Collection Development Policy



The Harrison Memorial Library Collection Development Policy provides a framework for the growth and development of collections in support of the Library’s mission to provide “collections, resources and programs that support the public’s educational, informational and recreational pursuits and technology needs.”

It is the Library’s goal to provide the community with library materials that reflect a wide range of views, expressions, opinions and interests. Specific acquisitions may include items that may be unorthodox or unpopular with the majority or controversial in nature. The Library’s acquisition of these items does not constitute endorsement of their content but rather makes available its expression.

The Library provides free access to materials in a number of formats (print, media and electronic) to all patrons. Library users make their own choices as to what they will use based on individual interests and concerns. Harrison Memorial Library supports the right of each family to decide which items are appropriate for use by their children. Responsibility for a child’s use of library materials lies with his or her parent or guardian. Harrison Memorial Library adheres to the principles of intellectual freedom, adopted by the American Library Association, as expressed in the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read and Freedom to View documents. 

This policy applies to all library materials with the exception of Local History Department Collections for which there is a separate Collection Development Policy.


Harrison Memorial Library’s collection of books and other media provides a wide range of literary, cultural, educational, informational, and recreational materials for people of all ages. Collections include popular and in-demand materials as well as special formats, such as large print books, foreign language materials, test and study guides, financial, tax and business information, company and telephone directories, school and career information, consumer, health and medical information.

The variety of formats includes:

  • Print: books, documents, magazines, and newspapers
  • Audiovisual Media: videos on DVD and books on CD and digital audio player
  • Electronic Media: databases, software, electronic books, downloadable audio books, videos and music.

Criteria For Selection

The Harrison Memorial Library purchases, within budget limitations, the best material available to fulfill the stated objectives of the library.  An item need not meet all of the criteria in order to be acceptable. Criteria for selection may include:

  • public demand, interest or need
  • contemporary significance or popular interest
  • attention of critics and reviewers
  • prominence, authority and/or competence of author, creator or publisher
  • timeliness of material
  • relation to existing collections
  • statement of challenging, original, or alternative point of view
  • accessibility for multiple users of electronic formats
  • authenticity for multiple users of electronic formats

In most cases, the library will not purchase self-published materials that are not reviewed in established review journals.  Exceptions may be made for self-published materials of local interest that meet the selection guidelines.

Responsibility for Selection

Responsibility for the initial selection of library resources rests with the Library’s professional staff, based on the criteria cited above, as well as on the basis of book reviews, bibliographies, subject lists, catalogs, etc. Designated staff are responsible for specific areas of the collection, under the overall direction of the Library Director.

Suggestions for Additions to the Collection

To assure the acquisitions of resources desired by Library users, customer suggestions are always considered for their addition to the collection. Patrons can request that specific items be purchased by filling out a Recommendation for Purchase form through their Library Account or at either the Main Library or Park Branch Library.


The Harrison Memorial Library encourages donations of money be made to the Carmel Public Library Foundation and donations of materials be made to the Friends of the Harrison Memorial Library (see Donation of Books and Other Materials Policy). Gifts of archival materials are accepted according to the Local History Department’s Collection Development Policy. The library cannot appraise the value of gift materials for income tax purposes.

The library welcomes donations of money to purchase books in memory of an individual.  Donors of the funds may suggest subjects or titles to be acquired with their donation, but the library reserves the right of final decision. Bookplates may be placed in these books designating their memorial status.

Collection Maintenance, Replacement, and Weeding

Professional library staff regularly review items in the collection to ensure that they continue to meet patrons’ needs. Materials that are worn, obsolete, unused, old editions or unnecessarily duplicated are removed. It is the responsibility of professional staff to assess the need for replacing materials that are damaged, destroyed or lost. Items are not automatically replaced. Decisions are based on need, demand and budget.

Request for Reconsideration of Materials

The Library welcomes citizen’s expressions of opinion concerning materials purchased. Requests to remove materials will be considered within the context of the policies set forth in this document and the Local History Department Collection Development Policy. Anyone who wishes to request that a specific item be reconsidered for inclusion in the collection of materials is asked to complete and sign the Request for Reconsideration form available at either the Main Library or Park Branch Library. The questioned material will be reviewed in its entirety by the Library Director and one professional staff member, and once a decision has been made regarding the retention or removal of the material, a letter will be sent to the person, explaining the decision. If the person indicates dissatisfaction with the resolution, he/she may appeal to the Library Board. The Board will reconsider the decision based on whether or not the particular title conforms to the Board-approved Collection Development Policy, as outlined in the “Criteria for Selection” above.

(Adopted by the Harrison Memorial Library Board of Trustees March 2010. Revised March 2018.)