Collection Development and Library Resources Policy


The purpose of the Anoka County Library's Collection Development and Library Resources policy is to guide its staff and to inform Patrons about the principles upon which selections are made. It provides staff the goals and guidelines to assist in choosing from a vast array of available materials and then relies upon staff judgement to responsibly execute its intent. Its primary objective is to ensure that public monies are spent wisely so that the library can provide relevant materials in sufficient supply to meet public demand and make the library a dependable resource. Free and convenient access to the world of ideas, to information, and to the creative experience is of vital importance to every citizen today. Library staff build and maintain patron-focused collections and resources by anticipating and responding to community needs and expectations. Specific procedures for the collection are contained in the Library's Collection Development Manual.

Definition of Patron: Library users, library staff member, library volunteer, administrator, board member, local community member, elected official, or government employee.

Definition of Collection: The Library collection may include materials and resources in print, non-print, or electronic format. The collection is defined as: all items of material acquired for Library purposes by purchase, gift, lease, or long-term loan and for which the library acquires the rights of access and/or ownership. 

Definition of Library Resources: Library resources include, but are not limited to, print, non-print, and electronic materials, displays, exhibits, Library social media posts, programs, and services.

Collection Development Goals 

  • To provide a diverse, broad range of cultural materials to promote an enlightened community and to enrich personal lives.
  • To provide popular materials to support community recreation.
  • To provide up-to-date informational materials to support the community need for lifelong learning and continuing education.
  • To foster a lifelong interest in reading and discovery.
  • To provide support for educational, civic, and cultural activities of groups and organizations.
  • To collect items contributing to the knowledge of local history and/or of permanent value.
  • To anticipate future needs of the community and to provide thoughtful interpretations of the past.

Use of the Library's Materials and Library Resources

Purpose of access

Library materials and resources are available for free access to all visitors of Anoka County Library.  As per Minn. Stat. § 134.001, Subd. 2, patrons may check out library materials and resources free of charge, restricted only by necessary circulation rules.

Access to services

Anoka County Library has the responsibility to serve all the residents of its community. The Library strives to make its limited collection, resources, and services freely accessible and fill the educational, recreational, cultural, and informational needs of our patrons. It hereby adopts the philosophy that a public library will not abridge what an individual may read, see, or hear. All materials will be available to patrons, subject to circulation rules adopted by the Library Advisory Board. No rule will be established which would allow preferential use of library materials for any group or class of user, or which limits the use of materials by any group or class of users, except as required by law.

Responsibility for the Selection of Library Materials

Library Director

The ultimate responsibility for selection of library materials rests with the Library Director.

Budget for Materials

The securing and allocation of budgeted funds for materials is approved annually by the Library Director upon the recommendation of the Library Collection Development Manager.

Materials Selection Personnel

The Library Director will delegate authority to interpret and apply the policies in daily operation to the Library Collection Development Manager and designated staff who have responsibility for selecting materials and maintaining the collection within budgetary allocations, subject to the review and approval of the Library Director.

Professional judgment

In applying professional judgment to selection, Library staff will follow these best practices:

  • Handle all requests equitably.
  • Understand and respond to Anoka County demographics and needs, as well as the societal and technological environment.
  • Recognize that materials of varying complexity and format are necessary to serve all members of the community. 
  • Balance individual and community needs.
  • Seek continuous improvement through ongoing measurement; and
  • Document, but disregard as a stand-alone consideration, anticipated approval, or disapproval by person(s) or groups.

Method of Selection 

Anoka County Library purchases materials from a wide variety of sources. Acquisitions and selection decisions are made in a manner most efficient and cost effective for the Library. Vendors, publishers, and authors may submit written or electronic information for consideration. The Library does not select through unsolicited materials preview; unsolicited telephone orders, or other processes that require return of materials not selected. Materials sent to or given to the Library for purchase consideration will be treated as donations and will not be acknowledged or returned.

Guidelines for the Selection of Materials 

To develop and maintain an excellent collection, materials are evaluated according to one or more of the following criteria. An item may be included or excluded on any one or more of the following criteria:

  1. Currency
  2. Authority
  3. Suitability of subject and style for intended audience.
    1. Materials are purchased for the independent learner rather than curriculum materials designed for the more formal student.
    2. General treatments are chosen over those that are specialized, scholarly or primarily for professional use.
  4. Cost, in relation to the wise use of available resources.
  5. Favorable information in published critical reviews or bibliographies.
  6. Present and potential relevance to community needs and/or local interest.
  7. Recommendation for Purchases.
    1. The Library welcomes patron’s suggestions for material purchases and will promptly consider recommendations. Requests will be considered for purchase using the established selection procedures and the Collection Development Policy. Policy and budget may limit the ability of Anoka County Library to provide all requested materials. A reliable review for each title is desirable before a decision is made to purchase the material for the library collection. Whenever possible, Interlibrary Loan will be offered for items not purchased.
  8. Mix of materials
    1. The Library recognizes an obligation to provide a wide variety of materials for general education, recreation, culture, and information, including a representative sampling of experimental and ephemeral materials.
  9. Subject completeness
    1. The Library will make available a representative selection of materials on subjects; it will not seek to acquire all the materials on any given subject. Instead, the Library will attempt to provide those materials through interlibrary loan as needed.

