on the web site, and donor display for six months or one year respectively, and in the library newsletter for one month (gifts of $100 to $2,499) or on the Library’s Donor Recognition Wall permanently (gifts of $2,500 and above)?

_____ Yes             _____ No

If yes, how would you like your name to appear? _____________________________________________

Return this completed form with your donation to the East Lansing Public Library, 950 Abbot Road, East Lansing, MI 48823.   Please call 517.319.6863 with any questions.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution
American Library Association
Library Bill of Rights
The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.
I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
II. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
VI. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.

Adopted June 18, 1948, by the ALA Council; amended February 2, 1961; amended June 28, 1967; amended January 23, 1980; inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 24, 1996.
American Library Association
Freedom to Read Statement
The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack. Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label "controversial" views, to distribute lists of "objectionable" books or authors, and to purge libraries. These actions apparently rise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to counter threats to safety or national security, as well as to avoid the subversion of politics and the corruption of morals. We, as individuals devoted to reading and as librarians and publishers responsible for disseminating ideas, wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of the freedom to read.
Most attempts at suppression rest on a denial of the fundamental premise of democracy: that the ordinary individual, by exercising critical judgment, will select the good and reject the bad. We trust Americans to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe. We do not believe they are prepared to sacrifice their heritage of a free press in order to be "protected" against what others think may be bad for them. We believe they still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression.
These efforts at suppression are related to a larger pattern of pressures being brought against education, the press, art and images, films, broadcast media, and the Internet. The problem is not only one of actual censorship. The shadow of fear cast by these pressures leads, we suspect, to an even larger voluntary curtailment of expression by those who seek to avoid controversy or unwelcome scrutiny by government officials.
Such pressure toward conformity is perhaps natural to a time of accelerated change. And yet suppression is never more dangerous than in such a time of social tension. Freedom has given the United States the elasticity to endure strain. Freedom keeps open the path of novel and creative solutions, and enables change to come by choice. Every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of our society and leaves it the less able to deal with controversy and difference.
Now as always in our history, reading is among our greatest freedoms. The freedom to read and write is almost the only means for making generally available ideas or manners of expression that can initially command only a small audience. The written word is the natural medium for the new idea and the untried voice from which come the original contributions to social growth. It is essential to the extended discussion that serious thought requires, and to the accumulation of knowledge and ideas into organized collections.
We believe that free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture. We believe that these pressures toward conformity present the danger of limiting the range and variety of inquiry and expression on which our democracy and our culture depend. We believe that every American community must jealously guard the freedom to publish and to circulate, in order to preserve its own freedom to read. We believe that publishers and librarians have a profound responsibility to give validity to that freedom to read by making it possible for the readers to choose freely from a variety of offerings.
The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution. Those with faith in free people will stand firm on these constitutional guarantees of essential rights and will exercise the responsibilities that accompany these rights.
We therefore affirm these propositions:
  1. It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those that are unorthodox, unpopular, or considered dangerous by the majority.
Creative thought is by definition new, and what is new is different. The bearer of every new thought is a rebel until that idea is refined and tested. Totalitarian systems attempt to maintain themselves in power by the ruthless suppression of any concept that challenges the established orthodoxy. The power of a democratic system to adapt to change is vastly strengthened by the freedom of its citizens to choose widely from among conflicting opinions offered freely to them. To stifle every nonconformist idea at birth would mark the end of the democratic process. Furthermore, only through the constant activity of weighing and selecting can the democratic mind attain the strength demanded by times like these. We need to know not only what we believe but why we believe it.
  1. Publishers, librarians, and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea or presentation they make available. It would conflict with the public interest for them to establish their own political, moral, or aesthetic views as a standard for determining what should be published or circulated.
Publishers and librarians serve the educational process by helping to make available knowledge and ideas required for the growth of the mind and the increase of learning. They do not foster education by imposing as mentors the patterns of their own thought. The people should have the freedom to read and consider a broader range of ideas than those that may be held by any single librarian or publisher or government or church. It is wrong that what one can read should be confined to what another thinks proper.
  1. It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to bar access to writings on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.
No art or literature can flourish if it is to be measured by the political views or private lives of its creators. No society of free people can flourish that draws up lists of writers to whom it will not listen, whatever they may have to say.
  1. There is no place in our society for efforts to coerce the taste of others, to confine adults to the reading matter deemed suitable for adolescents, or to inhibit the efforts of writers to achieve artistic expression.
To some, much of modern expression is shocking. But is not much of life itself shocking? We cut off literature at the source if we prevent writers from dealing with the stuff of life. Parents and teachers have a responsibility to prepare the young to meet the diversity of experiences in life to which they will be exposed, as they have a responsibility to help them learn to think critically for themselves. These are affirmative responsibilities, not to be discharged simply by preventing them from reading works for which they are not yet prepared. In these matters values differ, and values cannot be legislated; nor can machinery be devised that will suit the demands of one group without limiting the freedom of others.
  1. It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept the prejudgment of a label characterizing any expression or its author as subversive or dangerous.
The ideal of labeling presupposes the existence of individuals or groups with wisdom to determine by authority what is good or bad for others. It presupposes that individuals must be directed in making up their minds about the ideas they examine. But Americans do not need others to do their thinking for them.
  1. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians, as guardians of the people's freedom to read, to contest encroachments upon that freedom by individuals or groups seeking to impose their own standards or tastes upon the community at large; and by the government whenever it seeks to reduce or deny public access to public information.
It is inevitable in the give and take of the democratic process that the political, the moral, or the aesthetic concepts of an individual or group will occasionally collide with those of another individual or group. In a free society individuals are free to determine for themselves what they wish to read, and each group is free to determine what it will recommend to its freely associated members. But no group has the right to take the law into its own hands, and to impose its own concept of politics or morality upon other members of a democratic society. Freedom is no freedom if it is accorded only to the accepted and the inoffensive. Further, democratic societies are more safe, free, and creative when the free flow of public information is not restricted by governmental prerogative or self-censorship.
  1. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians to give full meaning to the freedom to read by providing books that enrich the quality and diversity of thought and expression. By the exercise of this affirmative responsibility, they can demonstrate that the answer to a "bad" book is a good one, the answer to a "bad" idea is a good one.
The freedom to read is of little consequence when the reader cannot obtain matter fit for that reader's purpose. What is needed is not only the absence of restraint, but the positive provision of opportunity for the people to read the best that has been thought and said. Books are the major channel by which the intellectual inheritance is handed down, and the principal means of its testing and growth. The defense of the freedom to read requires of all publishers and librarians the utmost of their faculties, and deserves of all Americans the fullest of their support.
We state these propositions neither lightly nor as easy generalizations. We here stake out a lofty claim for the value of the written word. We do so because we believe that it is possessed of enormous variety and usefulness, worthy of cherishing and keeping free. We realize that the application of these propositions may mean the dissemination of ideas and manners of expression that are repugnant to many persons. We do not state these propositions in the comfortable belief that what people read is unimportant. We believe rather that what people read is deeply important; that ideas can be dangerous; but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society. Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.
This statement was originally issued in May of 1953 by the Westchester Conference of the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers Council, which in 1970 consolidated with the American Educational Publishers Institute to become the Association of American Publishers.
Adopted June 25, 1953, by the ALA Council and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee; amended January 28, 1972; January 16, 1991; July 12, 2000; June 30, 2004.