Collection Development & Materials Selection

Collection Development and Materials Selection Policy
American Fork Library

Community Profile

The American Fork Library is supported by, and recognizes as its primary clientele, a rapidly growing community of over 28,000 residents. Additionally, by a cooperative agreement of the North Utah County Library Cooperative, the library serves over 150,000+ citizens from surrounding communities. The constituency is comprised of a wide range of ages, educational levels, and occupations, and has diverse viewpoints, interests, and needs.

Community Planning Meeting

A January 2016 community strategic planning meeting suggested the following library goals:

  • Easy access to the books and materials that people want and need
  • Increase the sense of community in AF
  • Provide excellent service
  • Offer more for our early readers
  • Reach out to teens
  • Provide for excellence in daily operations

Collection Goals

In support of the Library’s mission, resources are selected to provide a general collection of reliable materials embracing broad areas of knowledge, within the library’s financial limitations. Selection is based on community demographics and areas of interest, in order to support the mission of the Library.  Library resources are selected to:

  • Enhance personal and professional lives, develop personal interests, and support lifelong learning.
  • Boost reading among our children and teens and provide resources needed for their education.
  • Provide the information that patrons need to facilitate participation in the democratic process.
  • Encourage reading, listening, and viewing as leisure activities.

Selection Responsibility

The initial responsibility for materials selection lies with the professional staff within the areas of service to children, young adults, and adults. All staff members and the general public may recommend materials for consideration. The ultimate responsibility for selection rests with the Library Director in accordance with Public Library Trustee Handbook (p.15, Effective Policy Making).

Principles of Selection

The American Fork Library obtains, organizes and makes available print and non-print materials that meet the needs of our citizens and support the mission of the Library. Materials are selected based on the following criteria:

  • The interests and needs of the community
  • The quality of the material
  • The consideration of critics, reviewers and the public
  • The amount of similar material already in the collection
  • The extent to which the material may be available elsewhere in the community
  • The cost and physical makeup of the material
  • In choosing material to suit a variety of readers, the collection will include differing viewpoints

In response to community requests and interests, the Library specifically collects in the areas of popular adult reading, best sellers, nonfiction, series books, large-print books, Spanish-language materials, young adult and children’s literature, religious fiction and non-fiction, local history, periodicals, supplementary materials related to the State Core Curriculum, local and state newspapers, and popular media materials.

It should be recognized that some selected materials may be considered offensive, shocking, boring or without value to some readers but may be meaningful and significant to others. Works being considered are viewed as a whole, not in isolated parts.

Responsibility for the choices of underage patrons rests with their parents or legal guardians. Selection of adult materials will not be restricted by the possibility that these materials may come into the possession of minors. The library will not act in loco parentis.

In providing materials for student use, the Library cannot provide multiple copies of individual books or textbooks for student assignments, nor can it duplicate subject materials extensively. It is the policy of the library not to purchase textbooks.

The Library purchases multiple copies of an item when material holds warrant or when perceived demand indicates a need.

General Selection Criteria

Selection of materials is done from reviews in professional journals and popular magazines, publishers’ catalogs, and patron requests. Selection tools include: Library Journal, Booklist, School Library Journal, New York Times Book Review, and online review sources. Resources are selected within the constraints of budget, availability, and space limitations.

The following general criteria are applied to selection decisions.

  • Subject Matter. Is this subject needed to build a quality collection? Are the subjects, style, and reading level suitable for our user community? How accurate is the information?
  • Construction Quality. Is the item well-made and durable?
  • Potential Use. What is or will be the demand for the material? Does the level of use justify its acquisition? How relevant is the item to the community?
  • Relationship to the Collection. How will the item strengthen the Library's collection? Will it fill a gap, complement something that's already there, or provide an alternative opinion to what is already covered? Is there fair coverage of opposing viewpoints?
  • Bibliographic Considerations. What is the reputation of the publisher? Is the type of publication and format appropriate for the Library? What is the reputation and/or significance of the author? What do the reviews say about the item? Has the item won an award that indicates merit?



Gifts of books or other materials are welcome, and the same selection principles are applied to gifts as to the Library’s own selections. The librarian will be free to decide whether all or part of the gift should be integrated into the collection, discarded, sold, or exchanged. Upon receipt, all materials become the property of the Library.

The Library will, if requested, provide a written acknowledgement of the receipt of gifts, but not an itemized list. In accordance with income tax regulations the Library will leave the determination of a value of the donation to the donor.


Disposal of Materials

Withdrawal of materials is necessary to maintain a vital, useful, and up-to-date collection. The Library maintains an active policy of withdrawing outdated resources, those no longer of interest or in demand, duplicates, worn or damaged copies, and resources which no longer contribute to the total collection. As items become lost, the Library replaces them depending upon budget, need, and availability.