Relationships to Other Libraries, Library Systems, & Library Services Affecting Collection Development

The Library recognizes resources of other libraries in the area and shall not needlessly duplicate materials. Anoka County Library selection staff will also consider state and national holdings of materials when making retention decisions. No library is able to purchase all materials needed by its patrons; therefore, materials not owned by the library will be requested from other libraries through statewide and national library sources. The Library will seek to broaden these sources through agreements with other libraries and groups of libraries.

Cataloging & Placement of Library Materials 

Anoka County Library participates in a library community that agrees on standards for cataloging and classification that enable greater resource sharing and accessibility. The majority of items in the collection will not be assigned to a specific library location. The Integrated Library System in use at Anoka County Library allows staff to float the majority of the collection. A floating item’s location will automatically be changed to the library where the item is checked in. A small number of items may be assigned and not float at the discretion of Library Staff. Unless otherwise specified, materials purchased with local or grant funds designated for a specific Anoka County Library location will be assigned to that location for at least one calendar year.


To promote general availability of Library materials and resources, they will not be specially labeled or shelved separately, marked, or identified to show disapproval of the contents, or sequestered except to protect from injury or theft.

Displays of Library Materials

In efforts to raise awareness or highlight various materials, from time to time, materials owned by the library may be placed on display. Topics for displays are planned, organized, and implemented by staff at each location.

Staff will select display topics, materials and accompanying resources in accordance with the following criteria:

  • community needs and interests.
  • format and style are suitable for intended audience.
  • historical or educational significance.
  • appropriateness to seasonal events or holidays.
  • relation to current events.
  • connection to other community or national programs, exhibitions, or events.
  • relation to library collections, resources, exhibits, and programs.

The Library will strive to include a wide spectrum of opinions and viewpoints in Library initiated displays of materials, as well as offer displays that appeal to a range of ages, interests and information needs. Placing materials on display does not constitute an endorsement by the Library of the content of the display or any of the views expressed in the materials on display.

As libraries have limited space for display, while efforts will be made to place displays near the section where its materials typically are placed, displays may occasionally be placed in more central areas and/or may contain materials for multiple age groups.

Use of Unowned Materials

The Library will not permanently house material owned by others. It may use those materials for exhibits or under the terms of a specific contract to gain access to material which would benefit the public. See Exhibit Policy.

Collection Management (De-Selection)

Collection Management is the systematic evaluation of the collection designed to facilitate the repair or withdrawal of damaged, unused, or obsolete materials from the collection. Materials are routinely de-selected from the collection to maintain the collection's usefulness, currency, and relevance, and to provide space for new Library materials or other uses.  Anoka County Library staff members perform continuing analysis of the use of the collection, the needs and interests of the community, request lists, the availability of similar materials, cost, and physical condition of specific volumes. These factors will be considered in determining the number of copies of each title Anoka County Library should have and when an item should be replaced, repaired, or withdrawn. Selection staff will review all last copy removals to determine local, regional, or national value. A title may be retained if it is deemed valuable on one of these levels.  De-selected materials may be sold or otherwise disposed of as permitted by law.

As a guide, items are identified for withdrawal when they are:

  • Factually inaccurate or obsolete.
  • Damaged or worn beyond repair.
  • No longer in demand as evidenced by circulation history.
  • Superseded by a new edition or a better title on the topic.
  • Of no discernible literary or topical merit.
  • Irrelevant to the needs of the community served.
  • Available elsewhere through reciprocal borrowing or interlibrary loan.

Intellectual Freedom 

The Library has the responsibility to serve all the residents of its community. It hereby adopts the philosophy that a public library will not curtail what an individual may or may not read, see, or hear. The Library strives to make available a representative selection of materials on subjects of interest to its patrons, including materials on various sides of controversial questions to enable patrons to make up their own minds about controversial subjects.

The Library does not endorse particular beliefs or views; nor is the selection of any given material equivalent to sanction of the author’s views.

The Library is aware that one or more persons may take issue with the selection of any specific item in the collection and/or display of library materials and will consider any expression of opinion by patrons. However, the Library does not undertake the task of pleasing all patrons by the elimination of items or displays selected after due deliberation under guidance of the policies expressed herein. Anticipated approval or disapproval by persons or groups will not be considered in the selection process or in the decision to place material on display.

Materials are selected on the basis of the content as a whole and without regard to the personal history of the author, composer, or producer. Each work is considered on its own merit.

The Library incorporates as part of its policies the Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read Statement, and the Freedom to View Statement.

Children's Reading

The responsibility for the selection of material by and for children from the library rests with their parents or guardians. Parents and guardians are encouraged to help their children explore materials and resources and to guide those selections according to their individual values. Materials and resources in the library will not be restricted by the possibility that they may come into the possession of children.

Controversial Materials

Anoka County Library recognizes some library materials and resources might be controversial and certain items may be offensive to some patrons. The selection of materials and resources will be based upon the merits of the work as a whole and upon its ability to enhance and broaden the library collection and the library’s ability to serve the needs of all its patrons.


This policy is reviewed by the Library Advisory Board (or a committee thereof) every four (4) years, or more frequently when deemed appropriate. The Library Advisory Board may recommend proposed changes subject to final approval by the Library Director and the Anoka County Board of Commissioners.

Policy History
Date Approved: August 2023
Next Review Date: August 2027