(2020-11-19) 5.02

Purposes of the Collection Management Policy

The purposes of this policy are to further the Mission and roles of the Lorain Public Library System; to guide library materials selectors in the selection of materials; and to inform the public about the principles that librarians apply in the materials selection process.

Intellectual Freedom

The Lorain Public Library System is a public forum where ideas and information are freely communicated; a broad spectrum of opinion and a variety of viewpoints are presented in materials collections, displays, programs, and services. Lorain Public Library System has a responsibility to provide diverse materials in both print and non-print forms.

The Board of Trustees of the Lorain Public Library System endorses the principles of intellectual freedom. Materials selected under the Collection Management Policy are considered protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. The Board of Trustees believes that anyone is free to reject for himself/herself library materials of which he or she does not approve. However, the individual cannot restrict the freedom of others to read, view, or hear.

Responsibility for reading and the use of the library by children rests with their parents or legal guardians. Selection of library materials will not be inhibited by the possibility that the materials may come into the possession of children. Parents or legal guardians have the responsibility to guide and direct the reading, viewing, or listening of their own minor children. The library does not take the place of the parent or guardian.

Responsibility for Selection

Library material selection is vested in the CEO and such members of the professional staff who are qualified by reason of education and training. Any library material so selected shall be held to be selected by the Board of Trustees. Library professional staff will select those items that, in their judgment and within the context of the Collection Management Policy, will be of greatest value, interest and use to the community immediately and in the years to come.

Principles of Collection Development

Librarians have a professional responsibility to be inclusive, not exclusive, in collection management. Access to all materials legally obtainable is assured to our public. This Collection Management Policy does not exclude materials from consideration even if offensive to a librarian personally or to some members of the community. The collection is targeted to our local communities as we attempt to address the needs of both current and potential users.

General Selection Standards

The goal of each community library within the Lorain Public Library System is to meet the needs of the people by selecting materials of particular interest in their communities. Because our ability to purchase and store materials is limited by both budgets and buildings, Lorain Public Library System has established standards for purchase and retention. These standards are developed, implemented and revised by librarians who are knowledgeable in adult, teen, juvenile, reference, local history, audio-visual and electronic services. The standards include, but are not limited to: 

  • Critic’s and Staff’s reviews
  • Current and anticipated needs and interests of the public
  • Accuracy of content 
  • Timeliness or permanence of the information
  • Author's, artist's or publisher's qualifications and/or reputation
  • Evaluations in review media
  • Contribution to diversity or breadth of collections that support of library's mission and roles
  • Inclusion of title in standard bibliographies or indexes
  • Receipt of or nomination for major awards or prizes
  • Quality of writing, design, illustrations, or production and suitability of format
  • Affordability
  • Relative importance in comparison with existing materials in the collection on the same subject
  • Relevance to community needs
  • Availability and accessibility of the same material in the Lorain Public Library System or on the CLEVNET network

Collection Priorities

In general, these priorities are followed in selecting materials for the circulating collections:

  • General treatments over those that are specialized, scholarly, or primarily intended for professional use.
  • Single-volume overviews over multi-volume works.
  • Works of broad popular appeal that meet the needs of the independent learner over textbooks or other materials that meet curriculum requirements of the formal student.
  • Unabridged editions for most print titles.
  • Whenever possible, materials are selected in sufficient quantity to satisfy user requests promptly.

Collection Management Levels

Most materials will be collected at the general interest/initial study level for all subject areas. This level may be defined as a selective collection of print and non-print materials that is adequate to support general interest, high school, some undergraduate introductory courses, and the beginning stages of independent study. The emphasis is on recent materials intended to meet the general reading interests of the layperson and the student. It should be comprehensive enough to support broad subject areas, but it is not designed to provide support for all subtopics in subject areas.

Materials Not Collected

Due to finite resources, there are certain materials that the Lorain Public Library System does not collect:

  • Rare books: Since it is the public library's function to make materials available to all users, the Library does not collect rare or unusual materials that require special handling. Prospective donors who wish to give rare books, documents or non-print items pertaining to our local communities may be referred to local historical museums or other appropriate institutions.
  • Textbooks: The Library does not buy textbooks used by the local schools, colleges or universities, as it is the responsibility of the libraries of those institutions to provide copies of these course materials to their students. Textbooks may, however, be purchased in those subject areas where there is little or no material in any other format.
  • Journals: The Library does not subscribe to professional or academic journals except as such titles might also serve the public.