Reconsideration of Library Materials

The Library welcomes interest in its collection and recognizes that a popular library with a balanced collection may cause individuals to take issue with the selection of specific items. Concerns regarding library materials must be presented on a “Citizen’s Request for Consideration of Materials” form and signed by the individual challenging the item. [Please click here for copy of form to print and deliver to Library]

The item will be evaluated in accordance with existing policies and/or the material selection criteria. Customers will be notified in writing of the library’s decision concerning the request for reconsideration of materials or services. 

If the customer is not satisfied with the library’s decision, he or she may appeal the decision to the Reconsiderations Committee of the Library Board.  A written statement of the ruling by the Committee will be sent to the complainant and a copy will be kept on file at the Library for five years. The ruling of the Committee will be carried out by Library staff.  The Library Board of Directors has the final authority.

Art Donations

The American Fork Library appreciates donations and welcomes gifts of art objects with the understanding that their acceptance is subject to the approval of the Library Art Donation and Placement Committee.

Because of the library's limited display and storage areas and focus on its primary mission as a library and not a museum, potential donors of art and decorative objects are requested to discuss any possible gifts with the Director and Board of Trustees. The proposal will be reviewed by a committee consisting of one Library Board member, two library staff members, two individuals with expertise in the visual arts or architecture, and the library director. Its ruling on the library’s acceptance of any piece shall be final.

In general, gifts of art objects shall be of local interest to the community, of a professional quality, well executed and in good condition. As with all other gifts, art objects will be accepted only with the donor’s full agreement that the library has the right to handle or dispose of the gift in the best interests of the institution. These objects become the property of the American Fork Library and as such only the library will determine their eventual use and/or display location and other considerations relating to the use or disposition of the gifts. Donations cannot be accepted on a conditional or loan basis. The library is not responsible for the deterioration of any donations. Donors may request that gifts judged no longer appropriate for the library shall be returned to the donor.

 Donations cannot be appraised by the library for tax purposes and acceptance by the library does not infer specific values. Valuation of the donation is the responsibility of the donor. The library may issue receipts for donations that may be used for Internal Revenue Service tax deduction purposes.

Objectives of the Historical Collection

The objective of the American Fork Library’s Historical Collection is to present and preserve materials of lasting value for the City of American Fork and patrons of the library. With the cooperation of the Historical Committee, the library will develop, catalog and control the circulation of all materials in the Historical Collection. This collection will emphasize local, county, family and state histories in a variety of formats.

Materials are selected on the grounds of their enduring cultural, historical, or evidentiary value to American Fork City and patrons of the library. The collection will be maintained based on the following guidelines:

1)      The original format and integrity of materials will be preserved whenever feasible;

2)      Materials found in the Historical Collection will have lasting value. Lasting value is defined as having enduring interest, significance, or merit for patrons of the library and the City of American Fork;

3)      Gifts to the Historical Collection are welcome. However, the same selection principles will be applied to gifts as to the Library’s own selections. The librarian will be free to decide whether all or part of the gift should be integrated into the collection, discarded, sold, or exchanged; and

4)      The Library will, if requested, provide a written acknowledgement of the receipt of gifts by number and nature, or will sign an itemized list if provided by the donor. In accordance with income tax regulations the Library will leave the determination of a value of the donation to the donor.


Guidelines for Historical Collection Development

1)      If preserving the original format is not feasible, the library’s director or his/her designee will seek another format which will preserve the information contained in the materials and maximize the ability for patrons to access the information.

2)      Items may be removed from the main library collection which are rare, irreplaceable or are subject to theft and/or mutilation to be reclassified and included in the Historical Collection.

3)      The sale, alienation, destruction or other disposition of records housed in the Historical Collection shall be pursuant to state law and city code and is prohibited without the knowledge of and agreement of the director of the library. If an item considered for disposal exceeds a value of $500.00, the director of the library shall obtain the consent of the majority of the library’s board of directors upon a vote duly made during a regularly scheduled meeting of the same.


Collection Evaluation and Assessment

Collection assessment is an organized process for systematically analyzing and describing a library's collection. American Fork Library uses the assessment process to help clarify the library's goals in the context of its mission and budget, supply data used to set funding priorities, and build a base for long-range planning and administration.

Evaluation and assessment techniques are used to determine the strengths and weaknesses of collections. They fall into two broad categories:

1)      Collection-centered: counting holdings and checking lists to determine the collection's scope and depth.

2)      Client-centered: conducting user surveys and gathering information on how clients use the collection.

As the American Fork community grows rapidly, the ability to assess and meet the informational and recreational library needs of the community is critical to providing the quality library services and collections that are expected by our citizens.

Collection Development Policy Review

This policy will be reviewed by the Board of Trustees at least every two years, being revised as needed. Effective date: February 3, 2000. Version number six. Latest revision date: 2/17/16.