Acquired Materials

Adult Materials

Materials selected for the adult collection are those selected to meet the needs of teens and adults.

Teen Materials

In recognition of the special needs and interests of teens, defined as persons aged twelve to eighteen the Lorain Public Library has established a separate teen collection.

These materials function as a transitional collection between the juvenile and general adult collection. Emphasis is placed on acquiring popular browsing materials that stimulate an interest in reading and provide teens with insights into themselves and their relationships with others. Teen literature often portrays events and concerns common to adolescents living in contemporary society. Therefore, some materials included in the teen collection may contain mature or controversial themes and language.

Branches may not have a separate teen collection but instead may inter-shelve teen books with other books.

Children’s Materials

The Library seeks to encourage the child's acquisition of the ability to read and then to encourage the child's enjoyment of reading and literature and use of the Library as a lifelong activity. Library staff are present to help children discover information or to give guidance in selecting recreational reading materials. Library staff do not make children's selections for them but stand ready to assist children and parents in their quest for specific materials. When staff select materials for children, they will take into account the needs and interests of children, parents, teachers, and group leaders.

Materials for the children's collection are selected to meet the needs and interests of children between the ages of one and twelve. Some materials added to the collection may be intended for use by parents or adults who work with children.

The Library is committed to assisting children in their educational endeavors, whether related to their formal school assignments or to their individual quests for information. Children's materials are not primarily selected or purchased in quantity with support for the local school's curriculum in mind since this is the responsibility of the school libraries. When possible, curriculum needs will be taken into account when selection decisions are made, but much non-fiction in the children's collection is selected with the intention of being of a supplemental and independent study nature. These materials are meant for use by children wishing to explore various fields of knowledge including, but not limited to, those prescribed in their school instruction.

The Library will purchase children's books that are awarded the Caldecott and Newbery medal each year. The Caldecott Medal is awarded to the illustrator of the best picture books (fiction or non-fiction) published for children each year. The Newbery Medal is awarded annually to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature published for children.

Collection Management Issues


Titles withdrawn because of loss, damage or general condition may be considered for replacement. The same considerations applied in original selection apply to replacements.

Reevaluating the Library Collection

The continuous review of the collection to remove unneeded, physically deteriorated, out-of-date, or inaccurate materials maintains an active collection of current interest to its users.

Disposal of Materials

Materials withdrawn from the collection, or donated items not needed for our collection, are disposed of under the following guidelines:

  • The items are declared surplus and offered for public sale. Materials unsuitable for sale are disposed of.
  • Occasionally materials may be offered to other non-profit institutions.
  • The Library will not accept requests to hold withdrawn materials for individuals.

Suggestions for Purchase

Patrons are also an important part of the selection process. Patrons may suggest purchase of items by telephone or via the Library’s website ( Suggestions from the public will be considered and evaluated using the same standards indicated in the Lorain Public Library System Collection Management Policy. Selection of new materials will be made according to merit and use, with consideration given to demand, need, available funds, and space.

Requests for Reconsideration of Library Materials

Patrons who wish to request the reconsideration of library materials shall complete and sign the Citizens Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials form, which are available from Library Staff. The CEO will appoint a Review Committee from the professional staff. The Review Committee will evaluate the material and make a written recommendation to the CEO who will then make a decision regarding the disposition of the material. The CEO will communicate this decision and the reasons for it, in writing, to the person who initiated the request for reconsideration at the earliest possible date, which in no case shall be more than thirty days from the receipt of the Request for Reconsideration form. The CEO will inform the Board of Library Trustees of all requests for reconsideration of library materials and their disposition.

In the event that the person who initiated the request is not satisfied with the decision of the CEO, s/he may appeal for a hearing before the Board of Trustees by making a written request to the President of the Board. If a hearing is granted, the individual will be notified when s/he may address the Board. The Board of Trustees reserves the right to limit the length of presentation and number of speakers at the hearing. The Board will determine whether the request for reconsideration has been handled in accordance with stated policies and procedures of Lorain Public Library System. On the basis of this determination, the Board may vote to uphold or override the decision of the CEO.